Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's a Gender-Identified World

I was talking to my sister yesterday about the baby shower she is planning for me. She has been trying to find invitations, decorations and the like that are bright, primary colors and gender neutral. She found some paper and wanted stickers. The only baby kind of stickers she could find are pastels-pink for girls, blue for boys, and green and yellow for neutral. Nothing in red or bright colors. It is tough.

I've been working on my gift registries for the baby. At Babies R Us, I found a few gender neutral things...mostly green and yellow. I found a lot of natural fibers in clothing, but the clothing is all off white or white. I did find a lot of bamboo things, which I like. At Target, I found some bedding and decorations that are Peanuts and are primary colors. I love Peanuts and the primary colors are great. I was so excited to find them.

The problem I face is that it is not just clothing and bedding that are gendered, but strollers, toys and even high chairs are all identified for either a boy or a girl. After age 3 months, nothing is even listed as gender neutral. It can be very frustrating.

We aren't finding out the baby's sex...we (mainly, I) want that surprise. But, our desire for gender neutral things goes beyond not knowing the sex; we don't want our child's life to start off as an identified gender. I won't put my little girl in pink frilly clothing and I won't put my boy in vests and bowties. I want them to be neutral...until they are old enough to choose. I can't see how this will work. I know of so many people who were boy or girl as a child, then tended toward the feminine or masculine gender as they grew, but there was no outlet for being different. I'm sure our child will be different from many children his or her age. I'm okay with that. But, I refuse to label our child as something which could change as he or she grows up.

What to do? I don't know. We'll do our best to teach our child that we will love him or her no matter what...even if he wants to wear dresses at age 5 or she thinks mud and trucks are more fun that dolls! I just wish society, and retail outlets, made it just a little bit easier.

1 comment:

Happy Mama Main said...

well good thing I have a few gender neutral items for you! I remember doing a paper in my Child Development course at college about this very subject, and was surprised when I learned how companies market gender stereotypes to children. But then, when Owen arrived, and was surrounded by barbies and all the other "girlie" toys, and yet he still chose to play with cars, trains, and balls, I realized that a little of it is in out DNA Too!