September 2017

Portrait

She is not abstract:
blond-brown hair
blue-grey eyes
almond-coloured rosewood-scented skin.
She has never been very complicated:
crying comes easy
she can laugh at herself
love is her favourite emotion.
With a bic blue pen she seeks only to change the world
in a page and a half during the twenty minutes that her baby sleeps.
She sits in the sunroom with her eyes half-closed
full-breasted and hip-burdened
unshowered and unashamed
uninformed of the latest movies and unaware of the new restaurants
avoiding themes of domestication
and words that rhyme with mother.

 

© Heather Taylor-Johnson

“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”*

I’ve always been aware of gender conditioning and actively tried to combat any lingering prejudices or stereotypes in my own parenting, even down to encouraging dolls with my boys when they were little. It’s great to read people writing about gender issues they’re experiencing with their kids. For too long these subjects have been discouraged or silenced. I’d love to publish some more creative writing on this topic, especially if you are struggling with a child who actively tries to move away from gender normative preferences. A society where everyone can be themselves thanks Gloria for those aspirational words.

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* Gloria Steinem