A bowl of kitchen nic-nacs, an arrangement
of dried flowers, a sink of messy dishes
and a child on the floor behind me, scrabbling
around in the plastics of the bottom drawer.
Hoisting himself up to the top drawer,
he reaches a knife, that shining weapon
his parents wield so fearlessly.
A triumph - he has Excalibur in hand.
I hesitate, but he turns up a face
delicate and brittle like the seeds of ‘honesty’
in great transparent rounds of thinnest fibre,
an open disc to read a fragile soul.
I say ta and he hands it over like a treasure
then quickly grabs another. Soon I have a fistful
of knives and forks. I must end this daring game
because he can’t, but seems to know his flight
has reached its peak and, content
kneels down to his plastic bits.
I rearrange the vase of ‘honesty’.
“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.
* Gloria Steinem