Their dark-eyed, desolate brown faces
stayed with me for days; the documentary
was about the Catholic church’s view
of contraception and abortion –
no matter what the circumstances.
I was cocooned safe in my home –
my luxurious, spacious, peaceful home,
while I watched this family
of five or six children, all under 8 years old
live out their days in a two-metre by two-metre crate,
right next to a busy railway track.
Around them were hundreds of blank faces,
(all the men were out at work)
bodies crouched in small, dark spaces
too low and too narrow for an adult
to stand or stretch out in sleep.
“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