One minute she is galloping
her grown-up body
through long-grassed paddocks
neighing like a horse and laughing
as the dog snaps her heels
or squatting next to the muddy dam
whilst fishing for tadpoles and frog spawn
or digging up worms.
The next minute she is clip-clopping
in high-heeled shoes
straightening her long mane of hair
and thinking about colour
or washing a mud-mask from her face
digging dirt from her fingernails
then polishing and filing them
into an adult shape.
“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