Thirteen

 

She rolls mascara eyes
at our old jokes
and sleeps till noon.
The quilt cover
with the pony pattern
and cuddly toys
get packed away.
She’d rather have nothing
on the quilt
nothing to remind her
she was a child.

She kisses her frogs
goodbye
sells them to the pet shop.
The rabbit and guinea pig 
are left to roam free
in the garden
content
like the cat and dog
not to be dressed
in dolls clothes
any more.

She has traded them all
for an eternity
of conversations
on the mobile phone
and computer –
MSN and MySpace.
She hangs
with boys instead -
hoping perhaps
that they will turn
into princes.

 

© Sharon Kernot

“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