The dad growls, a starved monster, whiskers salting unseasoned skin. “I’m gonna bite your tummy. Nip, nip. Eat it all up.” The child shrieks, baring his own teeth, a comparative arc of perfection. His eyes shine, their lashes another luxury. “Again,” he implores the dad. “Do more nip, nip,” and the mum, secured by their antics, says quietly, “Don’t ever stop, Dad.” But the dad knows his appetite, his deepest love, is not enough. This fun, this storm in his heart, must eventually end.
“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