We’d danced to the beat of the spice girls
the last of the expressed milk
had been voraciously snuffled.
I had run out of options; bereft
I had changed the nappy, examined the skin
for protuberances, pins -
His rage uncontainable, I’d phoned the mother;
suddenly the spasms subsided - he lay
in my arms with an eerie stillness, gazed
with a probing eye that left me
a novice at the shrine of his power -
just as she swept through the door
wondering. Then hunger restored him
shrank him to a soft pink parcel of dependence.
“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