Photo by nezumichuu
I am putting today’s hospitality post on hold. I just finished reading an article that has effectively raised my blood pressure several points. And you are the lucky recipient of today’s soap box response.
TODAY Moms posted an article entitled, No ‘He’ or ‘She’ at Gender-free Preschool. This article, written by Jenny Kales, begins with these words:
Does your young daughter play with cars? Does your preschool-aged son pretend to cook with mom? Many parents these days reject traditional (and often, rigid) gender roles for their kids, happily buying trucks and trains for girls and encouraging boys to explore toy kitchens.
Read the full article here.
Make no mistake, I understand the value of teaching children to be well-rounded contributors to society. My husband, who couldn’t be more male if you fed him a testosterone-only diet, is a phenomenal cook. He can out-souffle me any day of the week. Go on a camping trip with him, and you’ll eat a better breakfast created over an open flame than you’ll ever get with me standing over a stove. My mother-in-law did me a great service by allowing (read: encouraging) my husband to love the kitchen.
But the issue of gender equality–as presented in this article as well as the recent, well-publicized decision of a family to keep its child’s gender a secret–extends beyond creating children who are free to learn or create or experience. In my opinion, hiding gender does nothing to promote well-rounded additions to society.
I believe an obsession with stifling a child’s gender–and attacking the subsequent realities that accompany it–actually demonstrates the worst kind of inequality. Taking a boy and a girl–each with his or her unique gender-specific qualities–and making those children blank slates is not a service.
Being indistinguishable is not the same as being equal. Gender is not responsible for the ills in our society. Men and women who make bad choices are responsibility for the problems. Take away the “men” and “women” and all you have are people who make bad choices.
The true way to celebrate our equal value as men and women is to celebrate the things that make us unique.
I will not apologize for being female. There are things I can’t do and things I do well. There are things my husband excells in and things he needs me to help him accomplish. And many of those strengths and weaknesses drive a straight line back to our gender-specific roles. This compensation, this harmonization, this stabilization … makes us equal in value and importance.
Make no mistake, I hope my boys learn to cook. I hope my daughters line up tanks and army people along the headboard of their bed just like I did with my brother growing up.
But I hope they remain unapologetic for how they were created.