Like many strong-willed, independently-minded women, I hope to raise my daughter to be equally independent. I hope to teacher her self-reliance. I hope she becomes confident and trusts herself above all others. And along with that comes my complete (well, almost complete) lack of concern over gender-specific attire and such. Don't get me wrong, I like dressing her in pink now and again. I want her to grow her hair out. I am not anti-femininity by any stretch of the imagination. But if Marcie wants to wear her brother's hand-me-down Car clothes-- even his (gasp!) underwear (seeing as how they don't make it in girl version), I'm not gonna get in her way.
And when she picks up the Thomas trains, or she climbs in the giant dump truck, or she points out trucks and buses on the road, I feel no concern that she is not appropriately girly. I just don't think it should-- or does-- matter.
But I think the true measure of feminism has nothing to do with how a mother raises her daughter. I think for true signs of equality, we need look no further than a mother-- or father's-- attitude toward their son's attire. Choice of toys. And such. And last week I got an ever-so-brief lesson in what that really means when we were at a local park. Casey saw a scooter laying on the ground, and he decided he wanted to test it out. So he did. Mind you, he was completely unconcerned by its appearance. Here he is riding it at the park:
Now, I have no concerns that because Casey selected the pink princess scooter it's an indication of his sexuality. He's four, for crying out loud. And I wouldn't even really mind if it were. He is who he is. But something inside me screamed out in alarm-- I mean, if he picked this out for himself, would I purchase it? Or would I direct him toward a "more appropriate" Spiderman version? And if Marcie were his older sister instead of his younger one and she had a scooter like this, would I be content with Casey riding it as a hand-me-down toy? Or would I feel compelled to purchase him a more "masculine" scooter? I'd like to think the notion of my son riding around on a pink, frilly scooter evokes no reaction in me at all-- just as it clearly evoked no reaction in him. Maybe I should be taking a lesson from Casey in what it really means to be a feminist!