Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gender Roles and Children

So, obviously I am not an official parent yet but I do worry a lot about my future kids being socialized into a narrowly defined gender role.  Because of this, my hubby and I are not going to find out the sex of the baby before birth (I also just want it to be a neat surprise after hours of labor).  Our nursery will be "gender-neutral" colors of green, turquoise and yellow and our baby shower won't be bombarded with frilly pink dresses or sports-themed blue outfits (at least I hope not!)

I want our child to have a clean slate. I'm sure my parents will buy a very gendered outfit once the little one is born, but for us those outfits will be the minority. If say, we have a girl and she begins leaning toward dolls and pink clothing--fine, but it will also be fine if she hates dresses and plays with army men.  I want it to be *her* decision and not one thrust upon her.

What actually concerns me most about the gender binary in our country is the gross sexualization of girls.  Just take a stroll through Target in the girls' clothing section (mini skirts and triangle bikini tops), or watch one of the popular Disney shows (way too much makeup and revealing clothing) and you will see it. A new study recently found that one-third of young girls' cothing is "sexy" in nature.

I am immensley bothered by the idea that our girls are growing up to see themselves as sexual objects with nothing more to offer the world than their bodies.

I know that we can only protect our children to a certain extent, and that those of us who were surrounded by the Disney Princess infatuation and Barbies (like me) turned out to be strong, self-actualized feminists, but that doesn't mean we should accept this corporate production of inappropriate and overtly sexual products aimed at children.

Ok--that's my rant for the day ;)

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