I consider traditional concepts of gender to be destroyed, social constructions that, if imposed, limit human freedom. And yet, when I think about raising children (Mikey wants to be a daddy someday), I am hopeful for a wife fluent in the language and practice of traditional gendered womanhood (just as I think I am fluent in the language and practice of traditional gendered manhood). What’s going on?
I’d like to think that my concern is based in maximizing the options for my children to practice and express their authentic selves. I believe it is likely that my children will learn many of their formative socializing lessons from their parents. And so I hope that my partner and I can expose our children to traditional concepts of gender even as I believe we’ll be living our principles as postmodern people and blowing up those concepts in our daily lives. In this way, they, too, will be able to look at the menus of gendered life and construct their authentic identity.
Then again, I have doubt. Perhaps I’m asking a bit much of myself and my partner – why remain fluent in the language and practice of an antique and offensive conception of gender? Why contain those multitudes? Won’t the children be exposed to a rainbow array of gender roles in their own myriad interactions with culture, with family, with friends? What is it, about baby pink, that I want to hold on to – and is it really for my children?
- Responding to Raising Children in Our Way-Past-Gender Society. by Mikey June 4, 2007
- In Which He, Fatefully, Returns to Gender. by Mikey June 9, 2007
- One of these things just doesn’t belong here… by Ashley June 30, 2008
- The Weaker Sex by Jill June 19, 2006
- Feminism: What It Isn’t by Lauren February 9, 2005