Boys and girls and persons
Today I was looking on the internet for sun hats. My children won’t wear hats of any kind, but I’m foolishly hoping if I just get ones with things they like on them, they’ll do it. And maybe force them a few times until they accept it? I don’t know, man. I was fine with letting them freeze their ears off, but sunburned scalps is a different story. Anyway, in sorting by size I ended up seeing a lot of other shit, including this item. I tracked it down to its home, and it’s in the boy’s section.
I already sent them a complaint in which I note that while a parent can buy these shirts for children of either sex, having them in the BOYS and GIRLS section sends a message for fucking sure. Boys like ponies, too, you know. But that’s not a socially urgent issue. The socially urgent issue is that women are underrepresented in so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, so sending the message (to three-year-olds!!!) that science goes in the boys section is extremely unhelpful.
I know, gender gender blah blah blah some people get up in arms about this shit, some don’t. And it’s complicated stuff. I read a nice paper recently discussing the fact that it’s not so straightforward to distinguish between sex (usually described as the biological part) and gender (usually described as the social part). And it’s insidious and everywhere and part of how we think at the most basic level. And in many cases, that’s fine.
And though I try, I fuck up too. A while back I was trying to get Bunlet to do something or other and he was wobbling a lot. Don’t fall over on this poor guy! I said, referring to the pair of hiking boots and jeans that were in my line of sight. He did fall over on the guy, and the guy was a woman. That is to say, based on the person’s voice and face, I would guess it was a biological female, in the sense of having female gonads. I have no idea what its gender identify was, and maybe it wasn’t a female…which is really my point. I shouldn’t have been using gender-specific terms like guy.
Meanwhile, Bun Bun has been talking about when she’s a big girl and when Bunlet is a big boy… This is coming from her nanny, because Mr Bunny and I don’t use that phrase. We talk about when they are grown ups, or when they are older or taller or whatever is the important dimension for the situation. Usually taller, because they want to reach things. Anyway, why do they need to be thinking about boys and girls?
I guess I can only try my best to teach them that they are people, and other people are people.
I got Bun Bun at hat with bunnies on it, because the only way to have any chance at ALL that she’ll wear something is to make sure it’s got one of an extremely small selection of animals on it. And for Bunlet, I got one with cars, because he’s passionate about cars. Yeah, totally gender stereotypical. I guess it’s too late.