Monday, April 1, 2013

Gender Bender

I've got a little Easter story for you.

The Easter Bunny was out shopping for my children on Saturday. I have 2 daughters, 3 and 11, which presents a challenge, because even though they are far apart in age, the sibling rivalry is fierce.

Anyway, I scored some awesome stuff for my 3yo. I found Spider-Man head shaped plastic eggs and this gnarly rubber fuzzy Spider-Man...Happily, I take my purchases to the check out. The lady was all, "Oh, somebody likes Spider-Man. How old is he?"

I smile and proceed to say, "*She's* 3."

The lady blinked at me, and said "Oh! Usually it's the boys who like that kind of thing. The girls all like Dora and Barbie® and stuff like that."

I smile again, as I am getting out my money. "She likes those too. She loves Spider-Man®."

I left the lady a bit befuddled.

My 3yo daughter loves Spider-Man®. She also loves Buzz Lightyear and Woody, and she prefers Diego over Dora most of the time.  She's got Spider-Man® shoes and Toy Story® pajamas, all of which I found in the boys' section.

The Toy Story® stuff I found in the girls' section were all Jessy, who my 3yo likes too, but not nearly as much as she likes Buzz.

I did see some Spider *girl* things over Halloween, but they were definitely Spider-Girl. The Little doesn't ever want to be Spider-Girl. She pretends to be Spider-Man or Batman.

Does this mean I am confusing my child with gender? Hells, no! She is fully aware that she's a girl and she's very adamant about telling me she's one, and telling me she's just "The Little" (name withheld to protect the innocent) whenever I tease her about being a monkey, a critter, or even when I ask her if she's Spider-Man®. She's very self aware and confident in her identity.

Why should we limit our children's interests to what's "usually" boy things or girl things? Media is harsh enough with marketing products. If commercials showed boys playing with Barbies® and girls playing with Tonka® trucks, would our world really be turned upside down so much that adults couldn't handle it?
Kids don't care. They choose what they like. It's still a mystery how The Little found Spider-Man® in the first place, because we have never shown her the cartoons or the live action movie or anything. She watches PBS and Qubo, and the kids' movies we've accumulated over her big sister's younger days. No Spider-Man® there. But she loves him and there's nothing wrong with that. (Disclaimer: The lady at the check-out never said there was anything wrong, but she sure was bemused by the fact that my daughter loves Spider-Man®.)

I'd take Spider-Man over Dora any day! 

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