Noah’s purple dream and the gender debate

Such a cute pattern. Such a boring knit. I’m awesome, or atleast my self-discipline is. It was hard to finish. But I do like the end result.

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Now, there’s some debate, wether or not the choice of color was a wise one. Personally, I don’t really care. I live in Sweden, it seems the gender rules for toys and colors are a bit more relaxed here, then in the states. I started the cardigan on the flight to visit my sister back in November, and during my visit my sister had a few fairly strong opinions on the color choice, and a few other clothing items belonging to Noah, that I had brought, which she thought where girly.

Thing is, I don’t feel I have to tell my boys which colors not to wear. Plenty of other people will apparently do that for me. And I really do think that there are worse things in life, than boys wearing pink or purple clothes.

Things like sexism. Or boys bullying girls, not taking no for an answer, calling girls names reducing them to their gender. In fact, one of the worse things that can happen to me as a mother, as my boys grow older, is that they disrespect women. I would feel really ashamed about that.

Now, I know one or two things about every-day sexism and gender discriminaton. I work in an extremely male dominated area, which exposes me to this stuff frequently. Forcing my kids into some old rules on how boys and girls should dress, play and act, fuels the kind of behavior that bothers me in men. Girls should wear pink and purple and look pretty, and boys should wear boring colors and be all cool and smart. Kitchen / family toys are for girls. Cars, science and tech (basically all the cool stuff) is for boys. Well, what if we actually let our children decide for themselves?

My older boy loves cars and all other types of vehicles. He also enjoys cooking. Both helping out in the kitchen when my husband and I cook, but also playing with his red toy-stove and all his little plates, cookies, plastic grocerys and play doh food. He occasionally enjoys wearing a black dress with blue flowers they have for dress-up at daycare, and I’ve donated an old purse which he sometimes stuffs with lego and pretends he’s flying to see his grandparents in France. He enjoys painting his nails red, for no other reason than the fact that I do it sometimes, and he likes the color.

He’s three so I’m not sure how much of the gender stuff he actually gets just yet. But for now, I let him pick the colors he wants to wear – which results in lots of reds and the occasional pink. I let him play with the toys he likes, which shows that he likes a wide variety of things and that makes me proud as a mother. I actually hope that some of the feminine attributes stick, because macho stupidity is the worst, and qualities typically associated with feminity – such as empathy and emotional intelligence are nice qualities in any person. I don’t see the big deal. In fact, I think I’m making my sons a huge favor, in raising them to be responsible men who’ll take care of their future families, in whatever constellation that will be. The choice of color of a sweater is such a small part in this, it’s actually ridiculous. But it does highlight issues with gender. Issues that for the most part has more to do with us parents, than our children.

Noah is a baby, so he doesn’t care about anything other than being fed, changed and loved. Certainly he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about his sweater being purple. And I like the contrast. That such a masculine cut sweater is in a traditionally female color. Also, if you feel provoked by this entry, I kind of like that too. I’m an asshole that way.

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2 Responses to Noah’s purple dream and the gender debate

  1. Pia says:

    Love this entry!
    Exakt så tycker jag med!

  2. Pingback: Yarny deliveries | The everyday life of a nerdy knitting junky

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