Banishing Gender Might Be Just What Our Kids Need for Equality

leklust catalogThe other day I was putting a barrette in my daughter's hair when my son -- her twin 2 1/2-year-old brother -- handed me the pink one and said, "For me." I put it in his hair and he wore it most of the day, never fussing with it like his sister does who usually keeps it in for five minutes before ripping it off. Of course this made me think of the whole J.Crew pink toenails boy-gate last year and the questionable outrage over it. But then I remembered that we do live in a country where people of the same sex are banned from getting married in some states.

Then I heard about Sweden who recently came up with a new gender neutral word. The pronouns "he" and "she" (in Swedish "han" and "hon") are now known as "hen." Toy company Leklust is on-board with their latest catalog, too. The Swedes are considered a leader in gay rights and same sex marriages have been legal in the whole country since 2009.

Good for the Swedes! Why are the rest of us so uptight?


Perhaps some are freaking out that a little boy all dressed up as Spider-Man is pushing a babydoll carriage, but are we even certain that is a boy under there? Can't girls pretend to be Spidey? And why can't boys push pink strollers? Little girls can wear "masculine" colors and drive yellow and black go-carts, right?

So then why can't Jessica Simpson name her daughter Maxwell? Why is it such an issue that Rachel Uchitel chose Wyatt as a name for her little girl? Don't like the names? Don't name your kids that. It's that simple.

Don't we have more important things to worry about like the war on women that has been going on forever only being furthered by the divisive Time magazine "Are You Mom Enough" cover that purposefully choose an attractive young looking mother and posed her older looking 3-year-old son (having a boy, a son, in this shot was also very strategic) in such an unnatural way in order to get people really repulsed by attachment parenting or even just breastfeeding. No one breastfeeds their child like that, you know. There are no stools so a kid can stand and have a snack at mama's breast. There's cuddling involved, but a photo like that would have made the child seem a little too young for what Time was going for.

This all connects to the disrespect for moms, for women, for people, in our society. Yes, even in America. Our lack of decent maternity leave, the fact that we make less than men for the same job, all the mess I mentioned previously. Even just the simple fact that when someone says "she's just a mom," it has a very different meaning than when someone says "he's just a dad." Has anyone ever even said the latter? And not even moms are "just moms" -- we are women, we are human, we have rights that get ignored or twisted because we are the "fairer sex." Yes, even today. This lack of respect trickles down to our children.

Do we not even have enough respect for kids to let them play with what they want to play with -- pink, blue, green, purple, whatever color they want -- even if it's pastel? Should a boy be denied his desire to play with dolls? Snatch it out of his hand and give him a dinosaur instead? Should a girl be handed a princess wand when she really wants a dirt bike? These are simple things, but this is where it starts. This injustice. I think Sweden is on to something. They are terrifically innovative in most everything they do (yes, I'm an IKEA fan). We should let them inspire us to let go -- let people live how they want, like what they wish, love who they love. Even kids.

I have no problem letting my son wear a pink barrette. And no one else should either.

Do you think we need to take on a more "live and let live" attitude? What do you think of a more gender neutral world?


Image via Leklust

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