Tag Archives: sexism

Expecting

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via allthecolor on Flickr

For Maggie, making a trip to the store for baby supplies wasn’t all the other new mothers cracked it up to be. Finding a place to park was easy enough, as at least two front rows were reserved for expectant mothers. Wise marketers made access simple to lure women in and tempt them to buy the same old, same old.

Inside the double glass doors, Maggie may have stepped back into the ‘50s for all she could tell. A cotton candy machine could’ve exploded, splashing the clothing with saccharine pink and sky blue. “Here we go again,” she said. “Why is everything for babies sold as such a stereotype?”

She didn’t want to select clothes by gender … lace and frills for little girls or animals and mechanical motifs for the boys. Maggie resisted making her selections based on such a backward categorization. Lady bugs and footballs in abundance. She just wanted to get some cute baby things. Registering for gifts here meant “snips and snails and puppy dog tails,” all the old tripe from the past.

Guilty feelings crossed her mind at being so greedy as to hand-pick what friends and relatives should buy the baby. Much like begging for shower gifts. She felt a tinge of shame at taking advantage of their generosity.

An electronic scanner clutched in her clammy palm, Maggie half-heartedly waved the device at random objects. A hooded bath towel here, burp pads there, all with the same themes decorating the garb. Her heart just wasn’t in it.

Maggie considered going the generic green and yellow route. “Better to stay on the safe side,” she thought. She and her husband refused to find out the baby’s sex via a sonogram or answer intrusive inquiries about it. People were surprised at their own lack of curiosity. She wanted to tell the busy-bodies to go work for the Big Baby Boootie business chain and help put every newborn into a feminine or masculine pigeon hole.

She rounded the corner to the aisle with the registry kiosk and had a mild moment of panic. What would they name the child? Jordan, Taylor, Jayden, Morgan – a list of androgynous choices came to mind. The registry monitor loomed large in front of her, vaguely representing the first choices she’d make for her progeny in a world where so much was determined by arbitrary X and Y chromosomes.

The moment had come to enter her choices for “Baby Thompson” into the computer, but she had only a few measly items scanned into the system – some plain white onsies and drab cream-colored sleepers that would leave nosy people guessing. She felt helpless against the force of how society pits “girls against boys” from birth. Maggie nodded her head and resolved, “Luvs and Huggies it is.”

*A prompt from Studio 30+ this week was, “Here we go again.” Studio30

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Purple Friday

Last Friday was Purple Day at our five-year-old’s preschool.  They do fun themes like that from time to time where they talk about things that are a certain color and where you find them in the world.  I have to admit, it’s hard to find something for a little boy to wear on Polka dot Day.  Purple, not so much.

My cynical little one professed that purple is a “girl color,” and he didn’t want to participate in the festivities.  I am always taken aback when I find out how predisposed he already is to such a gender-specific way of thinking and work to thwart the budding sexism of public school exposure.  When I told him that purple is indeed not a “girl color” but more a color of royalty, he was nonplussed when I gave examples of Kings, Queens, Princes, et al who wear their regal violet robes.  Hello … how about Guppy Goe Bee from Bubble Guppies?
Call me a bad mom, but I harangued him so much about being a Purple Party Pooper that he put a purple-headed monster tattoo on his arm instead.  He wanted to participate at the risk of my reverse teasing.  I’ll openly admit to that bit of shamed-based parenting.  🙂

I’m trying to ease him into being a mini-feminist.  He has some sexist uncles and classmates already, and their influence is counter-productive to my own.  The incredible stereotyping happens too early and so often!  My initial reaction was that purple is NOT a girl color, and there’s nothing the matter with it it was or anything else was associated with being a girl.
Even if it is a part of kids’ maturation to go through this sort of phase based on what other kids say, I never want my son to sound like his uncles.  His dad knows it’s forbidden in our house to say anything derogatory about throwing, sounding or acting like a girl.  There is no such thing in our home, and I used to be a girl myself.  Those statements are so negative and destructive, and the only place I can control this language is under my own roof.  Plus, they otherwise get to hear me break into my rendition of:
“Anything you can do, I can do better.  I can do anything better than you.  No, you can’t … yes, I can.  No, you can’t … yes, I can.  Yes, I can!  Yes, I can.  Yes, I ca-a-a-a-a-a-n!”
My big finish is awesome.  The best part of it all was when I picked up his artistic interpretation of Things that are purple from his hook at school today.  The pictures are all cut from magazines, and it has a very regal rice-krispie treat spider, a little cell from a health ad about diabetes, a violet-colored wicker basket, and a pail with purple paint being dumped from it.  The final item is a line of text from a magazine advertisement set on a lavender background that reads, “A better understanding of better intimate care.”  I assume it’s from a tampon ad.  How very apropos.

Curiosity getting the better of me, I went straight to good ol’ google.  It is the registered trademark for “Cosmetics For Feminine Use, Namely, Foams, Lotions * , * and Powders Pharmaceuticals For Feminine Use, Namely, Creams [, ] For the Relief of Feminine Itching and Irritation, and * of * Other Skin Discomforts” by Combe Incorporated.

His purple poster had hung there all the weekend … or maybe his dad was embarrassed and left it there on purpose.  I chalked it up to serendipity, albeit very ironic indeed.

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