An interesting topic of conversation that affects everyone… gender equality.
At our 19-week scan during pregnancy, my partner and I found out that our first baby together was to be a boy. I’d always held a picture that I’d have a girl and this led me to feel curious as to why I had thought this: where had such a thought come from? I had also been told by a few people that they thought I’d have a boy and I instantly felt a reaction to the thought of this in my body, which again led me to observe myself and my beliefs more and delicately uncover what was really going on for me underneath them.
I discovered that I was reacting to a number of things:
Everywhere I looked, boys were being dressed in clothes that were of certain colours – blues, greens and black – and they were also surrounded by certain details, such as cars and trucks or super-heroes and crossbones.
This, I noticed, wasn’t just the case for boys however, as I observed the colour choices for girls; these were also grossly over-represented by pinks and frills. Did I really think that girls had more expression options than boys or was it perhaps a case that both sexes and their expression are quite stereotyped? With this came an understanding of the society in which we all live and thus the way in which our retail stores, ideals and beliefs are consequently set up to uphold and promote the gender stereotypes.
Boys are raised to be ‘tough,’ ‘rough’ and ‘tumble’; if they are hurt, they’re told to drink a cup of concrete and harden up and, quite frankly, to not be too sensitive.
I was sensing my reaction to this as well, as I know that when we are born, we are equally delicate, sensitive and beautiful – have you ever seen a baby that wasn’t? And yet as boys and girls grow up, they are rarely cherished and supported from their families, schools and society for these same qualities. These qualities, that are an actual part of who they are for their entire lives, whether it is honoured by themselves and others or not, remain a fact.
Many people have shared their beliefs on raising boys, such as teaching them to handshake firmly to portray their strength or the advice that raising boys is actually easier and simpler than raising girls.
The responsibility of raising a boy is huge, but it’s also very simple in truth and no different to raising a girl.
We each have our own unique way of expression and this is what needs to be fostered and connected to in our children. My partner and I aren’t raising our children to be like us or follow our traits, as they are their own people, with their own learning in life to come. We are also conscious of the fact that we are not raising children to ‘fit society,’ to improve on our own childhoods or parents, or even to replicate them.
As parents, it is our responsibility to raise our boys and girls to know their equality, not from their talents or what they do well at in life but first and foremost from the absolute knowingness that who they are is amazingly beautiful and equal to all of us. It is from this true understanding of self that gender equality is naturally felt, understood and lived. From this foundation a boy or girl, man or woman can express themselves and their gender to reflect the gorgeousness, preciousness and tenderness of who they simply are… and through whatever colours they choose!
By Cherise Holt, 32, Brisbane