I generally love ‘overheard’ posts, and this one by PortlyDyke at Shakesville is no exception.
Here is the exchange overheard at a Safeway’s supermarket between a mother and her 18 month-old:
Mommy: “No, that’s the little girl bear. See her pink pajamas?”
Baby: “Bahy Bear.”
Mommy: “No, that’s the girl bear. See, she has a pink bow!”
Baby: “Bahy Bear!”
Mommy: “Honey, that’s a girl bear. Look! Isn’t she pretty?”
Baby: “Grr Bear.”
Mommy: “That’s right! Good”
How horrible is that?! PortlyDyke generously interprets the last part of this conversation: “…when mommy proceeded with a full-on gender indoctrination mind-control program, Progressive Baby[tm] finally responded with the appropriately savage: “Grrrrrr!!! Bear!” — her tiny lip curling in disgust above perfect, pearly, milk-teeth”.
I also thought this was a good point:
The authentic resistance of Progressive Baby[tm] reminded me that gender roles in our society are not some innate, universal human reality that arise from “how men/women ARE” — they have to be constantly enforced and reinforced — and even an 18-month old can see the absolutely arbitrary nature of the color-code that is being shoved down her throat — she can see quite easily that the bears are identical in every respect — only their outfits genderize them.
Also check out this post at Shakesville, deconstructing the different ‘educational’ toys marketed at girls and boys by the Discovery Channel.
And then this post, also at Shakesville, pointing out that it is national news when boys play with toy kitchens.