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Nov 16

Blatant Sexism – I hang my head in shame…

So I’m continuing on in our quest to find housing before the end of the month.  It’s not going well, but I’m growing weary of focusing on that, so we’re going to ignore that for right now… and we were leaving an apartment and trekking back to the minivan with Julianna.  She was propped on my hip and I was walking up the street, past a garbage truck.  It was one of those cool ones, that picks up the recycling bin, tips it into the top of the truck and then slowly lowers it down.  And I just walked by.  Like it wasn’t even there.

If I had been holding an eighteen month old Samilicious Boy, I know I would have stopped, gazed in wonder at the truck.  Probably chatted with the garbage guy and really made an event out of it.  Because I did it with him. But because I had Julianna (girl) instead of baby Sam (boy) with me, I didn’t even notice it until we were past it.

I did realize before I popped her back into her car seat, and stopped and went back.  I pointed it out to her and told her how cool it was, and she appreared to be dutifully impressed.  But I was HORRIFIED at the fact that I didn’t even blink when we walked by the first time.  It didn’t even occur to me to show it to her, because she’s a girl.  Horrified.

I have some excuses that my mind keeps trying to get me to accept.  Like, I’m tired, and Julie’s not feeling great anyway so I was just thinking that I wanted to get back home.  Like, maybe it’s Julie’s fault, because Sam would have grabbed me and MADE me look at it.  But I know that the excuses are just that – bottom line, they’re just paltry excuses and I’m obviously a secret sexist who believes that girls don’t like trucks.

I didn’t know this about myself.  I was a card carrying member of the National Organization for Women in high school.  I still proudly call myself a feminist.  I read feminist biographies with Jessie.  I don’t consciously believe that Julianna shouldn’t love her a garbage truck.  But actions speak louder than words, and I can’t deny the reality.

So when we got home, and there was a bucket truck outside, with guys working on tree removal, I dragged her out there to see it.  And she wanted to go back inside.   Sam and I spent ages sitting on the stairs watching guys working on construction things when he was little.  He LOVED it.  Julie was mildly interested.  Mildly.  Is it her or me?   Do I send her a message that she’s not supposed to like big loud trucks that do stuff, or do I pick up on her lack of interest and respond accordingly?  One thing I’ve always been aware of is how very feminine both of my girls are and how masculine Sam is.  Jessie and Julie both seem to gravitate to baby dolls and frills and pink, and Sam has always been fascinated by army guys, superheros and tools.  I never thought that I had an opinion either way – I’d love a little tomboy as much as I love my little princessy girls and I’d probably feel more comfortable dealing with a boy who wasn’t quite so fascinating with violence and bad guys.

I’m still not sure, if it’s Julie or me.  If I’m subconsciously steering my children into strict gender roles or just rolling with what they like.  I’m pretty feminine.  I like pink, and babies, and crocheting and I love me some ribbons on just about everything.  And Marc is very traditionally masculine, spending most of his leisure time doing hard core boxing and mixed martial arts.  So maybe they’re just modelling what they see us doing.  Or maybe Jessie and Julie genuinely love baby dolls and Sam genuinely loves superheros.

But either way, I dug Sam’s old trash truck out from the box of toys I’m getting rid of and put it upstairs next to the baby cradle where Julie keeps her baby dolls.  Just in case…

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