Sunday, September 30, 2012

a lil issue

I hate "lil."  I abhor "lil." 

How is it that educated, smart, perfectly literate adults in our society mockerize (note the irony) normalcy.  How in the ever-so-wonderful world did "little" become "lil" without even the benefit of an apostrophe to connote a shortened word?  HOW??

Saying anything with "lil" just sounds...foolish.  Absurd.  "We-dic-we-us" even.  (What can you say: three-year olds have some fun pronunciations sometimes.) 

And so help me, I will never, to the ever ever degree, put either of my children in any piece of clothing with "lil" on it.  "Mommy's lil cupcake" will just have to go in the donate pile.  "Daddy's lil princess" makes me gag.

Let's discuss gender issues for a moment.  Allow me to take a grand step up on my soapbox. 

When babies are born, they have no innate sense of gender, nor can they yet differentiate between genders.  They have preferences, sure, that help define their personalities.  But boys are not hardwired to only respond to masculine things; neither are girls naturally drawn to feminine things.  Gender is largely a societal construct whereupon we assign boys and girls certain colors and activities, with very little that is "gender neutral."  For whatever reason, pink emasculates boys and certain shades of blue (this is where it gets even more nutty because it's not true for all shades) in certain situations are deemed only for boys.  About 60-70 years ago, there was a definite shift in society's view of gender largely due to a popular magazine that began to delineate blue as a boy's color and pink as a girls.  Prior to that, pink was actually associated with boys and red with girls (I'm throwing this out there without fact checking, but I'm 90% sure that these are the correct color associations). 

And now, girls are far, far, too often (of course, this part is totally my opinion and fortunately one that is shared by my spouse) taught to be princess-y.  Female babies have absolutely no natural proclivity to be "drama queens" or "princesses."  Sure, females often have certain personality traits that tend be more emotional than males, and society has decided that these are the drama/princess traits.  The same goes for boys and how they handle emotion.  Yet society has so much to do with this; much of what babies learn about themselves and much of how babies learn to deal with emotions is learned.  I'm not a believer that it's all or nothing, it's not either all nature nor all nurture.  But babies are gendered by us as soon as they're born--put them in a pink hat or blue hat; give them a baby doll or a toy truck; and put sassy slogans on their clothing to show the world that she is "my lil princess" or "my lil man." 

Prior to Abby's birth, we seriously discussed how we would address certain gender issues such as these: how would we expose our daughter to gender choices?  We adamantly draw the line at teaching our daughters to be princess-y.  Our daughters have trucks and cars, balls and a train set to play with along with baby dolls and a kitchen set.  We've also, believe it or not, never bought them anything that has to do with princesses.  And (maybe this is even more of a shocker), Abby has never seen a Disney movie...not even one!  And it's not because we're anti-Disney.  It's more like we're anti-"lil."

No comments: