Showing posts from August, 2015

The Tyranny of ‘When’

“You’ll understand when you have children.” “What will the class call you when you change your name?”   I’m twenty-six, in a long-term relationship, engaged to get married next year, childless, in a profession centred on children and in constant contact with mothers. Needless to say, I hear the above very frequently. And every time I hear it, I get the same unpleasant feeling. For years I’ve not quite known why. They’re innocent enough queries, simple enough statements, made without snark or nastiness. Following a familiar conversation last week that I walked away from feeling familiarly annoyed and twisted, I finally put my finger on the exact word that causes this reaction in me every time: when . In German, when and if are the same word ( wenn ) and are easily mixed up without context, but in meaning we can all agree that they are worlds apart. We use when for something that is going to happen . We use if for something that is undecided. Being a woman do

Forcing Gender On Your Child Could Be Doing Serious Damage

Pregnancy is an exciting time; your body changes and you get to experience a tiny human begin to grow and develop inside of you. Arguably one of the most important times during pregnancy is the opportunity to find out the gender of your bub. Boy or girl? Pink or blue?  It turns out these pre-conceived ideas about gender are doing serious long-term damage to your child, and you might not even realise you are doing it. Gender appropriation starts early and does more damage than most parents realise. Gender socialisation refers to the ways in which we are taught what is thought to be gender appropriate norms. Gender policing refers to ways in which gender deviants are brought back into line through the devaluation of actions and attitudes which do not adhere or conform to what we consider to be “gender appropriate”. It may seem harmless at first. You dress your newborn daughter in pink booties and jumpsuit and then you graduate to a pink tutu at her first ballet lesson. The