Posted in advice, Family, Gender, Leadership, self worth

5 Ways to Actively Renounce Gender Norms In Your Household

As a child, I was a complete tomboy. My best friend was a boy who loved hockey, getting dirty, and riding bikes. This was the 90’s so we were able to run amok in our neighborhood with relative “safety”. We climbed trees, played hockey, rallied the neighborhood children for kickball, and caught all the little critters we could. To childhood me, boys were the coolest and got to do the coolest things. They got to run around with their shirt off when it was hot out. They could pee outside since they could do it standing up and didn’t need to wipe. They also were allowed to have short enough hair to get away with not combing it. I wanted to be just like the boys, because they had it good.

My parents were very neutral about my experimenting with “boy” traits. I got my hair cut short, wore what I’d now call gender-neutral clothing, and even tried peeing standing up for a while (not sure if my parents knew about that one.. – Sorry, Mom. I’m guessing there were messes). I distinctly remember an incident when my family went out to eat at a local diner. I decided to “dress up”, wearing black pants, a collared, long-sleeved shirt, and a blue button-up vest. I had my short hair slicked back and slightly parted to the side and I was looking good. While we were finishing our food, it was time to order ice cream. The waiter asked my mom, “And what would your son like?”, referring to me. My mom corrected him and he apologized. I told him it was OK and internally I was beaming with excitement. What an honor to be called a boy. After all, they were the coolest.

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