Gender biases or gender neutrality is a lemon squeezing topic in today’s world. Everywhere we go, we subtly fall under the grasp of gender biasedness. Though because of educational advancement, we try to be gender-neutral yet subconsciously, we fail to be so. Why? The answer would be that this gender bias is woven with our personality while we were growing up. Yes!
That is the most important part- our upbringing. No matter how much we try to educate ourselves if the seed of gender biases is planted in our personality in our childhood, it is almost next to impossible not to become the prey of gender biases. It is not an easy task to mold the perception of your child accordingly.
Making your ideology a permanent design in the architecture of your child’s personality is a very tough job. So, you might ask how you can achieve this unachievable task. To make your child a truly gender-neutral one, you need to follow a certain path. So how can you efficiently do that? To know this, let’s dive in.
Do not try to impose color pink or blue
Yes, no matter how ridiculous it may sound, it is true that imposing and stereotyping negligible things like colors can affect your child’s gender neutrality. How so? We all know that sex is biological, and gender is a social construction. What does that mean? It means that society assigns you some roles based on the sex that you should maintain.
Society compels us to think that pink is the color for girls, and blue is the color for boys. If we try to pick only pink dresses for our daughters and blue shirts for our sons, then their perception will be mold by that. They will grow up with the presumption that as he is a boy, he should wear blue. Even if he finds pink clothes attractive enough to wear, he will not pick those clothes because he will think that it might make him more girly.
It is exactly called the epitome of gender biases. You are assigning a color based on his or her sex without thinking about what he or she might want for himself or herself. So, expose your child to all colors equally and try to support him/her with his/her choice.
Stop using words like ‘manly’ and ‘girly.’
Again yes! Two devilish terms we always use without giving much thought to it. You can never imagine how a simple word can mold your child’s entire perspective. For example, if your son tries to play with dolls, you forbid him from playing, saying that he should not play with toys because it is too girly.
Again, you are even compartmentalizing what your child’s playing orientation should be. How come this supposed to help him in becoming a gender-neutral person? You have to understand there is no problem with your child if he likes to play with dolls. He is not girly. He wants to play with it. It is his individual choice to play with toys.
Stop reading gender-biased fairy tales to your child
You might frown upon the fact that how come a simple fairly-tale can make your child gender-biased. As I have mentioned earlier, being a gender-neutral person very much depends on your subconscious. All the fairy tales are based on a simple fact that every heroine is the ‘damsel in distress.’
She is waiting for her ‘knight in shining armor’ to lift her from her captivation or misery. Though it might seem an innocent story, it subconsciously molds your child’s perception. He/ she starts to think that girls always need saving. On the other hand, the role of the male is that of a protector. Lack of strong women characters with bold individuality in fairy tales subconsciously shapes your child’s perception.
They become gender-biased. So, it would be best if you exposed him to strong women characters who take up their fate in their hands. It might very tough or strenuous job than reading fairy tales to them. But you have to do so at any cost to make your child gender-neutral.
Try not to impose the societal idea of an ideal woman
Our society is always looking for a perfect woman, a woman who will lay their life for their husbands. Our community idolizes that the purpose of an ideal woman is to satisfy their husband or the family of the husband. A woman should concentrate on childbearing and looking after his husband’s family. She should be compliant.
It would be best if you stopped feeding these ideas to your child. When your daughter grows up listening to this nonsense, they are subconsciously forced to believe that the sole purpose of their lives is to become a ‘wife’ and a ‘mother.’
So, if you want to raise a gender-neutral child, stop assigning gender-specific roles to your child. Try to emphasize more on his or her individuality, what he/she wants from life or what he/she thinks of his/her life. Try to support their ideas.
Expressing emotions is not exclusive to girls
We have a standard gender-biased view that men should be rough and tough, devoid of any tint of emotions. On the other hand, women should be soft and emotional. Expressing what you are feeling is for girls. If you are a man and you express your emotions, it makes you girly. Again, stop stereotyping your child. Do not shut them, saying you are girly. Try to understand their feelings as you try to understand a girl’s emotion.
Emphasize on individuality
Make your child know that every man and woman is unique in their way. Every one of them has unique characteristics that make them different from others irrespective of their sex. So in spite of forcing ideal gender roles to them, try to foster their traits, which they are building up based on equal exposed choices. They are making their own choice, not you, not society. That is the ideal gender-neutral environment where your child can grow up.
So, the secret of raising a gender-neutral child is based on the parents. How the parents behave is directly connected to your child’s personality growth.