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Posts Tagged ‘binaries’

Following the advice many of you gave, I checked back in with Q about the stereotype conversation. ‘Twas interesting and enlightening for sure.

Among other things, I asked him what boy stereotypes he knew of. Mainly, he talked about “boy colors.” And he explained that the reason he doesn’t break stereotypes is that he likes the “boy colors.” He was quick to say he also likes the “girl colors,” namely pink and purple. But I understood, finally, that since he doesn’t only like the “girl colors,” he doesn’t see it as breaking stereotypes in that area. Wise, this boy is. Really wise. Clearly more so than me — he’s transcending these binaries left and right.

I then asked about his hair. Again, I was enlightened. His hair, according to him, doesn’t break stereotypes, because it’s not yet as long as he wants it to be. When it is (which is down to the middle of his back), he’ll be breaking stereotypes. Right now though, he’s just in process really, in that domain. Logical? Certainly to him. But he did explain that most boys have hair about “an inch or a centimeter long,” and that his was definitely much longer since, after all, “it’s the longest hair in the family!”

I mentioned to Q that last year he talked a lot about being a stereotype breaker and asked if he still felt like one. “Well, maybe,” was his answer. But then he explained, emphatically, that he could do or like whatever he likes, no matter what other people say. There’s my boy!

I was heartened not because I want him to cut a path outside the norm all the time, but because I was able to see that he’s still got a great sense of gusto for being who he is. And that’s really what’s most important to me — him knowing who he is, even when it’s changing, but mostly him feeling good about who he is. Good and strong.

So thanks for your responses. I’d always love more. And know, next time you’re wondering if you’re a stereotype breaker, that the answer isn’t always as easy to come by as it seems. No matter the clothes you’re wearing at that very moment! (a reminder to those who forgot: Q was clad fully in “girls’ clothes” yesterday when he initially proclaimed he doesn’t break any boy-girl stereotypes).

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I’ve got to admit that I’m an Olympics addict. I live for the Olympics, especially the summer games. And I can’t say how thankful I am to have DVR this time around so I can watch everything, still sleep, AND get to miss commercials. And, I’ve gotten Q to be an official Olympic addict with me — what could be better?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the Olympics from a “labels are for jars perspective,” if you will. In particular, I’ve thought a lot about swimming. There’s something spectacular about the new suits that folks are wearing.

Of course, they help the swimmers go faster than one could ever imagine. But they also do this great thing: they dull the gender binary among swimmers when we look at them, especially from afar. Men are wearing one-piece suits that go over their shoulders. Just like women. And it’s not unmanly. Nor does it mean they are weak. In fact, just the opposite. I like that Q can see men and women in the same suits, especially since bathing suits are, in his mind, a very clear marker of sex and gender, and one that he would like to explore, he reminds us frequently.

The other great thing about these suits is that I’ve not heard a negative comment uttered about them at all. Announcers speak of how they help swimmers go even faster, of their amazing construction, etc. But not once has someone noted the fact that men are wearing the same suits as women, nor have they implied that it took “getting over something” (pride, image, etc) for the men to wear these suits.

So among the heroism, perseverance, and amazing feats that make up the Olympics, I’ve also seen glimpses of yet other ways that we can inject a bit of consciousness into society about our labels and our binary oppositions.

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