Will The Whole Spectrum Of Expression For Our Kids Ever Be The Norm?
Most mornings, my daughter and I wake up to the sun. She drags me out of bed pointing at the bedroom door to be opened and for us to start the day.
Music comes on to wake me up for the day. We dance in the living room while the kettle’s boiling and she sings along to all the tunes she knows.
I choose folky tunes for her on days when I have more energy, or empowering serotonin boosting beats on days when I simply can’t get my eyes to peel open, or need my very own injection of empowerment.
I know that my expression of the music in my body allows her to feel comfortable enough to express just as I do.
Yet I dread that when she reaches a certain age, the dominant sense of what is right for boys and girls to express may not be what I vouch for to her, and this will pressure her into thinking that she cannot express the way she likes and that boys also have a limited way to express. That she will have to express ‘pretty’ movements instead of the whole spectrum of expression.
Sometimes, I can be like a drill commander for freedom of expression, reminding her adamantly that all expressions of identity, of emotion, of behaviour are accepted and allowed to be expressed when she has the slightest doubt. I always let her know explicitly and implicitly that she is embraced and loved unconditionally for her whole-hearted expression.
And I have seen SO many mother’s encouraging their boys to do so in equal fashion. Yet, many friends have also said, that as soon as their children reached a certain level of awareness, usually school age (6), their sons would begin to inhibit themselves. They would stop wearing pink fairy wings. They would stop using their hips to express the beat.
That their girls would stop wanting to be Spiderman and be Elsa instead.
I make sure my daughter knows that she can express as a ‘boy’ or a ‘girl’ at any time and not feel ashamed or pressured to conform to being one or the other. Yet I realise this very separation of what boy and girl looks like is the issue!
Can our definition of what boy and girl look like, express like, do and be, eventually be broadened? Can our kids get the message that it’s okay to cross over into the other gender side at any time without embarrassment or inhibition?
Does it come down to our grown up boys? Even our grown up girls?
Will Dancing With The Stars allow for the dance gender roles to be switched permanently?
And a more serious question, what could possibly get our grown males to start expressing themselves more fully in their bodies (without the aid of alcohol or other drugs)? Many cultures don’t seem to find any issue with creating this beauty in male expression – many Indian, African, and Hispanic and indigenous cultures namely.
What can get us Westerners out of our shells?