My son wanted a Dora bike. So what if it’s a “girls bicycle”?
Still, I hesitated. Couldn’t he just make this easy and choose the Hot Wheels bike? But why should he? The Dora bike was colorful, much livelier than the muted blue-and-orange Diego bike next to it. Should I tell him that adults have categories of “girls” and “boys” that we generally follow? When is it appropriate -- or offensive -- to reinforce gender identity?
The same thing happened at Target last week. He wanted the pink Dora pull-ups. Reflexively, we said they were “for girls,” but then we asked ourselves why it should matter.
Back in college, it was easy to “deconstruct” gender categories, to dismiss the “hegemony” of how they falsely shape our world. Then we had kids. And we realized that gender helps order their world. Alexander also loves trucks, and I’m sure that’s not an accident. Somehow, he figured out that boys like trucks. But it’s a fine line, of course. I’m not looking to raise intolerant boys.
OK, so you want to know, right? He ended up with a Thomas the Tank Engine bike. I told him he could get the Dora bike if he liked. But he chose the train instead.