I was taught the importance of being your own independent woman. Take my mom's four female first cousins, for example. Three of them kept their maiden name. And they aren't young. This slow moving progressive process has a lot of hiccups.
While we try very hard to teach our children that gender has no specific identity, they learn it through books, television, neighbors and tons of media sources.
I was watching my two and four year old niece and nephew the other day. Where some parents are splitting the responsibilities unevenely, their parents are pretty equal. They witness both parents cooking, cleaning, working, etc.
So when I took them to pick out cupcakes, I was literally shocked that my nephew requested a cupcake with a soccer ball. Where did he even hear the word "soccer ball?" This is not in his household vocabulary. My niece chose a cupcake with a kitty cat! I thought she was going to pick the alligator. I was disappointed. Not in them. But in what they are exposed to. Even in Madison. And I was so thrown off that he knew what the ball was - and was even able to indentify what type of ball - that I gasped and told the cashier I had no idea where he learned this. It was as if he had said a swear word.
Upon my sister's return home, I told her about this situation. She was slightly annoyed. It was clear that as hard as you try, even in Madison, Wisconsin, there are still old-fashioned people who think a ball is for a boy and a doll is for a girl.
When I was in the fifth grade, I listened over and over to my parent's record, "Free to be You and Me." I repeatedly sang the song, "William wants a Doll." Listen to the lyrics sometime. At the age of ten, I was taught that if a boy wants a doll, give him one!
While American Girl is a huge phenomenan, especially here in Madison - why not try buying one for your little boy? Kids may be genetically engineered. But if your little guy wants a doll, so be it.
Teach children to embrace anything. And don't code things as pink/blue. Remember, when I have a child, their name will be "Sam" and you will not know the gender....