Gender segregation has been a prominent issue in society for decades. It is, by definition, the dividing of genders in order to ensure specific character traits and stereotypes are specific to either the male or female gender.
Gender segregation initiates the moment a child is born. A doctor immediately notifies the mother as to whether her newborn child is male or female, and based on their gender, the child is traditionally wrapped in either a pink or blue blanket. While this seems ordinary and furthermore innocent on a surface level, assigning a child gendered expectations from the minute they are born has the potential to be incredibly detrimental to such child’s sense of identity later on in their life.
Once children become toddlers, they are yet again segregated to comply with their gender in regards to toys and clothing. Boys are assumed to be satisfied playing with toy cars and trucks, and girls are expected to be satisfied playing with dolls and makeup. Young boys are typically dressed by their parents in pants or shorts, and young girls are typically dressed by their parents in dresses and skirts.
This structured gender segregation from such a young age prompts me to question what exactly is so unacceptable about a child defying gender norms. By teaching children that boys can’t wear pink and girls can’t wear blue, and furthermore that girls can’t play with boys toys or vice versa we as a society communicate the message that failing to abide by gender expectations will result in alienation and isolation. Understandably, a child is likely to abide by what their parents determine acceptable, yet they fail to have a true comprehension of the dangers their actions can cause for their children when they become older.
We have to stop abolishing the innocence of children by corrupting their minds with socially structured gender expectations. Instead, we should inform them that they are able to be who or whatever they wish to be.