Friday, August 14, 2015

Freedom on Aisle Five

While I think Target is taking a move towards something that shouldn't have to be identified as a "happening event", I will say it's a move in the right direction. Removing all gender-based signs on their toy aisles is a step forward, but should actually be an unnecessary step into the future of gender equality/freedom. I have never understood the male/female labeling of anything, toys or otherwise.

When my children went to the toy section of any store to pick out something with their gift money, I never guided them toward any labeled aisle. They picked out what they wanted, they bought it, and we went home; no judgement. I took their choices to be whatever it was at the particular time that interested them, and if their choices were diverse, then in my mind, I knew so was their curiosity and thinking.

My paternal grandmother had one male, and two females as children and it seemed the toys she had the most of were “male-oriented”.  They were toys that originally belonged to my daddy when he was a little boy so I spent summers playing with Lincoln Logs and marbles, as well as learning cross-stitch and how to properly iron a handkerchief.

There was only one male grandchild in our immediate family, so all the female grandchildren played with them too, as did my grandmother, right there with us, in the middle of the floor. As was the usual, my wise, beautiful grandmother was ahead of her time in knowing that the only boundaries that restrict anyone from being anything, are the boundaries we set for ourselves.

Santa Claus must have also been equally intelligent, as there were years that he brought play vacuums and Easy Bake ovens into our own home and placed them under the tree. Mostly by request from small children with modern ideas, but also with confidence that the gifts would bring with them, the right lessons for the times at hand.

While I’m not a burning bra - women libber, I am a woman that worked in a man’s world for over 20 years and held my own every single day; with use of my mental prowess, not my physical strengths.  I never cared about digging ditches or building houses, but I always knew, that the choice was mine should I had wanted to do so.

In Gadsden County, you’ll see just as many young girls/women in hunting/fishing attire, standing next to the biggest bucks and the biggest fish. I’ve seen them out-shoot and out-fish, many a young boy/man, and stand tall with pride and dignity as they smiled for the camera with the biggest catch of any given season.

Both of my male children know how to take care of themselves, clean a house properly, and cook magnificently. Their future partners will be proud one day that while choosing their life partners, they will have found people who grew-up with their hopes and dreams unhindered and fulfilled, and their boundaries wide-open in all the right places. Equal opportunity isn’t just about jobs anymore, it’s about life.

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