Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gendered Doughnuts

My partner and I are not sporty types, but I'm trying to keep this from our kids in the hopes that they will be encouraged to discover the joys of exercise that I've heard so much about. So we took the kids to cheer on our nephew in a hockey game last Sunday.

After the game celebration of Canadian identity, Vincent's 11-year-old hockey star cousin took four-year-old Vin* to the Tim Hortons in the sports complex for a donut. Or a doughnut. Whichever is Canadian.

Vincent chose the "fanciest" doughnut and showed it to us, beaming.

It is a very pretty doughnut.

I don't give a hot goldarn if my son wants to eat something fancy and pink. What I want to know, though, is how to prepare him for a world that believes that certain foods are gendered and will respond to such choices with derision.

*I have a vague feeling I ought to pseudonymize my children.  Something to do with safety... ?


  1. we have convos all the time about "in our culture, people think that .... XYZ. but our family thinks... ABC" The kids are so used to it that here travelling in Portugal they're all "in some cultures it's ok to write graffiti but in our family we don't". ;-)

    it's ok for kids to know that "some ppl think this" as long as it's paired with "but I your mother, super important person, think this" :)

    Aedhan and Colum both loved pink until around age 4 or 5, when even the crunchy homeschoolin' boys we hang out with suddenly got macho. Sigh.

  2. Funnily enough, I didn't look at this doughnut and think "girly!" and didn't suppose it could be interpreted as such until I got to the end of your post. (I just wondered what kind of reddish fruit was involved.) Which shows either that a) I am blissfully naive, b) I grew up in the San Francisco area, or c) I have never raised children in a gendered and gendering world.

  3. Laura: I might not have seen the doughnut as gendered if I hadn't been with relatives who say things to Vincent like, "That's a girl bike because it's pink and purple. You wouldn't want a bike like that." Also assuming a hyper-masculine atmosphere given we were at a hockey game. I was totally fearing someone would comment on the doughnut.

    I was a bit surprised when someone told me that gendered (by colour and pattern) carseats, strollers, playmats etc are not as common in Australia. They are ubiquitous here.

  4. I think you already do what you need to do to prepare him. (Although nobody is ever truly prepared for the cruelty of socialization.) You encourage his individuality, inspire his confidence and love him. Knowing you support him in choosing a pink do(ugh)nut, will allow him to deal with it in the larger world. There is already some movement among youth towards degenderization. I think of Pink Shirt Day, the two NS teens who started it and how big the movement has become.

    Funny how the meshing of the two pastry spellings has "ugh" in the middle.