Last night while driving around with my 7 year old in the car, she asked me if I could talk in a man’s voice. Since my vocal range extends from mezzo-soprano down to tenor, I obliged. She giggled, then declared that I sounded so much like a man I can go in the men’s bathroom.
I laughed, then said “I can not! Just because I can sound like a man when I want doesn’t make me a man!”. Giggles from both of us.
Then we talked, lightheartedly (she is only seven, you know). We talked about how having a deep voice doesn’t make a woman a man, I told her about falsetto voices, and how having a high voice doesn’t make a man a woman.
I asked her if Papaw was a woman because his favorite color was pink. An exuberant “No!” was her reply.
Was Ms. Kristi a man because she cut her hair really short? “No!”
And on and on. Examples from both genders about how just because you look a certain way, like certain things, or even act a certain way, that doesn’t define whether you are a man or a woman.
God made men to be men, and women to be women. I glossed over our different parts.
Then we talked about how awesome it is that there are a million different ways to be a man, but that men are still men, no matter what they’re doing on the outside. And we talked about how there are a million different ways to be a woman, no matter what women are doing on the outside.
And isn’t it awesome that God made each of us different, so that there are a million different ways to be who we are, while still being the man or woman He made us to be?
She didn’t realize the gravity of our conversation, but it was not lost on me. Our society has gone mad, and too many of our population have accepted the ridiculous notion that gender, or race, or age, or whatever are no longer absolutes. I think (hope?) what the people who support such notions just don’t seem to understand is that by allowing this relative, flexible version of “truth” permeate our society, we are also losing the diversity fight. Yes, I said losing.
We are feeding into, growing, and further stigmatizing gender roles when we tell a woman with masculine tendencies that perhaps she should consider the idea that she isn’t a woman at all, perhaps she is a mistake, wrong gender in the wrong body. When we tell an effeminate man that since he isn’t very masculine it’s likely he may very well be a mistake, a woman trapped in a man’s body we rip away the dignity of who he is. Instead of celebrating the million ways to be a man or a woman, we are more & more funneling people into gender categories.
On the surface, this idea that if we feel a certain way, especially if we identify a certain way, we must be that… well, on the surface that sounds like an amazing, accepting, loving idea.
But dig a little deeper and you’ll see how sad and hurtful it is to tell someone that if you don’t identify with how I see men, then the “truth” is you’re really not a man.
How much more accepting, and loving, and truly diverse of a society would we be if instead we said: “there are a million ways to be a man, and we accept you as a man, as you are”?
I choose to teach my kids diversity is accepting people the way they are, not encouraging them to pretend to be something they aren’t, not telling them God made a mistake when He made them, not telling them they’ll be happier if they let us cut their bodies apart, but just as they are, right now.
That’s how I teach diversity in my home.