My Little Bronies

Gender Indoctrination

When I was growing up, I was always told that there were boys toys and girls toys. I was told certain colors and clothes were just for boys or just for girls. I was told there were girls sports and girls literature and certain jobs that were just for girls or for boys. Looking around me this certainly seemed to be the case. Even from birth the little boys were wrapped in blue and the girls in pink. It was all nicely divided and everyone was told exactly where their place was. The idea is so pervasive that we don't even need to be able to read in order to use the proper restroom. Skirts for girls and pants for boys.

So as I grew up I had some secret loves, things that would have been considered to be mildly gender taboo. One of those was an obsession with cooking. When I would visit with female cousins and they had little play kitchen sets, I would quietly play at cooking for my imaginary family. Growing up in a Christian home, the kitchen was the woman's domain. It was perfectly acceptable for a man to be a professional chef of course, but in the home the meals were a woman's job. I always thought that was kind of odd. I mean, if I like to cook why wouldn't I want to do so for my family? Why wouldn't that be an act that a man should be proud of?

Another area where my gender caused some issues was in my love for certain cartoon and television series. One of my favorite guilty pleasures was to sneak off and watch the Rainbow Bright cartoon. I loved that show and I didn't care if it was a girly show or not. I thought Rainbow Bright was spunky and I loved the stories they told in the show. But I never talked about it. I didn't share that love with anyone because I was afraid of a negative gender stereotype being put on me. It was after all the 80's and the word gay still carried very negative connotations.

Everything is Unisex

More than 20 years later, I find myself as an adult and a father of two boys, having to address this idea once again. But now I find myself seeing it all from a very different perspective. You see, for me atheism wasn't just a disavowing of the belief in gods. It was an embrace of reality. It was an acceptance of a worldview based on what is knowable and for me this meant abandoning the imaginary ideas that I'd been indoctrinated with that have no validity in reality. My perception of gender roles was based on the imaginary standards set by men in an era when gender equality wasn't even a consideration. As humanity has grown and learned about themselves, these ideas of gender roles have been utterly shattered.

But we've been programmed to simply accept them without a thought. Even in an age where it is abundantly clear that a woman is every bit the measure of a man, we still have men such as Mitt Romney who need a binder full of women to be shown their value. And still to this day a little boy who plays with a My Little Pony doll or a Barbie can be ridiculed and chided by his peers simply for loving something which doesn't fit into our preconceived notions of the proper gender role.

When my oldest son was 4 this indoctrination presented itself to me for the first time and I was forced to reevaluate my thinking. You see, it was at this time that my son told me his favorite color is pink. Now my initial knee jerk reaction was to say, "But dude... That's a girls color." When I look back at that I'm ashamed that this thought even came to mind, much less that I vocalized it. Luckily for me, my wife's passion for logic exceeds even my own and she pointed out the silliness of this idea. Pink isn't a girl's color... It's just a color and anyone can find it to be their favorite. It is when we come to see this that the illusion we've been offered of gender roles simply melts away. Everything is unisex and it's high time we came to understand this.

"The Only Danger in this Manger is Finding Friendship on the Farm" [1]

I want you to take a minute to think about an idea. The fabric of our understanding is built from the imagination of our ancestors. Ideas like gender roles are merely constructs of the imagination of long dead men. Our very societies and perceptions of the world around us are built on those ideas. As such, we have the ability to accept what we find desirable. We can discard what has no substance. We can change these ideas and even totally reimagine them to better suit us. As atheists we should understand this better than most. We should understand that we can create the world we want to live in simply by reimagining it and offering a new perspective.

My little boys love My Little Pony. There's nothing wrong with this and they have my full support in loving anything they want. I don't worry that this is a sign that they might be homosexual because there isn't anything wrong with that either. I love them and their happiness is of greater importance than any social stigma that our imagined society might put on them for loving what makes them happy. These ideas like gender roles, religion, nationalism, and the like are all just divisive tools meant to keep us in a mold of someone else's imagining. It's time to break the mold and throw away the cast.

Some ponies know their cutie marks
And some must crusade
Some people know their role in life
And some others must wait
I love My Little Pony

My Little Pony is great
I wish that people were ponies
Then life wouldn't be lame

You can't tell me what toys I can play with
You can't tell me not to grow my crops
You can't tell me which sex I can marry
It's so scary the weird way that you watch! [1]

MC Chris - Discord (April Fool's Song)

Dedication - This blog is dedicated to my sons Xander and Declan. I love you guys and I always will. No matter who or what you love I've always got your backs.


[1] lyrics from the song Discord by mc chris (video attached)

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