I’ve tried to explain before (probably not here, but definitely in person to a lot of people) how I was extremely lucky when it came to gender expectations: both my Dad and my maternal grandfather (“Grumps”) let me play with “boy stuff” (and, in fact, encouraged me to).
With Dad it was taking apart stereos and playing with Erector sets, while my Grumps let me build things in his shop (supervised, of course). In both cases I didn’t have any sense that I wasn’t supposed to be doing these things, and it wasn’t until I was much older (middle school, maybe?) that I realized that it was considered somewhat weird to be a girl who liked computers and science. I still remember Dad teaching me how to add in binary when I was in the seventh grade — I ended up going to computer camp that summer and programming in Basic on “trash-80s.”
But my experience wasn’t the norm then, and it feels to me like it’s even less the norm now. It seems everywhere I turn it’s the Pink Pink Pink Princess World (which you *have* to be in if you’re a little girl) versus the Superhero Robot Machine World that little boys get. Most of my friends who are raising children are exceptions — one of my dear friends was delighted when her boy-child took an interest in home decorating, and another friend made her daughter a Thor costume. Because Thor.
Of course if you are little girl and you love princesses and pink and all things glittery, that’s delightful too — I’m just saying that shouldn’t be your only choice! In fact, I happen to also *love* all things glittery, much to the chagrin of my husband, who understands the …contagious… nature of glitter.
Growing up with the idea that your choices — about what to like, how to act, how to dress, and what you can do — aren’t defined by your reproductive organs is incredibly powerful. This choice by Target to examine their signage and remove the genderdness except for where it makes sense (to help a parent determine a size, for instance) is wonderful. It’s a great step towards helping to eliminate all those subtle cues designed to keep kids stuck in their gender stereotype.
Any child should feel equally at home looking at the pink sparkly backpacks…or the laser-building-robots.
Going through some old photos over the weekend, I found pictures that I took of my Granny and Grumps’ kitchen wall, which was covered with awards, certificates and photos that reflected that his years of service to North Carolina. One of them was for the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine,” which Wikipedia said was created in 1965.
Well, my Grumps was presented the award on September 9, 1964 (which means Wikipedia was wrong, and I had proof!). Looking further, I found the website for the Order of the Longleaf Pine and the listing for all recipients — and Grumps wasn’t listed. Apparently record-keeping was somewhat sparse during the early days of the award’s existence, and the site asked anyone who knew of a missing recipient to send that information in.
So I did. And I just got a very nice email back from the current manager of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society saying that not only was he delighted to add Grumps, but that Grumps’ certificate was one of the earliest he’d seen.
And I’ve made a mod on the talk page for the Order of the Long Leaf Pine on Wikipedia explaining that the award existed at least as early as 1964. We’ll see what happens.
My Grumps, my mom’s father, loved photography (it runs on both sides of the family: Grandpa, my Dad’s dad did too). He had a series of cameras, most of which I’ve now ended up with, from old Brownies to Kodaks to Polaroids. Apparently he took mostly slide film, as I ended up with *hundreds* and *hundreds* of slides, mostly Kodachrome (gives you those nice, bright colors).
Some of the slides, though, were a type I’d never seen before: stereo slides! I knew they existed, but I’d only seen them in commercial format; I hadn’t realized that home photographers could take them. Well, take them they could, and Grumps did, with what I assume must have been a Stereo Realist camera (sadly, the camera has not yet turned up).
I ended up with 30ish boxes of stereo slides, so perhaps 200-300 images total. I’m having them scanned, some in 2D (the ones that are “meh” in quality) and some in 3D (to Blu-Ray, for the ones for which the 3Dness would be worth it, according to the company that is doing it for me).
I’ve gotten back the first batch of 2D ones — check it out: