To be gender oblivious means that gender plays little or no role in decisions about, or the outcome of, anything including academics, sports, profession, household chores, wage earnings, and anything associated with the pursuit of a person's reason for existing.
I am the product of a gender-oblivious upbringing. I am grateful to my hard-working parents, who, despite the fact that they may not have deliberately intended to raise me into such gender oblivion, provided regular reinforcement of the message that gender is not a determinant of abilities, preferences, professions or status.
There isn't a single factor that contributed to my lifelong gender-oblivion, but instead, there are a number of variables that, when strewn together, communicated that a) being female was never a disadvantage, b) gender segregation was not advisable and c) success of any kind could be achieved regardless of gender. Here are those factors:
- Brothers: I grew up with two younger brothers. I was responsible for them a lot of the time and as it is normal for older siblings, I grew to take on a leadership role in our trio. Thus, I have been leading boys since I was 3-years-old! Naturally, when the time came to lead men in the workplace, I had some previous experience, even if it came in the flavor of influencing my brothers to change their stinky socks. While most of us don't control the gender of our children, we can certainly influence positive exposure to the opposite gender.
Not everything about my upbringing contributed positively to gender oblivion. Growing up in Latin America, with a somewhat hyper-sexualized image of women, I had gathered that a part of being a woman seemed to entail having significant curves, wearing fitted feminine clothes that barely covered said curves, while dancing with simultaneous grace and sensuality to the song Lambada. Although a certain feminine power comes from this view of a woman, it never ocurred to me to prioritize external beauty over the cultivation of my brain via hard work.
So, I want my son to grow up knowing he can cook a mean, spicy chicken noodle soup, and my daughter knowing she can fix the pantry door every time it falls down.
I want my children to know that excelling academically or in sports, and earning wages, does not depend on gender. I want my children to be equally comfortable fostering friendships and working relationship with both genders. I want my daughter to embrace being a girl and all the beautiful gifts of feminine energy, including childbearing, but to never be held back for being a girl. I want my son to embrace being a boy and all the powerful gifts of masculine energy, but to never be pigeonholed into being less sensitive, empathetic or caring than he truly already is.
I want my children to be completely gender-oblivious, because if they indeed are, my children would know that no opportunity in the pursuit of their personal legend is obstructed by gender, and that all doors are open for the expression of their talents, interests and passions.
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