I am in an Education class where we go to a local elementary school once a week to observe children in reguards to a topic we have every week. Last week, we were dicussing gender and children. We brought up the thought that elementary children are divided between the blue for boys and pink for girls. One student asked whether children at such a young age notice gender. My professor sent me on a mission. I was told to wear my bright pink scarf to my next observation and jot down what children said to me. I agreed to do so but I didn’t think i would get many reactions.
To give a brief background: I have been to the school once a week for six weeks now.I have introduced myself to all of the students as Erick. I have worn clothing of pretty much every color. Usually, the children are kind of shy and talk to me minimally.
The reactions that my pink scarf got completely blew me away. TWO students asked me, “are you a boy or a girl?” One of them had never talked to me before because he was in a different class. Kayla, who also asked me, is in the class i observe. One girl asked me “why are you wearing a pink scarf?” I noticed many more children who snickered about me, but didn’t say anything. How is it that a pink scarf changed my gender and caused chaos? Today in class, we talked about what can be said about the children who asked me. They still don’t censor themselves, which is great because this is the way we are able to learn. As for the other students, I think we can tell their parents have talked to them about being rude, or they are really shy.
I want to focus more on how this event affect me personally. I didn’t take offense to what the children said. With my experience with children, they have felt free to say what they feel about me. However, I have never asked if I was a boy or a girl. If the children saw me in a different way because of a scarf, what is everyone else thinking but holding inside?
I think that it has became taboo to ask questions about gender and sexuality because it sometimes can be read as rude. It is no question that I wear pink and purple often. When you spot a guy on Locust with a bright pink scarf or purple jeans, it’s me. I have been asked about my sexuality and it has been a rather awkward situation. Mainly, it has been on my part because I would read their questions as attacks. I was one of those people who thought it was rude to ask about things like this, or about gender and sex. I used to think “It is none of your business.” Through discussion, I see how asking questions is important to understanding. I don’t know if I will always answer this question, but I will at least understand the reasoning behind asking questions.