Anne (netmouse) wrote,

Her default is "she"

Some things we learn at a young age. One that I learned, and am now struggling against, is the base assumption that a character, person, stuffed animal, or generic example is male.

Rosie's isn't, you see. Some of her stuffed animals have been given male personas, but Baby bear is a female bear, and the baby bear in Goldilocks and the Three Bears became female when Rosie referred to it that way, and I thought, "Why not?"

Why not, indeed.

What surprises me is that this is a struggle for me. Rosie just got a new stuffed Pony for her Merida doll to ride (with thanks to Magnus & Fam for the gift card), and Rosie adores feeding _her_ carrots. And just this morning I had to correct myself on what pronoun I was using for the horse.

I get extra practice, though, because now I arbitrarily turn otherwise unsexed characters female when I'm reading to Rosie, and then try to be consistent whenever I read the same story. So that her storyworld can be at least half female. The big one is "Harriet and the Purple Crayon." That has a lot of pronouns. But she loves it. Purple is her favorite color, she says.

Some day she might be disappointed, once she learns to read and finds out that character was originally a boy. But hopefully by that time her default "she" will have grown solid in the back of her mind.

All my life I've hated that the "generic" or supposedly neutral term for a person was the male. "mankind" and all that. So I'm really enjoying this and will hate to see it go, if it does. Thankfully kids and YA lit now has plenty of actual female protagonists to read to her about, so... here's hoping her imagination continues to assume that nearly any type of character or animal could be a "she".

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