As a kid, I admired storybook heroines who rejected embroidery in favor of swordplay.
Disney princesses had not yet begun to paint little girls into that garish pink corner, but still –– traditional feminine pursuits just seemed feeble. The relentless focus on compliant behavior, fussy clothes, and elaborate grooming rituals, plus the very long wait for rescue –– it seemed like pretty thin gruel.
I pictured myself as a tomboyish adventurer, Peter-Panning my way through adolescence. Bucking the system. You know, being the hero, not the princess.
But the world of boys –– threading worms on hooks, making blackpowder to burn, hammering and sawing things –– didn't seem complete either.
Even though I wanted to spurn and revile all the domestic arts, I also wanted to cook the odd batch of cookies.
It felt unkind, having learned a little about carpentry, to turn my back on the careful measurement and handwork involved in making a quilt or brewing a batch of soap.
Because I get things backwards on a regular basis, it only later occurred to me later how unfair my youthful judgement had been. As if the world splits neatly into two! Or that one side is better than the other.
It's not black-and-white, our world, with yin versus yang, feeble versus fierce, pink the opposite of blue, them against us. It's not a competition.
All the various qualities add up to something more like a big turbine, or something mechanical with multiple sets of meshing gears and cogs, constantly in motion. Hmm. Maybe that metaphor doesn't quite work...but still, the world is complicated and overlapping.
Wear pink all you like, boys and girls, but please learn to change the oil in the lawn-mower and don't turn your nose up because some skill set seems to belong to the other half of the world. That is all. Carry on.