While physical characteristics may clearly define one’s gender, race, or even social status, it is often one significant moment in one’s life when their gender is truly decided. The first five years of my life consisted of my younger sister and I imitating our mother, playing with dolls, and dressing each other up. As my sister was the main person that I played with, gender never really crossed my mind. Even when I started preschool and kindergarten, boys were not boys to me; they were simply new friends and more people to play with. At that moment in my life, I was just Jackie Goldsmith, I stood in the “girls’ lines” at school, and wore pink dresses and ribbons in my hair to church on Sunday.
Looking back now, I can specifically remember when this so-called reality I had as a young child, changed drastically. It all happened when I was six years old; my little brother was born. I didn’t realize the difference until he was almost a year old, but his birth, my mom having a boy instead of a girl, definitely helped form who I am today. His birth was ultimately the alter of my whole reality as I had previously known it. There are plenty moments that I can look back on during this time, and realize how each aided in forcing my gender upon me. My parent’s followed many of the social norms when it comes to boys and girls. Even at age six I noticed that they dressed my brother differently than they did when my younger sister and I were his age. I even noticed that they had a different tone of voice when they spoke to him; it was nothing at all like the little baby voice that I remembered them using when my little sister was a few months old. You know, the voice that we as toddlers would normally get in trouble for using because we weren’t babies anymore. While I could pick out all of these little differences, I wasn’t exactly sure why they were the way they were until a few months later. One evening, around the time in my brothers life when he had finally learned to walk, a few relatives were over visiting and just having a good time. My parents and relatives were talking and admiring my baby brother Mike, and my sister and I played with dolls in the corner. As they were talking, I remember my Uncle saying something like, “He’s getting big, you think he will grow up and be a football player like we use to be?” I ...
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...tivities that I chose to do, I slowly began to fall into place, on my own. I believe that its very important for parents to be open minded when it comes to gender. Looking back at my own situation, my parents followed the norms in the beginning and forced me into a realization that I wasn’t ready for. Therefore, as a young child, I did the only thing I could and rebelled. However, as they began to change and let me make my own decisions I got right back on track. I grew into a woman, and the previous experience helped me become my own person. Because of my father, I was determined to be my own individual, an independent and powerful woman. That was my number one priority growing up and I contribute a lot of my later success to that previous attitude.
Growing up a female has been quite an experience. While in my younger years I felt as if my gender was somewhat pre-determined for me, I soon fell into the natural groove of being a female. I am not only comfortable in my own skin now, but I am proud to be a woman. My family is very supportive of all my decisions regardless of gender and they make me feel that I have the ability and power to do anything.
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