Open Minds in Small Packages

Someone wrote…

I love how little kids can see the real you but most adults refuse to see it.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on June 29th, 2011 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 16 comments »

16 Responses to “Open Minds in Small Packages”

  1. Jessica MacGilvray

    Ever see the film Interstate 60?

    Neal Oliver: [In the scene Ray is showing Neal cards in quick
    succession and he has to say what suit they are] So did I pass?
    Ray: No! *shows him the cards* But few people do.
    Neal Oliver: Black hearts? Red spades? Come on, that’s like cheating.
    Ray: Ah, experience has conditioned you into thinking that all hearts
    are red and all spades are black because their shapes are similar.
    Its easier for your mind to interpret them based on that past
    experience instead of being open to the idea they could be
    different. We see what we expect to see, not necessarily whats
    really there. Children who have never played cards always pass this
    test. Makes you wonder how many other things are right in front of
    you – sights, sounds, smells that you cant experience because
    you’ve been conditioned not to. The good news is, if we do the test
    again, you’ll pass. Once you’re aware that there can be black
    hearts and red spades you’ll be able to perceive them. Our brains
    wiring is like the interstate highway system. Its easier to go
    from one well-traveled place to another. But the places in between,
    off the highway, even though they’re there, most people zip right
    past them.
    Neal Oliver: Well, that’s a cool trick, but there aren’t any card
    games with red spades and black hearts.
    Ray: Well, how would you know?

    Cool film… speaking as a black heart.


    Jay replied:

    That is really cool!


    Anonymous replied:

    That is amazing! Truly incredible, I love it on so many levels!


    Ettiene replied:

    wow, so cool! really really great insight… i must send a link to this to one of my friends :)


  2. Jay

    This makes me think of when I was in church last Sunday – there was a little girlchild (*assumption based on her presentation) there a few pews ahead of me and she kept staring back at me in utter fascination. I was in a blazer & dress-pants, with my rather noticeable buzzed hair. I saw her after mass and it turned out her name was Jesse (Jessie?). Very sweet little child and she was just enthralled with me.

    I don’t know anything more about her, but I always wonder, when stuff like that happens, what’s going through the kids’ heads.


    J.D. replied:

    I wish there would have been someone like you in church when I was a young girlchild. Every sunday my mother would get up early, chase me down, spend half an hour trying to persuade me to where my yellow dress with the pale blue flowers on it (“just for a few hours!”) and get my dress shoes on and take me to church. I grew up very confused as to why the boys got to wear comfy clothes that let them run around and play while I felt restricted by my dress. I just wanted to play with the other boys. my long hair got in the way when I wrestled and porcelain dolls broke so much faster than action figures. I didn’t meet anyone like you until I was 14. If I had maybe I would have understood myself a little better and not been so confused about why I felt different. Its great that there are people like you in the world Jay. Maybe that girlchild will remember you someday.


  3. Anonymous

    that’s nearly the opposite of the experiences i’ve had. i used to get street harassment from children regularly.


    Jessica replied:

    In my experience, children do what they have seen others do. They seldom strike out on their own and do things that might be disapproved of by those in authority over them. Bullies and braggarts might make assumptions that people who are different are fair game, especially if they smell fear. I don’t present ordinarily much out of ordinary, so I don’t get hassled ordinarily, but I have most often seen children ask questions about others.


    Courage replied:

    I find that it really depends on the parents. A few of my neighbors, who are 8 and 5, looked at me the other day like I was a monster and the older girl whispered to her sister,”Look, It is a lesbian!” and said lesbian like a forbidden curseword. Their dad glares at me every time I walk by and he’s walking with them. They never used to, but now mimic him. The weird part is, I’m not even a lesbian.

    But my other neighbors were the only ones who realized I was the same person. They’re 4, 7, and 12. They came up to me and asked me if I used to have long hair, asked me why, etc, then realized they were intruding so complimented it.

    Now, my adult neighbors without children just think I’m a boy who moved to live with my family and treat me as such.


  4. Claudius-Maximus

    Yeap. My little niece is 4 and she refers to me by my birth name and female pronouns but sees me as a boy. The other day she was upset because at a public place I used the women’s bathroom. Her sentence was something along the lines of ” Birth-name is a boy. She needs to go to the boys bathroom”. Her mom finds this fun and I find it cute so we hadn’t corrected her because honestly she does have it right.


  5. J.D.

    I’ve always loved the way children think. My friend babysits a lot around town and I help out and the kids are great. I’ve noticed that the boys tend to assume I’m a boy, and the girls tend to assume I’m a girl and even when they use the pronouns their parents use they tend to act like I’m the opposite.

    For instance, on girl point blank asked me if I was a boy or a girl and my friend cut me off and said “girl. She’s a girl.” (my friend is… not so accepting) whereas I corrected her and said “a little of both.” and the girl asked me why I looked like a boy, and I told her its because I prefer to look that way. And she asked me if I played with dolls or trucks, and I said I liked trucks better when I was her age, but that dolls can be fun too. And she looked at me funny. A week later I found out she’d had a little puppy dog crush on me without ever having figured out “what” I was.

    Another one of the kids, a boy, has always referred to me as “she”. I haven’t seen him in a few years, but when he was very small I gave him some toy cars I’d had as a child. My friend babysat him again last year, and told me later that he’d teased his sister for being a girl and when she’d scolded him for it said “well she wanted to play with my toy cars! girls don’t play with toy cars! That’s why Birthname gave me toy cars! Because I’m a boy. She’s a girl so she can’t have any! Birthname wouldn’t give them to her!” He said this without ever realizing that as far as he’s been told, I’m a girl too.


  6. Jessica MacGilvray

    I will always remember a story my father told me about visiting a small town in Austria around 1953. The town has one industry: making artificial limbs. There was a lot of call for this because of the antipersonnel mines the US dropped all over Austria in WWII. He worked for an NGO that collected money to buy prosthetics for people and went to inspect their operations.

    There was a young girl there who kept staring at him. He wondered if it was because he was an American, or maybe because of the way he was dressed. It puzzled him. As he was preparing to go, he saw the little girl in an old man’s lap – presumably her grandfather. So, he went over to ask the old man about the girl’s stares.

    “Oh no, sir,” came the old man’s reply, “it is not because you’re an American. It’s just that she’s never seen a grown man before who had all his body parts. She was trying to see what part of you was missing.”


    Matt replied:

    This breaks my heart. Being a high school student, I’ve read much about the World Wars, but its the personal stories that really hit home.


    Jessica replied:

    If you like history stories, send me your email and I will send you back some more stories… about our housekeeper in Vienna, whose sister’s five sons died in WWI… or the story of the first concert in the opera house in Vienna after WWII…


  7. Meike

    This exactly! One time my friend’s nephew told his mother: “Steph (female) is putting his shoes on.” Another little boy kept thinking that my name was Jon, and called me a boy at least once. And he just took my hand and led me to his playroom so we could play together. He didn’t care what on earth I was, he just liked me. I’ve decided that I love kids.


  8. Ettiene

    COMPLETELY agree with this quote/thought.
    i work at a pre-school (kindergarten?) and i am pre-T Ftm transgender.
    the kids always ask if im a boy or not, and they started calling me ‘uncle’, too, which i absolutely LOVE <3


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