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Sexism at Home
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A friend told me she was completely bummed out this week. She realized her daughter, two, was referring to everything as male—the teddy bears, the birds, the trees. D. was sad and frustrated because her daughter was already thinking of male as the standard, the default setting, the normal way of being in the world, and it was D's fault. Her daughter doesn't go to daycare. D., a card carrying feminist, realized she had been signaling the world as male: "Look a birdie. He's hungry." "See the doggy? He's wagging his tale."

Me too. For months, Rose had me making up bedtime stories with scary things in them—bears, monsters, giant lobsters, slugs—that the characters in the story would then overcome. I realized one day that every time a creature came knocking on her door, it was male. It felt very strange to suddenly say, "The slithery slimy eel shook her tail." And the Big Bad Wolf as female? That's hard for even me to do.

I thought I was doing well because I refer to firefighters, police officers, and mail carriers. I wonder what else I'm missing.

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