The Gender Riddle

by wildfeministappears

A father and son are in a car accident.  The father dies instantly, but the son is taken to a hospital.  The doctor comes in and says, “I can’t operate on this boy.”

“Why?” asks the nurse

“Because he’s my son.”

How is this possible?


I couldn’t answer this riddle when I was younger.  The fact that it’s a riddle means that we would have to break past our preconceived notions to solve it.  When we hear the word “doctor”, we are to immediately assume that it is a man, because that is predominantly a man’s field.

And even though when I was a child I used my tea tray as an operating table for my teddy bears, I still couldn’t answer the riddle.  And I realize now why that is.  I knew it was okay to pretend to be a doctor, but I also knew that I would never be one.  In fact, there was no way for me to be a doctor, because that was a man’s job.  I was never convinced otherwise.

I always wanted to be a boy for these sorts of reasons.  It was never that I didn’t feel right in my body; it was that I wanted the freedom of choice that boys had.  I hated being handed a softball instead of a baseball.  I despised the high heels of my barbie dolls.  Where were my choices?  Where was Barbie’s choice to wear some frigging jeans?  Why were the girls in the Babysitter’s Club so constantly nice and all knowing?  Didn’t they get angry and kick someone?

Even now, I don’t entirely relate to girls who are girls to the hilt.  I’m not upset with them for it; I just don’t understand.  I want to do boy things in predominantly boy settings.  I want to LARP, play Dungeons and Dragons and video games, and I always want listen to raunchy jokes.  I enjoy doing these activities everyday!  (And I cannot wait to start playing Warhammer 40K.  Necrons!)

And yet, the choice that I made, the same choice that many boys made, has created a situation where I’m told that I’m just looking for attention.  That I’m just pretending to like these activities so that boys will like me.

Screw that.  I want my decisions to be based on the same criteria as any male.  Sure, I’m a huge nerd.  But I’m proud to be a huge nerd, and I shouldn’t have to justify that!  Reach outside your preconceived notions.  Break the stereotypes of my gender.  Solve the riddle.