I always credited my mom for making me the feminist that I am–a feminist who has no problem with wearing makeup one day and a necktie the next, and maybe both at once. She was the first gender bender in my life. Someone who, in 1982, didn’t want any frilly pink clothing for her daughter, who kept her daughter’s hair cropped short, and who encouraged toys like Matchbox cars and primary-colored (not pastel!) Legos. And when the Barbie years came around and when her daughter yearned for waist-length hair, she didn’t bat an eye and she happily obliged.

This morning, though, I was scouring the internet for Father’s Day gift ideas. There are no Facebook quizzes that let you plug in your dad’s interests and personality traits and tell you what fits him, but there are a ton of generic sites that offer twists on traditional gift ideas. And it’s a lot of barbecue grill accessories, sports supplies, tools and gadgets. Sites tout goods with Harley Davidson insignias and John Deere logos, not to mention the occasional suggestion of buying your father an actual motorcycle. None of these things fit my dad. There are very few suggestions out there for a dad who listens to movie soundtracks, cooks, reads The New Yorker, has an interest in home decorating, who loves grocery shopping, and whose favorite sport is puzzle-making.

My dad doesn’t fit the Father Stereotype, and in his own, soft-spoken, leading-by-example way, he also shaped ideas of what gender is in both of his kids. My brother is what a feminist looks like, I shun traditional notions of gender, and both of our parents get the credit. Happy Father’s Day to a man who gives it all by being himself.

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