The House on Mango Street
How we cite our quotes:
[Hips are] good for holding a baby when you're cooking, Rachel says, turning the jump rope a little quicker. She has no imagination. (20.3)
Esperanza scoffs at Rachel for her observation that hips are good for holding a baby while you're cooking – a task that fits right into the traditional gendered role of women in their society.
But most important, hips are scientific, I say repeating what Alicia already told me. It's the bones that let you know which skeleton was a man's when it was a man and which a woman's. (20.7)
This "scientific" observation about hips suggests that gender is something you're born with. It's biological.
Everybody getting into it now except Nenny who is still humming not a girl, not a boy, just a little baby. She's like that. (20.27)
Nenny's nursery rhyme hints at the idea that gender is a social construction – it's not something you're born with, it's something you learn to perform.