This morning, while is was dutifully copying, collating, and stapling, I overheard some other women talking about the gender of the babies some of their friends were expecting. One was not yet found out and those ladies were hoping it to be a boy, the other was already identified as a boy (Thank God!)
It went from bad to worse from there. Those ladies, working moms, no less were just listing all the cool things that you could do, once you had a boy. The playing in mud, the the rough and tumble, the collecting of rocks and what have you. They were looking forward to those things, because once they had a boy, they could experience them, because yes, it was a boy and not a girl.
I was hard pressed not to turn around and say: No, no, no, no, no! You can do these things with girls just the same! It is you, the moms, who provide the experiences. If you want to have your girl play in the mud, let her. If you want your girl to have a rock collection, get her started. If you want your girl to climb trees, don’t put her in restricting dresses.
Those ladies were reenforcing sex-role stereotypes on children who weren’t even born yet. They had a certain set of expectations and they will raise those kids accordingly. A truck for a boy, a doll for a girl. Le’t all be narrow minded together.
While I do agree that boys and girls can gravitate to certain toys and experiences that are more classified to their gender (for example, my son turns every toy into a gun at some point, while my daughter doesn’t), I still believe strongly in providing all manner of experiences to both of them. So let your girl play with cars and trucks and let her find bugs and get dirty. Also let your boy play with dolls and kid cooking stoves. Let him wear a pink shirt if he wants to. It will not harm them. It will broaden their horizons.
There was an article a few weeks ago about a father who was wearing skirts to help out his son who loved to wear skirts as well. I applaud this man, because he understands that sex role stereotypes limit our children. That is something that the ladies I overheard are still miles and miles away from.