Last week I told my tween girls that I’d gotten them a subscription to a magazine. I thought they’d be excited, but instead they responded with “We don’t want it mom – we don’t want to read about lip gloss.”
Interesting. They already know what they’re being fed and don’t like what’s being served up. Once I explained that the subscription was to New Moon magazine and its website, they were appreciative of my gift.
A few short days later, my friend Annie over at PhD in Parenting wrote about gender and the things families can do to combat gender stereotyping. Her post is jam-packed with great advice and it got me thinking about some of the things I see and hear regularly that either confuse or bother me.
1) I recently saw a Mother’s Day card that had a picture of boys riding a go-kart, with the caption “raising boys – it’s an extreme sport.” Having six kids spread equally across both genders, I have not experienced that the boys are more daring, adventurous, or likely to get injured than the girls. Our broken-bone count is evenly spread throughout genders. I don’t like the expectation of boys being adventurous and girls being inactive. The expression “boys will be boys” puts me over the edge. Our children are equally likely to build a fort, catch a frog, hook a worm and work in the garden. We don’t have gender-specific sports, chores or expectations.
2) Sure, it was funny when I had my third daughter and everyone told Daddy-o he’d need a triple-barreled shotgun. But, really – not that funny. This notion that we must protect our daughters from their countless suitors ranks as annoying for me. My daughters will be well equipped to take care of themselves. Also troublesome is when adults try to inject romance into their children’s friendships. Comments about future husbands and little girlfriends, well – let’s face it, we are projecting our ideas of gender relationships on to them. Maybe we should just let them be kids for the five minutes that they actually are.
What about in your house? Does little Janey have a first grade boyfriend? Does your son shovel the driveway and your daughter set the table? What impact has gender had on your family – if any?