momlife, parenting, The Salties

Why I Believe in Gender Stereotypes (Kind Of)

As I’ve mentioned before, I never believed in gender differences. It was totally “Nurture” that caused little girls to hold baby dolls and boys to have bats, and it was societal pressure that told little boys to be tough and little girls to be sweet. Girls wear pink because of BIAS and boys wear blue because of GENDER CONFORMISM. Not my babies. Never.

Except my babies? ALWAYS.

From the moment my daughter first insisted on wearing a tiara to the grocery store to the moment my son made his first slam dunk at eleven months old, I knew that my kids had set out to do what children across the world had been doing for hundreds of years- making their parents look stupid.

For her third Halloween, Lila was princess Sofia. Princess Sofia. I mean, she’s cute and sweet and vaguely half-hispanic (there’s plenty of debate on that one, but I choose to believe what I want to believe). She is brave and kind and has lots of good qualities. But PRINCESS. Her first Halloween costume had been SuperGirl, and for her second she’d been Totoro. And now? She was a straight-from-the-Disney-Store Princess. I felt the need to tell everyone that she chose the costume herself, and to let everyone know that the costume I would have picked would have been a Ninja Turtle (I had the Pinterest boards to prove it). But while I may have been saying, “She chose it herself,” what I really meant was, “This is not nurture! NOT. NURTURE! THIS IS LILA!”

I told myself it was a one-off. Different kids have different personalities. She happens to be girly. It doesn’t mean anything.

And then I had Abram.

I swear, that boy came out of belly stinky and busy and boyish. His first word was “Ace,” (our dog), his second word “ball.” Give him a princess wand and it becomes a bat. We taught him to bounce a baby doll and say, “shh, shh, shh,” but I’ll be darned if it’s not the most aggressive bounce-and-shh the world has ever seen.

I’m not saying that girls SHOULD do certain things, or that boys SHOULD do others. I’m just saying that a lot of the time, they do. And it’s just as bad to tell Lila she can’t be a princess as it would be to tell Abram he couldn’t be. So I’ll let my princess wield her wand, and my little bruiser swing his bat, and I’ll get over my own issues so that they can just be themselves. Because after all, wasn’t that what I’d been aiming for in the first place?

 

Why I changed my mind about Gender Stereotypes- and why I think you should, too. From thesaltymamas.com

11 thoughts on “Why I Believe in Gender Stereotypes (Kind Of)”

  1. I totally agree! I had a friend the other day say ” I hope that I have a boy and that he is gay” And I thought…….how awful. I mean it is equally awful to say “I want a girl who is straight” Because you need to let your children be who they are. If they are girly girls or tom boys, both are awesome.

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  2. oh I am with you all the way on this one. In fact, I have a similar draft blog already started! LOL But yes, it’s all true. Boy are BOYS to the Nth degree. At least I know mine is. Dirty, stinky, smashing, car crashing, rough and tumble boys. And I didn’t make him this way. I gave him a My Little Pony and all he wanted to do was crash cars into it. I can’t get him to wear a button-up shirt much less some cute little outfit. I even worked his Halloween costume around his personality so he could wear shorts and carry a club to hit things with (he’s Bam-Bam).

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  3. Yeah … As much as society (okay, half our society – you can guess what political party) wants us to be “sensitive” and not stereotype … I believe those stereotypes exist for a reason. You can’t keep a girl from being girly. They are mothers from childhood, to some degree, I believe.
    A friend of mine similarly dressed her daughter as Batgirl for Halloween, buys her Addidas sneakers, no pink, etc .. and then she asked her grandma to make her a ballerina Halloween costume last year! My friend was mortified, but I just said, “So what? She’s a girl. Let her be one.” They’ll figure out their heart’s desire as they get older – a combo of nature and nurture, I believe.
    And btw, thanks for posting this. I know it’s not popular at the moment to say this. 🙂

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  4. It’s all about letting them be who they are and supporting whatever that happens to be. I have two boys and two girls and yes, I’ve had many moments like you describe here. (Why does she want a Barbie??? WHY????!!!!) But I’ve also had some that don’t fit the mold. (Please stop asking my son, who happens to be male, tall, and black, if he’s going to be a basketball player. Just don’t.) The problem is when people pigeon-hole kids into stereotypes that don’t fit their individual nature. The girl who wants to dress as Sofia should be able to be Sofia without judgement or criticism. So should the little boy who wants to be Sofia 🙂

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  5. This is a great article! I always wanted a little girly girl to play dress up with and as thing turned out, she’s more into going outside and getting dirty. But I love who she’s becoming even if it’s not exactly as I had imagined. Thanks for sharing your experiences. xxx

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  6. I struggle with Disney Princess overload with my four-year-old (who also happens to LOVE Sophia!) as well! It’s hard to steer them away when they love them so much, I’ve given in as well. One thing I stand firm on though is character clothing! (unless its jammies) We don’t leave the house in that nonsense! 🙂

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  7. So true! It’s just sort of innate. My husband fell in love with me because I wasn’t a “giggly girly girl” and our first born is the giggliest, girly girl I know!

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