I like to think that I don’t have a lot of the stereotypical “girly” traits. I’ve never been one to wear excessive makeup, dress exclusively in pink, glitter, and dresses, just as I’ve always tried to distance myself from drama and gossip. As kids, we played with barbies, legos, dressup, kitchens, and animals.
I am also a firm believer that many gender stereotypes are taught – they are socially learned. We’ll never know just how much is social and how much biology – but in my mind, a lot of emphasis is on the environment.
So I’ve always known that I would raise my own girls to be independent and smart. To teach them that “they can do anything boys can do.” For some reason, I’ve never thought about how to raise boys – but of course, boys bring challenges of their very own! Boys “can do anything girls can do” (except maybe bear children and breastfeed…).
But why do we insist on gendering children before they are even born? We’ve been so excited to find out the sex of our baby – it makes name picking and equipment shopping a whole lot easier. But why, really? I don’t plan on having a baby blue nursery (in fact, we won’t even have a real nursery). I don’t plan on dressing our boy in exclusively blue and green. I hope that we can avoid an excessive theme of cars, tractors, and tools.
When I told my boyfriend this, he kind of rolled my eyes at me. I think he understoon my point, but a man probably always wants his “little boy to grow into a real man”. But why should we be shoving monstertrucks and toolkits in our childs face? Won’t he grow up to be a real man without airplanes and tractors? And what is, in fact, a real man?
Isn’t a real man someone who has respect for other people (men and women and children)? Who works hard, loves his family, and fights for his passions?
And if so, what is the real difference between a real man and a real woman?