Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Boys suck and other gender-specific truths

Don't hate me because I'm gender specific. You try having boy/girl twins and tell me boys don't like trucks and girls don't like princesses. I'm all for exposing them to a variety of activities. If the boy wants to do dance he can do dance [in fact I did let him step in for the girl one time and he loved it]. If she wants karate instead of gymnastics, so be it. There is a mind-body connection that I would like to instill in them, and there are many ways to accomplish that.

But this week, for the first time, the kids are going to separate camps. While the girl goes to "Enchanted Princess" [ballet] camp, the boy is headed to sports camp, which in response, he thinks is 'superhero camp', which is to my point. Dress up is an interesting microcosm of what we are socialized to think; boys can play dress-up, but their costumes are super heroes and military types with big muscles. I know this, because this is what Costco teaches me. Everyone's allowed to be a doctor. But would you ever put a nurse costume on your son? Like I said, don't blame me; from an early age the girl preferred the pink bottle and pink dresses. I actually spent the first year of her life purchasing every baby outfit for girls that was NOT pink (a very small selection I might add), because I hate pink. But we all learn to change.

My boy, on the outside looking in, on my girl at Princess camp
I got flack from my forward-thinking brother when, at the very beginning, we dressed the babies up in respective blue, and pink outfits. You try walking around with two babies and see how many times you get sick of answering "two boys?" "two girls?" "natural/unnatural?" Ok well no one asked that last question specifically in that way, but we did have two onesies made up that said, "Product of Science" and "By-product of Science", but my mother-in-law thought it was awful, so we never actually braved the outdoors with them on.

And of course, stereotypes in gender roles go well beyond just color and activities, but what is so wrong with it all? After spending mountains of money (ok, mountains of my parents' money) on a Masters-level education and carving out a couple of swell careers for myself, I ended up becoming Donna Reed anyway. I even started wearing an apron on a regular basis. [And I kinda like it.] So not to dredge up the mommy wars [which are only media-manufactured to keep the women divided anyways, ROAR], but...most of the time, women = pink.

And now that the kiddies are able to have full conversations, gender differences are a major topic.
"Where is Daddy going?" They ask.
"Daddy's going to work," I say. I used to say "the office" so that they would know, mommy still works. But then we started talking about the difference between work and play, and it didn't add up.
"Oh. Daddies go to work," they surmise. Astute observation, geniuses. So a thought pops in my mind.
 "Yes, Daddies often go to work. Where do mommies go?" I say, cringing at the possible responses, grateful they are not ornery teenagers yet...
 "Mommies go to the gym." 
 Oh.

Well that was better than I thought.

I guess I'll teach them about gender roles later...

4 comments:

  1. Nicely done. I have matured through pink to RED being my favorite color!

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  2. Now I need to start going to the gym!

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    Replies
    1. Well my kids didn't buy it when I tried to tell them I get paid to 'sing and dance.' Maybe yours are more evolved. :)

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  3. Haha, that's exactly what my girls said the other week: "Daddy goes to work and Mommy goes running." Could be worse.

    -Alaina

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