I have the child that people use to make a point about how boys and girls are just *so* different, even as babies. “I hate to stereotype but my child is SUCH a typical boy! Completely different to my daughters!”
ME TOO! Look:
My child is unstoppable, a thundering, prowling, into- everything child.
My child is a clambering climber, and has always attempted to mount every piece of furniture in a room, even before crawling.
My child is so, so brave- falling down without a peep and getting straight back up to tackle the challenge again. Two bruises gracing the forehead just now.
My child loves to throw. Balls, ornaments, shoes, knickers, everything must be tested against gravity. Often thrown with force at my head.
My child is immensely strong- an item grabbed will never, ever be recovered from those intense, grasping fists.
My child is physically aggressive. I was given a small black eye when my kid was only 9 months old. My elder daughter cowers before her fisticuffs loving young sibling.
My child loves anything with wheels- zooming toy cars and trains about as if on some kind of advert for toy cars and trains.
My child is passionate about construction- building up towers and knocking them down (and throwing the blocks at people’s heads.)
My child even hides for a poo, and you KNOW boys always hide when they’ve got to do their business.
But you know what? My child is a girl.
Juno is so, so different to her older sister, Ramona. She exhibits so many of the behaviours and character traits associated with boys. Instead of proving the rule, she disproves it.
You know what? Children are different! They show different personalities not because of their gender but because they are different people!
It’s a funny thing, but people communicate with Juno in a much more masculinised way. Ramona was always Sweetie or Honey where as Juno is nearly always called Buddy, Lil Fella, even Brute by one particularly nice stranger. It’s almost as if people can’t reconcile this quite physical disposition with a little girl.
How about, instead of ring fencing certain behaviours go specific genders, we give freedom and space for our children to become whomever they are? Where instead of a subtle rejection of our son’s love of dolls, we welcome it as entirely natural. Where instead of being shocked at our daughter’s physicality, we give her ways to express it fully. Where we let research debunk gender myths, rather than allow anecdotes to perpetuate them .
We will eventually create a world where all character traits belong to all children, where they can follow their passions with gusto, and where not one child feels oppressed by someone else’s inaccurate expectations.
Bring that on.
Have you ever addressed “typical boy/ girl” remarks? How has that gone? Any tips?
PS- This book, How Gender Myths are hurting our relationships, our children and our jobs, looks FASCINATING! And I really enjoyed this blog post from a mother of farting, naked girls!