Your son plays with…girls. February 20, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in education, feminism, gifted, older son, societal commentary, younger son.
Tags: feminism, gender equity, sexism, social skills, socialization, stereotypes
We had parent teacher conferences recently. While they overall went fairly well, there was one part of the discussion that bothered me. The teacher seemed concerned that the younger son spent more time playing with girls than boys.
I think that what gets me about this is that I’ve heard it almost every year that either one of my kids has been in school. Every time I hear it, I have the same reaction: “So?”
I can’t remember where I came across this bit of info, because I first found it when the older boy was in elementary school. It turns out that kids that are gifted are more likely to be androgynous and make an effort to actively choose their interests rather than following prescribed “gender-appropriate” behaviors.
This was a huge relief for me for many reasons. First, my sons have had interests in things like barrettes and finger nail polish, Dora, My Little Pony, etc. I assumed it was normal curiosity that most kids had, but maybe not. However, I’ve made an effort not to impose gender stereotypes on them unnecessarily. I’ve also noticed that there’s a lot more rough and tumble and even some bullying that goes on with boys. My boys aren’t into that, so it seems obvious that they would be more interested in playing with girls.
Second, it was a personal relief. I work in a couple of fields that are mostly male, and when I feel comfortable with it, I can be rather confrontational and direct. I was more interested in Legos than Barbies, and in school, I liked math and physics. It’s nice to know that I’m not “weird” for a woman…even though I am apparently different.
If I ever needed proof that there are some aspects of gender that are socially prescribed, I’ve gotten it over and over in this one question. I’m sure my parents got the opposite – your daughters are tomboys. What surprises me about this is that people really get so worked up about it. Why aren’t they surprised when girls and boys don’t want to play together?