Have you ever actually thought for a minute about why there are so few female engineers, builders, plumbers, mathematicians, or firefighters? Or on the flip side why there are far fewer male secretaries, flight attendants, or nurses?
Though the complete answer to this is probably more complex than we’ll ever know, understanding it is pretty simple. It’s what we get as a result of a multitude of experiences in our lives and our social milieu (oh a fancy word – that one is for you Jane. Now all the Jane’s out there know I care about them, lol :P). In other words, we learn what men and women are to do. There’s not necessarily a single good reason for any of it. It’s just the way things are.
I’ve been thinking a great deal lately about gender and my kids, who still aren’t born yet! But hey, we have one on the go … and we find out the sex in 3 weeks! OMG I can’t wait!
When I see little boys playing “war” like I did, I cringe hoping there’s something I can do to stop that. When I see little girls fussing over their hair or a dress that is clearly going to stop them from playing and being active/healthy/a child I look on and just hope I know what choices to make when the time comes.
You see, I hope my kids won’t be burdened by their gender. I hope my daughter won’t feel like she has to do makeup for 30 minutes or an hour to look beautiful … I don’t even want her to feel like her value comes from her beauty at all. I hope my son won’t think that violence (verbal, emotional, or physical) solves problems. Violence doesn’t solve problems. It makes them. To be sure it can be a useful reaction against other violence in rare moments, as defense, but that’s another topic altogether! I hope my son will feel that he can share his feelings and not be ashamed to cry.
Right now I don’t know what is the right thing to do!
As parents we have immense responsibility. Some of the choices we make will affect these precious human beings for the rest of their lives. Though it’s apparent that each of us has the masculine and feminine within us, it’s not apparent to me how we help children not be dominated by one or the other. I’ve really been struggling with this.
There’s no good reason women wear dresses and men generally don’t. It’s just convention. But how do we express this gender fluidity in our children’s lives without creating identity crises? I suppose we need to be somewhat moderate, but again I don’t fully know.
At the same time, it seems safe to say that teaching our boys that they need to be tough and our girls pretty are NOT the right things to do. The hyper-masculine and hyper-feminine are not needed in this next generation. But oh, those wonderful people are.
Your thoughts on the gender of your children (and others) are highly welcome here! In fact, I can’t wait to hear them.