27.3.08

sugar and spice and all things nice vs slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails

my son is the reflective type, he doesn't give his smiles away easily, he doesn't give himself away that easily either, he likes his own space and he will not be imposed upon to be anything other than himself, think what he thinks and not what he thinks you want him to think.

my daughter reflects too, and boy do we know it, because we get to hear exactly what she's thinking, when she thinks it and she is one of the most empathetic people I know, if she thinks you're sad or something is worrying you she will try and make that okay, normally by saying something like 'you're perfect just the way you are' (when daddy was lamenting that he was old now he hit the big 40)

when we're lying in bed in the morning my son squashes up in the corner because despite the fact that he's climbed into bed with us he 'doesn't like to be touched', in response to this statement my daughter exclaims 'I love to be touched'.

in the dead of night when my son arrives in my bed because he has a sore tummy, he grabs hold of my hand and puts it on his tummy, because it makes it feel better.

my daughter has an aversion to showing her toes (flip flops are out) and her belly button (no bikinis mummy)
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do you know the amount of times I've heard the words 'he's such a boy'?

interestingly people never feel the need to tell me that my daughter is 'such a girl'. I ask myself why people always offer that information up about boys. I don't think it's just my boy, I hear it all the time about other people's boys.

it's like it's very important that your boy is a 'real boy' - it's okay for a girl to be a bit of a tomboy, but woe betide you if your boy is the sensitive type.

my children are growing up in a world where girls and boys are taught from the moment they come out of the womb exactly what is expected of them:

isn't he handsome! isn't she beautiful!

he's active, she's kind, he's boisterous, she's gentle, he's a leader, she's the back-up

really, I don't know if my children are the way they are because they're a girl and a boy, or because they are just who they are. to be honest one minute to the next they surprise me with their own discovery of themselves - but how are they meant to discover themselves in this world of expectation?

in the first 5 years of our life we learn more than we ever learn thereafter. and when my son went to nursery he learnt that boys do not dress up in their sister's mermaid outfit, they play power rangers, fight each other, like blue and they most definitely do not cry.

I think without a doubt it is tougher for boys to grow up and out of these contraints because the alternative is so much harder.

to break the mould would mean a giving up of power, even if it is the corrupted power of millennia upon millennia of oppression. what would it really mean to give up that power?

this isn't just about saying that we are all equal really and hoping that someday women will get to catch up. what would it mean to open up the networks of conversation, to become friends, to risk ourselves?

and when it's something that doesn't come naturally then we need to actively choose this path and I'm just not sure that most of us are willing to risk it, because it is an unknown path isn't it? we've never walked it before, not since the beginning.

I'll leave you with this scene from Friends (yes really) when Rachel and Ross hire a male nanny:

1 comment:

inpursuitofhappiness said...

heya i think you'll be very interested in this :

http://www.psyonline.org.uk/Documents/Gender%20Bias.pdf

my blog is www.lookingforlimerance.blogspot.com

but its got slightly less intellectual content than yours!!

love fi

x