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Monday, February 1, 2010

Gender Roles


This picture cracks me up. Not only is Gabe dressed up in full diva attire, but he has colored all over his face (and legs) with marker. So speaking of Gabe being dressed up in diva attire, Gabe really loves to dress up. I attribute it to the fact that he has an older sister who loves teaching him the ways of girliness. I do not worry. Chris doesn't for the most part either, but I think he wishes that I would encourage more "manliness" with Gabe. I don't discourage manliness at all... in fact, anyone who knows Gabe probably has a vision in your head of a little guy who never walks.... only runs and jumps everywhere. He loves to wrestle and growl, which I suppose could both be classified as "manly" things :). He just loves being like Sofia too.
I know that parents play an intricate role in helping kids identify with a gender identity and role. You often hear dads telling boys to stop a behavior, because that is what girls do. You probably don't hear parents as often telling girls not to act like boys, though.
For those of you who have older girls and then boys, do you or your husband discourage "girl" behavior at young ages? I think that gender is essential and that Gabe will be shown the ways of manliess or whatever, but 2 seems like a young age to be pushing it too hard to me. I think that as parents, we sometimes push weird issues/cultural prejudices/ onto our kids, and they pick up on it. We make things that are innocent and sweet into more than they are sometimes. I know that Gabe will grow up to be a great man someday, but at least for a little while longer, I will let him enjoy the innocence of a crown and tutu.

8 comments:

Karli said...

It's funny how we worry about that stuff at this age. Nolan, with an older sister, also is very in to headbands, crowns and the occasional lipstick. But I'm of the firm belief that we don't create or deter true gender identities in our kids. Sure, we can confuse them, but they are what they are. If you have a boy who truly identifies more with a feminine persuasion, then no amount of pushing guns and fatigues and trucks and footballs on him is going to change who he is. He might get confused, try to hide things, whatever. Just like you wouldn't be able to take a manly man and girly him up just by pushing baby dolls on him. He'd find a way to use a stick to shoot the doll or something. I think any messages we give our kids other than "I love who you ARE" (as opposed to "Why can't you be like THIS?") is going to cause confusion and possible damage. This goes for other personality traits as well, and serves as a big reminder for me in those areas.

K Harker said...

Ha ha, it's totally a normal boy thing especially when they have older sisters dressing them up and showing them how it's done. E totally did that to J boy but now that he is 3 1/2 he prefers to do boy stuff not because we tell him he HAS to but we offer it and he likes it. I did draw the line at putting on E's make up, I didn't want two faces to clean off.

It kind of bugs me when people get all upset about things like this (mostly the dads) because they are so young and it is so innocent, it really isn't a big deal. Like Karli said (above) even if we push one thing on them, they are who they are and they'll like what they like all we need to do as parents is support and love them.

I have a good friend who's son plays a lot with J and E and he's 2 years old. He loves baby dolls and playing kitchen at our house but his Mom says "I can't buy these toys for him, his dad would get so mad, he'd kill me!" My thought was "Why? what's the big deal?" It's just so silly to think that way, he's TWO! He's just learning to be compassionate towards babies by playing gently with dolls/babies and playing kitchen is fun for either gender of children. It kind of makes me mad that he'd refuse something educational and imaginative for his kid. Any way that is my rant and rave about it. Oh and for this little boys birthday we bought him a doll :) I'm so bad!

Casey said...

I think both of your daughters are just beautiful.

Kara said...

Karli and K,
I totally agree with both of you. It is hard when we are constantly surrounded by men who make a big deal out of things. K.... I love that you got a doll for the little boy.
Casey,
Speaking of those men I was referring to... hello :)!! Hey, I made your beans tonight, but they were not even close to being as good as yours, but practice makes perfect I guess :).

Jeff or Amanda Nemelka said...

Chance is definitely ALL boy. The only thing I think Jeff definitely engrains in Chance's head is "not to kiss boys". It really aggravates me. Not that I want Chance to go around kissing boys all the time, but I think that Jeff has weird kissing issues and is ruining Chance is that regard. At least Chance kisses me and Soph all the time. I'm so sad to know that one day he'll grow out of that. I tell him all the time that he has to hug me even when he's "big like daddy".

Also--feel free to practice any felt-making on us. I have hair clips for Sophie. I miss you. We need to get together...

Also...again--I hung out with Lia the other day and she said that you told her you were coming to visit in Feb? Is this true? I told her that I had just spoken to you and I didn't think it was true, but maybe I'm wrong...

Chris said...

Amanda,
See.. that is what I am talking about. Jeff is making something innocent not innocent. It's good to teach boundaries in general, but why does he need to plant weirdness in his head? Oh... I was trying to scheme with Lia of how I could come to her wedding, but obviously not going to happen. I will for sure send some felt clips your way girlie!!

juliette said...

Oh, I have been away from your blog too long. I missed commenting on your lovely math theory. I'm looking forward to your pruning post...with you the mundane somehow becomes hilarious.

Kelsey said...

i know you aimed your question at those with both boys and girls...but I don't think there is any need to push gender rolls, that's what elementary school is for.