to ask to what extent your DC conform to gender stereotypes(125 Posts)
I have two DS's (soon to be 3) and hear gender stereotyped stuff all the time- "boys will be boys", "typical boy" "boys are like dogs- you just need to take them to the park and run them" "girls sit and color while boys are destructive etc.
In some ways I think my kids do conform to these stereotypes and other ways not at all. But I don't know how much 'confirmation bias' is in there and how I see what I expect to see, and how much is a self fulfilling prophecy. I keep saying i've brought them up no differently to how I would have brought up girls, but then I realise this isn't strictly true- they wear boys clothes for eg, and have many typically boys toys- they have a few dolls etc, but they do feel a bit like token efforts.
Do your DC's conform to stereotypes? If you have both sexes have you brought them up differently? Thanks?
Two boys. DS1 as a toddlerwas fairly stereotypical, it was all about cars/tractors and aeroplanes and trains.
DS2 came along and his favourite toys were a dolls buggy which he pushed a Fimble around in, and his play food, kitchen and shop.
As they grew older it was all about football, and cars and still is really. They are the subjects they can talk endlessly about.
My 2 boys are massively into sports and love play fighting, wrestling, gaming and all the typical 'boyish' stuff however they can play/sit quietly when needed and aren't the sort of boys who need to run off excess energy, they are happy chilling too.
They choose their own clothes and whilst the youngest is a bit 'out there's with his style at times they automatically choose boyish stuff.
My you fest has often had girls toys over the years, he lived ponies and brushed their hair. DS1 has always liked more boyish stuff.
I really don't mind that they are fairly typical boys. We are pretty open about them playing with toys they choose or dressing how they like so I think it's fine. I'm not quite sure why it's not ok to like boys stuff if your a boy anymore, as long as you're accepting of other people's decisions however I do feel that certain views regarding gender are imposed on children, that is either by pushing that they must have boy/girl specific stuff or by pushing that you can't.
I do feel that I let the side down a bit by neither of my sons ever getting to wear a tutu.
They chose their clothes themselves from quite a young age and it was all fairly normal stuff as far as boys go. Shorts/trousers and t shirts.
I have a DS (5) and a DD (3). I am very interested (and often appalled) by gender divison so I think I have been hyper aware, especially after having a daughter.
However, despite DD wearing DS's clothes, and also DS wearing DD' s dresses when he wants to, I cannot dispute that DS is much more physical and aggressive, and DD will play with dolls and nurture her toys in a way DS never has.
She can also be aggressive but not in the same way. And DS's favourite programme is my little pony, so they do have a fairly broad spectrum.
I try and not use phrases like 'typical boy...' etc.
DD is what would be thought of as a tomboy (hate that phrase) I.e. only wears boys clothes, climbs trees, loves sports etc. But also doesn't like rough play and indulges in some craft and colouring. Is her own person in other words.
DS is similarly full of contradictions.
I try my damn hardest to celebrate who they are, and not try to dictate their experience by their genitalia.
Mine are 15 and 18 now. I wouldn't do anything differently if I did it all over again.
I think it is impossible to bring children up without societal influences unless they are raised by wolves.
We've tried to give DS options - to offer him trucks and building blocks because they are fun and he will learn spatial skills, how things are put together from them and dolls/teddies/teasets because they are fun and it is also important for him to learn about caring for other people, learn about emotions and social skills, etc. Boys often miss out on that to the extent that they struggle with talking emotions because they were encouraged away from that kind of roleplay.
He clearly enjoys both. He's also clearly very influenced by peers - we have never let him watch any superhero films as they are too old for him yet he talks about them all the time because that is what his friends at school talk about.
There's a massive amount of seeing what you look for - I remember one of his nursery staff commenting "typical boy stuff" watching him running off to the tricycles but a) he also loved playing with the cooker and b) there were plenty of girls riding the bikes too...
Dd1 (5) would what you would call a 'typical girl' I suppose. She loves pink, princesses and dresses. But she's also taken a liking to super heroes, especially the tv show PJ Masks. And today made a 'robot arm' thingy out of thin card.
Dd2 (2) is much more physically strong than dd was at this age. Loves vehicles and climbing. Her personality is also totally different. But she also likes putting on things from the dressing up box and 'drawing' (scribbling).
They both love the Duplo box and things like Kinetic Sand. I try to encourage a wide variety of toys, particularly STEM toys. I'm trying to raise them with the idea that toys are toys rather than girls toys and boys toys and that they shouldn't restrict themselves to certain toys because of they are girls. It's hard when there's a sea of pink and blue marketing everywhere though. (Nothing against pink or blue it just gets a bit much)
Oh and clothing/toys/childrens TV even is MASSIVELY more sex segregated nowadays than it ever was when I was a kid. In the 70s toys came in a range of different colours. Not just pink or blue.
5 year old boy has always preferred playing with cars, balls and super hero stuff howverr now will sit quietly and read or colour too but is more into 'boyish' stuff, I'm not surprised though as I've never been girly whatsoever so have bought him mainly cars and things like that since thats what I liked and thought that's what he may like but not because he is a boy.
My 3 year old daughter has access to and is encouraged to play with all her brothers toys however prefers her dolls and dressing up and make-up which is so far away from what i was like as a girl but she loves it and naturally gravitated towards that stuff. however I have to say she's much more destructive with things whereas her brother is very careful with everything.
I let them play with whatevher they like and son is definetly more 'typically boyish and daughter more girly.
thanks for the replies- this is really interesting.
DS2 just got a doll's buggy for his 4th birthday, and despitethinking that I have encouraged his nurturing side, I realised it was the first time that I had given eitehr of my boys a toy like that. They have dolls and teddies etc, but I had never gone out and bought dolls accessories/ stuff in the way that I'm sure I would have had I had girls. And I was suddenly a bit shocked at myself (I consider myself a feminist and hate most gender stereotyped bullshit) but realised I had totally bought into it. He loved hte buggy btw as did DS1 aged 7 and I wished I had done more stuff like that with them earlier.
They do love art/ crafts etc and have known them to be both running around insanely relatively often and (like today) spending most of the day sitting doing crafts/ puzzles/ lego quietly.
My DD (5) is very much a stereo-typical girlie girl. I certainly would not say we have 'forced' this on her, but I am very feminine and enjoy wearing make-up etc so undoubtedly this will have influenced her. She is drawn to dresses, dolls and her favourite colour is pink, but she also loves climbing trees, sports and playing the drums. Over the years we have bought her toys we think she would like - dolls, but she has also had a tractor, car garage and a train set. Her best friend is a boy too. I really don't think makes any difference.
I think I'm lucky in that mine are older (21 to 15) and I don't think clothes or toys were as gender separate as I understand they are now.
<As an aside, I can't for the life of me understand why they have become more so than they were 15 - 21 yrs ago >
I think there are different aspects of them that do, and don't conform (I have 1 ds and 2 dds). I do get cross when I read on here that people "want a dd so they can go shopping together" . My 3 definitely don't fit into that stereotype - ds doesn't mind shopping when needed, and would be the best of my 3 to turn to for a bit of fashion advice, but dd1 only goes shopping under pain of death. However, he definitely fell into the "you need to take him out and exercise him / he's like a labrador" stereotype for the first 12 years or so. He also had an obsession with picking up / collecting sticks and using them as pretend weapons which neither of my dds did, but then, he was the only one who was really into pushing his doll about in his (pink) pushchair.
So, i'd say a mixture!
I have 3 dc, two girls then a boy. Dd1 (14) is probably the most typical according to her gender and always has been, she loved pink things and princesses and dressing up as a toddler but almost never played with dolls. I had cars/trains available to her but they were never looked at either.
Dd2 would be thought of as a tomboy. She likes gaming, parkour, youtubers, climbing trees, Gets most of her tshirts from the boys section. As a toddler she was fairly girlie but hasn't worn a dress/skirt since around age 5. She's not into sports and doesn't really like rough and tumble, she's very sensitive and loves craft activities. She has recently asked to get Warhammer models to paint.
Ds is not a typical boy, he used to love sylvanian families & my little pony, likes sparkly stuff and craft kits and getting his nails painted by his biggest sister. He also likes football, youtubers, playing with 'big boys' and throwing himself around the floor.
Tbh I haven't done anything differently with ds, he had access to all his sisters toys so he could just play with whatever he fancied. I don't offer him any opinions on choosing toys that are aimed at girls/boys, they have always been just toys.
Neither of mine (I've got one of each) really conform to gender stereotypes, but then I don't think my husband or I do either. Does anyone, really? Even since my kids were toddlers ten years ago toys and clothes have become more and more gender segregated, I think we're squashing people into gender boxes much more than when I grew up in the 70s and 80s. No wonder there are so many people identifying as transgender now.
Dd1 is 17 and at university studying a STEM subject (she took dance classes and taught dance pt, as well as life guarding. Not a particularly girly girl and make-up strictly for performance only - people who claim dance is girly have never actually lived with a honking teen that trains and sweats for hours a day)
Ds1 is 15 and a math genius, but was essentially raised in a tutu and was breastfeeding his dolls by two. Despite being said math genius, he thinks he will go performing arts. It is a complete waste, but I'm letting him make his own mind up.
Dd2 is 14 and wears black and grey, and a baseball cap. She lost her mind when she started menstruating. She has a disability and is an adaptive ski racer. I assume that she will move through the 'everything girly is bloody awful' stage and it will even out. Or she will dress like Kevin the teenager forever. Whatever.
If you haven't read 'Cinderella ate my daughter', you should. Clearly mine are stuck in a susan faludi backlash, but dd1 did dye her hair purple yesterday. <shrugs>
We are all individuals.
DS is 3.8 and DD is 8 months.
Difficult to comment on DD as she's too young but DS so far is typically boyish. Loves running and jumping, going fast, climbing. Loves cars, trains, boats, lorries etc. Hates colouring. Likes anything destructive. He loves teddies though. He's not crafty but we don't do crafts at home as I hate more mess! When he was younger he literally never sat still, he was on the go 24/7. He had to be ran like a dog, up down, up down. He doesn't pick his own clothes really but if he has a choice picks Thomas the Tank engine, Paw Patrol etc. He likes Peppa pig though, but obviously no undies for boys in Peppa Pig.
I think we're squashing people into gender boxes much more than when I grew up in the 70s and 80s. No wonder there are so many people identifying as transgender now.
I think this is such an interesting point.
I think my interest in this topic is partly to do with having (soon) 3 DS's and constantly hearing negative stuff about boys/ hearing that I am really missing out by not having a girl, and just wanting to tget to the bottom of what that really means. My boys are both rambunctious and sensible, emotional and occasionally aggressive- They can be simple and 'like dogs' and also very complicated and hard to figure out. what would be different if I had girls I wonder?
FWIW we have a vast array of toys but DS always picks the trucks, cars and blocks.
Two DSs. They tend to veer towards stereotypical male interests. Favourite toys are trainsets and Lego. Saying that, I played with a similar trainset but in a more of a build a track then use it to create a story about the passengers whereas they are more into the engineering and technical qualities of it. DH comes from a family of technically minded engineering types, so not that surprising, but they're also interested in my specialisms of the humanities subjects.
Their hair is on the longer side as it's what suits the texture of their hair. They favour sweatshirt cardigans for school as they are easier to put on than jumpers. My grandad wore cardigans, and was probably wearing one the day he got barred from his local in his 80s . DS2 still likes brightly coloured nail varnish, sadly DS1 was totally put off after another boy called him a girl when they were 5. DS1 seems aware that as a boy, he's in the minority at gymnastics which is a shame as it's doing a lot for his physical skills and confidence.
I've tried to give them access to a range of toys such as dolls, prams and kitchens which DS1 has a mild interest in. DS2 is more into babies and cuddly toys. He's more expressive emotionally.
Sometimes they surprise me like their My Little Pony fest earlier this year. Generally though, they do have a lot of "masculine" interests and need a lot of physical outlet (although their attention span for sitting and concentrating is good).
The problem is that in the absence of daughters, I can't vouch for how I parent them based on gender. I try to keep developing their interests and weaker areas as individuals, but it's hard to separate that from gender stereotypes. I hope I don't shut down choices and interests purely because they are male.
DS3 likes both boys and girls toys, but if a film (he is only allowed to watch U-rated Disney/Pixar ones so far) has any violent themes in at all, that will immediately get picked up and overshadow the rest of the film. So eg: Beauty and the Beast is a film about a mob killing a Beast and getting thrown down a cliff, Brother Bear is a film about a hunter stabbing a bear to death, Finding Dory is a film about a scary squid trying to eat the characters, etc.
My dd gravitated towards pink when she was young despite my objections.We let her go with it.Teens now and she is mainly wearing black,no make up and short hair.She refuses to be put into a gender box and is becoming more aware of feminist issues .
Pink is a colour,because it is now linked to girls does not mean we should avoid it but teach our children that a colour does not define who we are or will be.
DD 7 often wears pink; she does ballet and jazz, plays the piano and violin and loves Enid Blyton and unicorns. However, sometimes she wears black, or navy, or rugby/football tops; she watches football as often as she can (live), loves Star Wars and enjoys playing in the mud etc. I don't see any stereotypes, I don't think, just a balanced child.
DS fairly typical 10 yr old boy, I think; lives in joggers, is football and Star Wars obsessed, loves Maths and science and is massively interested in history and geography. His best friends are a mix of boys and girls and he isn't afraid to show his (very) sensitive side. He reads voraciously and plays the trombone. He has not been 'steered' knowingly in any particular direction.
2.5yr old DS:
Boy-conforming stuff -
Loves screwdrivers, garden tools, 'digging up the road' like Mr Bull in Peppa. Wears boy clothes, boy haircut. Into dinosaurs and big trucks, especially the bin lorry. Plays with cars.
Non-conforming stuff -
Has a doll, breastfeeds it. Loves his toy hoover, ironing board and doll buggy at playgroup. Talks about his emotions and is learning to identify how he feels. Often has painted toenails and plays with my makeup. Has a toy kitchen. Very affectionate and empathetic. Often sought out by girls to play with as he can be quite quiet and gentle.
Basically he's a regular kid who hasn't yet been exposed to unchecked damaging gender stereotypes at nursery ('boys don't cry', 'man up' etc) because he doesn't go. I'm aware of the pervasiveness of family and friends' gender-driven attitudes to him though (being rougher, discounting his feelings etc) and trying my best to counter this.
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