My son is sexist.(84 Posts)
My son has just turned 9.
Dp has always treated me with the utmost respect and although I am a stay at home mum, I have free financial rein and I have never felt in any way held back by my non working outside the home status if you know what I mean.
My son has increasingly been making sexist statements about strength and abilities of women to do things. I'd consider myself a feminist as is dp and I'm honestly struggling to find out where these views are coming from.
"Sure boys are far stronger than girls?"
"A woman can't be a builder"
"Boys are better at maths and stuff than girls"
I'm totally dumbfounded. He says things like this a lot. I keep reiterating that women can do anything a man can do but I'm not sure I'm doing enough.
I don't know if it's the fact that I'm at home that he sees my role as worthless. Maybe I'm over thinking this. I'd appreciate any advice on where to go from here. I feel both me and dps are talking to the wall when trying to combat this.
It really seems ingrained in society. It's worrying me.
Perhaps you could give him specific examples of women in science, sport, trade, agriculture etc. And also examples of men being SAHD, nurses, stylisist etc. My ds occasionally says something similar but is immediately stopped short when I point out that his DGM is a scientist and that I did a lot of the building work on our house.
How about instead of reiterating that these things aren't so, asking him why or what has made him think that? Or pointing out examples of sexism in the media etc. It is totally ingrained in society so it is all around us, so I really don't think it is because of your non-working status.
Me and dh have a very equal relationship. Dh does loads around the house, we both worked full time, both do equal childcare etc.
My kids (a Ds and Dd) still come out with stuff like this.
Both me and dh gently challenge why they think it.
Ds came home sayin she needed a new lunch box because hers was a boys. She wasn't upset, she took it as fact. So we asked about why she thought it, that she picked it because she liked it, why can't she like that character because she is a girl etc?
I then spoke to the class teacher, who agrees any kids saying things like tags should be gently challenged and she did a talk with the class about sexism in a age related way.
Ds (5) sometimes says things like 'only boys play football' so we watched women's football, asked him how he would feel if someone banned his sister or me from playing football with him. He agreed the 'boys can only play football' was silly and we extended that to all sports and everyday life.
Dd recently was told she couldn't be an engineer, by a boy at school. She wants to work for Airbus. They are at secondary. She asked him which part of an a330 was built using a penis
In short I don't think your set up has caused this. My kids seemed to pick it up at school. What is important is that you challenge it and talk it through, with him.
I would have thought it's more about stuff he's hearing at school than because you're a SAHM. Maybe research some examples - there are some good Facebook groups like A Mighty Girl which are useful for this. Here's one to get started - the Iditarod race is a ludicrously tough 1000-mile husky/sled race run in Alaska every March. One of the most successful champions of all time was Susan Butcher.
Have you asked him what makes him think those things?
"Boys are better at maths and stuff than girls"
Show him the news reports of e.g. yesterday's exam results where girls far exceed boys.
Agree he's echoing what he hears from others at school rather than based on your role in the household.
"Dd recently was told she couldn't be an engineer, by a boy at school. She wants to work for Airbus. They are at secondary. She asked him which part of an a330 was built using a penis"
I love your DD!
My DD is only 3, and already she's being told by the boys that 'girls can't [X]'.
After explaining why girls can do X (and doing it with her), I told her the only thing a boy can do that I can't is pee standing up. I also pointed out that boys don't actually do that task that well anyway - which is why the boy's bathroom smells so bad...
they pick it up everywhere. DS(6) comes up with some of this stuff - girls can't do x etc boys can't wear pink. I'm the breadwinner in our family- DP a SAHP so his role models do not enforce this. I just try and say that everyone can do anything they want and that some people are good at somethings and not at others. I have told him in the past that the only difference is that boys have penises and girls don't.
it is difficult though - at school the boys play together and not with the girls and some things seemed badly designed- football club clashes with dance club and creates gender divide. But then I remember at 18months a mum friend telling me that it was a shame that her little girl couldn't go to a preschool football class I assumed that it was a timing issue - the mum then blushed and confessed that she assumed her dd couldn't go/shouldn't go because she's a girl. The same family constantly told their DD to act as a lady/sit nicely like a lady etc - be quiet etc, very different to their son. The child learns these attitudes takes them to nursery/school and they impinge on others
Sadly a lot of this crap comes from other parents and wider society - just keep challenging it and back up your examples.
Resist the temptation that some seem to have to go the other way and denigrate boys - think we can sing the praises of both genders with our children and still make a valid point
Order this in time for Christmas
It's a fab book on Kickstarter which tells the stories of 100 amazing women through history
You could also check out www.amightygirl.com for books and resources that challenge typical gender roles and also have articles and books about women in STEM
I agree with the above - the best way I've found with mine (admittedly younger - 6, the 2 year old isn't doing it yet) is to ask why he thinks that, challenge it, ask him to justify why pink is a girls colour or whatever - anything to get him to really think through what he's just said - a kind of teach a man to fish approach.
Generally it works, and he just ignores anyone who tells him otherwise (and, I'm proud, puts anyone in their place who tells other people stuff like this around him). We've even got to the stage of eye rolling should I question something he says, so I know it's got in there.
Wow, you are a saint for putting up with this. I'd tell him that his mother is a woman, too, and to watch his tongue.
And punish him. No more TV - actually, since TV is where boys get much of this shit, that'd actually be effective in more ways than one.
I'm aware that punishing him for saying it might lead to him just keeping his sexist attitude to himself, while still having it, but I wouldn't have the strength to put up with hatespeech by my own child.
Giving him a book on female Nobel Prize winners for Christmas is probably better, though.
I have told him in the past that the only difference is that boys have penises and girls don't.
Or alternatively (but how often do you hear this) girls have a uterus that can grow a whole new human being) and boys don't.
He has reached the age where he is trying to find his place in the world, what it means to be male. He is trying to identify what 'the world' expects from him. He is getting his cues from all sorts of sources. That is why children say things like 'women can't be firefighters' even if their own mum is a firefighter. There is a difference between their world and the world around them.
I used to challenge these type of comments with my own sons and use the opportunity to discuss why these ideas exist. They need guidance to develop their own personalities in this respect as in all others. My two teenage boys have developed into lads with a fairly feminist outlook so there's plenty of time for your lad.
Interesting that women seem to think men can't x.
Did they learn that as children and dobthey challenge their daughters?
I doubt this has much to do with your being a SAHM.
All you can do is keep gently challenging his assertions. He'll be hearing a lot of this from school peers, who might be hearing these views articulated at home or be getting them from TV/Youtube etc.
It's also a fairly normal part of growing up, where children try to 'sort' people into roles in order to try and work out what their role is, if that makes sense? This is why challenging these ideas is so important.
Bit of a non sequitur, vitreous.
Still, better than you telling us againhow sexy you find teenagers in leotards, eh?
Your son isn't sexist, he lives in a sexist society and receives messages on a daily basis. My DDs only ever went to female doctors and still spouted the old 'men are doctors and women are nurses' bullshit. As others have suggested, just counter the stereotypes with daily examples of how these stereotypes just aren't true. Kids aren't stupid, just brainwashed.
Jacquetta, you're not allowed to gainsay Vitreous, he gets ever so upset about it. Ignoring is a better idea.
It is tricky when you are at home nurturing and his dad is out in the world earning. Is there any particular reason why you don't work and his dad does?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.