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Sexism and the young child

(19 Posts)
Namejustfornappies Mon 28-Nov-16 14:18:18

My 3 year old told me today that only daddies work, mummy just goes to the shops confused
This is despite DH being the SaHD up to July this year while I went out to work.

She said other things as well.

Where the hell did it come from? She only watches a bit if cbeebies or Pixar films. my family are all feminists, a lot of our friends are. I've no idea where it comes from.

0phelia Mon 28-Nov-16 16:08:12

Young children repeat what other ppl say a lot.
She's not necessarily saying it because she believes it to be true, she's exploring. She wants to hear what you think about the statement.

It could have been another child at nursery, or if she mixes in child groups, from there.

The best response wld be "If anyone else says that to you, remind them that your mum is the one who works and your Dad does everything needed at home"

Children are like parrots a lot of the time.

IAmAmy Mon 28-Nov-16 16:17:39

What other sorts of things did she say? That's quite disheartening to hear though I'm sure she won't be limited in any way and you're bringing her up excellently. It shows how pernicious sexism and outdated views of the roles parents/men and women take on are. Similarly in the ways toys are so gendered which limits children and pushes them towards the role society ascribes them due to their sex.

Iloveswears Mon 28-Nov-16 16:29:12

My dd said very similar to me at about 2/3 yrs old. I was horrified, but then looked around me and realised that it was a statement entirely backed up by her experience of the world at that point.
She said something along the lines of 'mummy's can't be doctors. Only daddy's can be because they go to work and mummy's don't'.
I'm a sahm and during the week the only people my dd would see were other sahm or part time wohm friends with their kids and two female relatives - one of whom is retired and one who is self employed/works from home.
I started having lots of conversations with my dd about the fact that mummy used to do what daddy did and will return to work one day. I started getting my working female friends to talk to her about what they do for a living, and now she's started school we have lots of conversations about all of the interesting careers she would like to potentially do when she's older.
It's not perfect, and it did make me think a lot about how early girls are socialised in this way.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Mon 28-Nov-16 16:34:01

That is nothing: My 4 year old son mansplains!

We were on a car journey recently and DH was giving me a long, convoluted lecture on some fascinating to him thing he'd recently seen on TV. I'm zoning out going "yes dear" "hmm, interesting" when Ds gets tired of it and interjects ^in the same tone^:

"Dinosaurs died out 300 million years ago. Before that they roamed the earth. They had Volcano's. T. Rex: that's a good dinosaur, check! Spinosaurus: he is a dinosaur, check!"

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

IAmAmy Mon 28-Nov-16 16:38:22

lloveswears it's great you've been able to tell your daughter this isn't the case and she's now getting to hear about women with great careers. Not that it's my place to say but you could also tell her that some dads also stay at home when their children are born or are stay at home parents, so she knows it's something some parents do, not that a mother has to do. Chatting about careers with her is I'm sure really helping her think about things she finds interesting already!

Mondegreens Mon 28-Nov-16 16:46:49

My dd said very similar to me at about 2/3 yrs old. I was horrified, but then looked around me and realised that it was a statement entirely backed up by her experience of the world at that point.

But the OP is in a different situation, though. Her daughter is parroting something which is directly contradicted by her immediate environment.

Mondegreens Mon 28-Nov-16 16:51:32

Sorry, hit send too soon. OP, I discovered when my three year old son started coming out with things about what girls and mummies (and actually boys and daddies also) couldn't do, it was coming from his not very bright nursery teacher, who had some fairly reactionary ideas about gender. Which frankly, I should have realised when she seemed absolutely incapable of realising on bills/invoices/letters that the Dr X in our household was me and not DH, and addressed me as 'Miss Surname' in letters, because apparently if I didn't use DH's surname, I couldn't be married to him. Aaargh.

LuchiMangsho Mon 28-Nov-16 16:53:14

When DS started saying such things at a similar age (I have worked FT since he was 7 months) I asked him what made him think that. A simple 'why do you think that?' will help you with next steps.

Namejustfornappies Mon 28-Nov-16 17:15:27

I think I'm just horrified that she thought I was just going out shopping every day I went to work confused I'm now on maternity leave with dc3 and DH is working from home. She's never been in childcare, and at toddler group she drags me around so I would have noticed if it came from there.
She's also very pink and girly - entirely her. Choice - as far as I'm aware I've never worn pink, and only wore a dress to get married in. Her older sister is more like me wrt comfy trousers etc - but I've also had the "only boys can play with x toy" from her, which I have challenge d.

Other comments - only mummies sew (more likely to be DH in this house) only daddies fix things (nowadays true but only because I've always got a baby that needs feeding - I used to do just as much DIY)

But where does this come from? I refuse to believe it's innate.

Namejustfornappies Mon 28-Nov-16 17:16:36

But I will start with the "what makes you think that" tactic, rather than spluttering indignantly like I'm currently doing! grin

IAmAmy Mon 28-Nov-16 17:23:43

I would disagree with calling her "girly". Pink yes, but there's no reason such a thing is necessary "girly", this feeds into the idea some toys/colours/pursuits are for boys and others for girls (not saying you're doing that). It's not innate because she's commenting on things she believes to be the case, also things which her older sister, you and her father don't believe. It must be the general messages which we're fed constantly, clearly they're more pervasive than many realise.

Namejustfornappies Mon 28-Nov-16 17:29:19

I know girly is the wrong term - but it's an easy shorthand as she plays with dolls, toy kitchen and dressing up almost exclusively. Older sister was more trains, dinosaurs, rockets.

I think it's worryingly pervasive

quencher Mon 28-Nov-16 17:32:25

Op, it's not you, it's society we brought our children into.
My heart sank about a month ago. I wanted the earth to swallow me hole because of feeling like a failure. (Not meant literally grin). Dd and I went into the lego shop to buy some toys for her birthday.
I pointed to a table of toys to play with.
She turned to me and said, "mummy that's for boys, I will play with this one".
I paused for a few seconds, turned to her and challenged her view.

This has been the only occasion but I feel there is more to come.

shinynewusername Mon 28-Nov-16 17:39:04

This is an amazing insight into how early stereotyping starts and how quickly children are influenced by it. It was written in the 80s, but it's still very relevant - if anything, I'd say stereotyping is worse now, driven by consumerism and the desire to sell to children angry

LuchiMangsho Mon 28-Nov-16 19:50:10

Sorry I had to go and look after DS. So when I did ask that question, he pointed out that DH did work longer hours than me. But I pointed out that we actually earned the same money (I earned fractionally more) but I had more flexible hours. We had a chat about professions etc. DS is not very 'boyish' if I may indulge in stereotypes. He's into pink, sparkly, fairy and ballet stuff and we have never steered him away. I did baulk at the pink sparkly trainers he wanted to buy, not on gender grounds but on the grounds that even if he had a sister I wouldn't buy her something quite that hideous (esp given how expensive kids' trainers are). Almost all of his friends are girls, and he finds boys too boisterous and loud. Some of my extended family have commented on how he's not very sporty (my BIL wants to give him a toy gun and boxing gloves for!) but they know that I will bite their heads off, so don't dare say anything aloud.

powershowerforanhour Thu 01-Dec-16 01:12:56

OP, for starters, stick the telly on when PMQs is on and explain that Theresa May is at work.

AmberGreyson Thu 01-Dec-16 12:09:58

probably from other stupid kids

RedStripeIassie Fri 02-Dec-16 22:53:19

If my dd (3) is acting out on a bus in in a library or whatever, dh will always say 'behave or the man will come and tell you off'. Who the fuck the man is I don't know and why it's not a woman I don't know either. It drives me mad for a lot of reasons.

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