Monday, February 20, 2012

Gender Stereotypes

I adore this video that's making its rounds in the blog world lately:

Now, me being the liberal mama that I am, when Cole was born I was determined to raise him as much as possible without stereotypes, gender or otherwise.  Not that I was going to name him Storm and not tell anyone his gender or anything - not that extreme - but I did want to follow his lead on what he was interested in.

Cole naturally gravitated toward being interested in trucks, trains, animals, candles (I know! it's still so random!), and books.  But if he starts to show interest in dolls (age appropriate) or cooking (he actually loves to cook, and one day when we have room I'm planning on making this), I will follow his lead. 

My main question I ask myself when struggling with a parenting question (or any question, to be honest) is: "Is this behavior hurting anyone?  If my child grows up with this behavior, will it hurt anyone?"

What harm would happen if my son happened to like to play with dolls?  It hurts no one.  If it made him happy, isn't that all that matters? 

If our world was a little more free from stupid, meaningless gender stereotypes, heartbreaking stories like this or this wouldn't happen.  Little kids wouldn't feel bad about themselves because they happened to love pink, or wear a blue shirt even though they're a girl, or want to ask Santa for a doll.

I wish we could all just quietly observe our children's cues and allow them to follow their own interests, instead of forcing or pushing our own adult agendas onto them.

What do you think?  How would you handle it if your child wanted a stereotypically opposite gender toy?

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