Are we as a society still stuck on gender?
March 28, 2007 8:23pm CST
I am the mother of four children; three of which are grown and have moved out of the house......the youngest is getting ready to turn five. I also have seven grandchildren. My son enjoys playing with the usual toys of a child his age and he is extremely intelligent.....but one of my grand-daughters has a doll that cries, and its face turns red....anyway....my son loves that doll. Do you think that we are still gender biased in the United States? I encourage him to play with the doll if he wants to....I assume that someday he will be a parent and it is good for him to nuture his softer side....however others are saying that I should try to "toughen" him up somewhat. He has a gentle nature to him but socializes well with other children both older and younger than him. He has a very active imagination and frequently builds "contraptions"---or that is his word for whatever it is he has designed at that moment. I try to be supportive of what he wants and thinks; as I value that he is a growing young person with an active mind. Please do not misunderstand me....I expect him to be respectful, polite, and to listen when he is asked/told to do something. And he is, for the most part, a really good boy. What do you think about this? Do you think a child should be discouraged fromm playing with a specific toy because it does not fit into the stereotypical gender role of today's society? Haven't we,as a people, passed that way of thinking? Am I taking what they are saying too persanally? I do not intend to change the way I feel about this subject but would love to hear what other think about it.
• United States
29 Mar 07
As a mom of 4 boys (and 2 girls) I wish we had gotten beyond that but it seems in many ways we haven't. I find many people still stuck on that stereotype of how boys are supposed to be. I really don't under stand the point of continuing this idea that boys are supposed to be "tough" and "manly" while at the same time complaining that fathers and husband aren't involved enough and don't know how to b understanding and sensitive. We hear far too often about violent and abusive men. We see fathers that can't relate to their daughters. We see mothers feeling overwhelmed because the sole responsibility of caring for their children is placed on them. These men have been "taught" that that is how men are supposed to be. How? By continuing this stereotype and not allowing boys to develop their caring, sensitive, nurturing sides or acting as though something is wrong with them if they do openly show these feelings and behaviors. The best example I have with my own children is with my 2nd son. (one of my first discussions is about him) He just turned 4 so I know he is young still but he has the sweetest most sensitive personality. First of all his favorite color is pink. He loves playing with little stuffed animals and yes, even dolls. I let him. A few days ago he cried when his little brother ate a lollipop. Why? The "hollipops were (his) friends". He is the most amazing big brother to his baby brother. The first time he "met" the new baby, he sang to him. I don't see anything wrong with a boy being loving and I plan on doing everything I can to make sure he can continue being this way. Unfortunately, not everyone feels this way. A "friend" thought it was horrible when I let my son wear a pink shirt and actually said to me "don't ever dress him like a girl again, he'll end up in therapy or gay". I didn't dress him, he picked it out himself and put it on, I just allowed it. His dad, we're together, doesn't like it much either. He doesn't really say anything, he just steers our son away from "girly" things. I don't think you're "taking it too personally". I think people that say those thing are interfering with a positive and healthy personality. I also think that your little boy, and mine, are going to be wonderful fathers someday. Keep up the good work! Ignore those people who disagree. He's your son, you know what is best for him!
• United States
29 Mar 07
Foxyfire33 --- I want to thank you for your wonderful, heartfelt response.....although I have only been here a few days (to MyLot)....I already have the greatest respect and admiration for you! I can always count on you to share a piece of you with each response. We share alot of things in common (we both have 4 kids & we are both very passionate about them; plus we both have 4 yr. old sons).I believe we will become very good friends.
• United States
29 Mar 07
I am the mom of three kids , two boys and a girl. My daughter has a bunch of Little Pet Shop toys. One day my older brother came over with his two sons. They started to make fun of my boys because they were playing with her.My older son who is almost seven looked at them an said "I know that I am a boy but there isn't anything wrong with my playing dolls or pet shop with my sister. She plays with my cars and things as well. I am sorry that you don't care enough about her feelings to play what she likes every once in a while." After that I quit explaining to people that its alright to allow my sons to play with girl toys. The feel the way they want and I feel the way I want. I know that someday my boys will be wonderful fathers and thats all that matters to me. You are doing a wonderful job with your son allow him to play with whatever toy he wants as long as it is safe for him.
29 Mar 07
I think you are doing the best by your boy by letting him play with whatever toy he prefers. Toys are toys, they are objects, and it is only adults that brand them by gender. You are open, accepting, and you seem to be a very caring parent. Keep on with that open attitude and you will raise a tolerant, open, and caring adult. Hats off to you!!!