14 December 2017

Gender Stereotyping

When you become a parent there are questions you ask yourself which I am sure 99% of parents ask themselves - will my child make friends? Will my child be good at sports/maths/science/music (whatever your tipple might be)? Will he/she be happy? Have I done everything I could for him/her? Then there are the questions you find yourself asking in those quiet moments of deliberation which you NEVER thought you'd be asking yourself as a parent.  Have I made parenting choices which have shaped my daughter into being a product of her gender, as opposed to letting her be whoever she is?! 

Now I wouldn't call myself a girlie girl in the true meaning of the phrase. Yes I like some "girlie things" - having my nails painted, wearing high heels (when appropriate!), pink things, glitter and of course diamonds! However, I also like playing sport, getting sweaty and rolling around in mud (a true lacrosse player quality!). I am also fiercely competitive and unapologetically opinionated - neither of which would be top of the list in qualities for housewife of the year circa 1950! The good news is that I am not trying to create an award winning 1950s housewife when parenting my daughter, I'm trying to create an independent young lady with a mind of her own, shaping and building a life that fundamentally makes her happy and all I ask is that she avoids anything illegal and treats people with respect along the way.

However, I have recently been greeted with a new question to ask myself as a parent - am I gender stereotyping with my parenting decisions? Whaaaat!? Apparently all these small decisions we make are shaping our children to be the gender they are AND more importantly are trapping them in a gender box which later may not be right for them, and every move we make may be reaffirming to them that they SHOULDN'T feel that way.

I didn't find out the sex of my child when I went for my 20 weeks scan and therefore she lived in grey for a few days however at the first opportunity I ran out and bought her some pink, floral baby grows so I could show off my ball of cuteness to the British public without having to deal with the "boy or girl" question. The hospital even gave us a hand knitted PINK hat when she was born - which I adore I might like to add - so that it was clear she was in fact, a SHE! I have continued this trend and although she is not a tights and dresses kind of girl (she literally cries her eyes out when putting on tights - hell I know the feeling!!) she wears A LOT of pink, however she also wears a lot of white, grey and navy so can I really be influencing her gender by my choice of clothing?

Then of course theirs toys - here is where I am imbalanced in the opposite direction. My daughter is nearly two and she loves all things stereotypically "boy" such as construction - diggers, JCBs, etc, dinosaurs, all things transportation - trains, tractors, planes, helicopters. 

So what does that mean? I have no idea quite frankly. She is who she is and I would be as proud of her if she were to become a construction site foreman as if she because a beautician provided she is happy, healthy and respectful of others.

Written by Hannah @try_hard_mother 


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