Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Breaking the Stereotype

I had a lady today say something about how I wasn't pushing Ethan high on the swings, and how "he's a boy, he isn't suppose to be scared" in reality the issue is he isn't even technically 2 yet, that's why he doesn't want to swing super high, not because he isn't "manly" enough.

I will be the first to admit that there is definitely stereotypes when it comes to boys versus girls. Boys are "suppose" to be rough, rowdy, dirty little tornados who mellow out when they grow. Girls are "suppose" to be relaxed, love pink, and get feistier with age. Right?

Wrong. So if this isn't always the case then why do people have those stereotypes.  My opinion? Society, Marketing, upbringing, you name it and there is a chance that it plays a part in stereotyping.

I myself unintentionally stereotype kids. Flipping through the channel and Ethan starts pointing to Dora, " Bud, you don't want to watch that, Dora's for girls"- Seriously who gives 2 cents who Dora is marketed towards. What I should say is " sorry bud, Dora annoys the snot out of Mommy, and she can't handle it today". At least that's the truth.

Just the other day I had a friend say something along the lines of " if you buy Ethan any more shoes he will need to be reminded he isn't a girl." How many pairs of shoes a kid owns has nothing to do with gender. It has everything to do with the fact that his mommy loves shoes and therefore for will buy him way to many pairs.

Does Ethan fall more within the boy stereotype? Yes. He is rough, rowdy, loud and loves trucks and airplanes and superheros. But its not because we intentionally tried to force that upon him. He also likes to carry my purse around and act like he is putting make up on while I get ready in the morning. Why? Because that's how he learns about the world around him by observing others.

I want my son to feel comfortable exploring the world around him and to break the mold. If he wants to wear a tutu and go to cosmetology school ( a stereotypically "female profession) not only will I support it, but I'll be his first customer ( free hair styling for life, yes please!) 

 I look at Aubrey and see how much she has come into her own. Breaking down the stereotypes people have tried to force upon her so she can become her own person. She loves rock and roll, and doesn't feel the need to get all dressed up for every social occasion, and hopefully next year will be on her way to serving our country as a pilot in the US Navy, all things you don't necessarily think of when you think of a girly girl. Yet at the same time she loves Sephora, and accessories, and shoes. She isn't trying to fit into a roll, she is trying to live her life the way she wants without the stereotypes that come with it.

So today, I plan on making a more conscious effort to avoid stereotyping. There is no right or wrong way to be and it is our job as parents to teach our kids to accept people for who they are, not for who they "should" be. If my children grow up and break the stereotype society has of them great. If they grow up to be walking cliches of a stereotype that's fine too. Either way they will be doing it because they want to, not because society told them its the right thing to do.

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