Fighting gender stereotypes in children

gender stereotypes in children

I like to think that I’m the kind of parent that relentlessly fights gender stereotypes in my parenting. I feel like I am constantly correcting gender stereotyped comments peppered through the school week. But despite always trying so hard to parent in a gender neutrally possible way, I feel like society’s force is winning, and I’m losing. Sometimes I feel that fighting gender stereotypes in children is just so hard!

Less gender neutral, more pink!

Despite always trying to keep things relatively gender neutral on the colour front, my daughter is now six, and has her own likes and beliefs. Those likes and beliefs are very much pink.

When I asked her what theme she wanted for her sixth birthday party, it was princesses. Things got even worse when it morphed into princesses and knights. But who am I to tell her she shouldn’t have the birthday party she wants? Because I also believe in the freedom to choose, and of free speech. So I felt caught between a rock and a hard place.

I wondered how much more gender-stereotyped could things get?

Well believe me, they could.

The gender stereotype of birthday presents

Because then there were all the pink, fluffy, frilly, sparkly, cute girl birthday presents and cards she got. They were overflowing, everywhere. I couldn’t even get away with it myself. A new scooter was on the present list. I asked her what colour she wanted – again, because I believe we should teach our children they have the power to choose in this life.

Pink!

It’s maddening.

Boys are this, girls are that

Then there have been the recent ongoing quips about boys being faster, stronger, better than girls. Yes this is coming from boys obviously. Of course, I jump in to correct every time when I hear these remarks which quite frankly, make my blood boil. Don’t even get me started on what goes on in my head when I hear that old “pink is for girls, blue is for boys” malarkey. You think we’re beyond that? Unfortunately, most kids don’t. But hey, they’re not thinking about the gender equality agenda are they?

The sad fact is that gender stereotypes are very much alive. While it’s okay for my daughter to absolutely love pink – hey, it’s her choice – I still feel uneasy about how much gender stereotypes are still so influential and very much enforced in this day and age. Yes, she loves pink and sparkly things, but she also absolutely loves science. So where were all the science kits on her birthday?

Do you ever feel you’re fighting a losing battle when it comes to fighting gender stereotypes in children? Do leave a comment and share.

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6 comments

  1. I think it’s hard to escape from but I have seen a difference in my girls. My eldest is all pink and dresses (well she was) but my middle girl is all trousers and hoodies. She is also more into your typical “boys toys”. Though shouldn’t say that! I think nurture is huge but nature has a role.

  2. Yeah I agree with the above in that I think it’s a bit of both. Teaching / schooling / parenting is changing so quickly at the moment it can be hard to keep up.

  3. At my son’s school there are twin girls who are 7 years old. One is what you’d class as very girly and the other has short hair, wears shorts and plays football. Kids should just be kids and do or wear whatever they love.

  4. Kids need to be kids for sure! Great post! We should teach kids there is no normal because we are all unquiet and that’s what makes us all special

  5. We haven’t raised gender neutral kids but they’ve always known they can wear whatever they want and play with whatever toys they want to no matter who they’re marketed towards etc. My daughter wanted to be a builder when she was little and had every single Bob the Builder toy going. And my son is a massive fan on the theatre. He especially loves the ballet. I’m so proud that they continue to do what they love despite sometimes getting teased about it by other kids.

    Louise x

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