The look on my own father’s face when I casually recounted that my daughter and I had spent the morning in the garden sword fighting (albeit with a couple of foam swords) was a classic. But it was his words which trumped the look – “Sword fighting? That’s a bit aggressive isn’t it?”
And yes perhaps it was (although I bet nobody would ever say that had it been with a boy!), but that’s exactly why I had spent the morning doing so. It was a Tues morning in half term, with no particular plans and yes, we could have whiled away the morning doing all the things that people seem to expect little girls to do – crafting, baking, playing with dolls yadda yadda yadda. But wouldn’t that just be too much of a gender stereotype?
The thing is…I don’t want my daughter to be a pretty and bashful little princess. I want her to be a strong, powerful and independent young lady who is able to hold her own in this world. I have basically brought her up to be wild, and I actually think it is very healthy for her to be wild, because I don’t want her ever to feel like she has to shy in to anyone’s shadow.
Why should my daughter – just because she is of the female gender – not pick up a sword and go absolutely bananas with it? Why should she be expected to sit and be girly when according to so many experts and authors…including Steve Bidduph of Raising Girls who I admire so much…this is exactly the opposite of what girls need.
If we raise girls to think they should be hush hush and girly, what sort of women do we think they are going to become? The sort of women who can own it in – let’s face it in what is still a pretty sexist world? Or a woman plagued with self-esteem issues because she was always made to step aside and save the rough and tumble for the boys?
Boys can be incredibly overbearing…it’s expected and encouraged as per the old saying “boys will be boys”…all the way through growing up, into the teenage years and all throughout manhood by silly gender stereotypes which still sting so hard in this day and age.
Sure, I bake and craft with my daughter, but I love it best when she walks on the wild side, and there’s nothing better than a good old sword fight to unleash her inner beast and teach her that there’s no such thing as “boy’s things”. After all, why should girls have to miss out on a bit of rough and tumble just because that’s what society expects?
What do you think of the gender stereotypes that still seem to prevail in today’s world and how do you try and overcome them in your own way? And if you enjoyed this post why not read this one about how we can teach gender equality to our children.
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