Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Boys vs Girls

When I first had Abby, everyone asked how I liked having a girl and if it was much different then the boys. At that point, she was a tiny new little bundle of pink and behaved the same as any other newborn baby. She slept, she cried, she ate, and pooped - then repeat. I always answered that the biggest difference was all the cute little pink clothes and dresses.

 Now Abby is 3 years old. I'm starting to see a difference! However, how much of that is nature vs nurture? Learning in my sociology classes, gender is a social construct. That means that society determines what a boy is and what a girl is - not nature. Society decides that boys play with cars, dirt, and guns and that girls play with dolls and pretty "clean" things. I definitely see how society markets boy things versus girl things (I mean PINK legos for girls? Come on - can't they play with regular legos too?!).

However, I also think that some things are just inborn. Nature made boys/men to be the protectors and fighters (i.e. their obsession with guns and playing gun games no matter how much the parent tries to fight it). Nature also made girls to be nurturing mothers (i.e. girls' desire to play with dolls so much). That said, I do find a lot of the "girly" stuff being partly our fault. For example I call my daughter a princess, I get her excited about princess movies, and I buy her princess toys. The other day she was watching a TV show and a commercial came on for a girls toy and the girl had a bright pink bedroom. Now Abby can't get that out of her mind and demands daily that we paint her room pink.
 So... Abby is girl. But she also loves playing in the dirt and wrestling with the boys. One Sunday I turned my back for a moment and I found her belly down in a dirt pile with her pretty Sunday best dress on! (Remember this picture?)

The jury is still out on Eden. I have a feeling that she'll just follow in her big sister's foot steps. However you never know! She may want to be her own little person. I am totally okay with the kids being who they want to be. If I have a boy who wants to learn to sew, cook, and play with dolls - then I help them and encourage them to explore those interests. If Abby wants to play soldiers with the boys and wants her own Nerf gun, then I'll be happy to buy her one. I don't buy into the tough boys and dainty girls mentality. I think both boys and girls could benefit from having a tender and nurturing side as well as a courageous and strong side.