From a recent study:
"In one experiment, mothers were asked to guess the steepness of a carpeted slope that their 11-month olds would be able to crawl. Then the children actually crawled the slope, and the difference between actual and mother-predicted angles was noted.
The results showed that both boys and girls were able to crawl the same degree of incline. However, the predictions of the mothers were correct within one degree for the boys and underestimated their daughter’s ability by nine degrees.
What this shows is that the presumption that boys are more physical causes parents to encourage their boys more in physical activities while cautioning their girls. This further translates into providing more opportunities for boys to be physical and fewer for girls.
Boys actually do develop stronger physical skills than girls. But not because of anything innate or biological, but rather because of the gender roles that the parents subconsciously projected onto their babies."
(It's a great read - there's more stuff in there about how parents unknowingly enforce the idea that boys shouldn't cry. And five great tips on simple things you can do to avoid enforcing gender roles on your kids.)
pomelo / 5093 posts
Man this kind of stuff really grinds my gears. I have a long rant on just this topic that I will just spare everyone. Long story short, not my daughter. Not for a damn minute.
pomelo / 5678 posts
It is tough in American culture! I think dh is a good example and hopefully I am too. I grew up fishing and camping. He grew up cooking. Neither of us are domestic.... he wants to learn to knit and I was raised doing yardwork and playing baseball. We do not follow traditional roles...
@PawPrints: thanks for sharing. Interesting and a good thoughtful reminder.
pomelo / 5678 posts
@PawPrints: the part about infant boys being slightly ignored makes me sad I love this article! I need a reminder not to reinforce these things...
pomelo / 5620 posts
That is a good article. It is amazing what we do without even realizing it.
honeydew / 7687 posts
LOVE this, thanks for posting. It's something I feel really strongly about, and DH and I are both really conscious of it in terms of our son. If I had a dollar for every time I heard something like "oh he's such a boy" in regards to how active/busy/bold he is, I could buy a copy of pink brain, blue brain for my entire city.
GOLD / pomelo / 5737 posts
Sounds logical to me although I wouldn't say ALL differences in physical abilities are gender role related. I find the gender comments annoying too. Mil used to call LO a "tomboy" before she was even walking..
pomegranate / 3643 posts
@googly-eyes: agree. They point out one component and disprove it and then say their is nothing biological at all.
I think moving away from focus on biological differences is good. I also think it's okay to accept differences and celebrate them as equal. But that's from a very non athletic woman who likes to knit.
pomelo / 5093 posts
@scg00387: man that makes me nuts! People tell me that I'm lucky to have a girl, because boys are so active. I always just say, have you meet my daughter? I am especially infuriated by this particular aspect of it, the way little girls are socialized to be calm and polite. My daughter is required to be polite, but calm and quiet, no.
bananas / 9227 posts
Thanks for the link!
wonderful pea / 17279 posts
persimmon / 1194 posts
Really interesting! Thanks!
kiwi / 575 posts
Ha! This is related to a discussion I had with DW at lunch today, about how glad I am that DS will be growing up with strong women role models like his mum, his grandmothers, my sister, my sister-in-law, and that the women in his life are all highly educated, have a mix of passions, careers, interests, and skills, and that he can learn from all of them. And so can I!
bananas / 9118 posts
Interesting article, I'm sure there is plenty that I inadvertently do to reinforce gender roles, but there is also plenty that I would intentionally do to make a girl more empowered. I think raising two boys before any potential girls is going to give me higher expectations to treat the theoretical daughter just like her brothers.
I tell my boy to be careful all the time- an example of something not to tell a girl from the article. He has a baby doll that he takes care of and feeds every day. We have regular snuggle times and long conversations, and I have no issues with a boy crying.