This has nothing (and everything) to do with being grateful and homeschooling. This post may not be what you are here for but I feel as though it needs to be said more often — we should be shouting from the rooftops.
Shout it with me!
“There is no such thing as a GIRLS toy”
“There is no such thing as a BOYS toy”
“What you like to do with your time does not make you masculine or feminine, it only makes you YOU”
Almost any parent you ask would agree that they want to raise strong, happy and accepting children that have respect for each other AND respect for themselves… Yet we show them from the minute they are born that they should be a certain way and we show them that it is “wrong” if you aren’t. We have all done it at some point, even people with the best intentions. We give our son a blue toy and our daughter a pink one. We grow our daughters hair long and don’t allow our son to or vice-versa. We say to our little girls things like “That is not ladylike” and our boys “Be strong, be a man” and it all seems so innocent — but is it?
Today I was looking to buy Sage (my 5 year old daughter) a new scooter online. Her favourite colour is blue, so I was looking at blue and I came across 3 yes THREE different advertisements that mentioned that it was for boys… One said “Little Boys are going to love racing around….” while the pink one said “Girls will glide around…”. Again innocent… except it isn’t. Not if you are a boy who likes to glide, a boy who is sensitive. Or a girl who races, who is rough and tumble. My daughter is rough and tumble although she is also a fashionista (she loves clothes and dressing up), which I must say do not go well together for washing! So if I were to say to her that climbing everything in sight and being covered in mud (among other things) all the time was not “ladylike”, what am I really saying to her? Am I saying who she is is not feminine? Will that change the way she thinks of herself? Maybe not especially so if it is just this once, but what about over time? What if she is told by others too? What if she starts to believe that she is not “right”…
You may have mistaken this for feminism but it is not, feminism is asking for equality (which I completely agree with too), this is about acceptance. Both boys and girls should be free to accept who they are and accept others without preconceived judgements. Loving yourself and others is just as important for both genders!
After my scooter searching this video (http://www.samesame.com.au/news/10975/As-soon-as-Ryland-could-speak-she-would-scream-I-am-a-BOY) was in my newsfeed. A family who love and adore (not just accept) their transgender 5 year old son, knowing he is perfect and hoping that he will be accepted, loved and adored by others now and in the future. This family are perfect and I hope that their message of acceptance is shared far and wide. This may seem like an extreme case, and hard to see the relevance for children who are not transgender, but it is relevant. It is relevant for so many reasons. I would like my children to know that someone who is different is someone to embrace. We learn and grow from difference! Wars are started because adults can’t accept difference and are scared of people that they don’t “understand”.
I posted on my facebook page that I was sick of gender stereotypes and a friend of mine shared a link to a t-shirt – it was harmless enough, funny even. It was completely innocent… it read “This homeschool MOM has a crush on the principal”… To me that is implying that the husband/male is the principal. Saying that although the Mum (or MOM) is the teacher doing all the work, the male is her boss… this sort of thing is teaching little girls to aim to be the teacher rather than the principal and teaching them that the males in their life are superior. Not healthy for little girls or boys to feel that way…
All I am saying is be aware. Take notice. Next time you read a fairytale, take notice of the men and boys roles compared to the girls and woman. Enjoy the story but maybe then ask your children and discuss it with them. Take notice of the toys you choose for your children and be aware. Be aware of how you treat yourself in front of your children — show acceptance of yourself, show them that happy, successful people are people who like who they are and how they are. I struggle with that in myself! I really do but I don’t want my children to struggle with it, I want them to love who they are… because I know they are perfect and loveable.