You can only tell a boy from his privates
This is what L had to say to me on Friday upon returning home from school. So rewind a bit, where did this all come from?
L’s French Mamie (granny) came to visit last week and brought L a gorgeous new jacket from la Belle France, which has a zip that is – stylishly – off-centre.
When we got home after school on Friday I asked her if her friends liked her new jacket, and here is how a conversation that started on her jacket ended up with boys’ privates:
Me: So do your friends like your new jacket?
L: YES! Except H, he said it’s weird.
Me: Ah, what does he know about fashion? He’s a boy.
L: You can only tell a boy from his privates.
Me: erm, what? What’s that all about?
L: That’s what Miss M told us today, when we talked about breaking stereo….stereo…
Me: Breaking stereotypes?
L: Yes! Breaking stereotypes!
So it turns out that on Friday they’d been doing some work as a class on breaking gender stereotypes. L enthused about the different role plays they’d enacted, to show them breaking stereotypes, including quite a tough boy who chose to dance a pirouette to show him breaking a stereotype, which she thought was hilarious.
She told me she’d learnt that “boys can do anything and girls can do anything, and that you can only tell if someone is a boy or a girl by their privates, not by what they do”.
This was so heart-warming as I am so sick of toy manufacturers and retailers pushing us into “boy toys” and “girl toys”, we’re even being sold gender specific stories and colouring books. I’m sorry, but WTF?!
I’m also delighted that L remembered it so well and recounted it with such joy – normally when she comes home from school she’s incapable of telling you anything about her day!
I always worry about the whole gender stereotype thing; despite being raised in a family where we were told we could do what we wanted regardless of sex (I have one sister who is a doctor and one brother who is in HR), I did a very “girl” degree of modern languages and have always veered towards girl subjects – English literature, languages, history – and shunned “boy” subjects of maths, science etc. Whilst Hubs did all the typical “boy” subjects of maths and science, before doing a Masters in IT.
Although as stereotypes at home go she must be very confused – her Papa does 99% of the cooking (see our family cooking blog for some of his fab meals), whilst I probably do more DIY and taking bins out than him! He’s also always been a very hands-on dad, changing nappies and looking after both girls on his own regularly.
However L has always been quite a girly girl, with an obsession with pink, which is slowly fading I’m delighted to say.
The one thing that does reassure me is that she is such a stunt girl, shows no fear in the face of climbing, jumping and being a daredevil in general. In fact she broke her arm, on a climbing frame, when she was 4 and was back “on the horse” scrambling up a fireman’s pole before the cast had even been taken off. She climbs anything and everything and has “her” tree in our garden as well as “her” tree at the local park.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with whatever lifestyle choices L (or her sister) makes, but I don’t want her to be pushed towards something by Hubs and me (subconsciously) or by society.
So if her Year 2 teacher is teaching her she can be or do whatever she wants then I couldn’t be happier! Thank you Miss M 🙂