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.

Girl modelling her new French black leather jacket #genderstereotypes

L modelling her new French jacket

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.

Girl in princess dress on her 6th birthday #genderstereotypes

Princess L on her 6th birthday

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.

L hunting for Easter Eggs in "her" tree in our garden  #genderstereotypes

L recently hunting for Easter Eggs in “her” tree in our garden

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 🙂

I’m linking this post up to Magic Moments over at The Oliver’s Madhouse, as it was a magic moment that made me very happy. Click on the link below to read about other magic moments:


22 Responses

  1. Gaby Moss says:

    Apt given your pic of C in the cars sleeping bag too. J (boy) loves his buggies and cuddling dolls and teddies. J with two big sisters has lots of opportunity to play with toys stereotypical of both genders. I hope we can all bring them up to be whatever they want be. (However L did not mention that only that her homework was meant to be in today which I have just found.)

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Here’s hoping that this continues! (Not sure about the homework – L didn’t mention that to me!)

  2. Michelle says:

    Completely agree with your post especially about the boys and girls toys. I have two girls and I went to buy my youngest a Jake and the neverland pirate sword. Just as I was about to leave they said ‘Hope he enjoys his present’ I was like it’s for my daughter x #MagicMoments

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      It drives me crazy – why do we have to channel them in to boys and girls playing from so young?!?

  3. Aww love this, and love that they are teaching about breaking stereotypes at school. It’s something I’ve thought a lot about already, and it’s difficult to know as a parent how to encourage it, but I like that phrase! xx #magicmoments
    Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) recently posted…A glimpse into our home…My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I’m so pleased she’s learning it at school already. It’s a great phrase, isn’t it?!?

  4. Katie says:

    I probably shouldn’t say this in light on the subject matter of the post – but my she is striking 🙂
    The lesson sounds fantastic, and great motivation for kids.
    However i sometimes feel that people do go a bit overboard on the whole gender stereotypes thing, especially with regard to what types of products companies produce and market. They will do whatever sells so i think its more about our roles as parents to educate kids that it’s ok to break the mould. fab that it’s happening in schools too x
    Katie recently posted…Is it time to relax yet?My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Thank you Katie, so many people have said similar things to me recently, it’s strange as I think my girls are both gorgeous as all mothers do, so it’s weird when others echo that! Whilst I agree with what you say about companies producing toys, it drives me loopy that everything seems to be in pink or blue – whatever happened to all the other great colours out there?!? x

  5. I really dont understand why we have to divide girls and boys when its really fun when they can do anything and everything. This is an awesome post =) #magicmoments
    Merlinda (@pixiedusk) recently posted…Whats The StoryMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Thank you! Exactly! Surely gender shouldn’t stop anyone from doing anything.

  6. Love this post and love the photo of L up the tree! Brilliant that your school is introducing this subject at such an early age. We didn’t go in for ‘gender neutral parenting’ which I think is a bit extreme, nor did we force the boys into boys’ pursuits and my daughter into girls’ hobbies. They’ve taken their own decisions, which are largely along traditional gender lines, but my daughter is Daddy’s fast car/ fast ride/ football fan – much more than her brothers.
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…The park loses its shineMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Thank you lovely. I’m so chuffed that the school has taken this line, and at such a young age too. We’re not into gender neutral parenting, instead we suggest “boys” and “girls” pursuits and let L choose – so far she’s done ballet, football, cricket and gymnastics and this term is starting Taekwando 🙂

  7. Coombemill says:

    She looks a very well rounded girl to me, all the best of them can be a princess one minute and up a tree the next!#magicmoments
    Coombemill recently posted…It’s Triplets!My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Thank you – I love the mix of my princess climbing a tree 🙂 It makes me believe she can be/achieve anything!

  8. Honest Mum says:

    Beautiful post and I like, you don’t like gender stereotypes, your daughter is a well rounded, stunning girl who with wonderful parents can do anything-love to hear how empowering schools are towards the young. I hate stereotyping-my eldest is a considered, smart, gentle boy who mixes with both boys and girls at pre-school. He’s artistic, not sporty yet my second is football mad, I mean seriously gifted-I think kids are different due to personalities, not gender specific traits x
    Honest Mum recently posted…A Day at the RHS Garden Harlow CarrMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Thank you lovely, it’s so important to let them be what they want to be, and not to try and fit them into specific moulds.

  9. I love this post and how fabulous is your little girl! She is ROCKING that jacket in the top photo! #MagicMoments

  10. Jaime Oliver says:

    it sounds like she has a really lovely teacher and one that is doing a great job teaching!!

    thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      She really does, we’re so lucky with L’s school and all the teachers she’s had so far 🙂

  11. Katy Hill says:

    Oh my goodness – you have THE COOLEST teacher! I’m jealous! She sounds like she totally ROCKS! xx

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Thank you! She is pretty amazing, and was very chuffed at getting this comment from you on my blog 😉

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