Why Does My Son Hate ‘Girl Stuff’ All Of A Sudden?

By kindergarten most children have learned and adopted cultural gender norms and roles.

By kindergarten most children have learned and adopted cultural gender norms and roles.

PPBB Community comment: “I wish I could control what my kids are learning in the classroom. My son comes home from kindergarten feeling like all he can play are superhero games. 
I’ve been telling both he and his sister from their day ones that all colors are for everybody, al
l characters are for everybody, princesses are for everybody and superheroes are for everybody. We live that way. 
But a few days in school and my boy yells “yuck” every time I ask him if he wants a pink heart sticker for crying out loud. 
It’s depressing, really.” -Kelly F

 

PPBB Reply: A lot of what your son is doing right now is totally age appropriate and common for kids who are in the phase of establishing gender permanence. Kids his age categorize everything and the world is very “this or that” for them right now. Good/bad, pretty/ugly, mean/nice, funny/scary. This is why the preschool/kinder age has such big emotions as the huge world they are learning so much about every day doesn’t line up with their boxes and they feel shifted and out of sorts. 

The categorization helps them feel a sense of control, because going out into the world every day without mom/dad right there can be scary and overwhelming so they compartmentalize everything and take their roles VERY seriously, which is why your son is overemphasizing that he is a B-O-Y right now and pink heart stickers make him wretch. 

It is completely frustrating and also a great indication he is learning and absorbing everything around him, including our culture’s definition of gender roles. Just be patient and keep emphasizing little gender equity mantras. It will stick with him as he matures.

Some PPBB gender equal and media literacy mantras you can use are:

Colors are for everyone.

All toys are for all kids.

There are many ways to be a girl.

There are many ways to be a boy.

Each person is Full of Awesome in their special way.

 

Images source.

 

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 If you would like to order empowering apparel and gifts for girls and boys, please visit www.pigtailpals.com.
 Find Melissa Atkins Wardy’s book “Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, Birth to Tween” on Amazon.
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The Myth of Male Bean Bag Supremacy: A Lesson From First Grade

I have empathy for the mom in this story, but considering this is 2014 this made my mouth fall open…..

Note to all you classroom parents out there: We all think volunteering at school is awesome, but if you show up with plans (unintentional or not) to limit our girls you’ll be the one getting an important lesson at school.

“I volunteered at my daughter’s first grade Valentine’s Day party. Another mom brought a bean bag toss game along with first, second, and third place ribbons. The boys played first while the girls did a craft, then they switched. The mom gave out the ribbons to the top three boys, before the girls played. To my delight, two of the girls got higher scores than the boys who won ribbons, then asked why they didn’t get ribbons too. The mom said to the other parents, “It never occurred to me that the girls would do as well as the boys.” I hope she learned something about girl power in that uncomfortable moment. I got to share a teaching moment with my daughter about how people, even women, underestimate the capabilities of girls. And sometimes we have to prove them wrong.” — PPBB Community Member Lori Mayfield

If you had been a parent in that room, what is something that could kindly be said to the mom who stereotyped girls to allow her to understand the message without feeling defensive or too embarrassed? What is something that she could have said to the girls as an apology?

In 2014 is it okay to think that girls would not do as well as boys?

In 2014 is it okay to think that girls would not do as well as boys?

During the PPBB facebook discussion on this, we got some great answers:

“It seems you forgot to bring ribbons for the top three girls! They’re such good shots! It would be a shame not to encourage their talents.” -Alexa Ogno

“This is where classroom teachers need to speak up. Of course I appreciate my home room parents and the work they volunteer to do, however if they ever attempted to divide the class into gender-based groups and wanted to reward them in a biased fashion, I would intervene immediately. Might it be uncomfortable? Perhaps. But I’d rather take a little flack than perpetuate that kind of thinking.” -Jessica Kahler

“I think it’s in Pink Brain, Blue Brain, but I remember reading about a study where infants of crawling age were put in a room in an adjustable slope, and the mums were asked to set the ‘difficulty’ of the angle. The kids had already been tested away from their parent, gradually, until the child would be too nervous etc to navigate the slope. The kids performed more or less equally across the board, but mums significantly overestimated what their boys would feel comfortable with, and underestimated what their girls were capable of. AT CRAWLING AGE. We all internalise this rubbish all too easily and all too early (I include myself in this!). Sad, isn’t it?” -Alexandra Goldstein

“Wow. Just wow! First to think that girls wouldn’t do as well, that’s just ridiculous. I would hope that having two girls score better than the boys would be enough to teach her that lesson. As for not even having ribbons yet still separating them into two groups, why would the second group not also get ribbons, no matter how they scored compared to the first group? For that mom, I always think that a sincere, “I’m sorry. I made a mistake. I won’t do it again.” works pretty well. Then I’d whip up some prize ribbons from construction paper or something so the girls would win something, at least.” -Cat Buttron

“I shared this story on my wall and the two mothers who responded are quite sure this story is fake, because it’s 2014, and at most it must be some sort of ragey story that misses or distorts all the details. Surely girls aren’t put down and disrespected so thoughtlessly and blatantly in this day and age, in school, by mothers (of all people). Surely. I do find it telling (and sad) that something like this can happen, then be shared, and then not be believed, simply because it doesn’t match the experience of other mothers.” -Kate Allen

If you talk about this with your friends and they don’t believe that someone could think this way about girls, I encourage you to share these links with them. It is no mystery where this kind of mind set comes from:

Boy Toys, Girl Toys, And Other Cuckoopants Gender Assumptions

Nintendo UK Launches a New “Nintendo Girls Club” YouTube Channel

Not sure how you would handle this if you had been in that classroom? In my book “Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, Birth to Tween” there are several scenarios and scripts for handling situations like this, as well as chapter after chapter packed with tips on how you and your daughter can Redefine Girly for your family and those around you. It is 2014, after all, and the myth of male bean bag supremacy needs to meet its death.

 

Hat tip to PPBB Community Member Jessica Nagy for the post title.

Buy A Skirt For Your Daughter That Attracts Boys

If there is a contest this summer for out-of-touch advertisements trying to capture the buying power of moms by wrapping a product in cheap Dollar Store wrapping paper, I would nominate this from Skirt Sports. (Thanks Lauren K and Kim S for the heads up.)

I have to seriously question the idea of using really tired and lazy stereotypes to sell athletic apparel to women, and I have big questions about why a company would position a child’s garment as having the selling point of attracting members of the opposite sex. And why the video of the little girl shaking her bottom? I thought these skirts were for running and playing? Because that’s what the ad says, but talks about pretty colors, looking pretty, feeling like a Princess, and attracting boys. Huh?

I think this is one skirt and one company my family can do without. Because when I’m running, I hate to be underestimated, and so does my little daughter who doesn’t give a damn about looking pretty or Princesses or attracting boys.

Skirt Sports is in need of a quick chat about gender stereotypes.