Tuesday, 18 September 2012

It's raining early signs of sexism

Proving that boys do sing
Boy Three is something of a music fan. From behind me in the car he will yell his approval or otherwise of whatever choons Radio Two is pumping out on our journey to nursery.

He often asks who's doing the singing. Perhaps he compares notes with his little chums over snack and juice.

This time we were rolling along to the sound of It's Raining Men by The Weather Girls.

"Who's that singing?" he said.

"The weather Girls...  It's raining men, hallelujah," I warbled.

"But girls don't sing," he said.

"What?" I considered screeching to a halt.

"Girls don't sing," he was very definate.

"Yes they do. I just did," I thought I'd try some logic before we got into gender politics.

"Ok, girls who don't live in our house don't sing," I think he meant girls who aren't his mother.

"Why not?" 

"Girls are rubbish," this time I did screech to a halt, or stopped with as much of a screech as I could muster from 25pmh on a back road. 

"Girls are not rubbish, and anyway I'm a girl," I was shocked.

"Other girls," he said.

"Why? What's rubbish about girls?" I tried not to get shrill.

This time he paused, picking his nose and thinking.

"Girls don't wear red t-shirts?"

"Right."

"They like pink. That's why they're rubbish."

What followed was The Lecture. Probably the first of many. 

I was dismayed by this exchange. He's only three, where did this idea come from? OK he lives in a house dominated by boys and but, rest assured, they don't get away with sexism of any kind. And I am setting the most egalitarian example I can, whenever I can.

Sure, there's pink at home but still...

How can I teach my boy that girls aren't rubbish... singing or otherwise?



16 comments:

  1. Here here! I'm getting a bit sick of hearing friends laugh when their little boys say "Girls are rubbish" or put down my daughter because "She's a girl". That "boys will be boys" attitude is wearing thin - surely they need an example to be set early on?!

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    1. Abosolutely right. It might sound militant, but it really matters.

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  2. He does have a point Ellen. I used to feel the same myself till I fell in love with Katherine Granger. Xx

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  3. We have a phrase in our house: We Don't Do Gender Stereotyping! I have drummed this into my daughter for as long as I can remember and she'll now happily pipe up to any mildly sexist comment from anyone with "That's gender stereotyping. We don't DO that." Admittedly, it's slightly easier in my household, given that all three of us are female, but I think educating my daughter about it will allow her to educate others at school. Those others will include the boys who think girls are all rubbish. Hopefully.

    Although she came home from her first week at netball recently and told me she'd been playing "basketball for girls"...

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    1. I might adopt your phrase and keep saying it to the boys. Fingers crossed.

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  4. Oh No! Three is young isn't it - he must of heard it from somewhere but maybe doesn't really realise the implications of what he's saying other than a judgement based on a colour! But good for you, he needs to understand from a Young Age that girls are his equal too!

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    1. I was surprised, it is young. Perhaps at nursery or from his brothers, with whom I will be Having Words.

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  5. Sounds like the Panther of News to me *stir, stir* ;)

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    1. Might well be. But I'm on the warpath now.

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  6. My oldest says this about football. But I have shown him girls who play and his favourite colour is still pink but then I think it's because he is the oldest. I think you should show him some good singers both male and female and explain no matter what gender we can do anything we put our minds too x

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    1. Perhaps I wasn't the best example of a good singer. We have been having lots of discussions on the subject now.

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    2. Cara said same about boys at that age. Think it is just a phase they go through when they realise there's a difference. Then again, I don't know what the Panther has been teaching him...

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    3. She always used to say what an ejit you were. Do you remember when her reasoning was that you knew nothing about pwincesses?

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  7. Have you heard Jessie j, am with the boy. Anonymous, otherwise I won't get my tea.

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  8. Not having children, does this attitude change with age? I know an older (70+) gentleman who does still have a "certain" attitude to women. I take great delight in pointing out women in industry; women pilots, airforce and private; women of rank in the forces, police etc.; women drivers, although his daughter has a Class 1 HGV licence and, especially, male chefs - I could go on.

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