So last night while I was waiting in the peds office for bears’ second set of immunizations, I started a post about the gendering of science kits. Before I continue with the post let me me pause here to tell you all how much I HATE immunizations. I absolutely positively feel horrible watching my little baby scream and cry while looking at me with those eyes pleading me to make the bad person stop poking them with sharp needles stop. I HATE not being able to make them stop. It breaks my heart how my baby knows what is coming, how s/he is so scared that sound isn’t coming through hir open mouth. IT BREAKS MY HEART.
But I still go. I will go again at 6 months and 18 months. Because although it is ALOT of pain for about a 1 min, it is the right and safe thing to do. Its being a responsible parent.
Anyway, while at the doctors office, I began a post in the defense of gendering some toys. Or more specifically I asking the question of whether or not its a way to expand horizons. Lucky for you guys, wordrpress app on my galaxy tablet ate my draft AND Doc Freeride has beat me to the punch this morning, with a much more eloquent analysis of the question than I could do.
I just want to say that there is no one way to get girls involved in science. I remember when I was involved with the women in science group, many women talked about “prettying up” science to get more girls interested. I rail against the idea that pretty is important, but at the same time our culture overwhelms us with the idea. I LOVED pink. I still love purple and many girly things. Some of older posts, when I was in oldPhD lab discussed the frustration of how I was perceived not to be a good scientist because of my looks and the fact that I liked fashion. As a mom to both a girl and a boy, I struggle with how to move away from gender stereotypes that are so reinforced.
Everytime I enter a toy store I am overwhelmed with gendering. The toys are clearly marked into boys and girls sections. With girls having dolls, vacuums, baking stuff etc. Boys get the lego, trucks and tools etc . Toy doctor kits etc are also gendered into blue and pink. I have often wished for trucks to be put in the girls even if they are pink.
Now that monkey is into Lego, I’ve noticed how lego is almost exclusively marketed to boys. The majority of LEGO products are marketed for boys, except for duplo and belville. I remember liking lego when I was a kid, but I wanted to build a house for my barbie. Would I be estatic if some of the lego people in the City Lego, Dragon or Heroica were girls / woman ? HELLS YES! Am I happy to have the option of buying belville? yes. Because even though it reinforces the idea that to be girls must be feminine, its still lego and it will enable my daughter to get the same benefits that lego provides. It just sucks that my children are so limited in there choice of “appropriate” play.
And it sucks that feminine = girly = bad. Its a battle I constantly fight within myself when I worry about my bear growing up to be girly. Why do I think its bad? Being girly isn’t bad, because I AM girly. I LOVE my shoes, fashion, clothes. I also LOVE my sports, athleticism, computers, math and science. These are all girly things. These are all feminine things.
Really what it all comes down to, is that over the last 10 years our society has moved more and more towards valuing material possessions and looks over morals and who a person is. What I want for both my children is that they have strong sense of who they are. They value how they treat others, especially those less fortunate and their intelligence over what they look like or possess.