Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Boys can like Pink too..

This blog post is inspired by my Advisement lesson this morning. Our theme for this week is aggression. I had the students place aggressive acts on a continuum to rate them as low, medium, or high aggression level. Some of the acts included: tripping someone in class, name calling, shoving someone into a wall, etc. As I had countless volunteers come up to place the aggressive acts on the board, I started to realize how many of the examples were placed at the low end when some of those acts were more serious than just a low rating. I then came to the realization that majority of my volunteers were male students. I decided to point this out to the class. It went something like this...
 "I'm not trying to say this to be mean, but it looks like a lot of these acts are placed under low and who has mainly put them there?" 
 "The guys." 
"And majority of people who are in jail or commit crimes are..."
Then I had this whole "ah-ha moment" that brought me back to a course I took my sophomore year of college: Educational Diversity. One time a professor in the Women Studies department did a presentation about gender/sex and society. Society has a set of norms that tell you that someone is either a boy or girl based off of what toys they play with, what colors they like, how emotional they are, their athleticism, their domestic skills, etc. The day that professor came to my class was the day that my mindset changed about all this stuff that everyone else seems to be so stuck on. I don't think parents, teachers, and other adults realize the impact they have on children sometimes. Constantly saying these phrases give kids the impression of how they should or should not be based off of their sex. 
"Don't be a girl. Man up!" ... So that means all girls are weak & being a girl is negative. 
 "Barbies/dolls are for girls," or when they get older, "Playing with dolls is gay." ....So that must mean growing up, having children, and taking care of them is gay too?! Parenting is only for girls?! (Anyways, who cares what someone's preference is!)
"Boys only pick on girls they like"...  So this gives girls the impression that it is desirable to be made fun of, laughed at, teased, and/or even physically harassed (punching, hitting, etc.)
There are so many other things I have heard that bother me because of the connotation it sets for kids at a young age. I know most people don't think anything of it and most likely they don't have to intention for the kids to interpret it incorrectly. However, these kids are sponges. They then take what they have absorbed and as they get older they apply it to situations they are in. So, now I have middle school students who believe these things and say these things that to me just aren't right. Why does someone who is weak have to be called a girl? Why do girls have to be domestic, raise children, cook dinner, clean the house, & depend on a man when it comes to finances? Why do women have to make less than men, so that men don't feel "below us"? Why are women so nurturing, but for men it's not as natural? Do you really think girls are just born with the ability to nurture & care for something? Girls play with baby dolls, they play "mom", & they nurture their baby because they saw their mom doing the same thing. Boys almost never get to explore or experience that at a young age because right away they are told that "dolls are for girls". 

I realize that a lot of people fall under stereo-types and norms which is why they are around. I know plenty of grown girls who rely heavily on their parents or even worse...on a guy for money or emotional support. It's almost expected that girls are dependent. There are some people who get to the point where their expenses are controlled by their spouse/significant other. WHAT?!! You can't control your own expenses? Those girls are the ones that make girls like myself have to feel like we have something to prove to the world. For the longest time, I had the desire to become as completely dependent upon myself as possible. I would say I'm 90% there. I work my butt off in everything that I do & I try to do as much as I can on my own. I'd rather learn how to do something from my dad, then him just do it for me. I am proof that not all girls are weak. I am proof that not all girls have to be in the household only doing domestic things. I cook, I clean, I garden, I paint, I work, I pay the bills, I lift weights, I fix things. I'm crafty. I volunteer. I have emotions.I can open my own door. I can pay for my own stuff. So, what does that mean? Society has pretty much set it so we have to be one way or the other. Dolls or cars. Strong or weak. Pink or blue. 


No comments: