Monday, 27 June 2011

Boys can't be boys apparently

Have you seen this article about a Swedish preschool which has removed all reference to gender at their setting?  Go on, take five minutes and have a read.

Read it?
Kept your cool?
I didn't manage to, so here's my rant tuppence worth.

I don't understand the need to denounce the fantastic differences between boys and girls.  I believe in celebrating them.  

I am a woman, I am a mum, I was a girl, I will be an old lady and hopefully a granny.  It's a statement of fact and it can't be denied.  Being a woman is important to me in that it allows me to be a mum.

I was a tomboy, I preferred cars to dolls, I loved (and still love) Lego, I am a chartered engineer, I worked almost entirely with men, I built on my natural skills and never let my gender be an issue.  Yes I was a rarity as a female engineer but only as much of a rarity as a male nurse of primary teacher, and we all know at least one of them.

I am not a feminist.  I am sure I deserve to be grateful that I live in a post-feminist world but basically gender doesn't matter to me in the work place.  I hope that most of western world has the same experience of being able to achieve whatever they want in life.

I just don't get the need to remove gender from society.  How about we celebrate our gender as well as celebrating our individuality.  

Some of us are nurturing, others practical, others technological, others sporty; these are the things that matter.  We should celebrate the fact that men and women can both be chefs and nurses and engineers and weightlifters.

Let me share my own experience of Rachel briefly.  I wanted to provide her with both boys and girls toys, it seemed to me that it would allow her to choose what she preferred. 

Here she is at age 3 making a playground out of Lego for her soft toys to play in - that's truly gender non specific and perfect for her!
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

She loves racing cars and collecting sylvanian families; she jumps rope and tackles me if I get the football; she loves to build and demolish towers and read quietly about fairies.  She is her; she is individual.

But she also knows that she's a girl.  
She understands that she's genetically and physically different than boys. She hopes to be a wife and mother, as well as a zoo keeper/poet.  And that matters, it's worth celebrating especially in this world where our gender doesn't stand in our way.

1 comment:

Emma said...

A very Scandinavian idea! I had my daughter first so when my son came along, he obviously had all of her toys he could play with as well as his own cars etc. He always completely ignored her stuff and went straight for the stuff with wheels! I am always reinforcing to both of them that they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up too! :)