I remember my eleventh grade United States history teacher. She said that regardless of any advances we might make, men and women would never truly be equal. To prove her point, she said a man could walk down the street without a shirt while a woman who did the same thing would be arrested for indecent exposure.
Since I was pregnant, gender differences have been increasingly apparent. Maybe more so because I’m raising a son.
Boy or girl, I believe it’s my duty to parent so that my child grows up to be a thoughtful, considerate human being. Consequently, my four-and-a-half year old son is
not allowed to own or play with any weapons - no light sabers, no guns, no swords. I strongly believe that items that can cause death and great bodily harm are not items that should be made into play things. My son has some cars and trucks - so-called “boy toys.” However, I’ve done my best to provide him with gender-neutral activities - books, puzzles, sidewalk chalk, blocks.
Ryan knows there are differences between girls and boys, mommies and daddies. Boys shave their faces and can go pee-pee standing up. Girls can wear dresses, polish their nails, and wear lipstick.
I think I’m doing something right when I see my son choose a pink balloon. He doesn’t see it as a “girl color,” and he doesn’t need to. It’s simply the balloon color that looks most appealing to him.
As the mother of a son, it’s easy to see some of the neighborhood girls playing in their Disney princess dresses, and confidently think, “No way I’d buy those if I had a daughter.” Do those dresses (along with the toy guns and swords) send a certain message to our children or am I just analyzing it too much?
I don’t know.
I do know that my son will grow up in a world where men and women aren’t entirely equal. One isn’t better than, smarter than, or faster than the other. They are different.
And it’s really okay to be different.