Since he started school the Boy Wonder now refers to particular activities or things as being gender specific. ‘That’s for Girls’ is often stated in a derisory manner, much to my dismay! Having lived in Sweden and been influenced by their non-gender based schooling and upbringing, I have been careful to try and foster this attitude in my son but it appears I am thwarted!. In fact in Sweden it is the equality minister who is responsible for pre-school childcare which is seen as the cornerstone in their struggle for gender equality.
So it does make me ask where does this gender stereotyping come from? Has it been picked up from his peer group, is it the British school system, or is it a societal effect? Swedish schools notably also do not have uniforms, like most of Europe. As a busy working mum I do like the practicality of a uniform but wonder what effect they have on gender ideas and individualism. Many gender specific ideas seem to solidify during our school years such as boys playing football and girls playing netball, For example, there is only one girl in Boy Wonder’s year group who plays in the school football team – well done her!
This gender conforming I believe also leads to a greater lack of individualism and may contribute to kids picking on anything that is different in their peers – having ginger hair or even long hair like the Boy Wonder’s. Boys especially I feel are less allowed to be different to each other. This is very evident in the generic quality of most boy’s clothing. Being different, unusual or even a little bit odd is not tolerated by kids as they get older, I know I spent most of my teenage years trying to ‘fit in’. So while I want my son to be able to express his individuality through they way he looks and dresses I don’t want him to suffer for it.
What I would wish for him, and all kids, is a world where individuality could be something that is celebrated and encouraged especially in early years as kids begin to become aware of their own identity. That boys and girls could know their own worth without it being based on their gender. And at this crucial developmental stage that they are not also influenced into judgements about other people that may lead to prejudice later in life.
#Individualism #BoysFashion #LongHairDontCare