Sunday morning we were eating biscuits and gravy while watching my favorite Sunday morning program, CBS Sunday Morning. There was a story about a boy who was a ballet dancer and then he joined the Marines. Actually, there was more to the story than just that. It was a very difficult story for me to sit through, but that's not the point of this entry. Anyway, boys doing ballet. The Cabbage is playing with her Barbies when she hears this story and she looks up all surprised and says "Boys can't do ballet!" This came a couple of days after hearing her say "Only pretty kids get candy." Honestly...when she said that, I was really tempted to say "I guess you're not getting any candy then" because at the time, she was cute, but I wouldn't have said she was all that pretty. Her hair was a total birds nest and she had something sticky smeared on her face. I refrained from saying that though. Instead we had a conversation about how every kid who dresses up for Halloween is going to get candy and the word "pretty" is subjective. Sunday we had a whole discussion about boys and girls being equal.
Age four is looking like the re-programming years. We spend a lot of time at home debunking these stupid things someone is teaching her. I've had several people at work tell me that this happened to their kids at age four. They all came home with this distinct idea that boys only did "boy" things and girls only did "girl" things. One guy said that his oldest son threw a fit once over being handed a purple cup. There was no way he could drink out of a "girl" cup. I work with like minded people who believe in gender equality. Yes there are times when they treat me like the office secretary from Mad Men, but really it's because they're lazy. I would never imagine any of them teaching their children that boys can't do ballet or pink is for girls. Which leads me to guess that someone is feeding this garbage to our children at school or some idiot is feeding this garbage to their child who in turn is passing it along to our kids during recess.
When I first met the Cabbage, she said she wanted to be a firefighter. She even had a little red firefighting truck that she'd play with. Twilight Sparkle would climb the ladder and rescue Dog Walker Barbie from the fire. Historically, there have been women firefighters for over 200 years, but it would be the mid-70s before we'd see actual career female firefighters. Up until then women were mostly volunteers. On the outside, firefighting looks like a male only job but mostly because it's still very male dominated. Sort of like how ballet looks very female dominated, but I'll tell you something. I've seen some pretty amazing male ballet dancers out perform anyone on stage. The last Tulsa Ballet performance I saw of the Nutcracker, the guy who danced the part of the Russian dancer (a minor part), brought the house down. He was outstanding. That boy could totally do ballet.
This all got me thinking though. I'm constantly telling the Cabbage she can be anything and that colors don't have a gender and that toys shouldn't have a gender, but am I also passing on the ideas that what's true for girls is true for boys? I mean how do we expect to teach a boy that girls are equal and deserving of the same considerations if we don't give them the opportunity to walk in our shoes. Or tell them that they can walk in our shoes. Remember that little boy who wanted to wear the princess dress to school? Hell yeah, he can wear the princess dress to school and there was a huge out pouring of support for this kid. Because there should have been or else we run the risk of double standards.
Really...it's all very simple. All of this falls under the Golden Rule umbrella: Luke 6:31 - Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. OTHERS. It says "others." It doesn't say gender or race. In this case, I'm pretty sure "others" is referring to ALL PEOPLE, not aliens (as ET) alien...but it might actually work with extra terrestrials. Who knows? Try it.