Boy things, Girl things

Now that the summer is here (apparently... I havnt even been able to wear shorts yet!) I have been madly working 3 jobs to save up so I can get out of here next year and on that (oh so long awaited) plane to Vancouver. One of those jobs, which is my very favourite, is nannying for three awesome little children, two little girls ,Molly (4) and Frances (2), and the baby boy Darcy (9 months). I have been there for over a month now, and I love those kids, I have known their parents for years and so they already knew me before I started and they are just such a cool family.

There were a couple of incidents that really have had me thinking over the past little while, and I was hoping to get some discussion on these things. The other day, I was dropping Molly off at kindergarten, I had little Frances and Darcy with me in their push chair. Earlier that day, Molly and Frances had been playing with a butterfly stamp, stamping each others hands, one of them (probably Frances!)put a stamp on Darcy's cheek just as we were running out the door to walk to kindergarten. We get in the gate to kindergarten when one of the other mothers stopped and told me he (Darcy) had something on his cheek, saying I should take it off soon because "its a butterfly and thats not a really good look on a little boy". She was not the first to say something like that whilst we were at kindergarten.

A couple of days later whilst at Frances' preschool this time, a couple of little boys were busy playing with a group of little girls, they were all playing with dolls, when the mother of one of the little boys took the dolls off of the boys and gave them trucks to play with saying "you are little boys not little girls, little girls play with dolls, dont they, you play with little boys things".

This got me thinking. At such a young age we are being taught that there are boy things and girl things, girl things ranging from baby dolls and domestic items like stoves etc to fake make up sets and high heel shoes, and boy things being the outside sport gear and trucks. I dont believe that there are "boy things" and "girl things", and having watched a few (dozen) of such incidents with the children, I am not at all surprised that we as women face so much opposition when we cross that border into a "mans territory".

Yes, this may seem obvious to you by now, as we all have seen these things and experienced them ourselves before. What bothers me is that even if we try to make a difference with our children, or the children we know, teaching them that there is no divide between them at such a young age, they are still going to be hit with this stuff everywhere they go. School, kindergarten, the park , the supermarket (so I found out when Darcy was wearing a T-shirt with pink on it and I had to hear a few bad comments about this) and there really is not a lot we can do to keep them away from this. Not untill we have the majority doing the same as us, which we all know too well is so damn hard to get.

I guess what bugs me with this, is that these things get burned into our brains before we have the ability to recognise that what we are being told by all these other people is so so wrong and before we can understand or see what they are really trying to do to us by making these divides, what they are trying to do to our future. Unfortunatly we end up seeing it all as we get older, as we try to get work etc. I think what has me so puzzled with this is that it was the mothers who tended to be the ones with the voice in those situations, and it is these mothers who could be making such a huge difference to our future as women, starting by changing what these kids are learning from so young. But they are not doing it. And that is just so so frustrating to me.