Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gender Roles

We had an interesting experience this weekend.  I was getting ready for Brendan's work party and decided to paint my toenails--something I never do!  I asked Ingrid if she wanted hers done too, and she giggled and said yes and then sat stone still while I painted them.  It was funny, she kept staring at her toes, "look how pretty!" 

Then Brendan came into the room and said oh, is it my turn?  Ingrid looked at him and said "No, Daddy, that would be silly!"  He tried to get her to expand but she never did. 

Which got us wondering about nature vs. nurture.  How did she come to the conclusion that nail polish is okay for girls but not boys?  Like I said, we never use the stuff, it was the first time I think I've ever painted my nails around Ingrid.  It's not like I said anything about only girls can use it.  To my knowledge, no one else has been telling her that.  So how did she figure that one out??

This has me wondering about the whole gender role thing and what she thinks about it.  We aren't big believers of seperating things--Ingrid loves her big fire truck, but she also loves her fairy wings.  She loves her little guys, but also loves to play kitchen.  Brendan is the bread winner and goes to work every day, but Mama is the one to use the tools and builds a dresser. 

I've been told that raising a boy will be different than raising a girl, and to some extent I believe it.  I know I've heard countless times that both genders will take the same toy and play with it in completely different ways.  Like girls have conversations with their toys and have a set idea of what is going on and boys will just go nuts with the toy, bouncing off the walls and being crazy.  I have seen that for sure, but then I wonder how much is personality.  Ingrid and her cousin are so much alike and he's a boy.  They've both got the same high maintenence issues, which my brother and his wife thought was because he was a boy and his sister was so mellow.  But we have a hyper girl and a laid back boy. And they had another boy that's laid back.  So...???

Anyway, it's got me thinking of how much can we teach our kids, how much will they just pick up on their own, and how much is nature? 


MaryAnne said...

This reminds me of Emma getting obsessed with makeup when she was probably Ingrid's age. I NEVER wear makeup, so I have no idea where it came from, but she was crazy into it! Now Johnny used to love to have his toes painted alongside Emma, but he now sees it as a "girl thing". I don't know where they get their ideas, but it seems to be a mix of nature, nurture, and their observation of society around them?

Mommy, Papa and the 'Nuts said...

They notice so so many subtle things that we don't. Its amazing, incredible and frightening how much they learn without being formally "taught".

Amber Liddle said...

It is a mix of everything, I know. But seriously, where did she hear about nail polish?? It's so funny to me!

Mommy, Papa and the 'Nuts said...

Maybe Brendan is a closet user, er, painter? ;)

Anonymous said...

She has more than likely observed it on the TV.