A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Innate Sexism of Four Year Olds

Well, we're not Brad and Angelina but I think we've tried really hard NOT to be the sexist parents, forcing boy toy and girl toy rules, or who can wear what etc. Julia carries a purse full of Hot Wheels. Louis was the Wicked Witch of the West for Halloween when he was three. He had a baby doll and a baby stroller for it. Julia loves trains. In fact, we've never drawn those lines but let them gravitate toward whatever toys and things they were interested in. Mostly boys were interested in boy toys and the girl was interested in girl toys. Sometimes not. Miles still loves dolls.
Lately the girl has been telling us what's for girls and what's for boys. She's using GIRL toys and GIRL stuff to taunt her brother "You play with girl toys."
This isn't a behavior she's learned here. Nor anywhere else because she only plays with her brothers so, where? Is this a home grown insult? Do girls just naturally know where to sting a man in his pride?
At first we addressed this behavior explaining it intelligently, "We don't say that, there are not girl toys nor boy toys - toys are for everyone." But she doesn't seem to be stopping. She sees a commercial for something and shows me which one she wants, because it's for girls. 
I think I had a moment of clarity with this situation this morning, there was a commercial for some stupid stuffed animal that lights up, plays songs, holds your pajamas and does your yard work and she tells me she wants the unicorn, "Because unicorns are for girls." So I gently responded, "But everyone can love unicorns. Boys can love unicorns." Her answer was, "But they are my favorite."

So I asked her if she meant that unicorns are for HER? She laughed and said "Of course silly!" 

I think she's defining what she likes, rather than making sweeping declarations of what defines her sex. She's telling us what defines JULIA. She still carries cars in her purse, and has dinosaurs eat her princesses. But she's figuring out who she is, and what it means to be the little girl she is. 

We didn't really go through this with the boys, maybe it's a girl thing. Maybe it's a Julia thing. I'm not sure. What I do know is, I'd like one of those unicorns too. Because unicorns are for MOMS.