Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Gender, Revisited and Reversed

In our house, we're all smitten with Amy Poehler (SNL comedian said to be the Carol Burnett of our time).

No, the kid's aren't watching SNL, they (and I) are huge fans of The Mighty B!

I bring this up because this is (almost literally) the only television that Big watches that has commercials. And we TiVo through most of them.

He'll be turning three in December and with limited commercial exposure, he's already got a grasp of gender.

While watching Bessy Higgenbottom as The Mighty B, he'll see commercials for what he immediately identifies as boy's toys and girl's toys. "WE NEED THAT!" He'll yell at the energetic commercials for the "shake up" cars and "THAT'S FOR GIRLS!" at commercials for those little pet-shop toys while I gently remind him that he could play with those too if he wants.

Interestingly, he'll choose a pink bike whenever available, and gladly walk around in Eight's old dress-up shoes with little heels, so apparently we've confined the roles to the television.

For him, that is.

This past weekend we went to our church's family camp (don't ask).

BioMom was telling us all about it on the way, how we'd be staying in a cabin with a few other families (!), one of whom had an eight year old girl and a four year old boy (the age of the girl turned out to be a bit of an exaggeration, she was six).

After contemplating in silence in the back seat for a while, Eight says:

I hope she likes me.

This kind of gender expression drives me nuts and I said so. I've always wondered if girls and boys tend to be different along these lines, with boys/men moving through the world wondering what interests them and letting their own preferences guide them. Girls, on the other hand, moving through the world wondering how the world is responding to them, and how to change/adapt/morph to that response.

I suspect I turn into an adult on the Peanuts shows for Eight when I launch into my feminist/parent-of-a-girl mantra.

Mwha wah, mwaa waah wah wa.

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