But Are They REALLY Equal? {The Influence of Gender Bias in Parenting}

As a mother of both boys and a girl, I write this a little torn. I want my boys to be strong men and rise to the occasion as providers and protectors. Primitive thoughts I know, but anti-feminist, I think not. You see I also want my daughter to be strong and able to provide, and protect herself and her future children (as any mama bear would.) These thoughts began to flood my mind as I listened to my wonderful sweet children argue with each other in their room one day. My boys would shout something then my daughter would cleverly reply. Then suddenly I heard her sing in a loud voice, “anything you can do I can better, I can do anything better than you.” This led me to chuckle in my room, and then ponder her words.

fullsizerender-11The Hard Truth

Despite what the bodies and abilities of Serena Williams, Simone Augustus (Baton Rouge native!) and even Beyoncé (the real live Wonder Woman) may tell you, there are many things that most women cannot do better than men. For example, I do not wish to move large furniture alone or carry the weight and responsibility of being a real head of household. At the same time, I do not want to be ridiculed as most men are for crying at the Luvs commercials with all the sweet sleeping babies (you know the ones that activate your ovaries better than any Chippendale’s dancer ever could). There are just some things that women end up doing that I personally believe we weren’t meant to do. I consider myself a feminist. I’m a working mom, I run a business, and I am all about a woman’s right to be whatever she wants. When I bring all those ideals into how I feel about my own daughter, I feel like I want her to have a choice. The hard truth is maybe that makes me a bit of a hypocrite. I want my daughter to be softer than my boys, but not weaker. I see her having different strengths than them. She has a great ability to problem solve. She is never afraid to ask questions. One of her strongest traits is her sensitivity. I watch how she can connect with almost anyone in her class, and make them feel important.

img_1953Finding the Balance

I try to encourage my girl to be as strong as she wants. She is aware that she should never dumb down or be limited by her gender. As moms of girls, we have the awesome task of helping our daughters find the balance. Teaching them it is okay to cry and hurt, and it is okay to beat the boys at a race. I once saw a movie where the mother encouraged the daughter to allow her boyfriend to beat her in a game to make him feel more empowered. The action implied that boys will like you better if you let them win. No No No! I will not teach my daughter this. I want her to be great at everything she does. At the end of the day I do not want her to focus on being in competition with the opposite sex. I want her to realize that her best competition in this life is with herself. She will win when she finds comfort in being all that she desires to be.

Did you ever stop to think how our thoughts on gender bias affect our parenting?

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