Gender roles

Boy or Girl???
Boy or Girl???

One of the first things parents can’t wait to find out when they find out if they’re pregnant is – is it going to be a boy or a girl, pink or blue. And in many ways I can see where they’re coming from, but does it even matter. Looking at the picture above, no-one knows if they are boys or girls…not even me. After recent news about not assigning a baby’s gender at birth, it has led me to do some thinking.

So, the physical difference between females and males is obvious, but if you take that away, it is impossible to tell which babies are boys or girls. And we shouldn’t be treating them any differently anyway. So does it really matter if their birth certificate says ‘boy’ or ‘girl’?

It is now thought that gender is an internal ‘feeling’, as a child grows up, they ‘feel’ like a boy or a girl. I watched an interesting documentary about transgender children and this was very relevant. Many of the children grew up feeling they were in ‘the wrong body’, which meant they had led the life as ‘the wrong gender’. But this is not necessary if we don’t assign them a gender at birth. It is controversial to let all children make up their mind if they are a boy or a girl, but could this help the children who are transgender.

It has also made me think about how I interact with children of different sexes. When approaching a 2 year-old boy and asked to play, would I automatically get out cars, balls, dinosaurs? And if I was playing with my nieces, would I instinctively reach for dolls, creative activities and role play kitchens?

I think we are still a world away from when ALL children are treated equal.


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