Last Friday we spent the day with our local homeschool group at a small zoo and then a member of the group’s ranch to do ranchy things. It was a lovely day, spoiled only by the Sprite coming to me almost in tears because, “The boys won’t stop fighting!” See them fight:
This lead to the “boys are different than girls, and this is just how they play” discussion. (Actual quote, “Wouldn’t you be upset if Bulldozer knocked your yarn out of your hand and yelled, ‘Stop that!’ every time you went to crochet?” You’d think she’d have picked this little gem up by now, seeing as they’re always together. But as the boys have gotten bigger, their rough housing has become…rougher. To be fair, Satchmo did get injured a few minutes later. The Sprite ran to me, crying, “Bulldozer hurt Satchmo!” It turns out big brother Bulldozer did hurt Satchmo when Satchmo punched him in the stomach and bent his wrist. Bulldozer apparently has abs of steel.
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It’s odd to me how the statement, “Girls and boys are different” has become a provocative statement, and even more odd that it is wrong or even evil to hold the view that there is a difference between the sexes. True there is a wide range of preferences and behavior within a gender, but stereotypes are often stereotypes for a reason.
As one commentator at Althouse noted, “How can gender be 100% nurture and sexuality be 100% nature?”
What really ticks me off is that the “solution” to the difference between boys and girls is to squash the typical behavior of boys. Rough housing, play fights, playing with toy cars, weapons, or machines are frowned upon. From the article, “One Swedish school got rid of its toy cars because boys “gender-coded” them and ascribed the cars higher status than other toys.”
Gender neutrality defaults to feminine behaviors: If boys like it, it is necessarily bad. The schoolroom has become Animal Farm where all children are equal, but some are more equal than others.