Preschoolers and gender stereotypes: help!
September 3, 2013 8:08 AM Subscribe
How do you teach your young children not to internalize the sexism in our culture?
posted by agent99 to society & culture (23 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
My 4-year-old son, who goes to preschool full time, has started to make gender-based distinctions that I find troubling. For example, he will say to me "You can't play with that, that's only for boys," or "Your favorite color can't be blue because you're a girl." I have told him that my favorite color has always been blue, but he argues that that's impossible because I'm a girl and girls like pink. Another example: he will say that he doesn't like girls (he cant say why), but in reality some of his best friends are girls and in fact he plays with them all the time.
What he sees around him in his environment does not match up to the boys=blue, girls=pink gender divide: we live in a major city and he is around all kinds of people all the time. The daycare and preschool he has attended so far have been diverse (LGBT households, kids from different countries and backgrounds, kids who speak different languages, etc.) His preschool does not reinforce gender stereotypes in their curriculum or activities. Both my husband and I work full-time and I have the slightly more demanding job, we each do half the housework and childcare, etc.
This has started pretty recently, and I think he's just trying things out that he's heard from other kids, but I'm looking for suggestions for how other parents of young kids have dealt with this in a positive and effective way.