Why His Fairy Wings Are a Good Thing
Did you know that girls naturally hear better and this is why boys sound so loud to us?
Did you know that girls are "prewired to be interested in faces, while boys are prewired to be more interesting moving objects"? (Sax, 2005).
That there is an actually difference in the anatomy of our eyes?
That girls typically draw colorful nouns and boys draw actions?
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I could go on and on. The research based information on gender differences is truly fascinating to me. A small part of me has always been interested, but since we had our boy/girl twins, my interest has exploded. Here are two people, born a minute apart, raised in the same environment, playing with the same friends and toys and yet their differences greatly outweigh their similarities.
Some of this, no doubt, is due to genetics.
They are different people. They will naturally have different interests and opinions, but what strikes me is the number of ways in which they fit gender stereotypes.
Our twins play almost constantly together so they both play fairies, they both play trains, they both build with blocks, and they both cuddle baby dolls. This is my version of gender neutral. However, it is the way in which they play with these themes and materials and their preferences that I find truly striking.
Both of my children are interested in fairies right now. My daughter initiated this interest after watching the Tinkerbell movies, but my son hopped quickly on board. They both parade around the house and our town in fairy wings and claim to be fairies. However, here's the difference:
*My daughter is obsessed with the fairies themselves. She gives them names, assigns fairy roles to her baby dolls, and insists on being called Rosetta, the flower fairy.
*My son is interested in what they do. He has proclaimed himself Tinker Bell and happily builds with blocks and plays with tools and announces that he is "tinkering because he's a tinker fairy."
One of my favorite things about this project is that it embraces both of their interests.
We talked about wings, we tinkered, we painted. I think it is awesome that both of them are completely wrapped up in their imaginary world of fairies. Their language, social play skills, problem solving skills, and imaginations are soaring due to this project. Although genders have natural, measurable differences, I find it inspiring that they can find ways to come together in any area of play.
I am sure there are people who think it is unacceptable for a little boy to be running around in fairy wings, but to me imagination is a freedom to imagine and believe whatever you can dream up.
When you start placing limits on imagination you threaten the very basis of creativity. Part of the joy that has filled this project comes with the freedom in our house to just be you.
I tell them they can be whatever they want to be and I mean it.
When she wants to play firefighter I help her find the hoses.
When he wants to be a princess I encourage him to find a crown.
The fact that one is a boy and one is a girl shouldn't restrict their ability to imagine.
The fact that they might view the world differently or approach projects differently shouldn't prevent them from playing together.
In fact, the opposite is true.
Their different approaches strengthen their overall learning and hopefully give them skills for working with different people throughout their lives. At the end of the day isn't that the goal? Two people who have learned how to think creatively and work together with people who have different views and opinions than their own.
That's how problems get solved.
What Everyone Ought to Know About Gender Stereotypes : READ POST
Why Gender Matters by Leonard Sax Md, Phd
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