I thought gender stereotyping was mostly nurture when I had my daughter. I was right. Until I had a son.
Given equal opportunities and equal access to both gender’s toys and games I have to concede:
Zack likes cars, trains, and balls far more than Ainsley does. He is more likely to build stuff with tinker toys and shoot me with his fingers. He can hear a train whistle 2 miles away and point it out. He will inspect tires on machinery.
However, he is also very likely to play dress up, play with babies and Barbies, enjoy cooking and pretend to be the next American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance contestant.
Ainsley’s far less flexible about gender roles and identity than he is. Though, she is seven and he is three and this may account for his willingness to cross gender lines. (Also the fact that we never say, “pink is for girls, boys don’t wear that, what are you gay?” probably has a lot to do with his freedom of play.) I’d love to preserve it in him and instill it more in her.
Ainsley really is more gifted in language, including arguing and negotiating. Zack tends to pretend I never spoke if I say something he doesn’t like, just like someone else I know.
Ainsley is also the natural and obvious leader if she is ever in a group setting with boys.
In fact, it’s so distinct, her natural role as leader, I wonder if the whole gender gap exists because girls felt compassion for boys and threw the game so boys wouldn’t feel so bad.
What observations about gender can you share from your house?