Posted by: webbhouston | September 16, 2009

Little miss muffet and other girls afraid of bugs

This weekend we used it to educate the kids about chemisty, dinosaurs, and butterflies at the Museum of Natural Science. We went with another family with three girls and walked around learning about compounds, polymers, and the extinction of the dinosaurs. It was a fun day and after our friends left we went into the Butterfly exhibit where we found out that Kate is horrified of butterflies… but not only butterflies all types of bugs.

I really do not understand why because it isnt like I shy away at bugs. I kill roaches and pick them up with no problems. We see ants and spiders all of the time and I try to not instill on her that that bugs are there to kill us.  However I have noticed that Mike and others have sort of fashioned her into believing that bugs are evil and should be killed and feared. I am sure even I have had some guilt in this. She is also really into things being clean and I know that she equates bugs with dirt.

This Monday Mike sent me this link that talks about how girls may be primed to fear spiders. I really do not like the article and want to cry bull hockey on it. I believe that children can read our reactions at a very young age. Just how my father said that my son took falling down “like a man” when he didnt cry and just how the first thing people said about when Kate fell and cut her forehead was “I hope it doesnt scar her beautiful face”… we all say and do things that have gender stereotypes built into them.

Every time an article comes out that links having an X or Y chromosome with something it bothers me.  There is a really famous one that many Wolrd of Warcraft widows have cited in marriage related communities about how men are wired for video game addictions.  This article also discusses how this relates to aggression and being territorial.

Raising a child in a world where they are not automatically primed for certain things because of what society tells us is hard… almost impossible. As much as I like to try to raise my kids in a way that gives them equal opportunity to do what they believe is best for them the world makes it hard. My son gets called a beautiful little girl because of his long hair. I am asked why kate wears boy shirts and I see post after post about how OK it is to use a baby carrier that is pink on a boy. My answer is always “if it wont make them burst into flames it is ok by me”. In reality, it doesnt affect the child if they wear a color that society does not think they should be wearing. It doesnt affect the child if their hair is long or short and it wont make them grow a penis/have it fall off.

I even have friends who say “my husband would never go for XXXX” regarding their sons. LIke that their husbands would never allow their son to wear a pink diaper, or a shirt with flowers on it. My answer has always been, “then your husband needs to get over it”. If your husband/partner is seriously affected by their son wearing a color that is not on the blue/green color spectrum then the problem is with your partner, not with the clothes.

Why do we keep doing this to children? Why keep perpetuating the ideas that gender limits us so much?

If Kate is afraid of bugs, so be it. We will still learn about them and pick them up. Part of our plans for this fall is to study bugs in our homeschooling classes by picking them up and counting their legs, wings, body segments, etc. We will not change this because she thinks that they are gross because she still needs to learn about them. Calvin will learn about him at his own pace (when he stops trying to eat them) just as Calvin will also learn how to dance with mommy and he will do a plie. 🙂

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