Boys. Girls. Girls. Boys


-Mami, would you have liked me to be a boy?
– I love you, my child.

I was boyish in pre-school and notorious for boy’s companionship in school. My teachers were relentless in attempting to persuade me to play with girls, dolls and the like. Harder they tried, higher I got on trees, roofs and closer to boys I became. I wonder what impact this had on them, boys that is. Certainly, in my case it removed any gender barriers that might have been culturally implanted in my head. And there were plenty. My pre-school teachers would remove me from boys’ party with “go play with girls”. Their “Mother-daughter” play was sinfully boring to my childhood energy. I preferred Kozaki-Razboiniki, hide-and-seek, trees climbing and the like. That left marks on my skin. My brain also learned how not to fight just because of the gender difference, how to make allies, how to give and take in a world of equals. I was a boy when I needed to. I was a girl when I needed to. I still juggle roles. And I love it. Because I am human, with all that it takes.1303140068

I often get from other parents a gender based feedback. “You are lucky, she is a girl. Girls behave like this. My son cannot do it because he is a boy”. My response is constant “her gender is irrelevant. Her behaviour would be the same if she would be a boy”. When offered a a “girls toy or game”, my first reaction is “would you buy it for a boy?”. Kids mirror parents’ attitudes and internalize immediately any labels you stick on them. Furthermore,
a new study, which relies on an unusually large sample of 31,000 people, has found that cognitive differences between men and women are not largely a result of their genes. Rather, living standards and access to education probably bears far more responsibility for men outperforming women on tests of numeracy, for instance. The results suggest that, to a degree hitherto unacknowledged, such cognitive differences are learnt from the roles a society expects males and females to perform.

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