Gender Stereotypes, Part Two

As the father of a daughter and a regular participant in kindergarten and first grade, I am pretty clear that the biological influence is very strong. While there are certainly additional socialized aspects of gender, there is a very strong and immutable biological component.  To be sure, these biological gender aspects fall on a spectrum. But, as an example, the female recipients of turned cards in last year’s kindergarten yellow-orange-red disciplinary system outnumbered males by an crazy margin. Maybe one girl got to orange once all year and not one got to red. For the boys, orange was “the new yellow” and red was a familiar stopping place. They we lucky there was nothing worse than red…

We have tried to encourage our daughter to play sport. She is adamant about not playing soccer, t-ball or basketball. The only thing she does that resembles a sport is karate, where she has stayed diligent and long enough to have earned a second-orange belt. But truth be told she mostly does that for two reasons. One, her father clearly loves that she does it. And two, she likes socializing with the other girls there. In her regular weekly resistance to going to practice, her biggest objections come when she knows her friends will be absent. So here is a case where parental pressure is the main reason for, not against, contra-gender behavior.

The reality is every one of us is a bit of a random walk down personality lane. Any combination of interests and preferences is possible. However, all results cluster around a mean and the means by trait for males and females are often quite different. We should acknowledge that and allow each their own, free from pressure to conform to anyone’s political agenda.

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