Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It starts early

The Patriarchy that is.

The other day my 4 1/2 year old son told his mother the following:

boy: "But you can't be a doctor, you're a girl, and girls aren't doctors. They're nurses. Only boys can be doctors."

Which is of course odd, because not only is his mother very much a doctor, but so are the vast majority of mothers of the kids we hang out with (as well as a large majority of the mothers at his daycare). And he had no problem saying that Daddy is a scientist, and "does science."

It's also a big odd, because when my wife was admitted to the hospital before our second kid arrived, he referred to all the nurses and doctors as "doctors" - male or female. Even though he knew what a nurse was, as his aunt is one.

So what was it that turned the tide, and sent him to the DarkPatriarchy side?

A buncha stupid flashcards at school that show a doctor as a man, and a nurse as a woman. WTF?!?

Of course his parents reacted in the way all good generally socially progressive types would: His mother gave the daycare folks a stern talking to, while his father beat him.

Case closed!

Seriously though, how much of this can we counteract in his little brain? We're just going to have to teach him to see it as well.

(Disclaimer - if you need a disclaimer to inform you which part of this post not to take literally, you really oughta move along elsewhere.)


Ambivalent Academic said...


Nat Blair said...

I know, WTF?

I guess a continuous loop of "Free to Be You and Me" is in order.