Girls and boys

| May 21, 2019

It all started a year ago today, on a typical school to home trip with my then four- year-old daughter. She asked a simple question: “can a girl be the boss? Jeremy told me that I cannot be the boss because a girl cannot be the boss.”

I was quick to respond: “Jeremy is wrong. A girl can be the boss.” I gave her examples from her world of “girl bosses”: her mother (the boss at home), her teacher (the boss in class) and her doctor (the boss at the clinic).

This conversation spurred on a year of conversations on girls and boys, what it means and where it comes from.

I became more and more aware of the girl toy/boy toy aisles at shops, girl/boy party bags at birthdays, girl/boy dress-ups.

“Why should I wear a dress to my aunt’s wedding? Dad is wearing pants. I will wear a dress if dad wears a dress. I am dancing with dad.”

“Was I a boy when I was a baby? Like baby brother?”

“Can I be a boy when I grow up?”

I have found this journey with my daughter to be one of the most fascinating. I hammered through the message that girls and boys are different only in some things that they are born with, girls and boys do not transform into each other just like that, but most importantly, that why would you want to be one and not the other?

I was adamant not to answer any question (including why as flower girl at her aunt’s wedding everyone wants to see her in a dress) by a because you are a girl or by a because you are not a boy.

Then, the other day after skating class, one of her friends asked me if she were a boy or a girl “because she looks like a girl and acts like a boy”. I asked him what he meant by “acts like a boy” but before he could reply, she dives into the conversation with “it doesn’t even matter”.

She got it.

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