Hello my old OS friends. It's been far too long. How are you?
Today I wrote a blog post about observing the differences between my boy and my girl. In the comments, I said that I believe that boys and girls are wired differently. This lead to somewhat of a discussion on Twitter about the truth of gender differences, nature v. nurture and stuff like that.
Because it's incredibly difficult to have discussions in 140 characters, I wanted to move the conversation to here. So I invite you to check out the post and my comment that followed and let me know what you think? Am I crazy to say that boys and girls are wired differently? Have you found this to be true?
Remember this is meant to be a conversation, not an attack on gender, feminism or anything like that.
I'll start...a few years ago I saw a news report about a school who was trying to use stool type chairs instead of standard ones. The thing that caught my attention was how they said these stools helped boys because boys are largely unable to stop figiting. I remembered this when at 4 1/2, I noticed the Bean was unable to sit still. I would be hanging out with him on his bed chatting about the day and he would be turning upside down, putting his feet up and generally moving around during the conversation. I have found the exact opposite with my daughter.
Huh. Interesting. I tend to think my kids are pretty gender normative. Although, the Little Miss has never been interested in 'girl' toys, but I always attributed this to her worship of her brother, rather than personal preference. She will sometimes play with dolls if there is another girl around, but that typically doesn't last long. She's too bouncy to sit still. Little B is the one who will sit with a book for hours, if I let him.
When my siblings found out I was having a girl, they accused me right off the bat of not letting her 'be a girl'. Which was ridiculous. I saw early on that she was mostly interested in doing whatever Little B was doing. And since he wasn't having doll tea parties, she wasn't either. (Although she adores her tea set. It just never comes out of her toy box.) I don't get her gender normative toys, because she is typically not interested in them, and I'm not interested in wasting my money.
I had an interesting discussion with them about gender 'normality' and how it is actually different for everybody. This seemed to blow their little minds, but they have good practical examples right at school - they are both friends with a girl, L, who is probably the most tomboyish tomboy I've ever run across. And not just with toys she plays with. She dresses like a boy, too.
There was also a roundabout semi-scientific explanation of embryos turning into boys and girls, and how sometimes that may not go as simply as it sounds, hence there are boys who may be more interested in 'girl-type stuff' and girls interested in 'boy-type stuff'. (Yep, I have my scientific terms down. heh) Anyway, that seemed to make sense to them, so we'll see how they do with it.
I wonder if that's misattribution, MNM? After all, my sisters thought I was very cool when they were younger (oh how wrong they were!) but we were obviously interested in very different things.
mmm, how so? I'm not sure what you mean, and I'm hungry so my brain is on hiatus for the moment! :D
Heh, I was running out the door so I probably wasn't clear. I mean, maybe you've assumed she likes that stuff because her big brother does, when really she just likes it. Because even though my sisters thought I was awesome, they had no interest in a lot of the things I did and vice versa. :)
Ah, I see what you mean. Well, she is her own little person, so it's entirely possible for that to be the case.
I'm coming to this discussion very late. It's very interesting to me.
While I only have one child right now, I can tell you that his personality shows both masculine and feminine parts (as defined by our society). He's active and likes to climb, throw balls, and run around, but he also loves being read to and has amazing concentration skills for his age (when he wants to, of course). He can sit still working on mazes for 1 hr at a time, maybe more. He's careful with his toys and books and not at all destructive (for his age). His female cousin of the same age is much more hyper, less able to concentrate, and destructive.
Background: No babies of my own (yet!), in the working-toward-it-but-not-preggers-yet stage, so I only have my own experience to add.
I was raised in a house with myself and a younger sister. I was, long story short, raised to believe that emotions were very, very bad to express- my sister was taught differently. This was the only "un-girl" way I was raised, and that caused me to swing drastically towards the "masculine" stereotype. I rejected pink, dresses, skirts, female friends, makeup- EVERYTHING. Biologically, my sister and I are full-blooded and experienced almost everything together. She stayed safely rather centralized- liked makeup, but didn't go full-girl, just kind of found her own middle ground. It hasn't been until I was completely immersed in man-culture (joined the army after my divorce, God help me) that I began to appreciate the emotional and feminine or stereo-typically girly aspects of myself.
I think that the vast majority of gender differences are nurture, not nature. I know I was a bit hyperactive, but my theory on that relates to how children are taught to deal with emotions- holding them in vs learning how to release/express them in societally acceptable ways.
Also, I can't believe any children are meant to sit still. There's so much to learn and explore, it's hard for me to treat them like little adults, even if that would make life sooooo much easier some days. (Used to be a nanny for a period of years, I swear I'm not completely talking out my behind!)