Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Name Calling

A friend with a baby girl C.J.'s age asked me the other day if it bothered me when people say nonsensical-girl-focused phrases. It does, and we made a verbal list:

* She's got that girl sass down!
* Ooooo confused? You'd better marry well!
* Is that lady-like?
* You don't want to get dirty, do you?

These are the worst offenders that I've had directed at one of my girls. Why is my little girl sassy? Worried about marriage? What does "lady-like" even mean, because I think everyone has a different definition. And getting dirty? What should she do? Sit under a tree with her hands folded?

I've explained to Za that she must be kind and nice, but I try not to name-call in this way, and I don't stick her in a stereotyped box labeled "proper girl behavior."

My friend doesn't have any little boys, but I told her the male-focused phrases are just as offensive: 

* Big boy, crying!
* You can't wear that! 
* Don't play with that. 
* Here, you need to know how to do_____.  (Especially excluding girls on said lesson).
* You don't want to play with yucky boys! (Said to girls). 

I despise these comments. Little kids live up to expectations and if we tell little girls that boys are "yucky," both sexes may believe it. If we tell little girls not to get dirty (and thus minimizing exploration and curiosity), both sexes may believe that females need to act a certain way. 

And where does that lead? Maybe to a society that turns males and females against each other, one that excludes certain people because they don't fit into a gender specific box, one that ignores the beauty both sexes bring to situations, in different forms, in a multitude of ways. 

Do any comments drive you batty? (I particularly dislike referring to my girls as "all sass," for example).