Every culture has its gender roles.
In America, we’re pretty stuck in a rut, but I feel like society is starting to take steps to level the playing field.
In general, girls are taught to be mothers and homemakers. Their toys are baby dolls, barbies, pretend cooking and cleaning supplies, and pretend makeup. They’re taught from the very beginning that being attractive and serving a husband/family is going to be their sole purpose in life. This idea is pervaded in so many different mediums and influences, and it’s almost like girls don’t even have a chance.
Boys, on the other hand, are taught that they’re not allowed to be sensitive, they need to be large in size, be successful in their careers, and need to view anything that’s feminine as inferior. If a girl wears pants, it’s cool. But, if a man wears a dress, it’s seen as absolutely ridiculous and degrading to the dress-clad man. They aren’t allowed to be emotional on the outside, regardless of the turmoil they may be experiencing.
And all of this is heartbreaking. Kids are being molded into what society wants it to be, and not every kid fits into that mold. So what? If they don’t fit, they live on the outskirts of society, and they never gain that sense of, “Ah… I fit in here.” It’s turmoil to the end.
In my own household, I try to get rid of these stereotypes and gender roles. My daughter is allowed to do “boy things” (rough housing, playing with cars, building things, etc.), and my son will never be ridiculed for playing with a doll. While my daughter pushes her dump trunk around, my son is occupied with a small plastic mermaid doll that seems to have caught his fascination.
And that’s how it always will be. They will be allowed to express themselves in whatever manner they wish, and they won’t be judged for it. Period.