Princess and The Rock

Parenting | Homeschooling | Food | Fashion

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Rock said, "I want butterflies and flowers too!"

Another ladybird for you
What would you do if your toddler son says he wants to have butterflies and flowers tattoos and paint his nails?

What would you say to your daughter who wants a fierce moustache like daddy and wants to marry her best friend, who is a girl?

These are the things I face with every now and then. Just the other day, at a play date with my god-daughters, I heard the Rock going, "c'mon gurlfren". My husband quickly chipped in and said, "let's go play with some scorpions!" 

We see sexual stereotypes everywhere and gender socialization starts early, sometimes even before the child is born. 
Gender socialization is the process by which people learn to behave in a certain way, as dictated by societal beliefs, values, attitudes and examples.  Gender socialization begins as early as when a woman becomes pregnant and people start making judgments about the value of males over females.  These stereotypes are perpetuated by family members, teachers and others by having different expectations for males and females.
Imagine the following scenario: a young pregnant woman is about to have her first child.  When asked whether she wishes to have a girl or boy, she replies that it doesn’t matter.  But, sitting next to her is an older relative who says “Oh, hopefully it will be a boy.”  In small, but meaningful ways such as this, gender socialization starts even before birth ("Early Gender Socialization"). 
I totally relate to the example stated above because when I was pregnant with Princess, I had many variations of the response above. Some examples are:
"It's ok lah, nowadays give birth to girls better, they grow up closer to mothers."
"Nevermind, this is first child, you are still young, next one can try for boy."
"First one girl is good, can help to look after the younger ones next time."
I was both flabbergasted and irritated by such comments; it was as if I needed to be consoled for being pregnant with a baby girl! That was the furthest from the truth because I WANTED to have a baby girl and I prayed that God would grant me a baby girl first because that was what I was prepared for. I had no idea why I preferred having a girl to having a boy but I had always imagined being mummy to a little girl so I asked God for what was manageable for me. I should have told these people about a friend of mine, who had asked God for four pretty little girls and she has them now, happily! 

So, how do I feel about gender roles, which are socialized expectations of what is normal, desirable and acceptable for males and females in society? Being a Christian, I believe in bringing up my children with Godly values (as much as I can) so I do subscribe to teachings of the bible like:
Titus 2:3-5 (New English Translation)  "Older women likewise are to exhibit behavior fitting for those who are holy, not slandering, not slaves to excessive drinking, but teaching what is good. In this way they will train the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, fulfilling their duties at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the message of God may not be discredited."  
1 Peter 3:3-4 (New English Translation)  "Let your beauty not be external—the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes — but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight."
Ephesians 5:25-31 (New English Translation)
"Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, so that he may present the church to himself as glorious—not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one has ever hated his own body but he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ also does the church, for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."
I think those teachings are good advice for anyone really. I especially like the part about self-control and the one that encourages enhancing beauty on the inside rather than outside. I think it is important to look presentable and be proud of our appearance, but at the same time not to be slaves to outsider's notion of beauty. Many women are victims to messages like "I need to be slim to be beautiful" or "I need flawless skin to be attractive and popular". I do not deny to succumbing to such pressures at times, hence I know the reality of it. Just this morning, I had to let the Princess know that her behaviour and character are equally or more important that her looks if she wanted to be liked by her friends, because she was going on and on about how she needed to have her hair done the same way as her friend and how she needed to dress like that so that her friend would like it (more of this here). 

I thought it is brilliant too that the man is reminded to individuate from his parents and concentrate on his relationship with his wife after marriage. I mean, who needs a mummy's boy, right? Seriously, it is difficult to build a bond of trust if the husband (or wife) keeps going back to his parents for their views and advice instead of working it through with his wife.

Now, back to the Rock, I am not too concerned about his wanting to have flowers or butterflies tattoos (my husband has floral tattoos for real) but I am serious about his attitude towards his family in the future and his role and responsibility as a son now, husband and father in the future. In the same way, I wish and pray for the Princess to know her position as a child of God and that she should not be mistreated (bodily or otherwise) even as she performs her womanly role in the future.

Curious about my answers to my own questions? See below:

Check out the perfectly manicured french beard!
Pirates of the Toa Payoh
Yo ho! Yo ho! Pirates' life is for us!

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