I was having a thought-provoking conversation with my almost-four-year-old the other day and we started talking about jobs. Typically firemen come up in our house a lot because my husband is a volunteer and the boys always want to go and play on the firetrucks. I mean what toddler who has free reign of the firehouse wouldn’t?
Heck, I think sometimes the boys know the trucks better than some of the new guys at the firehouse.
Anyway! I asked him about being a fireman when he grew up and I brought up female firefighters. He snapped back at me “Mommy, girls can’t be firemen” and I wanted to keel over and die right then and there…. Who was this little boy, who raised him, and WHO gave him the idea that women wouldn’t be firemen?
Maybe because they are called fire m-e-n… maybe because my husband no longer has any female volunteers in his firehouse? I mean, it certainly isn’t something that he learned from me. It is something that makes my feminist, liberal, heart sink so deep into my chest.
Is society already starting to teach our children lessons that we want to prevent from the get-go? I mean, there is no way I would ever lay down the line that certain jobs are only for certain genders. Next thing you know I am going to have a three-year-old thinking that doctors are only men, and secretaries are only women. Or even nurses… way better example right?
And now being the mother of a daughter, as she grows I want to continue to encourage her to help break the mold of the stereotypes I was raised with. I want her to know she can be a lawyer or a pilot if that is what she wants to do. Pump her dreams up, and the same goes for the boys.
If you are raising toddler boys, how are you incorporating strong female role models in their lives?
Discussing the stereotype: Raising my son among princesses