Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Girls and Boys

Have you seen this video?  A Verizon commercial.  It's about encouraging -- or, to be more accurate -- not discouraging girls from the STEM careers.

I've come across the video on blogs and Facebook.  It's been shared in the context of "watch how you treat girls, you are killing their natural desires to become chemists/physicists/engineers."

I've gotta be a curmudgeon and say that this is so very much out of the realm of my experience with any parent I know.

Seriously.

And it's not been my experience in anything I've seen in life.  Born in 1971, raised in the seventies and eighties, I was more likely to see girls being discouraged from so-called traditionally female career fields: teaching, secretarial, nursing, mothering, than being told we shouldn't explore in tidal pools because we might get messy.

Honestly, the behaviors shown in this commercial are more specific to certain parents than to certain genders of children.  Some parents are more free-spirited and let their children of either gender splash in puddles, muck about in the mud, use power tools.  Some parents prefer a bit more structure to exploration and would tell their children of either gender to not get his or her clothing dirty, if they came upon mud wearing the wrong clothes.  Think Captain von Trapp versus Governess MariaWalking about the grounds, breathing deeply versus marching about Salzburg dressed in drapes.  I was born more of a Captain von Trapp, but I've been embracing my shadow side Maria as I grow older.

Nope.  You're going to have to look for other reasons why not as many girls as boys choose STEM careers.  I understand that will cause some discomfort for those who want to say there's no such thing as gender difference.  Tant pis, as a former French teacher would tell us.


My baby girl is about to touch GOAT TONGUE.  Would I have been so keen on letting my son do that, even though he's a boy?  No.  He was the third child.  I was still paranoid about germs.  She's the sixth child; kids touch germs.  My grandmother always said you've got to eat a peck of dirt before you die.  I can embrace that, now.

Zoomed in: Goat Tongue!

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