Do Gender Stereotypes Really Exist?

I’ve never really believed in any kind of stereotyping, be it racial, religious, age based or gender. Not only do I not believe in stereotyping, but also I am firmly against them.

Gender Stereotypes In Kids - Do Gender Stereotypes Really Exist?

Therefore, I was keen when I had a boy that I would be as gender neutral as possible. His nursery is lavender with light green, and he is surrounded with a wide spectrum of colours and not only the blues that little boys are generally wrapped up in.

To that effect, I also made sure he had opportunities to play with all sorts of toys. I tried to make him love soft toys by putting them in his cot and talking and cuddling them myself. I bought him a pink ball with Dora on it because it was far more appealing than the action figure ball. I’ve tried to keep all his utensils of various colours from pinks and purples, to blues and oranges.

But after all my efforts, I must say this. My baby is a boy through and through.

Though he is only one year old, the boy in him was apparent from the beginning. Without being exposed to any sort of gender stereotyping, or without even knowing that he is a boy he has been everything boys are said to be.

Here are some examples:

Toy preferences: he has a clear preference for balls, blocks and vehicles. He had a wooden bus that was part of his toy collection and it was his first security object. The bus on the road was by far his first most loved object and still excites him. He never touched a soft toy no matter how much I tried giving one to him. Wooden blocks are his favourite and he spent most of his infancy mouthing wooden blocks and exploring shapes.

Development: they say boys are slower than girls developmentally. That too is a stereotype and that too rings true in the case of my son. While he is a hyper active child, cannot sit still and could not lie still as a newborn, he is definitely not as developmentally advanced as his female counterparts. He is nearing 13 months and can’t walk as yet but boy, can he climb. He can crawl up and entire flight of stairs in a jiffy, with sheer energy and strength. He isn’t saying words yet, though signals clearly that he has understood. A lot of the girls his age are walking and clearly saying words, the boys his age are not.

At the playground: Since he was six months old, he was fascinated with watching the bigger boys play football and cricket. He wasn’t interested in sitting on my lap in the swing but moving around on his own, kicking a ball with his feet while sitting and trying to be part of the big boys. He climbs up the stairs of a slide and comes down it on his own.

Obviously I expect there to be lots of difference between boys and girls as they grow, but I just didn’t expect to have a proper boy on my hands as an infant.

Did anyone else observe that their baby girls were girls from the moment their personalities started developing (or vice versa) without exposing them to any stereotyping? I would love to know in the comments.

Aloka Gambhir is a new mom (since October 2012). She is a fitness and nutrition enthusiast and a health and fitness blogger since 2011. She is a Mumbai mom following an alternative lifestyle called the paleo/primal or evolutionary lifestyle. She is passionate about helping fellow moms follow their instincts to a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their family by questioning the rules and conventional wisdom on her blog: www.wholesomemamma.in

  • kalpana solsi

    When my son was a baby , I gave him a red toy car and a soft toy. H e thre the soft toy and played with the red car. I thought the bright colour must have fascinated him. But I was wrong . A vehicle of any colour fancied him. He was slow in all milestones but picked up after three years. He loved outdoors games and hated dolls.

  • Fab

    I think it’s partly true – My son has been obsessed with trains and trucks for a really long time. I’ve also bought him the ‘girlie’ Pink Lego Brick box, just to do away with the stereotype. But I guess, along with not enforcing any particular preference on our kids, we also need to let them respect the choices of other boys who like pink or of girls who like cars.

  • Falak Randerian

    I don’t know if I’m blessed with people like this around me or what :). My 5 year old’s nephew’s favorite colour is Pink. He loves his vehicles/cars and also likes playing with the pretend kitchen. My daughter (almost 3) loves cars and books (one is a ‘boy toy’ and the other is pretty neutral (thank God for that). Her favorite colour is again a ‘neutral’ green. Talking of milestones both of them achieved their milestones at similar age, both started walking at 14 mos.

    So it’s just coincidence I say.