Recently I saw a question asked on Quora, “My five year old son wants to do ballet. How do I get him to pick a more manly pastime?” The answer given was much to my surprise exactly the thoughts I was having. Why do we stick to such strict gender roles with activities and our children? Do we realize, as parents, that our children are taught gender stereotypes by us.
If My Son Wants to Be in Dance Class I’ll Let Him
Why? Because he’s found something he enjoys and he feels will be fun. Why should I degrade his feelings? I would show him video after video of strong male dancers including, Carlos Acosta, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and Savion Glover.
Admittedly, I’m a tap dancer and have since I was six years old. I’ve always dreamt of my kids taking tap no matter if I had a girls or boys.
What really is “manly”?
According to the dictionary Manly is “having or denoting those good qualities traditionally associated with men, such as courage and strength.” Do you know how strong male ballet dancers must be? Have you seen those rock hard legs, abs, and ass? They lift the female dancers with such ease. Courage? Do you know in our society with such toxic masculinity running rampant how courageous it is for any boy to want to dance? I find it extremely manly even if it’s not what we perceive to be based on societies strict gender biases.
What about the flip side? What about my daughter?
Would I let my daughter do a typically “male” activity? Like play football, hockey, or wrestling? Yes, ultimately I would. Honestly I’d have to seriously consider either child playing football, it’s can cause serious injury no matter the gender, but just because an activity is typically a “boy activity” would not stop me from letting my daughter do it.
We have to teach our kids young that they are equal
Equality is not just a problem for women, men should be able to do what they want without judgment as well. In order to bring about equality the best way to change our society is by teaching our children young differently.