Have you ever wondered what impact bias and stereotype had on your upbringing? From movies to books and everything in between, society seems to give boys an edge. Prince Charming and the knights in shining armor, anyone? And it continues in real life as well, with men being paid more than women for doing the same job, and the ever-present glass ceiling that is only just starting to be broken.
What if these stereotypes were removed from the equation?
At Egalia preschool in Stockholm, Sweden, teachers are actively trying to dissolve the notion of gender. The staff avoids using words like “him” and “her,” and instead refer to the students as “friends.” Building blocks are placed next to the toy kitchen so “the children draw no mental barriers between cooking and construction.” The kids are read books entirely about homosexual couples, single parents, and adopted children.
Egalia doesn’t deny the biological differences between boys and girls, but emphasizes that these biological differences “don’t mean boys and girls have different interests and abilities.”
On one hand, I think this is a little bit crazy. I mean, a boy is a “he” and a girl is a “her.” Why do words differentiating gender have to be gotten rid of if they’re the truth? It seems a tad on the extreme side. The genders are different; there’s no getting around it.
But on the other hand, I see what they’re getting at. I can get behind exposing kids to the idea of same sex couples and alternative families at an early age in the hopes that the next generation will be more open and tolerant. And I like that they’re taught to value “male” and “female” tasks the same (i.e. cooking and construction).
…But, at the same time, what’s wrong with a manly man or a girly girl? Some people just have those interests. Are we trying to quash them?
I don’t know, Lovelies. What do you think?