Gender Bias

In one of my classes last semester we had a chapter on gender bias (gb). The purpose of discussing or learning about the topic is to create an awareness and change the behavior if necessary. I readily admit I do have some biases but I’m always willing to look at them and reevaluate my stance. Just for clarification, gb is when you have a prejudice or unreasonable expectations of one gender. One example I used was if there are heavy objects to move and if there were an equal number of women and men present, I expect the men to move the objects. That expectation is the bias. I also expect my sons to hold doors open for females. I remember having a conversation with my daughter about unloading groceries from the car. The three boys were proving their strength by taking the heaviest items out and saying, “look at me; I’m strong!” The honey girl got upset because I told her not to lift the heavy items to allow her brother to get those things. She couldn’t understand why she couldn’t prove her strength. I said, “boys need to prove they are strong and valiant.” She didn’t quite get it but she acquiesced. I didn’t think my biases were too extreme.
Fast forward to last week. Honey girl has become the resident mender of all bruises as well as the daily temperature taker for the little boys. Long story shortened, one had a fever last week now they insist on having their temperature taken daily in the morning and at night. My immediate and natural response was to call her the nurse. The teenager decided to grace us with his presence one day while the nurse was bandaging a knee. He asked the question, why can’t I pretend to be a doctor to get some practice for my veterinarian office I plan to have one day. Hit the rewind button. He immediately identified himself as a doctor. I identified her as a nurse. My biases were coming out in the pretend titles I was giving. Now, for the record she is just as smart and studious as her older brother. It wasn’t a matter of capability it was my unknown bias. It never occurred to me to refer to her as a doctor.
The other night I was reading the second chapter of Exodus out loud to the children. We came upon the verse about throwing all the baby boys into the river. I asked the question why the boys? My thought as to keep them from creating additional children or families later in life. They would end up with a generation of girls who would either marry Egyptians or never marry. The teenager said they killed the boys to keep them from growing up and creating a powerful army and taking over. Now I’m not sure if that is classified as bias or different views but my thought went to creating families and his to strength and valor.
Are all biases the same whether intentional or not? I’m asking myself what areas am I passing my gender biases on to my kids and how much of it is innate? The stud has made it perfectly clear that pink and baking are for girls. He wants no part of either. He will come and assist in the kitchen if I give direct orders. He will drink out of a pink cup if that’s all I’m offering on his sister’s birthday but it is under protest. I didn’t teach him that. He has drawn his own conclusion even after seeing his dad and older brothers baking and not hearing them complaining about the one day of pink.
Gender bias, what are yours? What if anything are you doing to change them or at least acknowledge them?

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One thought on “Gender Bias

  1. […] that is already prevalent in society. I had also decided my daughter would not get sucked into gender roles. I would ensure she had the opportunity to be and become. She would get a toy push mower and have […]

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