Monday, May 08, 2006

Girls vs Boys

An article in the current issue of Today's Parent has me feeling anxious. "Thrilled or Proud" by Kathy Buckworth was intended to be light and funny, however the thought behind it continues to stereotype the sexes.

Supposedly an unnamed study regarding the wording of birth announcements implied that parents of baby boys are proud, while parents of girls are thrilled. I ran to get the birth announcement that I made for Buttercup to see how I had worded it.

Proud parents Jana & Colin
as well as big sister Strawberry
are thrilled to announce
the arrival of...
Buttercup

If you are new here, yes, that is their nicknames. My children are not the cousins of Apple Martin.

I was glad that I did not fall into this generalization however I kept wondering if this is true. Are parents more proud of their little boys and thrilled by their girls?


It makes me think that boys accomplish more. Do we as parents see our little girls as something that is exciting, maybe like a new doll that we eagerly dress up and show off? From the moment that our children are born, do we typecast them and go about raising them to integrate these views as their own? I certainly hope not.

I encourage my daughters to play with whatever toys that interest them whether it be trucks or dolls. I dress them in pink and blue. I tell them that they are strong and can kick their ball with super power! I also tell them that they are smart and gorgeous. I've been known to call my friend's son gorgeous too.

To Kathy's defense she does go on to say that the difference between these emotions is deeper than gender. She also offers witty examples of when she feels both.

In your experience with birth announcements, have you seen this wording perpetuate this notion? Does your daughter make you proud? Does your son not thrill you to pieces?

23 Singing the blues:

Sunshine Scribe said...

I hadn't read this article but I do share your reaction to the premise.

I was "thrilled" when my son was born and am proud to be his mom. As I would be equally proud to be a mom of a girl.

I try to raise my gorgeous little boy with the least amount of gender stereotypes possible. If I had a girl, I think I'd do exactly as you are for Strawberry and Buttercup.

I think though that there is a bit of truth in the language that she/you pointed out. I do have some friends that fall into these proud vs thrilled categories.

Kvetch said...

My children - whose birth announcements I'd have to look at in their baby books - thrill, delight, inspire, encourage, and exasperate me. At 14 and 11 its important to allow them to do both...and they do. I am proud and thrilled when either of my kids gets a good hit in baseball, and I am proud and thrilled when they come home with A's. I am proud and thrilled when I hear them say "please" and "thank you" and they don't know I'm listening. I'm proud and thrilled when they unload the diswasher when I've only asked twice. But remember every child is different, as are your emotions for each. Just let it all flow!!

Pattie the Domesticator said...

Ok...I had to check the birth announcements I did for my three kids;
My son: We are "Delighted' to announce...
My first daughter: We are "Proud" to announce...
My second daughter; we are "Excited" to announce...

I hope that I did not perpetuate this notion.

Marcie said...

I actually never did birth announcements, but I have to say that I am thrilled and proud on a daily basis by the girls and boys. It's equal oppurtunity over here.

mama_tulip said...

Huh. I'm going to have to go back to the baby books and compare our wording. I'll be back to let you know if I fall into this generalization or not. ;)

Mom101 said...

wow, fascinating study! We worded ours "we welcome with love..." and I would hope we'd have done the same for a boy. But who knows.

Mama C-ta said...

Hmmm, what a thinker! We didn't send out announcements (tsk, tsk) but I know I tend to say Proud Mama to Cricket but I don't have a girl so not sure what I would say in that case. I would think I'd use proud in both cases but maybe not! Yes Cricket thrills me to pieces, actually I don't think I ever use the word thrilled in any cases. I normally say happy, proud, etc. Not sure thrilled comes to mind.

But it's so true how babies are immediately stereotyped. I was very adiment (sp?) to not have family labeling Cricket in any way. I encourage him to be and do whatever he wants. I don't dress him in pink, I prefer more gender neutral black...and I'd put my baby girl in black in a heartbeat. I was trying to find brown pants for a girls daughter and could ONLY find pink and purple. Boy clothes were only blue. I couldn't figure out why something couldn't be a tad femine in a typical "boy" color. I let him play with dolls, etc. We got these Tonka Truck books for him and I was irritated b/c I knew this person specifically got the truck books b/c he's a boy and boys play with trucks.

I'm totally going off on a tangent and not sure I'm making sense right now, sorry! My point was I agree w/your feelings on the subject!

kittenpie said...

Interesting. I'm not sure where I would find my announcements to see what I wrote right now... We're on a fresh computer and the printed version has not quite made it into a scrapbook yet... Um, yeah.

But I would add that last night I was thinking about her toys, and realized that nearly every toy she has is what I would consider unisex. Blocks, instruments, puzzles, play food, that kind of thing. But at the same time, it's probably true that if she had been a boy, people wouldn't have given us so many stuffed animals. So even though they are not little baby dolls... And I love that her favourite show is Bob the Builder. Go, baby, go! I AM proud of my girl.

Andrea said...

I will have to look at ours, but I think it was along the lines of "Welcome to the Family!" and then his statistics and a picture.

Caryn said...

That's fascinating! I'd never thought of the proud vs. thrilled thing before. Wow. I can see why you were a little disturbed.

Her Bad Mother said...

This had me running to the birth announcement... "delighted"... where does that fit?

Erin-erin-bo-berin said...

As a mother to four girls, I was and am still thrilled to pieces. I should clarify that statement: I am thrilled to pieces when they are all asleep. At any other given moment, I am usually found in the kitchen, preparing snack/meals/snacks again/drinks in tiny plastic tumblers - and pulling my own hair out from the sheer stress of having several daughters under seven demanding every request at once. *SIGH*

Erin-erin-bo-berin said...

BTW: Thanks for visiting my blog today. You're welcome anytime!

Mommy off the Record said...

You know, I've never even given this much thought. Not sure if that's good or bad. I just hope that I would that when the time comes, I'll be open-minded enough not to be embarrased by my son if he chooses to play with a Barbie instead of a firetruck.

HeatherJ said...

I am thrilled and proud of both of my girls. They delight me to no end. I think we just put "It's a Girl, announcing the arrival of Aly". So what does that mean?

Mrs. Chicky said...

I was thrilled to have a girl, I am proud of her every accomplishment, and I am overjoyed that soon she will be in bed for the night. :)

And I also did not do a birth announcement. I wonder what that says about me?

lildb said...

I was thrilled to have a boy. I said as much on the announcement. (For the record, I'm still pretty thrilled.)

mama_tulip said...

Okay, I just checked. I used "thrilled" for both of their announcements.

Nicole said...

I just checked and it turns out we were "proud" of both our little boy and our little girl. I'm pretty sure we were thrilled, too.

Insteresting thought, though? In our house, my son is very much in touch with his feminine side and my daughter likes to play soccer. Our kids, being so close in age, seem to get the best (and worst) of both worlds.

Chantal said...

I don't remember what we said. Interesting though. After three girls, I think we may have said "We are confused to announce the birth of our son." No. Not really, but that's how I felt!

Interesting perspective for sure. Thanks.

rhonda said...

Wow, I have never heard that before! I am just thrilled about my Benny! And proud of my Maddy!

Mega Mom said...

I have to say I have no clue! Sometimes I'm a bit dismayed by all the boys (I'M KIDDING :))))))

Let me ask this. Last week I posted a picture of my lovely little guys in a huge pink shopping cart. There was an empty blue one right behind them, and I thought it was neat that they chose the pink. Yesterday, we went shopping for a game boy (long story) and there was only a pink one left. My son didn't want it at first, but upon realizing he might not get one, he made a plea for it. I ended up saying that we'd try the other store. Basically, I didn't want him turning around in a few months and saying he didn't want to play with this big ticket item b/c it was pink. Did I perpetuate the stereotype, or was that a smart move?

Mrs. Davis said...

My second son's birth announcement says "we proudly announce". And it's blue. Dammit. I fell for the gender stereotyping.

With two boys now, if I had a third child and it was a girl, I would probably say "relieved". But I would certainly be proud of a daughter.