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Gender stereotypes: Are we too hard on our boys?

Nicole Madigan asks why gender stereotypes see boys who like pretty things ridiculed, while girls who cross the fence into sports and cars territory are praised.

Like most four-year-old boys, my son loves airplanes, cars, space and monsters.

He also loves – as he so eloquently puts it – lovely things.  Lovely things such as butterflies, fairies, flowers and anything that sparkles. He loves unicorns and mermaids as much as he loves helicopters and Stealth Bombers.

As a result my boys’ playroom is a mixed bag of toys of every colour and type, from trucks and cars to babies and prams, blocks and legos, to animals and My Little Ponies. My husband jokes that I encourage my son’s so-called feminine interests.  I don’t though. But I don’t discourage them either. The same applies to his typical boyish interests. When he displays this side of himself in public – or perhaps the fact that I allow it – reaction is mixed.  But there is always a reaction of some sort.

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