Would you like to meet someone I know? She’s a good type, but others have described her as “domineering, dominating, overbearing, imperious, masterful, autocratic, autarchic, officious, high-handed, high and mighty, authoritarian, dictatorial, strict, harsh, severe…” I could go on, but in short, she’s a bit bossy.
If you’ve got a daughter, have you chosen your gender script? This interesting article in The Atlantic suggests you probably already have.
The research behind it suggests that “Unlike masculinity, multiple forms of femininity are seen as acceptable by parents and by children,” which is a thought-provoking idea. The article is based on American research, so the cultural references might need some translation, but it would be odd if the patterns weren’t broadly the same here.
If you’re short on time, here are the three scripts you might have subliminally assigned to your girl:
The ballet kids. It’s about appearance, posture, femininity, but also confidence, competitiveness (without going too far), and physicality.
The winners. These girls are encouraged to be physical in games like football and athletics, to play to win. It’s about maximising opportunities in readiness for a tough world; femininity and appearance takes a back seat.
Pink Warrior Girls
Not as gruesome as it sounds. Equally aggressive, but looking to achieve and beat boys at an intellectual level. Chess is the ideal playing field here (the article references a book called ‘Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport’). Appearance and femininity can co-exist with this outlook; its equality of opportunity that matters.
Speaking personally, I’m not too sure where we’re headed with our daughters. Perhaps we should be.