A friend who was a Taiwanese grad student came by one morning when our then 3-year-old son was having breakfast. He was enjoying his morning ritual of eating his toast into the shape of a gun.
I was just about to tell him to holster it when our friend said, "Ah, little Chinese boys do the same thing."
A taxpayer-funded preschool in Sweden is determined to break down those very sorts of gender roles. Egalia eradicates stereotypes where girls are girlie and boys are manly. They shun the very words girls and boys; everyone is a friend. (I'm guessing none of the friends are allowed to eat toast into the shape of a gun.)
The words him and her, "han" and "hon" in Swedish, have been banned as well. Instead they use a fabricated word, "hen." Yes, that would be hen as in the Little Red Hen, who was distinctly female, although she did have some traditionally male characteristics in that she farmed. I wasn't supposed to say that, was I?
Students at Egalia are required to wear uniforms, are denied any and all reference to their gender, have their language engineered by gender pedagogues, and play under the supervision of adults who encourage friends to play house with two and three mommies. Nearly all the little hens' books deal with homosexual couples, single parents or adopted children. No Cinderella or Disney classics allowed here.
What will educators do when the friends reach adolescence and know beyond the certainty of their own curves and changing bodies that they are indeed physically and biologically different? Perhaps they can give them hormone supplements, a dose of testosterone for the hons and estrogen for the hans.
We have a wonderful two-story doll house in our living room that children love. When boys play with it, they tend to rearrange to the furniture. Girls make the plastic figures sit at the table and pretend they are having a meal.
The boys have punched out a dormer window on the upper story and taken the front door off its hinges. Girls make the little people have pretend conversations. Boys put the household pets on the roof and sometimes have a large plastic dinosaur eat them.
We also have a playhouse in our backyard that the husband built for our children when they were preschool age. Over the years, girls have played school in the playhouse, had sleepovers, tea parties and hosted bake sales, while boys more often entered through the windows than the door, staged bank robberies and simulated hostage-taking situations.
At no time did we ever say, "You girls get out there and be girlie and you boys get out there and be manly." All we ever said was, "Keep it down and try not to break any bones."
The kids were free to imagine, create and play. Such freedom is one of the purest delights of childhood.
Pity the boys and girls whose carefree years of childhood have been taken away and replaced with social engineering, constant scrutiny, meddling and mind control. They probably can't even eat toast without someone watching.
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