As a mother, I am always looking for ways to keep my son busy and socialized, and this includes enrolling in our local park district kids’ classes. We just received the winter season catalog and I was flipping through it, and came across two class descriptions that dumbfounded me. Keep in mind that each of these classes are directed at 3- to 5-year-olds.
1. Princesses on Parade: Have fun with your favorite princesses and just celebrate being girls! Each week we will talk about different princesses and do other fun girl stuff. We will read a story, make a project and do some singing and dancing. On the last day, we will wear our princess costumes and have a tea party. Parents, we will be talking about the princesses’ strengths and good deeds, as well as having fun.
2. Totally Dudes: Calling all boys! Pirates, dinosaurs, trucks, trains, sports, jumpin’ and playin’. This class is just for boys. Each week will be a different theme and we will make a project, include a little science and math, have time in the Motor Room, and just celebrate being boys.
Am I the only one disturbed by these descriptions?? Notice how the boys’ class lists stereotypical things boys may like as well as learning science and math. There is no mention of any academic activities in the girls’ class, unless you consider talking about strengths and good deeds of fictional princesses to be learning activities. As a little girl, I didn’t particularly like princesses or dress-up games or tea parties. I had toy cars and Legos, and I happened to like science and math. What class would I have joined then? I can’t believe that in 2010 they are still reinforcing those good ol’ gender stereotypes.
Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with little girls liking princesses and little boys liking pirates and dinosaurs, but…to me this is just silly. Maybe I wouldn’t have such a problem with it if they offered some science and math to the girls’ class as well. But what do I know?