Friday, February 10, 2006

Gendergarten

A friend of mine is shopping around for daycare for his baby boy. Him and his wife visited a prospective Kindergarten today. Communication with the staff kind of broke down over the issue of gender roles. This is an important consideration these days to anyone in my circles. In extreme cases, parents have been known to try to conceal the biological sex of their children outside the family in order for them to grow up free of gender stereotyping.

The daycare ladies weren't exactly up to speed on this.
"Well, we let girls play with cars and boys with dolls if they want to."

"Oh, that's no problem here. We treat boys and girls just the same."

"We're actually attending a lecture about that sort of thing, because the parents want us to."
Poor women. Looks like a case of mutual subcultural incomprehension. Because the people who worry about gender stereotyping aren't the same folks who work in daycare and other poorly paid jobs dominated by women.

Just think of the cultural manoeuvering these daycare ladies have to learn. Not only must they master the niceties of a large number of immigrant cultures regarding children, parenting and gender -- they also have to deal with Swedish subcultures that are almost equally alien to them. My hat (well, my red woolen cap anyway) is off to them.

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