Every child knows that dogs are boys.
Cats are girls.
You thought that, too… right?
They’re felines. They’re dainty and prissy and turn up their noses at many different kinds of food.
Because kids lack experience, their theories require leaps of logic that could span entire continents.
Like in the 1970s… when my parents
trapped me in the back of their Dodge Coronet pleasantly drove the family to synagogue? I thought the congregation’s responsive readings during the worship service were actually hypnotic group chants that Jewish adults were forced to memorize during years of agonizing brainwashing education by religious elders.
I mean… that’s what Hebrew school is for, right?
Also, I believed grown-ups used brain waves to control their car turn signals. They simply thought about going right or left and the correct side would start to flash.
Oh… and blondes are shiny, brunettes are short, and falling down is very important if you want Mr. and Mrs. Roper to think you’re gay.
Of course, this was a lot less funny last week when my ten-year-old daughter revealed a startling misconception of her own.
We were standing at the bathroom mirror doing her hair for school when she imparted this little gem.
She told me:
I’ll be a nurse because only men can be doctors.
In the name of Siri and all that’s holy… hold the phone!!!
Because that is just…
Let me just say this: In college, I minored in American History with a focus on mid-century social movements. I am down with Women’s Lib.
I am also old enough to use the term Women’s Lib without embarrassment.
Which is to say… I’d support my daughter’s decision to be anything she wants to be.
Professional wrestler, housepainter, successful real estate agent, master gardener.
Maybe not a stripper. Though I solidly endorse everything else.
(Not really. Research suggests she should avoid choosing a career as a malaria patient, stand-up comic, or habitual offender.)
But what I’m implying is this: It is not my fault.
And… I might add… I have worked very hard to embrace women in the medical profession.
My daughter’s pediatrician is a woman, her allergist is a woman, and her dermatologist is a woman.
Which, frankly, makes it hard to decide which flaw in her logic is most concerning.
a) That she’s adopted a sadly outdated understanding of gender roles?
b) That she doesn’t believe her future is without boundaries?
c) That she’s repeatedly failed to notice her pediatrician has boobs?
To be fair… I myself do not have boobs. And as far as media exposure goes, she only watches Disney Channel… which apparently beamed Miley Cyrus directly to TMZ after uncovering the shocking evidence that she does have boobs.
So it’s entirely possible my daughter has not had a proper opportunity to register the significance of breasts as a secondary female sex characteristic.
For that reason… we’ll give her a pass on option c.
Which leaves us with outdated gender roles and a narrow understanding of her own possibilites.
Don’t get me wrong… nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system. It would collapse without them. They’re highly schooled, highly trained, exceptionally empathetic and always employed.
But they don’t have to be women. And doctors don’t have to be men.
And although I don’t think it was me who misinformed her… maybe I’m wrong.
I’m a stay-at-home mom. She’s developed her gender identity by studying the somewhat traditional example set by yours truly.
I do not curl my hair with pantyhose.
I do not wear pantyhose.
I am having a really good time with italics on this post.
I do not know why.
Neither do I know why my daughter missed the boat on this rather important issue.
I mean, she’s got all kinds of female role models. The women in our family literally do it all. We’ve got business owners, lawyers, teachers, social workers, a CPA, a comedy writer, an ER nurse… and only one currently incarcerated felon.
We’ve got options, is what I’m saying.
Which I will now begin working very hard to impress upon her… without crushing her other ridiculously mistaken (but completely harmless) beliefs about things like magic wands and winning the lottery.
I do not want to eliminate the refreshing new human smell that still wafts through the air in delightful waves when she’s completely wrongheaded.
I will simply keep telling her that she can do anything. (So long as it doesn’t lead to an online mugshot with BUSTED across the bottom.)
Personally, I hope she becomes a congresswoman.
And passes a law legalizing marriage between cats and dogs… without any of the mass hysteria.
How about you?
Do you remember crazy assumptions you made back in childhood?
Or have your kids come up with some of their own?