Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?

Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?

For as long as I can remember I have been shaped by society’s double standard between boys and girls. In third grade I was friends with a girl named Sarah, not because she was funny or nice, but because she had legos. Thousands and thousands of bricks and miniature men and guns, toys I never had. Sarah had these toys because, unlike me, she had brothers. Before Sarah, the only toys I had ever owned were dolls or animal figurines, equipped with stories of raising children and shopping. Whereas Sarah’s lego sets contained firemen, policemen, and explorers, who didn’t come with backstories of domesticity but stories of adventure and justice. I loved these toys, but toys centered around these themes aren’t usually marketed to girls because girls aren’t expected to care about things like bravery, adventure, and saving the day.

In all the sets I played with, there was never a female firefighter, police officer, or even criminal, because the boundaries of girls’ imagination are supposed to be strictly limited to matters of the house, childcare, and romantic love. My parents didn’t deliberately choose to not buy me legos because they wanted me to be docile and submissive; they have always supported me in being the independent and outspoken girl I am. But still the idea of me ever becoming a firefighter or a policewoman probably never crossed their mind, while they were very vocal about thinking of how I would be as a wife. They are not immune to the toxic gender roles of our society and therefore some of those beliefs were passed down to me in the form of a barbie doll.

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