A little pre-school feminism

My older kid just graduated from preschool. Now that he’s out, I feel comfortable publicly telling this story.

His school is a co-operative, which means that the parents are responsible for volunteering and running the school. Each day a few parents co-op in the classroom to assist the teacher.

One day I was co-oping and the kids were having circle time. The class leader that day was a little girl…who we’ll call Mary Anne (name changed, obviously). As part of being class leader, she got to put the date on the calender and have all the kids count along with her.  She wanted to count the numbers backward, and she looks at a group of boys, including one we’ll call Logan (again, name changed) and said, “When we get to ‘three, two, one,’ I don’t want you to say blast off!” It was very important to Mary Anne that Logan and his friends NOT say blastoff.

So we’re counting down and we get to the end, and of course Logan shouts “Blast Off!” Then of course Mary Anne (and the teacher) got annoyed and he got a lecture. After the lecture, Logan turned to one of his friends (we’ll call him Pete Black) and said, “Mary Anne is soooo bossy!”

I heard it but the teacher didn’t. So of course, I told Logan that we don’t call people names. But for some reason, Logan calling Mary Anne bossy was just getting under my skin, and I couldn’t explain why.  I wasn’t surprised – I’d been co-oping in the classroom for months and I know Logan is pretty rude, even for a four year old.

Then I realized: I don’t think Logan would have called one of the boys in the class bossy. I honestly think he did it just because Mary Anne is a girl.  And then I got really agitated because are we really doing this so early? Are we really going to tell little four and five year old girls that when they are open about exactly what they want, and they want to call people out on being assholes, that they are bossy? Are we really going to let little four and five year old boys think that also?

Listen, Logan. It was Mary Anne’s fucking turn to be the line leader, and as the line leader she GETS TO CHOOSE HOW TO COUNT THE NUMBERS ON THE GOD DAMN CALENDAR.  Mary Anne made her choice, and she shouldn’t be made to feel like she’s bossy for taking her turn to get what she wants, when that’s kind of the whole point of being the line leader. She doesn’t need to be meek about just because she’s a girl.

I know, I realize kids can be assholes no matter what, gender notwithstanding. But I just don’t dig on girls being treated like this at any age.


*Also, I guess in this example, I want my kid to be Cary Retlin.


About nikkihb

Wife. Mother. Reader. Blogger.
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4 Responses to A little pre-school feminism

  1. magnolia says:

    heh. bossy. i got called that a lot when i was a little girl. the bike i got for christmas the year i was six was lilac purple, and it was branded “bossy” in hot pink and white letters, with a drawing of a little girl in pigtails and a baseball cap sticking out her tongue. i think they were going for sassy. i still think that alone was fine. the bike people portrayed bossiness as something fun and rebellious.

    but when adults, and the little boys on my street who played with me, called me that, it was different. i had enough chutzpah to be able to tell people that i was “CONFIDENT!” (is my only child-ness showing?) my parents encouraged me to question and take charge when it was my turn to do it. not to be rude, but to be assertive. and thank the gods for that one.

    to see the same old dynamic from 1985 repeating itself in 2012, though, is… yeah.

  2. fatelephant says:

    I know Logan mite be a little gunt, but is it possible that Mary Anne really is bossy? I remember a few bossy bitches when I was that age. 😛 All jokes aside though, I have been thinking about this for a while, after reading this post http://www.thealphaparent.com/2012/04/sexism-and-early-learning-centre.html Not sure if you’ve seen it. It goes on a bit, but has a lot of valid points. Makes me wonder if we were just left on an island to our own devices when we were babies (and didn’t get eaten by scary island monsters or starve to death) would we end up thinking the same and acting more or less the same.

  3. Tim says:

    Maybe Logan would have said that to anyone doing the countdown.

  4. Sherlyn says:

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    Is it tough to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking
    about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions? With thanks

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