I grew up as a tom boy. It's hard to say if that is how I was hardwired or if "nurture" played a bigger role. I was raised by my Dad from the time I was an infant. The only other person in my house was my brother who is only 15 months older than I am. Activities consisted of camping, hunting, baseball, playing in the dirt...you know, the typical "boy" stuff. Even our next door neighbors were boys so that's who I hung out with. My Dad had a girlfriend when I was about 5 that would dress me in dresses and do my hair pretty. It didn't stick. By the time my Step-Mom came into our life I was in the 3rd grade I was completely uninterested in looking "girly". I loved my baby dolls and barbies, but I had zero interest in hair and make-up. I STILL have no interest in wearing make-up and feel downright tortured when I have to wear a dress or skirt. Wait, I don't even own a dress! I very reluctantly wore a dress on my wedding day. I would have been much happier in jeans and a t-shirt. Even the fact that I'm having to wear yoga style pants through this pregnancy is bothering me. I just want my jeans!!
Now I have 2 little girls of my own. I have always dressed them like girls, preferring for a stranger to be able to look at them and say, "What a cute little girl" instead of "boy". We have always had both "boy" and "girl" toys in the house since we have both genders. What is interesting to me is how vastly different my girls are in their likes/dislikes when it comes to gender stereotype things.
My 7 year old is definitely not a girly-girl. She is also not a tom boy in the same ways I was/am. She would love to live in sweats, but enjoys wearing dresses...to play in the mud and dirt. LOL! She cares greatly for her baby dolls and wants to play baseball again next season. She could care less if her hair gets brushed, but enjoys having her nails painted. She's a quirky one, that's for sure.
My 2 year old is a completely different story. She is ALL girl! Twirling, dancing, playing Mommy. She even has the hair flip move down already. She hates jeans with a vengeance and would be perfectly happy in a dress every day. She even loves princesses. She's a hugger and very compassionate towards others. I'm still not sure what to do with this sweet little girl, but I sure am enjoying her.
I believe "nature" shaped each of these little girls into who they are today, even though I hold fast to my belief that I fall more in the "nurture" category. It just goes to show you that you never know what you're going to get until you get it.
This post was inspired by The Underground Girls of Kabul by journalist Jenny Nordberg, who discovers a secret Afghani practice where girls are dressed and raised as boys. Join From Left to Write on September 16th as we discuss The Underground Girls of Kabul. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.