By: Natasha Archary
On Kaya Drive this Thursday, Sizwe Dhlomo wanted to know, which gender is more challenging to raise – boys or girls?
Sandile van Heerden who is expecting a baby girl shared that he is going to be protective over his little girl because it’s not safe for girls in the country.
“I wanted a boy, because boys don’t bring the same concerns as raising a daughter,” the sports presenter shared.
For centuries gender stereotypes paint the picture that girls are made of sugar, spice and all things nice. In contrast, the main ingredients that little boys consist of are supposedly snips, snails, and puppy dogs tails.
This description points to boys being naturally more aggressive, active and loud, while girls are supposed to be more demure, caring and reserved.
The difference in raising boys vs girls stems from the parental influence and how they were raised.
Fathers of little girls tend to adopt “Princess Syndrome” before their daughters can even walk, while moms are prone to take the “mommy’s boy” route with their sons.
Wanting to protect and coddle them, girls are given a softer landing than boys who are encouraged to be rough and take tumbles to toughen them up.
It’s the same with their interests, hobbies and as they get older what they are and aren’t allowed to do.
The conditioning with girls to take on the maternal role in later life, starts with the encouragement to role-play with dolls, kitchen sets and “playing house’. Little girls push around dolls in prams, mirroring what “mommies” do. We gift girls tiaras and pink tutus, instilling in them the notion that they are princesses.
Instead of equipping little girls with the knowledge to be prepared for anything life throws at them.
“Princessifying” little girls’ lives, means they grow up believing that life is a fairytale and that someone will take care of her needs. Generally a man.
According to research, this leads to young women who are not independent and can lead to utter disappointment in relationships.
Just like a real Princess, the little girl grows up under the pretence that it is a man’s job to solve all the problems in her life. These girls then grow up to be ‘high maintenance’ or ‘too demanding’ with high expectations of their partners.
While girls are taught to express their emotions, boys are told not to cry because it’s a sign of weakness. Where girls are given the role of nurturer at home, boys are told to go explore the outdoors. Boys are given the opportunity to be loud so their voices can be heard. The expectation is that boys should be more self sufficient and independent.
Boys are taught that they are the providers and that a women is dependent on them. Therefore the pressure on boys is higher because the gender roles are defined from a young age.
Rescue the princess from her tower, protect her and your kingdom or die trying. Boys that are raised with this mindset, grow up to become men who feel women are mere possessions to them.
Raising boys vs girls with these dated principles puts both genders at a disadvantage. Little girls should be encouraged from a young age that they can just as easily be the ones doing the rescuing. And, little boys can equally be taught how to be more nurturing and family-oriented.