There is a lot of attention these days about empowering young girls. Girls are now encouraged to learn about anything they want to, such as science or politics or economics. Fields that were traditionally male-only are being opened up to women. Women are being encouraged to speak up for themselves and stand up for their rights.
But what about the boys? While the toy aisle has been de-gendered, with Star Wars right next to Barbie and not separated by different aisles labeled by pink and blue placards, what about the boys? If it is now socially not only accepted but encouraged for girls to play with anything they want to and to learn anything they want, then are we opening up the same opportunities for boys? Can boys do traditionally girl things without being looked down on? Can a boy read the Nancy Drew stories in the same way that a girl can read the Hardy Boys? Can a boy play with an Easy Bake Oven or have a tea party in the same way that a girl can play with trucks and erector sets?
If we’re going to go for gender equality then we have to be for equality for everyone. It has to be okay for boys to be whoever they want to be and also not be forced into a particular mold or pattern of how they are expected to be simply because they’re born male. I think the world would be better place if girls can be whatever they want and boys can be whatever they want, with no limitations placed on either because of their gender.
While we certainly can use more female doctors, lawyers, and engineers, we also need to make sure that we allow girls to be stay-at-home moms or teachers or nurses if they want. There needs to be no shame if girls want to take on traditionally female roles or jobs. They do not need to be seen as “less enlightened” if they don’t become astronauts or politicians, but cooks or housekeepers. And likewise it should be okay for boys to be teachers, nurses, artists, or stay at home dads. One’s gender should not prevent or predispose one’s occupation.