Boys to ballet and girls to soccer: are extracurricular activities gendered?

Imagination and play are free, they do not understand gender, but adults socialize children according to roles that determine what is masculine and what is feminine. We are the fathers and mothers (and society) who end up educating them as calm and caring people, and letting them be more moved and rewarding them when they are competitive. As i said Jean piaget, the minors do not play to learn, but they learn because they play, and if that game, sport or extracurricular class shows that boys play some things and girls play others (because of the fact that they are), it may seem that this is something natural, but no, nothing could be further from reality, since there is an intention (an adult) that guides the girl to pink (to ballet) and the boy to blue (to soccer).

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Sheila Villalba Y Patricia cardeñosa form Geuk Consulting from where they carry out workshops, coeducational projects, monitoring and implementation of equality plans in centers or entities related to education or the social field. The social educator and promoter of equality Patricia cardeñosa tells us: “It is not something new that data on the labor market, socio-political participation, performance and hours of dedication to domestic work, violence against women or the feminization of poverty, continue to reflect a society uneven, and show the existence of a hierarchy. A position based on a very unequal economic and social appreciation and recognition. This situation has its origin, in the first place, in a system of social organization that distributes power and resources unequally according to sex, placing us in a situation of subordination. And secondly, in most of the roles, stereotypes and sociocultural patterns of behavior learned based on sex. In this way we create a dualistic and discriminatory organization ”. For Cardeñosa it is a necessity to reinvent, create and promote leisure and play spaces that break with traditional roles and that take into account all forms of sexual diversity, without exceptions. This is the only path to equality he claims.

According to the expert in Gender Equality Maria Gijon, orienting boys to one activity and girls to another is a big mistake: “They grow up thinking that because they were born a girl or a boy they cannot do certain things and that is absolutely false and is also limiting. Gender stereotypes are the base of the pyramid of gender inequalities, at the highest point of which is gender-based violence. There are studies that show how girls are considered less strong and less intelligent from the age of six, something that, in addition to being false, makes them begin to take a back seat in life at an incredibly early age ”. Through the roles (the boy playing soccer and the girl rollerblading) behaviors are marked and controlled, the referents of masculinity and femininity are defined and attitudes or behaviors that go beyond social norms or what is expected are disapproved of us or us. And as Patricia Cardeñosa affirms, although they may seem harmless, they mark the existence of people, conditioning tastes, expectations, occupations, salary and in general, the way of living.

Clara Merin He talks to us from his project Educaiguales. For her, the first thing is to be aware that we have grown up surrounded by stereotypes, assume it and eliminate them: “As adults who grew up with internalized stereotypes of what it is to be a man and a woman, it is important to deconstruct ourselves and realize that neither they are from Venus nor we are from Mars. All these theories are outdated, the biological argument is not supported, we are no more genetically trained to put washing machines. Let us be aware of the inequalities that surround us and how we transmit them without realizing it in the language (which by definition is sexist), in the games we offer to our daughters and sons, in the audiovisual content to which we expose them (the majority of Disney movies are sexist), in the extracurricular ones that we sign up for, in the children’s books that we buy for them (who stars in them? A male or female character?) ”.

María Guijón from her social networks shares resources and ideas for Educate without stereotypes: “We have to start by using inclusive language with our daughters and sons. From the age of two they perfectly differentiate girl things or child things that is why it is so important to have many stories that combat these stereotypes. Mothers and fathers should also choose non-stereotyped toys, include gifts contrary to their sex according to society, show them references that break stereotypes (policewomen, firefighters, scientists or men with long hair, pink, dancing, crying), encouraging a lot sports in girls, and for example, analyze drawings and series beforehand when they can do so ”.

For Sheila Villalba from Geuk Consulting The fundamental thing is that from a very young age they are allowed and provided with different games; games that promote and stimulate their development, “that not everything is that they play dolls and they play cars, but that they can have multiple stimuli and that with them, they learn and develop different ways of playing. We know that this is not easy, since going out and seeing that a boy or girl is dressed up without being carnivals, is still something shocking and even more so if the costume worn by the child is of his Frozen idol, for example. But you have to be very clear that, when you are in the first years of life or early childhood, what you want is to play ”.

Concludes Clara Merinde Educaiguales: “The most important thing is to nurture and work with them and their self-esteem and self-esteem so that they do not feel that they have to fit in force in stereotypes of the past that we learned without questioning ourselves, it is about giving them wings, not restricting them and limiting them .

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