Jamie is Jamie
Have you ever been to a toy store with your kids? I’m sure you probably have, even if you try to avoid it. As the mother of 2 boys, I’ve spent my fair share of time at Toys R Us (much to my great dismay).
Have you walked through the store and noticed the how the colors indicate whether that section is meant for boys or girls? When I once went to a store looking for a present for a friend’s daughter, I was really surprised by the bright pink aisle and the fact that the toys were different than the ones in the aisles meant for my boys. And not just a little different.
The differences between the pink aisle and the blue aisle were quite obvious, but I wasn’t really seeing the bigger picture, the subtle messages, of gender stereotyping.
What messages do we send our children?
As a parent, I really thought a lot about the messages I directly communicated to my boys, especially the ones common in our culture that suggested boys needed to be tough, couldn’t need anyone, and certainly shouldn’t be expressing their vulnerable feelings. How were they going to be kind human beings if this was the expectation of them? I felt like I was swimming against the tide! I took great pride in nurturing them, snuggling with them, and encouraging them to come to me when they needed support. It felt like I was encouraging them to just be human and that shouldn’t be something different or unusual.
Those were the obvious messages I consciously thought about. But what are the other messages we are directly and indirectly giving to our children? And what else is being communicated through our culture to boys and girls?
I’m so grateful for this conversation with Afsaneh Moradian about her new children’s book, Jamie is Jamie, and about gender and gender stereotypes. This is such a timely conversation with the #metoo movement and parents really thinking about what we need to do to raise children who are prepared to be decent human beings.
We’re living in such a different time from years past, where many men are actively participating in the lives of their babies and children, yet our language and the way we talk to girls and boys hasn’t really changed. Perhaps this is a place we can consciously make small changes that will have a big impact in our daily lives with our kids.
This conversation is full of lessons learned from Afsaneh’s 5-year-old daughter who inspired the book with some of her experiences in preschool and the toys that she was “allowed” to play with at school. Once these important conversations begin with our children, they also help us to keep the momentum going, learning together, as Afsaneh’s daughter will show you in this podcast.
Afsaneh Moradian has been an educator for more than 15 years. She has worked with students of all ages from preschool to graduate school. Afsaneh is a doctoral candidate in education, author of the upcoming book, “Jamie is Jamie” by Free Spirit Publishing, and proud mom of a 5 year old.
Facebook: Afsaneh Moradian