Gender Bias: Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Slugs and snails
And puppy-dogs’ tails
That’s what little boys are made of

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And all things nice
That’s what little girls are made of.

This rhyme dating back to the 19th Century succinctly posits a view about gender differences and in today’s world of political correctness, gender politics and ideology, it would be poo-pooed right out of any classroom.  Gender bias, gender ideology and theory…I really need a whole blog purely to discuss this and this only.

Currently there is no end to scholarly debate about whether gender differences are biological or cultural, or in fact, if they even exist, and whether we should use these gender differences, or lack thereof, to determine political, social, development and educational choices.  I personally have many, often contentious, opinions on this topic but I’m not going to rant about them here, surprisingly.

The only thing I will say is that I believe that kids should just play with what they want. I don’t believe in girls toys or boys toys specifically and I provided both ‘types’ for all of my kids as they grew up.  I also won’t chastise my kids for playing with gender traditional toys either.  Personally, I wish for a simpler time – when kids could just be kids and stop having the adults in their lives superimpose their adult minds into a child’s sphere of thinking. Gender bias toys, such as dolls houses and barbies, did not condition me to become a housewife, nor did getting a chemistry kit when I was 11 make me want to study science at university.

Anyway, I digress.  While scrolling on facebook the other day, I came across a post on a friend’s wall.  It is addressed to all daughters.  The fact that it is only addressed to daughters is something that I found super interesting.  I quite like the sentiment … but why not sons?  Why do we only ever want to address empowerment messages to our daughters…little girls and little boys, whether they are sugar and spice or puppy dog’s tails, all need to hear it.

The original post aimed at only daughters is as below …


A few important rules to teach your daughters:

• Travel light through life. Keep only what you need.

• It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash (some) things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.

• If you’re going to curse, be clever. If you’re going to curse in public, know your audience.

• Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul.

• Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

• 5-second rule. It’s just dirt. There are worse things in a fast food cheeseburger.

• You are a woman, you do not need a man, but you can absolutely enjoy your life with a good one if you find one

• Happiness is not a permanent state. Wholeness is. Don’t confuse these.

• Never walk through an alley alone.

• Be less sugar, more spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without compromising yourself.

• Can’t is a cop-out.

• Hold your heroes to a high standard. Be your own hero.

• If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.

• Never lie to yourself.

• Your body, your rules.

• If you have an opinion, you better know why.

• Practice your passions.

• Ask for what you want. The worst thing they can say is no.

• Wish on stars and dandelions, then get to work to make them happen.

• Stay as sweet as you are.

• Fall in love often. Particularly with ideas, art, music, literature, food and far-off places.

• Say Please, Thank You, and Pardon Me, whenever the situation warrants it.

• Reserve “I’m sorry” for when you truly are.

• Naps are for grown-ups, too.

• Question everything, except your own intuition.

• You have enough. You are enough.

• You are amazing! Don’t let anyone ever make you feel you are not. If someone does….walk away. You deserve better.

• No matter where you are, you can always come home.

• Be happy and remember your roots, family is EVERYTHING.

• Say what you mean and mean what you say.

• Be kind; treat others how you would like them to treat you.

• If in doubt, remember whose daughter you are and straighten your crown.


Do you let your kids play with ‘gender bias’ toys?  Do you noticeably try to stop them from playing with toys that are considered to have a ‘gender bias’?

Have you ever seen any empowerment messages for boys on social media?  If so, please share!


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