Monday, November 02, 2009


Scenes with The Girl

"I wish you could see my thinks, but they're stuck in my brain and I can't get them out." -- The Girl


At parents' lunch at TG's school, a little boy from her class came up and hugged TG.

TW: Does he do that a lot?

TG: Yeah.

TW: Do you like it when he does that?

TG: Yeah.

TW: Do you ever hug him back?


(shy smile)

TG: Sometimes.


TG had a brush with sexism this week, but handled it well. She and TB went trick-or-treating together, TB as a mummy and TG as a veterinarian. (Some people thought TB was TG's patient. I thought TB's outfit made him look like a giant tampon, but decided not to mention it.) TG's costume combined green scrubs with a white lab coat with a nametag (Dr. TG) and a surgical mask that she wore loose around her neck.

They made quite the pair, and many of the adults at the doors couldn't help but comment on their costumes. A frequent exchange:

TB and TG: Trick-or-treat!

Adult at door: Ooh! A mummy and a nurse!

TG: I'm a doctor!

Adult: Oh, sorry, honey.

TG: I'm a vet-er-in-ar-i-an.

Adult: (smile)

Naturally, once we got home, this became a teachable moment.

TW: You know, women can be doctors, too.

TG: I know.

TB: Yeah, I know.

DD: And men can be nurses.

TB: They can?

DD: Yup.

TG: And I'm a vet-er-in-ar-i-an!

DD: That's right.

She's only five, but TG is already more composed and self-possessed than many adults I know. Sometimes.

We had the exact opposite discussion with our youngest boy who is also 5. The other day he asks - Mommy, can boys be doctors too? He was thinking about the fact that his doctor and the mothers of several children we know are all doctors (for the record, our vet is a woman too), but we know no male doctors. Warmed my little feminist heart. Of course, I think stories like yours are far more common, but the fact that there are stories like mine suggests at least SOME progress is being made.
Some students on our campus still address female professors as Miss or Mrs. but never their male professors as Mr. - always as Dr. I'm surprised to find even some of my younger (traditional age) students have trouble with females as authority figures. There's still the stereotype of the man with the beard and occasionally the patch-elbow jacket.
I occasionally wonder if female professors shouldn't consider acquiring a patch-elbow jacket.

Or a beard, I suppose.
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