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Gender stereotypes

Written by Rosa Colucci on .

Donna Lund's Aug. 22 First Person essay"Girls, Girls, Girls"may appear to be a cute story about the so-called differences between boys and girls, but it is actually a telling example of how gender stereotypes continue to be accepted in American society. Ms. Lund writes fondly about her granddaughters' frilly dresses and girly squeals, juxtaposing them with her sons' gruff avoidance of any conversation beyond sports. Are boys and girls really so divided? If they are, it's because American families mistakenly continue to raise them that way.

As an only child, I was brought up to appreciate "masculine" and "feminine" pastimes and modes of expression. I liked shopping for clothes with my grandmother, but I also loved working on cars with my grandfather. I never loved playing or talking about sports, but neither did I like doing or talking about my makeup. Sure, I shed plenty of tears, but I also slipped into sullen silences. And I spent most of my time reading, writing and drawing -- activities associated with both genders.Raising children to explore who they are regardless of how society prescribes their behavior often results in well-rounded, happy children who become confident, successful adults. Most importantly, it disrupts the idea that men and women behave in essentially different ways -- the very idea that, less than a century ago, prohibited women from most careers, most athletics and most political activity, including the right to vote.

MARIANNE HOLOHAN
South Side

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