As a child I never felt particularly categorised or stereotyped because of my gender but after our discussions in the lecture this morning, I realised that it played quite a big role in my primary school life. At the time it seemed perfectly normal to be sat ‘boy, girl, boy, girl’ in the classroom or to be partnered with a boy for social dancing. Thinking back on this now it all seems quite ridiculous that so much depended on whether we were a boy or a girl.
I remember a teacher who always used to say,
“Come on boys, the girls are beating you again!”
As a girl I was given the impression that boys were silly and didn’t care about their work because they always distracted us or got into trouble for not concentrating hard enough. I was always the well behaved, hard working child who had to sit between two boys if they were distracting one another. This happened on several occasions and I distinctly remember the teacher apologising to me and saying that it wasn’t because I had been bad but because I was a good influence on the boys. Not once do I remember a boy being sat between two girls for the same reason.
In the playground we used to play ‘boys chase girls’ or ‘girls chase boys’ which shows how the two genders actually teamed up against each other. Similarly, at sports day we had the ‘girl races’ and the ‘boy races’. I didn’t think anything of it at the time.