They roughly run towards each other to grab the ball and throw it to a teammate. One or two boys fall to the ground, with one shedding copious tears, but their daddies merely tell them to stand up and run again. The crying boy’s father approaches him, pats him at the back and instructs him to play ball again as if nothing happened.
My observations made me reflect on the kinds of play these children engage in. I thought Barbie dolls are considered a representation of the American ideal of beauty – sexy, thin and stylish, given to little girls like a torch passed on from one generation of women. It is but expected by society for a girl to achieve the much coveted beauty and grace exemplified by Barbie dolls, as looks matter terribly in this society. That is why the older ladies seemed to be guiding the little girls on how to make their dolls more beautiful, in the hopes that these girls will do so for themselves.
On the other hand, boys are encouraged to engage in contact sports. Mothers endure the mess and stench of sweaty jerseys and hold their hearts in their throats as they witness their little boys being roughed up in the playing field all because of the image boys need to project as being manly. The fathers proudly motivate their sons to go for a goal or to brush of simple accidents of tripping to the ground as trivial. It seemed that expressing pain by crying in such accidents is not encouraged.
Boys and girls are treated differently from the time they are born. Baby girls are considered fragile and they are exposed to delicate language and handled very gently. Boys, on the other hand, are exposed to strong tones and power-filled language and are handled less gently as they are tossed in the air and held upright from a younger age to demonstrate their power and strength (Rasquinha & Mouly, 2005).
Chodorow (1978) posits that after birth, the infant unconsciously sees himself/ herself as merged with