Those comments from my daughter make me look differently at his father, a seemingly nice enough fellow who is always friendly to me and my daughter. But where is his son getting these attitudes instilled in his head? It is hard to believe it is from his mother, an also seemingly nice enough person. The son is only 6 years old so it is hard to believe he already thinks independently about the role of girls versus boys in society.
Sexism is ugly at any age. For my daughter, at the ripe old age of 5, it causes her to dislike and avoid her teammate. For me as her mom, it causes me to wonder about the values and the mantra being taught in her teammate’s household. And it makes me thankful for all of those men who embrace their wives and girlfriends and sisters and daughters doing whatever those girls and women want to do. The good news for my daughter is that she has 12 friends on her hockey team and only one person, the 13th teammate, she does not like. Those are good statistics.
I assume the source of sexism is insecurity and ignorance. A subconscious fear on the man’s part that he cannot compete with a woman in the same position and a desire that things stay as they were back in the 1950s, when women’s roles were well defined and there was no confusion about what a man was supposed to do and what a woman was supposed to do. Although I understand the desire for certainty and well defined roles, as a woman I am appreciative that most of Canadian society has moved past those entrenched views and has embraced equality across society.
For my daughter’s sake, I am hopeful that the statistics from her team play out in society. If as she grows up she only has 1 out of 13 people trying to prevent her from succeeding and doing whatever she wants to do, I am confident she can overcome those odds.