What’s the Big Deal About Gender Differences?

This morning I was looking at the news headlines on my phone. I noticed an article about a Halloween costume for girls. It’s a Spider Girl costume, and it’s pink, and it has a skirt. The truth is that my family doesn’t celebrate Halloween, but this article caught my attention because it was totally bashing the costume saying that it looked too feminine. Now you may agree with the critics who thought it was simply terrible that the costume made girls look too sweet and pretty. It made them “less esteemed” than it should have. It made girls…(gasp!)…look different than boys!

I apologize for being sarcastic, but the truth is that girls are different than boys!! And it’s also true that it’s perfectly ok for girls to be different than boys!! What the critics don’t get, in my opinion, is that different does not mean inferior. In fact, it’s kind of ironic to me that these same critics who are trying to prove that girls are just as important and valued and necessary as boys (which is true…we were all created by God for a reason, and He loves us all) are using boys as the standard of comparison. In other words, it seems to me that these critics themselves are saying that boys are more valued and important, so girls must be seen the same way as boys in order for girls to be of equal value. Ridiculous! 

I have two daughters and one son. And guess what? They’re completely and totally different. They have been since birth. Ever since my son was old enough to hold a toy, he loved any kind of ball game or electronic device. I didn’t realize when he was born that he would be different than his older sister. I’d never really thought much about it at that point. It surprised me that he wasn’t much interested in playing with her toys. He wanted toy Super Heroes and dinosaurs. He wanted cars and trucks and basketballs. He wanted electronic toys that made noises and had cool lights. And that surprised me.

My younger daughter was absolutely not interested in playing with her older brother’s toys. She wanted stuffed animals and dolls. She loved pretty music, dress-up clothes, jewelry, and arts & crafts. She spent hours coloring pretty pictures, making jewelry, changing clothes, dancing, and singing. I didn’t teach her to do those things. I didn’t tell her that girls are *supposed* to love those things. I didn’t forbid her to play with her brother’s dinosaurs or trucks. She naturally gravitated toward certain toys and certain interests because she’s a girl.

Now obviously my point here is not that boys are more valuable than girls. Neither is it that girls are more valuable than boys. It’s not even that girls should only be allowed to play with toys *for girls* or that boys should only be allowed to play with toys *for boys.* My point is simply that it is perfectly fine for there to be gender differences! Yes, I said it. My opinion is that different doesn’t mean less. Different doesn’t mean inferior. Different just means…different. 

My children are older now (two teens and the youngest is in the double digits), so their interests have grown with them. My son’s interests, though, are still cars, video games, shoot-em-up movies, action and adventure, and other traditionally male interests. My daughters still enjoy arts & crafts, dressing up and looking pretty, sewing and creating beautiful works of art, and dancing. Both my son and one of my daughters play tennis. Both my son and daughters enjoy watching movies together. There are some interests that they share. That’s ok. It’s also ok, though, that there are interests they do not share. There are ways that they’re different. Because different just means…different. Not inferior.

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  1. Constance Smith

    Excellent post. I simply do not understand this growing mindset of gender neutrality. Men and women, boys are girls are not the same. That doesn’t mean a girl can’t be a tomboy, or that a boy can’t be tender-hearted, but there are CLEAR differences – and those differences are good!

  2. Madlyn Strickland

    What a great “musing” Wendy! We could all do with a little taste of just plain honesty. It is almost as if we are afraid to celebrate the joy of being a male and female. I love it that my girls always loved being girls and we were not afraid to let them be “tomboys” at times. Our son loves being a man and yet he is not afraid to be sensitive and will absolutely do his share of housework if he needs to. The grandchildren are loving who they are as God made them…boys and girls….different. Not inferior! Thanks, Madlyn Strickland

  3. Yvana

    Great post and I completely agree with you.

  4. Trish Corlew

    God made us different. Culture and society can try to make us androgynous all they want, but the plain fact is we are different. When God created us, In Gen 2:24 we read: For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Two halves when separated and meant to be whole are incomplete without each other. How can you say one is better than the other when they are both incomplete? Great article!

  5. Katie

    Just popping in to say how much we’re enjoying having your blog on our high school homeschool blogroll at LetsHomeschoolHighschool.com. I hope it’s sent some great new traffic your way. I wondered if you could help us get out the word about LHSHS on your blog too? We have a dedicated button on our About Us page: http://letshomeschoolhighschool.com/about-us/. And we’ve added a ton of new content recently. Drop by and check it out if it’s been a while since you visited. Look forward to seeing you there!


  6. Kathy MomOfNine

    Such great points here! Even when our children play with each others’ toys, they do always gravitate back to their gender specific interests. I enjoy reading your blog. Thank you!

  7. Heather @ A Nurse's Wildflowers

    This is such an excellent! I remember when my son was born and I swore up and down that we would not have toy guns or swords in the house…then he turned a barbie doll into a gun. Okay…so I changed my tune. My younger daughter is a bit of a tomboy – loves dirt and bugs – but when she plays with her brother’s toys she is wearing her princess get-up and her purse…and carrying a toy orange pistol in that purse. 🙂 This is such a powerful message with your post. Boy and girls are different which allows them to compliment each other.


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