Everyday sexism, preschool edition


So today Thing 1 was excitedly telling a story to some daycare teachers.  She often does this. Today we saw a snail on the way to get in the car to go to daycare. It was crawling along doing the snail thing. It was exciting for kids (as she often refers to herself in the third person). So Thing 1 launched into a charming story about how the snail was going to turn us into zombies, but we would be safe in the car, but then the zombies would get us anyhow. I know, being involved in the things she watches and sees, that this story is part based on her imagination, but part based on an episode of Spongebob Squarepants. Anyhow, we go to daycare and are dropping Thing 2 off in her area, and Thing 1 launches into a modified story about how we saw a snail and it was going to bite us and turn us into zombies and so on and one of the daycare teachers asked her if the older boys had come up with that idea.  Thing 1 said no and continued talking about it,  but I was pretty annoyed and not even sure how to respond. Girl has inventive idea, so it must have come from a boy? What? I feel like I’m being a little alarmist, but on the other hand, I found the daycare teacher’s response more than a little discomfiting. I often put up with sexism in some situations (because it’s just easier than arguing-for example the inlaws are coming to visit and I know I’m going to be sitting in the back seat so that my father in law can sit in the front- whilst my husband drives because the rental car is in his name-because FIL’s manhood gets threatened over stupid shit. I just look at me having to sit in the back so he can sit in the front as my father in law’s stupid insecurity, not as sexism. Though it totally is. Rationalization ahoy!), but I don’t want it ingrained in my kids. I want to be able to address unfair assumptions aimed at them. I still feel like I’m having an overreaction, but on the other hand I wish I had said something. Argh.

I mostly like the daycare, though I like the baby side (where Thing 2 hangs out and where this incident happened) somewhat less. I considered pulling Thing 2 out and finding her a different carer for a few months after I went back to work for assorted reasons. I have certainly seen other incidences of baby variety sexism from the teachers on that side. Teachers telling the boys not to hit girls rather than a generic don’t hit and so on.  I know my girl is a beast and will hit other babies. She doesn’t need any excuses made for her, she needs to grow out of it and learn not to do it. Part of me wants to feel like it doesn’t matter because the kids are under two years old, not particularly verbal, and not really cognizant of societal issues, but it does rub me the wrong way to hear things like that. I think a big problem is I’m not sure how to address it with the teachers, if at all. Let it slide because the kids are too little to know, address it and come off as a crazy bitch, what?  I’m glad I haven’t seen any of that sort of thing from Thing 1’s teachers or I really would have to step in.

I’m fortunate that I can be picky about daycare to some extent, so I guess this will go on the list of things to look out for in our next daycare. Gender equality? Check.


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