Are there real differences between boys and girls?

Well are there?

As a child I seethed as I was left off football teams because it was ‘boys only’. I raged that I could join the brownies but not scouts and I fumed when the neighbourhood boys told me I couldn’t play because there were no girls allowed. I had little doubt, as a self assured ten year old, that if there was a difference it was irrelevant because girls were better than boys, boys just didn’t know it.

Now I’m a mother, a grown up, but I still feel the same ‘less than a man’ label sometimes applies. I was a stay at home mother, a label I struggled with and the box I thought it put me in, yet no matter how many times I felt a less than valuable member of society or doubted my worth, within me the bolshy young girl I once was continued to fume, ‘girls are as good as boys.’

But are girls really that different to boys? Is the difference genetic, environmental or societal?

Well I’m no expert but after twenty five years of mothering I’ve done my own research. I have three girls and one boy. When they were small I did all in my power to create a level playing field for them, a ‘gender neutral’ environment today’s modern world would call it. My son played with dolls and buggies, my girls shot and killed each other, played football and did not have to wear pink. Β Yes I was confident I was creating equal human beings.

Did I succeed? Well judge for yourself. Here are my findings as seen in my home.

When I look at my girls and my boy, in general I see them as relatively equal. All appear to be strong, self assured, ambitious individuals who play sport, work and enjoy themselves equally. But what about closer to home? Are there differences of note?

Boys… Bedroom mank.
Girls.. Bedrooms cleaned a little more often, but two of the three bedrooms are generally also mank.

Boys… Clothes: left on floor. Eventually put into a wash basket the day he wakes up and discovers that every choice is dirty, photo (23)dusty or has shoe prints on it.

Girls…Clothes: Four outfits worn in one day, all left on the floor, but mostly clean. Tend to remove them to laundry basket when floor is too full. Clothes are usually clean when placed in basket.

Boys… Bed: Never made. Variety of clothes, books, rubbish, and bags scattered on top as he sleeps beneath them.
Girls bed: Never made. Anything placed on it is scattered onto the floor before getting into it.

Boys…bedclothes: Rarely ever changed by the owner. White sheets go from grey to black with no notice taken. No cleaning product yet produced to renew them.
Girls bed:Changed at intervals, usually accompanied by much love directed at the mother and major hints at how hard they are working and how little time they have. Sigh, sigh. Hint, Hint, please help.

Boys… shoes: A pair of runners, a pair of work shoes and perhaps two pairs for ‘going out’.
Girls… shoes: A shoe in every style, colour and heel size. Many boots also.

Boys…Bedroom: Bare walls, a dust ridden locker, a wardrobe with doors that are never shut and a chest of drawers also open with clothes spilling out.
Girls Bedroom: decorated with ornaments and photos and momentoes.

Boys….Bedroom smell: boys own.
Girls… Bedroom smell: perfume and nail polish.

As two of my gang returned to college. I observed the following, I’ll leave it up to you to decide which is which.

Individual number one…Filled the car twice with ‘stuff’ and clothing, food and bedding, taking hours to wash and iron what was needed as well as shop for groceries. This was done over three days and involved two trips to college.

Individual number two… Packed a very small case and an even smaller holdall fifty minutes before leaving. No need for food, all clothing taken as they were, clean or not, ironed or not. A duvet and pillow were remembered at the last minute.

As I type my goodnight messages each night, one will reply immediately, the other in a few days.

 

Conclusion… Well I’ll leave that up to you. What do you think? Are there major inbuilt differences between boys and girls? Perhaps we will further discuss this when you review your own findings once your children are grown up?

 

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33 thoughts on “Are there real differences between boys and girls?

    1. Yes gender neutral environments may help but I do think there are differences.
      I do wonder though as they as great as we make them out to be?

      1. I wonder about that too. My sisters were like yourself, never presenting labels or expectations of what it meant to be a boy or girl, they were simply children, but the differences become apparent as they got older. I think being in school presents things not seen at home, same is with tv, though watching was limited, every little thing says something, and of course, the individual’s thinking will gather different pieces of information, perception plays such a role, and we all interpret things uniquely. Those are some of my thoughts, though I have taken meds twice already, I hope I am making sense. πŸ™‚

        1. Actually those meds did you the power of good (an expression used over here) because those thoughts make great sense and very interesting reading.
          Thank you.

  1. i have found differences, both in my kinders and my own children. no matter her environment or circumstance they are there, and that’s okay –

  2. I think there are natural differences between boys and girls. The brains are definitely wired differently, due to hormone distribution and content, no doubt, and girls are built to be better equipped to handle motherhood, which is much more challenging both emotionally and physically than fatherhood, given that they have to push another human out of their vaginas, and boys have more pragmatic approaches to life, given that biologically they would have to be the carers. BUT, that being said, it does not mean one gender is lesser than another, and so a lot of gender perceptions which shouldn’t exist (e.g. you ‘throw like a girl’) do because of this idea that masculinity is superior to femininity. I think both genders have their special attributes, which are different and special in their own ways.

    1. Yes and despite as a girl wanting to be equal, I never wished to be the same.
      Although to be fair I was a lot more typically boyish than some of the boys in my neighbourhood, despite being a girl. I think that part of me has softened out though.

      1. I was like that too, especially in my early teen years. I remember once a woman said to me, ‘why you walk like that?’ and I said, ‘like what?’ and then she imitated a swagger and said, ‘You walk like man!’ whilst laughing. I’ll never forget that, and I remember feeling slightly pleased about it, not sure why now πŸ™‚

  3. I have two daughters, and they are/were so incredibly different in personality. My older one in many ways a very “typical” girl, very much the bedroom and dressing style as you describe above for your daughters. Makeup, LOTS of clothing and shoes, cared a lot about her environment, every detail needed to be right…My younger one does care about clothes, and only has a small selection of them, but not makeup, maybe 3 pairs of shoes she wears until they’re worn out, and generally does not fit the “girl” profile in most ways, have to remind her to change her bedding once in a while (still)…

    So I wonder about the nature versus nurture thing as well, since I provided the same environment for both, had a wide variety of toys, books, art, etc to encourage diverse ways of being… and each one had her own personality and direction from as early as she could pick out her own clothes and choose her toys. Fascinating to ponder. Thanks!

    1. Fascinating alright and the fact you had two and not four you could really spot the differences.
      I don’t know so much about your other daughter who also sounds wonderful, but Elizabeth Rose was a truly exceptional person. Her artistic flair was remarkable and her poetry, written at such a young age amazing.
      I heard a celebrity over here speak of her son who was killed in an accident at the age of 20. This woman is now in her late 70s I think and she spoke of watching him appear in her grandchildren. I thought that was a lovely thought. Maybe one day you’ll have grandchildren and see the difference between your daughters appear in a future generation.
      If so, perhaps gender neutral does a little but nature is responsible for most?

      1. I love the idea of grandchildren, and hadn’t thought of that, but what a beautiful idea!
        I have to say, though quite different, each of my daughters is very unusual and both gifted writers. Julianna was a double major in dramatic writing and economics, works in the financial world by day, and does stand up comedy at night…
        Looking forward to seeing what the potential grandchildren may be like!

  4. I think a lot of the differences between boys and girls are societal, a result of growing up seeing those same differences all around us and facing the expectations of other people. As a transgender woman I remember feeling the pressure to act a certain way back when everyone around me thought I was male. But I also think the fact that I am transgender means there has to be something more than societal factors going on. Something else (genetics, hormones in utero, whatever) affects how a person’s mind develops, so there are innate differences. But I think these innate differences are subtle. The obvious differences are mostly societal: particular interests, likes and dislikes, mannerisms, clothes.

    1. I was wondering how you would feel about this one. I do think you are the proof that despite all we think, say and do, we are who we are.

  5. I think there are differences. Just as there are differences between this girl and that girl. And this boy and that boy. Between you and I. I think every thing about being human makes us uniquely similar, and yet very different. And though I am not making much sense right now (pardon my rambling it’s been about 20 hours of awakeness right now) I do believe there is a difference. Because we ‘are’ different. I mean, we are not the same, so how can we not be different? Yes, there is nurture/nature going on here. But we are different, obviously and subtly. I sometimes get a little sad when the world wants to smush us all together as ‘same’. We should be celebrating the differences between men and women. There are beautiful things about each gender.

  6. As usual you’ve added an amusing angle to the war that began with our origins πŸ˜€ Tric,you surprise me every time I visit your blog… And I always leave with a grin!!! Great post πŸ˜€

  7. Well no matter how you raise your children, they are exposed to other boys and girls in the world and are influenced by the way they behave, right? I think there are differences, generally speaking. Boys and girls have different strengths and weaknesses and kinda balance each other out. ❀
    Diana xo

    1. Yes as they grow other boys and girls must influence thinking as does society.
      I wonder with more fathers sharing chores and parenting will gender roles change?

      1. I don’t know Tric…some things are so ingrained in us, we don’t even notice. I wanted to go to college after high school. My parents said they could only send my brother and that I could marry a doctor or lawyer. It didn’t even fizz me at the time… πŸ™‚

        1. Oh wow. Do you feel differently about that now?
          My dad was very much into equal rights but like you I didn’t think that might be unusual at the time.

  8. I love your entertaining writing style. Like you I have three girls and a boy, although Leah no longer lives on earth.
    From an early age my son objected to playing with dolls and prams, despite my efforts to encourage this. He expressed a clear preference for toys that were quite different to the ones his sister’s chose to play with. His bedroom is decorated in a much more ‘functional’ manner than theirs – they have all chosen their own decor. He goes clothes shopping once a year when it becomes apparent that everything he has is either too worn or too small. Getting ready for school in the morning is a simple procedure, unlike the girls who have to do and redo their hair and stare repeatedly in the mirror to ensure they look ‘just right’.
    I do however appreciate that some boys are also very fashion conscious and particular about their appearance.

    1. I do think there are all kinds of both but I suspect the characteristics you describe are the most common.
      Glad you’re enjoying calling over.

  9. I tried to keep the activities of my children gender neutral. However, my daughter just didn’t like the dirt or the rough and tumble of backyard football. However, she is the one that lives like an adult boy. She is very messy.

  10. I’ve three daughters (ages 5, 8 and 12) and I try to raise them to have self-confidence, be courageous and be kind to themselves and others.

    As the eldest reaches teenage years, I see societal marketing starting to impinge upon her thoughts and views…body image, looks etc I’m softly but proactively reassuring her to trust her own judgement and her own views. Whereas my nephew, of the same age, simply kicks the ball around with his mates and except for ensuring that he is wearing the latest trainers, he couldn’t care less about what others think he looks like!

    That said, my middle daughter (8) has a very different personality than my eldest and I think that she will be confident in herself and her own abilities and ‘looks’ when she reaches the dreaded teenage years. Time will tell I suppose!

    So whilst do believe that genetically males and females have different characteristics and traits, I think that nurture has a lot to do with it.

    Enjoy your blog by the way πŸ™‚

    1. Yes I think outside influences pay a part but as you say nature may lessen that influence.
      Lovely to see you here. Thanks for joining in delighted you enjoy my blog.
      I love the title of yours. When I met my husband first ‘mighty’ was a word he used often.

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