The company I work for throws huge birthday parties for kids. Every weekend we travel to a new place, set up activities, and run around for a few hours with kids in elementary school. After we arrive and set up all of our equipment, we have a meeting. The meeting consists mostly of our boss telling us what the party is going to look like. I’ve only worked here for a few weeks, and the parties I have done in the past have all been co-ed. This event was different.
The birthday girl, a tall 10-year-old named Sophia, interrupted the meeting to inform us that this party was “going to be all girls!” My boss immediately laughed to us staff, “Your life just got 20 times easier!” At first, I thought nothing of the comment. I smiled and let it roll off my back like all those sexist jokes I hear at school. Then I started to think.
Why did he just say that? What is it about girls that make them seem so much easier to him? When can I stop sitting in this meeting and get back to playing with the kids?
This comment was very new to me. I’ve heard many comments about boys being easier than girls, but never thought in depth about it when it was the other way around. Just the other weekend, a lady told my mother how happy she was that she had a boy because they are “so much easier”! She said to us, “You just feed those boys! Just feed them and let them go on their merry way.” Obviously, very unlike us girls. You don’t need to feed girls. We never really get hungry.
It was different for my own mother. She had four girls and one boy: and yes, the boy is the youngest. In my family, we never found that to be anything other than normal. To my surprise, when people hear this they always say something along the lines of, “Thank God you finally got that boy,” or, “Your husband must be so proud you finally got him a little man!” (That last one was problematic on a lot of levels, but we don’t have to dig that deep for now). Boys have always seemed like they are the easier, more desirable gender. Besides, all you have to do is feed them. No decision-making skills, emotional intelligence, or social reasoning necessary!
After some thought, I finally came to a conclusion. Maybe girls seem easier to adults because they are groomed, conditioned, and trained to be that way. We are told to never step out of the mold, to always keep our legs crossed, and never express any emotions that could cause any sort of ruckus. Stop being so bossy, no pushing, and keep your hands to yourself. Do not play too rough, remember to smile. No really – don’t forget to smile. We are expected to be calm and compliant, going along with whatever we are asked to do. Elementary school is right where the teaching is happening the most. Boys are forming opinions and girls are learning that “boys will be boys of course”. There’s not as much of a demand for them to learn to be submissive. For girls, there is.