My family recently returned from a trip to Finland to visit my wife’s family. They returned bearing weaponry. During their last few days there they visited a Finnish castle and the nearby Renaissance Faire. The boys picked up medieval replica knives, and they all picked out a long knife for me. What did my daughter get? A throwing ax.
I’m not surprised. I know my daughter. She gets excited over weaponry. She climbs trees. She writes fantasy stories with violent aspects that surprise even me. She loves hiking. She also is devoted to a video blog on how to braid hair. She sews, and creates adorable animal figurines from clay. She loves Taylor Swift. She can “girlie” with the best of them, but only for so long.
While my wife and I still believe there is a difference in gender roles, we only take it as a guide, not the law. When our daughter has shown interest in “girlie” things, we’ve encouraged her. When she’s shown interest in “boy-ie” things we’ve encouraged that. In short, we encourage Emma to be Emma. We want her exposed to certain things, naturally, but if she’s not interested there’s little point trying to push her. We care more about what traits, talents and interests she can develop. We have little interest in trading one mold for another to try and force her into.
Besides, I know darn well she didn’t really want a hand ax.
She would have prefered an archery bow or a full-size sword, but they wouldn’t have fit in her suitcase.