“Boys are smarter than girls,” my seven-year-old daughter announced in the car the other day.
I am not a feminist, girl-power kind of person, but I really don’t want my little girl believing this nonsense, either. I immediately piped up and very defensively stated, “No, they’re not!!”
As fast as I said that, my four-year-old son stated very matter-of-factly, “You thought a lizard was a snake the other day, and that’s not very smart.”
My husband started laughing, rather enjoying where this conversation was headed.
“Thanks a lot, Max. Kendra, why would you say boys are smarter than girls?” I asked, trying to steer the conversation back in the right direction.
“That’s what my teacher told us,” she answered.
“Well, I guess it was going in a hole so you couldn’t see his legs. That’s why you thought it was a snake,” Max said.
I wasn’t talking about the snake/lizard anymore. I was trying to tackle this misconception of my daughter’s before it negatively impacted her life. I could just see her not reaching for her dreams because she thought boys were smarter. For some reason, I had her as an astronaut in my mind, and even though she doesn’t want to be an astronaut, and I don’t particularly want her to be an astronaut, she can be an astronaut if that’s what she wants, darn it!
“Thanks Max. So, Kendra, why would your teacher say that?” I asked.
“I think her teacher is right, don’t you Max? Boys are smarter than girls, huh Buddy?” Ronnie and Max fist pumped and laughed.
“That’s not funny! Kendra, boys are not smarter than girls! And girls are not smarter than boys. It depends on the individual,” I tried to explain.
Ronnie interrupted again, “Actually, boys are smarter at some things, and girls are smarter at other things.”
“That is not true!” I rather indignantly insisted. “It’s about each person, not about whether you’re a boy or a girl.”
“I guess it did look kind of like a snake, but it was a lizard. The only reason I didn’t pick it up was because it was going in a hole,” Max said.
I was frustrated. I was not empowering my daughter. My husband was mocking me. And my son was out-witting me.
I sighed. “The only reason you didn’t pick it up is because you’re scared. Max is scared of lizards! Max is scared of lizards!” I taunted. “And boys are not smarter than girls!”
See, it does depend on the person. I have a boy and a girl, and they are both smarter than I am.
“No, I’m NOT, Mom!”
And on we rode.