Piano is For Girls?

I let my son take the summer off from piano. He decided to learn piano after reading a few reviews on Instrument Find. It seemed like the perfect instrument for him to learn! A few weeks ago, I asked him if he was ready to begin lessons again. Normally he is very excited about piano lessons so I was caught off guard when he said he didn’t want to play any more. I asked him why. He told me that a few of the boys in his class told him that boys only play sports and not instruments and if that was true he didn’t want to play anymore.

I told him a.) not to believe everything people tell him b.) there are lots of men that play the piano and that what he was told was not true and c.) anything a boy can do so can girls and vice versa. He smiled and said he was ready for lessons to start up again.

RECITAL

Yahhh…mommy saves the day.

Then I started thinking about the subconscious gender assignments that we give to our children. I will be honest and be the first to say I am not fond of my son playing with a kitchen, but when I really think about it what’s really wrong with that. Men cook, men play instruments, men dance. I have to self profess that I am a hypocrite. My husband cooks in a kitchen, but I won’t let my son have one, and he’s asked. What’s the big deal? Am I afraid he will turn out gay? Maybe….I’m just being honest!

In retrospect, over here we are good for saying boys do this and girls do that. Now that I really think about it, we need to stop. Maybe when we were coming up those things stood true, but now we live in a more diverse society and I think its important to teach my son to be more open minded. I mean after all, men are all over the television cooking, baking, designing clothes and interiors, and raising children….some are gay, others are straight. Doing something a “girl” does won’t make my son gay, but continuing to fill his head with such will make him just as ignorant as the little boys that told him males don’t play instruments.

What’s your take? What are you teaching your children when it comes to gender assignments?

About the author
Mom, wife and friend. I moonlight as a cooker, baker, laundry folder and organizer. I like to think I do it in style. Unlikely Martha is my contribution to the internet in helping women "Keep House and Stay Fly!"

9 Comments

  1. I think its pretty much the opposite. I know way more boys that take piano lessons then girls do. I have been playing the piano since I was two and then when I turned 16, I got my teaching degree to become a teacher and taught all the way up through college. Out of all my students, I had 5 boys and only one girl I taught. All the most famous pianists I can think of are male… whether they are historical or contemporary. So those kids are very wrong.
    If you son loves it, no need to let those kids put things in his head. When me and my brother were little, we both were in dance and then only after a few months, the teacher told my mom my brother had to quit because there are no male dancers. Dancing is for females only. So I quit as well because I wanted to only do it if he did. Its people in this world like that that bring the rest of us down. Playing the piano is a gift and if he has got it and wants to do it, he should
    rebecca recently posted..Sunday Stealing {1}

  2. I understand where you are coming from. Many times as parents we let our kids to “normal” boy stuff or “normal” girl stuff, but sometimes their interest are not what we as parents expect. My youngest is 3 and she keeps begging me for a football. She loves sports but she likes to sing and dance too. At first I didn’t want to get it but I encourage their interest and like them decide what they like. My 5 year old wants to play the guitar and even though I rather have her in dance I’m willing to support that. Just like you said what girls can do boys can and vice versa.

  3. I would love if my son wanted to learn the piano. We gave him a keyboard at two. lol The only thing that I consider a gender assignment is giving birth. And I doubt any boy/man would want to take over that role. People who assign their children roles are limiting their opportunities. I hope to expose my son to a variety of things, and support whatever he excels and shows interest in.
    I am so glad you were able to get your son back on track! I mean look at that smile behind the piano. Priceless!!
    Optimistic Mom recently posted..30 is FABulous

  4. We bought a small piano for my son for his first Christmas! He wasn’t even a year old…he has never taken to it but I wish he did. But you are right, society is slowly getting away from a lot of gender specific rules, and I think it’s great. It is just harder for us who grew up with being told certain things are for boy and other things for girls. I would love my son to also take dance but I think at that point my husband will put his foot down. And not because he thinks he will end up gay but because he is afraid our son will be picked on. And inevitably? Someone will more than likely call him gay. And at that point one or both of us would have to hurt someone…because no one is picking on my kid! Ok…got off topic…I really try hard to not say things like “that’s for boys or pink is for girls,” but it’s hard. But as hard as it is for me? It’s even harder for my husband. He’s a meat and potatoes country boy and they definitely believe in gender assignments!
    Melisa – Mommy This and That recently posted..Friday Five: 5 Ways to get a Guy…to Run the Other Way

  5. I’m not a girly girl, so I’m actually pleased when Wee ‘Burb would rather play with a ball or read a book than play with her dolly. But if I am 100% honest, I might feel differently about a boy. Like, with girls it’s “Oh she’ll be a tomboy” which I was for awhile. Well, still kind of am, but I can go all girly on your a** when I want to.

    But with boys? There’s no acceptable “oh he’s a tomgirl”or something! I guess the kitchen and such wouldn’t bother me, but I can’t be honest and say it wouldn’t bother me if my little (fictional) boy started playing with my heels. Would I actively discourage it? Probably not. But I’d be…concerned? Weirded out?

    And yet I think it’s hilarious when Wee ‘Burb tries to crawl into her daddy’s shoes.

    So I’m a hypocrite I guess, too.
    StephanieinSuburbia recently posted..How Selling Used Clothes is Like Internet Dating or How I Got Married and Bought a Skirt

  6. Nothing wrong with playing the piano. As another commenter said most famous piano players are boys. I think it’s the society we live in. My son loves to cook and I enjoy spending that time with him in the kitchen so I think nothing of it. I think having a well rounded child is a good thing whether he plays the guitar, plays tennis, or loves drawing. Let children grow into what they like.
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  7. I’m raising my daughter to be opened minded. For me there are no such thing as “girl things” or “boy things” my little girl plays with dump trucks and action figures. I don’t care as long as she’s learning and having fun.

    I’m a firm believe that people are born gay. There is no amount of gender specifics that can “cause gayness” so if someone is gonna be gay, they just are. Period. That’s my take on that.
    krissy recently posted..Calling you out Mommy Bloggers!

  8. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a guy playing the piano or any instrument for that matter. Perhaps you can reference Stevie Wonder, John Legend, etc. when my son gets old enough, I’d like for him to play the piano as well, but if he doesn’t like it, I won’t force him to do it. If he does, Mommy’s defintely going to be rooting for him. My son also has a Sesame Street stove that he loves.

    But, my son is around girls all day, so I constantly see him walking around with baby dolls and hearing my daughter and niece constantly tell him how what they have is only for girls. While I don’t really like the idea that he walks around with a baby doll, I don’t scold him for it like he’s done something wrong, because he hasn’t. In my opinion, it teaches him how to be gentle and how to treat babies. Hopefully, it teaches him how to be a good dad. He has grown out of that phase and is more into cars more but like Krissy said, as long as he is having fun, I’m cool with that.

    I will say this: whoever my son or daughter grows into, I’d love them just the same! 🙂
    Carla recently posted..Health Check.

  9. I don’t teach my kids about gender assignment. I’m taking the approach to supporting them in any and everything they want to try. If Moo wants to play football fine. And if JJ wants to take a dance class-cool. I have to let them become secure in their own skins. We live in a world that has obsessed over making everything gender related.
    YUMMommy recently posted..Thank you mama for giving me the boob……

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