‘Boys are stronger than girls’
It’s kind of poignant that it happened over a broken Barbie doll.
I’ve never felt comfortable with those tip-toed, big-breasted, doe-eyed things.
“Mum, can you fix Barbie’s leg?” Libby asked.
The out-of-proportion, impossibly long limb had snapped clean off.
“Sure,” I said. “No problem.”
But it was a problem.
The damn thing just wouldn’t squeeze back into place.
I pushed and shoved and hit at all angles around Barbie’s narrow hips.
“Maybe we need a boy to do it,” Libby said.
I stopped suddenly.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, they’re stronger than girls,” she said.
I was momentarily dumbfounded. In spite of my overzealous efforts to raise a card-carrying feminist, my daughter had somehow come to the conclusion that girls were physically inferior to boys.
“What makes you say that?” I calmly asked.
“They’re bigger than us,” she said.
It was simple enough reasoning and easy for me to counteract.
“We’re all different sizes,” I said. “You’re bigger than your brother.”
“Yeah, but he’s a baby,” Libby said.
“You’re bigger than your friend Archie and he’s four,” I said.
“That’s just one boy,” Libby said. “Most boys are bigger.”
“But bigger doesn’t always mean stronger,” I said.
I thought of her books. Then TV shows. Then the handful of movies she’s seen.
There were no small, physically strong, girl characters I could quickly think of.
Then, the Barbie’s leg popped into place.
“You did it, Mum!” Libby said.
Our conversation ended, but I wasn’t satisfied.
I did a bit of research into girls v boys in the strength stakes.
The articles I read seemed to back up Libby’s theory. The ‘average’ boy is stronger than the ‘average’ girl generally due to a combination of size and hormones.
However, the difference isn’t usually too noticeable until puberty hits. So, Libby really shouldn’t be thinking of herself as weaker than her boy friends. They’re just pre-schoolers.
Puberty and hormones aside, I ignored the ‘averages’ and went to Libby’s room to re-start the chat.
“You know, girls can do anything boys can,” I said. “Girls can be just as strong and have just as big, or even bigger, muscles.”
“OK,” she said. “I’m strong aren’t I?”
I laughed as she flexed a little bicep.
“Yes, you are,” I said.
“Can you fix Barbie?” she asked.
I don’t know how it broke again.
Maybe Libby is too strong for her own good.
Or maybe Barbies just aren’t made very well.
* Linking with Essentially Jess for I Blog on Tuesdays.