I have followed with some dismay the recent criticism of poor little Prince George for taking ballet lessons, and was glad to see the support of his dancing by other media figures and dancers. Our son studied ballet for 12 years. It helped with some of his motor coordination problems from his prematurity. He channeled it into a study of the martial arts in college, and now he can break a board on his head! He still retains some dance moves, and it is amusing to see all 6’5″, 250 lbs. of him doing a pas de chat (dance of the cat) down the sidewalk.
I did not encounter much gender bias growing up. My parents encouraged me to do what I wanted to do. I remember being outraged at about age 5 when I was told I couldn’t run around outside without a shirt, though. Most of my cousins were boys, so I played lots of sports with them and tagged along with them as they did their boy activities like building model cars and tree houses, stockpiling fire crackers, making homemade cannons, and setting pocket gopher traps.
I remember that boys with non-traditional interests had a harder time of it. I remember the discomfort people back home had when a boy became the first male cheerleader at my high school. It looks like, given poor Prince George, that things haven’t changed much. I hope he keeps dancing. Maybe he will do a pas de chat through Westminister Abbey at his coronation.
What gender bias did you encounter or witness growing up?