“Slow down Captain! There is an injured dolphin on the starboard side! Make ready the anchor!” The captain would let out a grunt as he turned the wooden ship towards the wounded animal. This was always followed by squeals of joy and excitement from the girls who were poised and ready to lend a helping hand at the captain’s earliest convenience. When the ship reached the battered creature, the girls rushed out in their boats to tend to the dolphin and nurse it back to health, while the captain waited for them to finish. My siblings and I would play, this game of imagination, every afternoon after school in our tree house. The captain was always my only brother and my two sisters and I played the roles of the women that rescued the animals and assisted the captain. This brings up the issue of just how much gender roles affect child play in modern civilization.
There was a distinct reason why my little brother was the captain of the ship every time we played. From infancy the belief that men should have the more dominant roles in society has been rooted into our minds. So naturally, the role of captain was given to my brother and the secondary roles were given to the girls. This theme can be seen in many other children’s games like, men as doctors and women as nurses. Throughout history boys have been imprinted with leadership roles and women have been placed in less demanding positions.
When my siblings and I would rescue these imaginary sea creatures, using our completely incorporeal medical equipment, my brother cared more about certain animals than he did about others and vice versa. When we saved dolphins, sea turtles, rainbow fish or jelly fish, my sisters and I were the ones who would take care of the imaginary wildlife. Whenever we spotted a shark or a killer whale my little brother would abandon his post as captain because “girls would be hurt if they were around sharks.” This is an example of how women are portrayed as the weaker sex... [continues]
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