@mamahippy: I agree; I don't know many young girls that want to/like to be labelled a tomboy -- but it's far more acceptable to be a tomboy than it is to be (the term is escaping me, but basically) a feminine boy.
I wish I could say let's just do away with gendered stereotypes (specifically in education systems), but that's damn near impossible based on the curriculum I've seen -- especially in the younger grades. If we as a society starting stripping away the cultural biases that come with gender -- stop gendering our children with colours, toys, behaviours -- and just let them figure things out I think we'd have a lot more happier, healthier kids and it's certainly a step in the right direction to dealing with issues of sexuality.
Playing with lego is awesome and I totally don't understand why it's a "boys" toy! My partner still
plays with lego!
@snowshoe: Again, I agree. It's a matter of visibility -- to some extent; but people aren't born homophobic, this is culturally and socially taught. Visibility in the media can help with culturally, but a big part of it is social as well -- this comes from parents, other adults, and the education system. What I think there needs to be is a "genders" or "equality" component to classes. call this class what you will (most call it women's studies, gender studies, sexuality studies, etc...), but the basic model of this class would be to teach kids about difference and that it's OKAY. and from an early age. A component like this would also bring up issues of sex/sexuality, gender, equality, race, all the things we're pretty much too afraid to talk about.
But you can't just rely on teachers to do this. In fact, parents are a huge road block to a lot of this. The province of Ontario try to create a new component to elementary and high school education that included, among other things, discussions of sex/sexuality, gender studies etc... and parents got their panties so in a twist the government backed down a few days later and said they'd "re-evaluate it"
Not only that kind of road block where they stop anything before it even happens, but what happens when Little Jimmy gets mixed messages between school and home?
As for bullying, there needs to be legislation. I'm usually not all for adding more laws to an already overburdened legal system (in North America anyway), but this is something that flies in the face of civil liberties, human rights, and boarders on issues of harassment, abuse, and other already existing laws.~sex sells everything, but I don't buy it