When 7yo was 3yo or so, he was very vague about the difference between boys and girls. In fact, for about a year, girls were the ones who had bangs in their hair while boys did not. The fact that he's always had bangs confused me, but such was the rule. Since around 6 though, he's not just become aware of sex differences with body parts, but he's fascinated with gender construction.
In fact, gender is the one line that may not be crossed in imaginative play. When pretending to be something else, one can clearly imagine being a robot, a dog, a crocodile, a mutant, a giant monster, a chair,... but one cannot ever be... a girl.
He's a little director and assigns all of us roles to play. Last night walking along the canal I was variously Superman, War Machine, and our own made-up superhero named Same Old Fish. He was Iron Man, Justice Lord Superman, and more. N of course was Wonder Woman or Spider Woman or Scarlet Witch. None of us are ever allowed to pretend to be a gender we are not.
This rule is even more strict than the good guy / bad guy rule. He must be labeled the good guy 97% of the time. Even if the good guy is chopping off limbs of bad guys who seem to be doing nothing other than standing there. But they're bad so they deserve it. But 97% is not 100%, and I've never heard him pretend to be anything labeled "girl".
Good news is that he's not obsessed with silly rules. For instance, he recently declared that all colors were okay for boys and girls. Blue is his favorite color, but it's okay if a boy wears something pink.
Interview because he just sat next to me:
Me: 7yo, how are boys different from girls?
7yo: Girls have 4 private parts. The little dot, their bottom, and they have boobies.
Me: Where did you learn that word "boobies". I don't use that word, Maman doesn't.
7yo: If you want to use the short word for boobies, it's just boobs. Boys only have 2 private parts.
Me: Do they act the same or act different?
7yo: Different. In French Polynesia, girls do this: *starts twisting hips* Boys do the funky chicken dance: *moves knees in an out* (He just went to the Polynesian Cultural Center, where they did a session of Tahitian dance where this is true.
And they have different languages. Some boys have the same language as girls. Some boys don't. (However, he can't come up with any examples of different boy/girl languages. Btw, depends on what you want to call a language, but he's right about different speech between the two in many cultures.)
Me: Any other differences?
7yo: It's what bathroom they go in. The boys go in the boys bathroom; the girls go in the girls bathroom.
Me: Your friend YYY at school. Why is she a cool girl?
7yo: Because she's nice. I ask her for a pencil, she let's me have a pencil.
Me: Anything else you want to say about boys and girls?
7yo: The End.
Overall pretty healthy attitudes about girls and boys I think. Nothing crazy in there. But just don't cross that line.
I read the post to them and N says, "it's sometimes okay for me to be a boy."
Me: "Can maman pretend to be Superman?"
7yo: ummmm Spider WomanMan. Half girl, half boy.
Barriers are collapsing!!!!