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Thread: Gender Stereotyping
May 9th, 2013 01:13 PM #106Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
TK, I love that helpful chart!
Okay, I am not a particularly radical person, not setting out to name my son Elizabeth or my daughter Micheal. I did not put hair bows in my sons hair, even though I think hair bows are adorable. His clothes are 99% hand me downs from a cousin, so they tend to feature dinosaurs and trucks. I do think that he will want dance lessons though, and we will be happy to oblige him in this. He has a huge repertoire of dance moves for a one and a half year old.
I agree that gender is a social construct, but many things are social constructs, and this doesn't render them invalid. It seems to me that all societies have done gender in some way or another, and that there are problems with all of these.
But some of these rules that we are running into are ridiculous. For instance, I always let my son pick out his own sippie cups and toothbrushes, stuff like that, at the store. Generally there will be a choice between pink, blue, and green. He nearly always goes for pink. Sometimes orange, if that is an option. To me, this says that he prefers warm colors right now. But we will be out and he will have a pink sippie cup and people will honestly remark on this. They will say things like, "oh, that's not your sippie cup! Who's sippie cup is this?" Or laugh and say that he must have a big sister. Seriously. It is a sippie cup. The pink one doesn't function any differently than the blue one.
I mean, did you know that they now make gender specific Dreft? It is laundry detergent, for goodness sakes. I honestly think that a lot of this is invented/enforced by the huge greedy capitalist marketing machine. If everything is gendered, then they can hope to sell parents everything at least twice.
We have neighbors w. two year old boy/girl twins. The little boy sometimes wants to wear his sister's dresses, so his parents let him. This horrifies some of our other neighbors. They seem to think it is pretty close to child abuse. They aren't making the kid wear dresses, he notices that his sister gets to choose between pants and skirts and he wants to choose, too. He is two! It is the kind if thing to me that only becomes a big deal if you forbid it and overreact out of it. And please note, by "big deal" I don't mean a big deal to me. If my son wants to grow up and wear dresses, he is welcome to do that.
May 9th, 2013 01:25 PM #108Senior Member
- Join Date
- Sep 2012
- Humboldt, California
Look up "Princess Boy". A little boy likes princesses and dresses. After a while, his mom supported him and wrote a book. She has gotten a LOT of flack for it. Some people even said they boy needed to be removed by CPS and the mom be thrown in jail!Proud furmom to:
Pepper, Kuno, Mia, Rosalind, Gwendolen & Cecily
Elysia Maeve~Marina Isolde~Linnea Violetta~Minerva Sophronia~Merida Ianthe~Eleni Finola
Tiernan Hugo~Lysander Felix~Orion Casimir~Emrys Jasper~Evander Anslem~Leonidas Gavin
Cosima Helene & Caspian Milo
May 9th, 2013 01:37 PM #110
That chart is fantastical.
I'm rather inclined to think 'homophobia' with this kind of stuff. And that's what bothers me.
I am a girl. I am sandwiched between two boys, two years older/younger respectively, with no sisters. They are my best friends, and they were when we were little too. I had dolls (not Barbies, my parents were bothered by the, erm, dis-proportionality, and I am too to be quite honest), but I only played with them when I was by myself. With my brothers, it was ALL Legos, Lincoln Logs, and Bionicles. So I did that. Most of the time. We played computer games, and instead of doing dress-up games I'd play Age of Empires, a civilization/military/strategy game.
But my brothers played with me too, sometimes. My older brother put on one of my dresses once (He was about 9 or 10) and they both liked my makeup kit more than I did. We even opened a beauty parlor in my closet once, but of course we were the only customers.
They have both grown into athletic, capable, masculine young men. I haven't exactly veered away from my boyish tendencies, but I like dresses and frilly things on occasion.
Boys should never be discouraged from being feminine; it probably won't amount to anything except a greater understanding of the opposite sex, and what straight teenager doesn't want that? Girls shouldn't be discouraged from being tomboys, and they absolutely shouldn't be discouraged from being girly girls. I wish I'd been encouraged to BE girly, actually; that would have helped me a lot in middle school, when everyone else was learning what makeup and bras were.I’m just trying to behave as I think a friend should behave. Granted, I haven’t had much practice.
~Elphaba Thropp, Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
May 11th, 2013 12:01 PM #112Junior Member
- Join Date
- May 2013
I just try to have a big variety of toys and let the kids play with whatever they want. My daughter dresses almost entirely in "boyish" clothes, she refuses to wear skirts and dresser or anything pink, but that's cool with me. My son has never shown any interest in girls clothes, but does love to play with the dollies, especially now I am pregnant, and that's cool with me too.
May 11th, 2013 12:41 PM #114Senior Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2013
I'd have to say I have a conservative but NOT cruel approach. I think a boy with a kitchen set is fine. If my future son wants to be a chef, I'd be all in favor of this. If he wanted to wear dresses and heels (beyond the toddler stage), I'd try to gently steer him away from that. I think something important to keep in mind is children are children. They don't have a lot about life in general or about their own identity figured out. If a five year old doesn't feel entirely male nor female, that doesn't really mean anything for their future life, unless of course you make a huge sensitivity issue out of it and then they're pretty much locked in as confused for the rest of their lives. As a child a was a huge tomboy. I pretty much always wore jeans and t-shirts. I had a boyish haircut. But now as an adult, I am happily a straight woman. I'm not confused about my gender identity at all. If my mom would have insisted that I be treated gender neutral, I probably would be confused at this point.
Also, there are gender roles in our society, and in every other society. People can try to eliminate them or ignore them but they will never go away. Women can have all the same career opportunities as men and visa versa but that won't get rid of the fact that physically we people are either male or female. That being said there are two essential societal roles that are and always will be gender specific: mother and father. In a physical sense, you really can't confuse or reverse the two. A woman, no matter how much she feels like a man, cannot father a child and a man, no matter how much he feels like a woman, cannot carry a child. There's no potential for it. The parts just aren't there and I know many won't agree with this view but I think the physicality of it is important and what really puts a kink in the whole "men and women are exactly the same" thing. I think we need to just embrace our gender differnces as men and women just like we would embrace any other differences.
Again, as far as children goes, I don't think a boy who likes pink is a big deal. Colors are colors are colors are colors. They don't have any bearing on gender identity. If a my boy wants to play with a doll, I'd consider that a good opportunity to talk to him about fatherhood, which will most likely play a big roll in his life later on. If my son wants to dance, cool. I'd probably put him in ballroom dance as soon as he's old enough and hope he grows up to be great at waltz, tango and swing. If a girl wants to play soccer, awesome. Girls are physically active and competitive too. I think I'd draw the line at boys wearing dresses, though. All in all, I don't want to pigeonhole my kids into the 1800's but I do want to prepare them for their roles as men and women.
I hope that makes some sort of sense!
Last edited by allythys; May 11th, 2013 at 01:02 PM.