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Thread: Gender Stereotyping
May 9th, 2013 02:25 PM #106Senior 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~Felix Lysander~Orion Casimir~Caspian Milo~Evander Anslem~Leonidas Gavin
Cosima Helene & Emrys Jasper
May 9th, 2013 02:37 PM #108
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 not feeling incredibly profound at the moment. Check back later.
May 11th, 2013 01:01 PM #110Junior 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 01:41 PM #112Senior 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 02:02 PM.
May 11th, 2013 02:27 PM #114Senior Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2013
Ultimately, I agree with what Kala_way has said:
I live in an area where gender stereotypes can be strictly enforced (of course I know people who don't enforce them, but they are in the minority)...for example, it's pretty normal to encounter a family with a baby girl who is dressed head to toe in pink, lace, pearls (very in right now on babies, apparently), etc. And the giant flower headbands. Oh, the giant flower headbands. For 95% of the mothers I know, it's a crime not to put a ghastly giant flower headband on your daughter. Because if you don't, a random stranger might momentarily mistake your daughter for a boy. And this is a horror that a mother can never recover from. So it is indeed very common to encounter a baby girl wearing, for example: a pink dress, with lace leggings, and the most feminine shoe that can be found (or bare feet with toenails painted a shade of pink), a headband sporting a flower as big as the baby's head, pierced ears, and a bracelet. I'm not even exaggerating. You can walk into any random place and find a little girl dressed like this.
Oddly, the hyper-feminization of baby girls doesn't include their names. You'll find anything from classic girls names to made-up names to surnames as names to boy names on girls. But this affects something else:
Because parents of girls put such hyper-feminine expectations on their daughters, they are also putting hyper-masculine expectations on their sons. As one acquaintance put it, parents don't want their sons to have a name that has been "tainted with femininity." So more and more you'll find parents who just name their sons the most masculine word they can think of. Gunner. Rage. Chaos. Rowdy. Riot. Trigger. You get the idea. If it can be associated with violence and destruction it apparently works perfectly as a name for a boy! Until someone names a girl Chaos or Rage and then those names won't be masculine enough, at which time I have no idea what these people plan to do.
And, like you'd expect, these names and expectations carry over to how people raise their kids. Nothing quite makes my blood boil as much as the phrase "boys will be boys," uttered to me by moms on the playground in defense of their child's poor behavior. For some reason, their daughters are decently-behaved, if a little cliquey, and their boys are completely out of control. I once took the child I was nannying to a local park where an older boy immediately threw a handful of sand into her face...his mom laughed, looked at me with a shrug and said "he's all boy." This is the attitude of many people where I live, and I can't help but assume it's directly related to their gender stereotypes.
And obviously I disagree with this. But there are also a smaller number of people here who have decided that children should be gender-neutral even if it isn't what they want. And I also disagree with that. I know a family whose son is encouraged into stereotypically feminine hobbies and interests, but his little sister who also enjoys those things, is encouraged into more tomboyish activities. It's sad to me that her parents are more interested in making some sort of political statement than they are about doing what is best for each individual kid. Their son loves the activities that he's in, but their daughter would prefer the more feminine activities as well.
As Encore said, there also seems to be a small sort of anti-girly girl movement. I notice this very little in my own life, because of the area in which I live; however, I subscribe to a few feminist blogs and have noticed the anti-girly girl stuff happening there. I've encountered several dozen commenters who are wildly against girls being "allowed" to own anything in pink, any dolls/barbies, any dresses or skirts or dress-up clothes, any dance classes, etc. Each of these commenters avow that their daughters will be tomboys and will love it. But that's just the thing, you can't make a kid love something. They're their own person, with their own preferences, and pushing them toward one thing and away from another thing won't change them.
I am a nanny for two girls: the oldest is the ultimate girly-girl. Princesses and sparkles and dresses and shoes. Like the child genuinely prefers shopping trips to playdates. Her perfect day would be a long trip to the mall where she could buy every dress and every pair of shoes she wanted. She loves ballet and pink and princesses and the other day when we were riding bikes together she announced that we were riding our bikes "to Paris, to shop for some lovely ballgowns"...I have no idea where she heard this, it certainly wasn't from myself or her parents. But that's how she is, and how she's always been. Her younger sister, on the other hand, is more of the traditional idea of a tomboy. She wants to be running and jumping and climbing things constantly. She has no patience for dress-ups and princess crowns or having her hair styled; when they play make-believe she prefers to be the dragon that is attacking the princess. It's her personality and forcing her into a frilly pink dress isn't going to change that. There are always people willing to criticize the parents of these kids; they think the oldest is too frilly or the youngest is too tomboyish. Everyone has an opinion of what should be done about these kids' natural preferences towards how they play, and it drives me crazy. Can't we just let kids be themselves?I hope to be a mom one day. For now I enjoy being a name lover.
My apologies for any typos; i post from my mobile phone.