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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    167

    Re: Boys who like "girly" things

    I am having a girl in December, and hope that I will be the kind of mother who would encourage my daughter to engage in whatever activity she enjoys, regardless of typical gender roles. If she likes dolls and tea sets, fine. If she likes trains and tool kits, fine. I will buy a variety of toys for her to choose from. I strongly believe that there are valuable things to be learned from all different activities. Playing with dolls encourages a nurturing side, and playing with legos encourages spatial skills. My mother enforced traditional gender roles (for example, she said "O don't see ladies changing tires.), and I feel that I missed out on lots of learning because of that-for example, my brother just built a fence for his home, and I just learned in my 20's what a philips screwdriver is. My brother was allowed to get dirty and explore more than the girls, since my mom would say- "oh but you'll get your pretty dress dirty". That is not how I will raise my daughter.

    I am hoping that my boyfriend will raise our child as free of gender stereotypes as possible. I told him that whatever he would think to teach a boy, he will help teach our daughter (unless she dislikes a particular activity and that activity is not important).

    If my daughter turns out to be an ultra feminine frilly girl, that's fine with me, and if she turns out to be an extreme tomboy that's great too. What I care most about is that she is happy, kind, and able to find her place in the world.

  2. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    181

    Re: Boys who like "girly" things

    @Jessryan

    I just believe in things being a certain way. All of the guys in my family were raised that way, and they turned out just fine.
    ~Martina

  3. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    23

    Re: Boys who like "girly" things

    I could go on for years about the subject of societal gendering. I think the only purpose it has served in our entire history is to oppress women, making them quiet, submissive, overly domesticated and opinion-less zombies. Also, in my experience, most little boys are very sensitive and open until they are forced into masculine roles. The only reason we do this is because it is socially acceptable to rough up the boys and soften up the girls. I'm not saying everyone should put their boys in dresses just because it's equally acceptable to dress girls in trousers, but I find the tradition of forcing masculinity, toughness and a lack of emotion in boys to be really outdated and a detriment to society.

    Personally, I won't be forcing my child into any specific gender role that makes masculinity synonymous with aggression and femininity synonymous with submission. She/he will be given gender neutral toys, a treasure trove of books and an emphasis on exploration and travel from a very young age. He/she will also be taught tolerance and to respect all people so long as they are respectful of her/him.
    Alana Dale

  4. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,787

    Re: Boys who like "girly" things

    This is SUCH a fascinating subject, taps into all kinds of feelings, on the surface and much deeper, about gender stereotypes and sexual identity. My kids liked what they liked, gender aside -- and since I have one girl and two boys, I can tell you that it didn't always fall along conventional lines. And even when we tried to encourage them toward something else, it didn't usually work very well!

    Since Namefan included androgynous names for boys in his discussion and wondered whether parents who chose them for sons were more open to non-stereotypical male behavior, I want to raise another related issue, something I've been thinking about writing a much longer piece about. I'm fascinated by the whole new generation of male names that are NOT traditional male names like Robert and William but that aren't truly androgynous names such as Avery and Riley either. These are names that are decidedly male -- Hunter, Logan, Gavin, Brayden etc -- but in a new way.

    Does this symbolize a new ideal of masculinity, do you think? One that's not the macho fox-skinner (yuck!) but that isn't wearing pink and playing with dolls either. And if so, what IS it? And why? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
    Pam Satran
    Nameberry

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1,507

    Re: Boys who like "girly" things

    Pam - Interesting post! I think the changes with boys' names reflect the general increase in acceptance/tolerance of non-traditional masculine behavior. Another way this is reflected in baby naming is the decrease in the percentage of babies given the top names - as I've posted before over the past 20 years or so it's declined a lot for both genders, but over the past decade or so it's been falling faster for boys. Now the "name deflation" appears to be leveling off somewhat for girls but still going on for boys; for example last year we had a rarity in that more girls were given the #1 girl's name (Isabella) than boys given the #1 boy's name (Jacob), although when you figure in the total from the top 10 or so the percentage is still higher for boys (but the closest it's been in a long time).

    Another component is one that I've mentioned before - your generation. Today's Gen X and Y parents grew up in a time when attention turned towards helping girls out (witness how more women than men are now graduating college), and thus the traditional male parenting style is being called into question. This is being reflected in naming trends by an increase in the "new masculine" names Pam mentioned, more willing to consider names also being used for girls (e.g. Pam's mention of Avery and Riley which are not falling much if at all for boys despite being used for girls as well as an increasing interest of wanting to revive older unisex names like Kelly and Robin), and more boy's names with softer sounds like Gabriel, Julian, and Sebastian.

    When Baby Boomers were growing up, it was before the women's movement of the 60s and 70s and many boomers thought that the traditional expectations of girls and women were not right so they raised their girls differently (with an increase in acceptance of masculine behavior in girls, reflected in the increase of androgynous names for girls).

    This is the difference in the "generation gaps" of parenting style; today's parents are more likely to encounter disagreements on raising boys than girls with their parents. When their parents (today's new grandparents) raised them, it was the opposite with the parents of the previous generation (more disagreements with raising girls than boys). For example, let's say you have a son that wants to do ballet; which family members are most likely to oppose it? (Chances are it would be the boy in question's grandparents or other members of their generation, especially the men of that generation.) A generation ago when a Boomer mom wanted to work full-time while parenting at the same time, who was most likely to question that? (Members of the mom in question parent's generation.) (Addendum to the last statement; I noticed something similar is now occurring with dads who want to stay at home with the children while Mom works. Older people often think that such men are being "lazy" or "slackers" while younger people tend to see the non-traditional breadwinner/homemaker arrangement in a better light [and no "worse" than when she stays at home and he works]).

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