I think this is really cool.
Tracy, I appreciate what you say here:
Originally Posted by Wugmama
I read once that differences in treatment start in the womb when mothers find out their babies' gender. Bellies holding girl babies get more rubs, while bellies holding boy babies get more pats. The messages from society only get more pronounced from there.
Someone in the unschooling forum recently posted a quote from their very young child who said something to the effect, "When I go to school and learn real stuff..." even though the family has always been pro-unschooling. They were shocked that at such a young age the child could have picked up these widespread mainstream views about school. I think a similar case could be made about gender stereotypes. No matter how you try to allow your child to enjoy not being pushed toward gender stereotypes, society will get in the way. These Swedish parents are going the extra mile toward trying to minimize that.
Very true and bears repeating!
Gender IS largely a social construct. I can't even count how many times I have heard parents say, "I did my best to raise her in a gender-neutral way, never dressed her in pink, bought her trucks... but it turns out she's a naturally girly girl who loves her dolls and dresses!"
It's admirable for parents to try and raise their children in a gender-neutral way, resisting stereotypes... but why, when it doesn't "work," do so many parents conclude that it's because gender is innate, instead of taking into account the strong influence of society??
Children receive messages about gender NOT JUST from their parents, but from:
- other relatives
- family friends
- media (TV, radio, movies, Internet, magazines, books, newspapers, catalogs, inserts in the mail, ads, billboards)
- strangers out in public
It is nearly impossible to shield your children from ALL OF THAT. So many of the messages we receive about gender are messages we receive subconsciously. It is very difficult to raise a child to be a nonconformist in terms of gender, when the entire rest of society is working against you. It's almost useless
to try to, for instance, raise a son who is "allowed to do and be whatever feels natural to him," by offering him both pants and dresses, dolls and trucks, because attempting to remain neutral unfortunately means reinforcing the status quo. It's like being in a river with a strong current going in one direction, and trying to tell your child s/he can "swim in whichever direction s/he naturally wants to swim in." S/he is going to automatically ("naturally") move in the direction of the current unless you actively teach her to swim against it