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Gender neutral parenting? - Page 3

post #41 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landover View Post
Why on earth would you want to parent you child in a gender neutral way... you child is *not* gender neutral? This to me is akin to the whole... "We aren't racist because we don't see color... well, not seeing someone's color, embracing it, and loving it is racist."

My kiddos are stamped as either male or female and I want to celebrate the differences between the two based on that. Afterall, we are NOT the same.
Children are stamped with a sex when they are born. What their gender is, is not yet determined until they figure it out. Why should they be treated as if they all ready have a gender when they don't even know what gender is?

DS is male, that is his sex. We don't know what his gender is, we only know that he loves pink and baby dolls and the sort of attention that is traditionally given to baby girls. He doesn't want to be strong, or tough, or handsome. Right now he wants to be pretty, and sweet, and caring.
post #42 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
I guess I'm not really clear on what "treat him like a boy" means? Are you encouraging him to do ballet now? I can tell you one thing though, and that is if you are reinforcing traditional gender roles than your boy is not likely to grow up to do ballet because that is not a traditional boy's activity. So for him to become interested in it would be unlikely, and I find that sad I guess. In other words what he does and what he plays is NOT 100% up to him if he has been socialized to find it unacceptable.

Sex is biological. Gender is a social construction. In my mind gender neutral parenting is simply refusing to buy into the socially ordained roles deemed appropriate for each sex, and marketed to us as "normal" and "natural" when they are anything but.
I don't think it's sad at all. I have young cousins (9-15, Girl is 9, boy is 12 and another boy is 15). The oldest boy dances, the younger boy and the girl do martial arts. They were never parented "gender neutral". They expressed interest and their parents got them involved.
I just think there are more important aspects to parenting than insuring they are not influenced by anything gender related.
I mean, the kids friends aren't always going to be "gender neutral" so they'll be rubbed off on that. If they watch TV they'll get it that way. Books. Etc.
post #43 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landover View Post
This does not say that gender is socially constructed.

My point is that most folks believe that people come with anatomical parts and then a separate gender identity. Most of the time those things match up, and sometimes they do not. I am not sure anyone wants to say that when they don't match up it is because of a socially constructed situation. Yes, gender may be a social construction by definition, but not gender identification. If you start saying that gender is socially constructed then then you are making the argument for not allowing same sex couple adoption, etc.

I don't think it is likely that you can influence a person who doesn't "match" to do so by buying them a shirt with a dinosaur anymore then the other way around.... It is kind of the flip of the argument.

I will continue to allow my kiddos to know what gender they are, and to embrace their interests and their gender.

The argument you are making does not make sense when regarding "gender" as meaning "gender role". Gender roles are certainly constructed; the expectations that go along with being a "girl" or being a "boy" are socially manufactured and change with time and culture. If biological sex does not match gender than that is because an individual does not follow traditional roles. That is their actions and appearance do not conform to what people expect of them because of their sex. I fail to see how this makes gender roles any less socially determined...it just means that those who do not follow them are sometimes considered deviant within a particular culture.

I totally don't understand the same sex adoption argument you are making.
post #44 of 97
My point is that the gender someone chooses to identify with is not socially constructed. It is hardwired (just as sex is). That is my sole point. Yes, gender roles are socially constructed... not gender identification. If you want to argue that you can parent or influence a person into being one gender or another then go right ahead.

I personally think that is a very slippery slope. That slope leads to the type of intolerant thinking where people believe that two homosexual men who adopt a little boy are going to turn him into a gay man...

Quote:
Children are stamped with a sex when they are born. What their gender is, is not yet determined until they figure it out. Why should they be treated as if they all ready have a gender when they don't even know what gender is?

DS is male, that is his sex. We don't know what his gender is, we only know that he loves pink and baby dolls and the sort of attention that is traditionally given to baby girls. He doesn't want to be strong, or tough, or handsome. Right now he wants to be pretty, and sweet, and caring.
And... do you think buying him a shirt with a dinosaur on it would change him in any way? You not neglecting to tell him what gender or sex he is. My guess it that you do not make that distinction with him. You simply allow him to play what he wants to play and do what he wants to do. My point is this.... I do not think that buying a boy a dinosaur shirt makes him identify with being male anymore then buying him a tutu would make him identify with being a girl. They will be what they are going to be, and the best thing we can do is honor that.

By one saying that they are going to avoid truck shirts for their little boys because they do not want them to think they have to identify with the male gender is the exact same as someone else saying that they do not want to buy their little boy a play kitchen because they do not want them to identify with being female. If you believe the former it is the same as the latter in which the argument falls apart.

Just honor who your kids are and go with it... The rest is sticky and yucky.

Here is another interesting point to consider... Sometimes society tries so hard to go against gender roles that it creates the opposite effect. I went through eleven years of higher education to finish with a PhD and start a long anticipated career (because, afterall, I can have it all... right?). I started that high powered career, had my first baby, and longed to stay home. It took me a year to admit this to myself or my husband. When I quit my job I was ridiculed by my peers. I had always wanted to raise a large family, but I felt certain (because of the fact that I was told my entire life that I should shoot for the stars regarding my career because... I could have it all) that I needed a career. I am now happily expecting #3 and am a stay at home momma who wishes I would have started having kids earlier in life. There are many arguments about how feminism was the worst thing that ever happened to women.
post #45 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landover View Post
My point is that the gender someone chooses to identify with is not socially constructed.

I personally think that is a very slippery slope. That slope leads to the type of intolerant thinking where people believe that two homosexual men who adopt a little boy are going to turn him into a gay man...

By one saying that they are going to avoid truck shirts for their little boys because they do not want them to think they have to identify with the male gender is the exact same as someone else saying that they do not want to buy their little boy a play kitchen because they do not want them to identify with being female. If you believe the former it is the same as the latter in which the argument falls apart.

Here is another interesting point to consider... Sometimes society tries so hard to go against gender roles that it creates the opposite effect.
There are many arguments about how feminism was the worst thing that ever happened to women.
Especially the bold part.
post #46 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by carfreemama View Post
I do make a conscious effort to switch my gender references; as in, I don't default to calling everything "he" or "him." I read somewhere that you should try not to refer to your CHILD as only one gender, in case he/she doesn't identify with that gender. So if you have a girl, you would switch up calling her him/her. I haven't done that.
This is baffling me. I have been milling it over in my head and I can't get my brains wrapped around it.

English has a gender natural. (I am about to say something and I am aware of the underlying gender identification people assign, but that is a topic for another day ) We can talk about bridges, and don't have to say "Look at his supports" we can see "look at ITS support"

Are you talking about cars and boats being female?

I think switching genders when referring to things that do have gender (people, animals) would lead to confusion when children are trying to learn the language.

I know this is more about language influencing gender but language is a large part of how we connect with our world and each other
post #47 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landover View Post
And... do you think buying him a shirt with a dinosaur on it would change him in any way? You not neglecting to tell him what gender or sex he is. My guess it that you do not make that distinction with him. You simply allow him to play what he wants to play and do what he wants to do. My point is this.... I do not think that buying a boy a dinosaur shirt makes him identify with being male anymore then buying him a tutu would make him identify with being a girl. They will be what they are going to be, and the best thing we can do is honor that.

By one saying that they are going to avoid truck shirts for their little boys because they do not want them to think they have to identify with the male gender is the exact same as someone else saying that they do not want to buy their little boy a play kitchen because they do not want them to identify with being female. If you believe the former it is the same as the latter in which the argument falls apart.

Just honor who your kids are and go with it... The rest is sticky and yucky.

Here is another interesting point to consider... Sometimes society tries so hard to go against gender roles that it creates the opposite effect. I went through eleven years of higher education to finish with a PhD and start a long anticipated career (because, afterall, I can have it all... right?). I started that high powered career, had my first baby, and longed to stay home. It took me a year to admit this to myself or my husband. When I quit my job I was ridiculed by my peers. I had always wanted to raise a large family, but I felt certain (because of the fact that I was told my entire life that I should shoot for the stars regarding my career because... I could have it all) that I needed a career. I am now happily expecting #3 and am a stay at home momma who wishes I would have started having kids earlier in life. There are many arguments about how feminism was the worst thing that ever happened to women.
We honour who our son is but not deciding for him who he is. If DS tells me he wants a T-shirt with a dinosaur on it, we'll buy him one. But we aren't going to automatically assume that is what he wants just because of what equipment he was born with. As it is, he doesn't like dinosaurs or trucks. He likes planets and stars, and airplanes, and flowers. He is old enough to express a desire for something or a desire to not want something. We honour that.

I think buying him a shirt with a dinosaur on it would be a waste of money, he'd never wear it.

As for talking about what he is, we won't tell him that. Like we did with DD we say "You have a..." not "You're a...".
post #48 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by kriket View Post
This is baffling me. I have been milling it over in my head and I can't get my brains wrapped around it.

English has a gender natural. (I am about to say something and I am aware of the underlying gender identification people assign, but that is a topic for another day ) We can talk about bridges, and don't have to say "Look at his supports" we can see "look at ITS support"

Are you talking about cars and boats being female?

I think switching genders when referring to things that do have gender (people, animals) would lead to confusion when children are trying to learn the language.

I know this is more about language influencing gender but language is a large part of how we connect with our world and each other
There are other aspects to gender in language too besides a specific person and inanimate objects. There is also the abstract reference of humans. I don't know if the PP meant this, but in our house gender pronouns are treated the same in discussion as they are now treated in formal writing styles. When referencing a person who is not a specific individual (think "he said" or "She did") then gender gets switched because "he" and "him" is no longer the default. Like "When one person eats shrimp he maybe fine, when another person eats shrimp she may have an adverse reaction."
post #49 of 97
Quote:
I think buying him a shirt with a dinosaur on it would be a waste of money, he'd never wear it.
I guess my kiddos don't care about what they wear as much. I guess that might be the explanation for me trying to understand why the heck a dinosaur on a shirt would matter. I hear you saying that your son would not wear a shirt with a dinosaur on it because he likes flowers and planets better. My son isn't particularly a fan of dinosaurs, but he would probably never notice what the heck his shirt has on it.

Most of his clothes came from a good friend with a boy older than DS is. Either that or me being a fan of sales trumps him being a fan of any random thing.

It would never occur to me to ask DS about everything he wears or everything I buy him. He has never worried about it and just throws on whatever I lay out because he is too ready to run outside and play.
post #50 of 97

more than clothing and toys

this is an interesting thread.
i wanted to add that gender neutral parenting is also about more than clothing and toys. we know from many studies about how girls are treated in the classroom (when they are publicly schooled). typically, the social expectations placed with rigid gender definitions school or socially force girls to lose their abilities in math and science, as those are "boy" arenas. girls are socialized to be emotional, not show their intelligence, and exhibit manners to the point of being afraid to offend, even in situations of harassment or abuse.
conversely, our society teaches children identified as boys to refrain from showing emotion, to internalize any feelings they may have, to value competition and to respect some subjects in school more than others. once children reach a certain age and realize what is expected per gender norms, they do abandon their true interests in favor of ones that are socially approved. i've seen it happen. i've read a ton of research about how and why that happens. i know that the toys, the separation in the stores of clothing, the pinks and blues, the gender assignments of toys and tools, all of that helps to reinforce this. this is the social construction that other posters speak of. if you're interested, judith butler, among others, writes about gender theory. i would recommend further reading on the subject before dismissing the social construction of gender. the nuances of socially constructed gender go far deeper than you think.
post #51 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post
I honestly think it's kind of silly. Whether or not you treat your son like a "boy" is not going to damage them. My son is a boy through and through. I dress him like a boy, I treat him like a boy. If he grows up and wants to do ballet or play music or something not "manly" we're not going to worry about it. We won't push sports if he doesn't want to play them. On the other hand if we have a girl who wants to be a tomboy, that's fine too. Let her play hockey (I did) and go hunting. I don't consider that gender neutral parenting, I consider it good parenting.
My son isn't gender neutral. He's a boy. So I'll treat and dress him like one. How he acts, what he does and what he plays with is 100% up to him.
I'm going to jump into this discussion because I still don't understand what is meant by "treat him like a boy." Where I come from, treating him like a boy means filling his head with lots of stuff about being tough and not expressing emotions, condoning violence and rudeness as a masculine trait, and lots of other negative messages about masculinity being the polar opposite of femininity. It assumes that boys can only play with gender appropriate toys like cars and trucks and tools and engage in gender appropriate activities like football and baseball. The corollary to this message seems to be that girls are told to be sweet and friendly and cooperative, and as we get older to tolerate bad behavior from our male counterparts because that is supposedly how men are wired.

My husband and I strive to raise our boys in a way that minimizes gender messages about who they are and how they should act because we don't want to limit their emotional and psychological development as they get older. Toys are toys, and they play with dolls and trucks and trains equally depending on their whims any given day. We don't put them in clothes that have sayings like "little bruiser" or whatever on them because we don't agree with putting labels on either of them. We let them experience their emotions without giving them negative messages about how that isn't acceptable boy behavior.

Of course both of our kids know that they are boys, not girls, but as far as they are concerned the difference is mainly that they have a penis and girls do not. It doesn't say anything about who they have as friends, or what games they play on the playground, or what they want to be when they grow up.

My husband is sometimes even more sensitive about this stuff than I am, because he remembers hearing negative messages when he was little about how he should act like a man (and not like a girl .) It left a real impression on him and he doesn't want our boys to have such a hard time dealing with their own emotions (not to mention how they interact with members of the opposite sex) once they become adults. I happen to agree with him.
post #52 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by leighi123 View Post

With my ds I try to buy toys and clothes that a boy or a girl could use, yet dispite that and not watching tv, he STILL uses his hand as a gun or a sword (while carrying a baby doll on his back).
That's exactly how I played (and I'm a girl) . Well, I had toy guns and swords and used those abundantly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
How about a whole different term. How about gender flexible parenting. Where the parent is OK with their kid loving tutus and sparkles and pink, whatever the child's gender is. The parent is OK if the child loves construction vehicles and every thing football and blue, whatever the child's gender is. The parent is fine if the child loves nature and books and yellow, whatever the child's gender is.
I like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Landover View Post
Why on earth would you want to parent you child in a gender neutral way... you child is *not* gender neutral? This to me is akin to the whole... "We aren't racist because we don't see color... well, not seeing someone's color, embracing it, and loving it is racist."
I see three different categories: 1. sex: biological, the easiest of all to determine, though, of course, not always possible, based on sexual organs and chromosomes

2. genders as viewed by a society: to a great extent somewhat arbitrary constructs, though some aspects could be based in biology - which doesn't make them binding, only statistically plausible. E.g., testosterone makes one more aggressive and estrogen makes one more nurturing; many biological males have more testosterone in their systems than many biological females; therefore, there is some biological basis in the idea that many males are more likely to be more aggressive and many females are more likely to be more nurturing

3. a person's gender identity: something quite possibly hard-wired (but how? biologically, through the influence of intrauterine hormones? spiritually? I've no idea), developing partly through the courtesy of the gender roles / definitions given by society. We use these to help us find ourselves - I'll say I'm not very 'girly' because I don't like make-up and high heels, because I'll drink beer out of a bottle in a park but not a sweet cocktail in a fancy dress, because I've never liked dolls but have always loved guns and playing war, because my favorite colors to wear are black and army green, and because in any social situation involving older people I'll end up discussing politics with the men and not talk about cosmetics or cooking with the women, and because I'll always tell anyone what I think about an issue or analyze any person's argument logically and not what I feel about a situation or respond in such a way as not to hurt feelings. Not that any of these are somehow necessarily inherently 'male' or 'female' things, but I will use them to place myself on an imaginary bell curve in my quest for my sexual identity. I am a biological woman, heterosexual by orientation, somewhat androgynous in my gender identity.

I told my girl she's a girl (so - not extremely gender neutral at all), but not what that should entail. She has all sorts of toys and plays with dolls and cars, guns and a play kitchen. She's much more 'girly' than I was (I refused to wear dresses at age 2, she loves them), though, and I accept that. We've accepted a lot of pink clothes as gifts and are too cheap to buy others, but my daughter's favorite color is green.
post #53 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolagirl View Post
I'm going to jump into this discussion because I still don't understand what is meant by "treat him like a boy." Where I come from, treating him like a boy means filling his head with lots of stuff about being tough and not expressing emotions, condoning violence and rudeness as a masculine trait, and lots of other negative messages about masculinity being the polar opposite of femininity. It assumes that boys can only play with gender appropriate toys like cars and trucks and tools and engage in gender appropriate activities like football and baseball. The corollary to this message seems to be that girls are told to be sweet and friendly and cooperative, and as we get older to tolerate bad behavior from our male counterparts because that is supposedly how men are wired.
Just because that's what you think it means isn't so. "Treat him like a boy" just means I'm not treating him gender neutral. I don't go out of my way to make sure he's not influenced by, *gasp*, society! I don't condone violence in any gender and rudeness is not acceptable in our home at all. Corbin plays with dolls, cleaning "supplies" and stuffed animals. He loves music and dancing. I don't dictate what he plays with or what his interests are, for goodness sake. "Treat him like a boy" is just that.
post #54 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post
Just because that's what you think it means isn't so. "Treat him like a boy" just means I'm not treating him gender neutral. I don't go out of my way to make sure he's not influenced by, *gasp*, society! I don't condone violence in any gender and rudeness is not acceptable in our home at all. Corbin plays with dolls, cleaning "supplies" and stuffed animals. He loves music and dancing. I don't dictate what he plays with or what his interests are, for goodness sake. "Treat him like a boy" is just that.
That sounds fairly gender neutral to me LOL!

Where I come from being "treated like a boy" means all the things Lolagirl said, and worse.
post #55 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
The biggie in trying to parent gender neutral is doing my best to not train my kid for any specific social role. I think this is huge, and is the reason why so many gendered clothes and toys bother the heck outta me.

We give lip sevice to the notion that girls can be anything they want to be when they grow up...firefighter, doctor, astronaut, palentologist...but then when you go to buy your girl a dinosaur shirt you HAVE TO get it in the boys section. Same with space themed stuff and firetrucks. Just the very fact that these things only exist in a section labeled "boys" is reinforcing the notion that they are not for your girl...and once your girl figures that our she is not going to want to wear them anymore. So then what?

Clothes for girls are usually themed simply "pretty" as if that is the most important role for a female. Flowers, kitties, frills, ginghams, more flowers..."pretty" is the role we are training them for.

I am hoping to instill my son (and future kids) with a sense of outrage over this. The social message is so duplicious it just pisses me off. I love to put my kid in purple (I personally hate pink...for anyone) and it ticks me off that I usually have to go to the "girls" section to find it. I have also noticed that the clothing sizes in the girls section run much smaller than in boys, so we are already training wee girlies that tight clothes are for them, and loose ones for the opposite gender. Sad.

There is obviously no such thing as "just clothes" or "just toys" IMO.

Yes my child is a boy. I suppose I cannot count myself as a strict gender neutral parent because I acknowledge that. BUT just because he is a boy does not mean that he should have to conform to the pervasive social expectation of what being a "boy" means. In my perfect world he would never know what that expectation is. In the real world I can at least hope that he learns to recognise gender as a social construction and proceed accordingly. And feel outrage that someone is trying to pidgeonhole him based on the fact he has a penis.

Incedently there was a really interesting segment on NPR recently about sex differences. Worth a listen:

""Y" Matters
Neuropsychiatrist and author Dr. Louann Brizendine joins us to discuss her research and insights about the minds of men. How do the fundamental differences between women and men compare with the perceived differences? And just why does "Y" matter? Brizendine's new book is "The Male Brain.""

Link:http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R201004071000
Just wanted to say that I agree with you, Landover. My biggest problem, though is not what we say to our children so much as how we model gender. So far, all my kids have seen is mom at home doing the cooking and the cleaning, and dad bringing in the paycheck. We are much less rigid in our gender roles than some, but we are still living out a role that I don't want my kids to think is the only one. I think you hit the nail on the head when you say that girls get the message that they can't be firefighters because all those clothes are in the boy section.

I know that some of the ways I handle my kids is based on gender. I try not to, but it is almost subconscious from my upbringing. I fume whenever I hear my parents telling my kids that something is "for girls" or that my son is "all boy", but those messages were taught to me the entire time I lived at home. Undoing them is going to be very difficult. I catch myself sometimes talking to my DD differently than I would DS, or being less rough-house-y with her than DS, but I am striving to show both of them all the things I think are fascinating on both sides of the spectrum. For DS, that means he wants to adorn himself with pink, sparkly jewelry, and DD loves to push cars around the house and growl like a dinosaur. I will be interested to see how much this plays out as they age.

In short, I guess I could say it would be impossible to parent in a gender neutral way unless the parent is also gender neutral.

Also, I have a rebuttal on that particular author here: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ide..._on_the_brain/ Apparently some of her research is unfounded. I have also read some of her articles, and she tends more towards the "men are hardwired to be assholes" side of things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kriket View Post
This is baffling me. I have been milling it over in my head and I can't get my brains wrapped around it.

English has a gender natural. (I am about to say something and I am aware of the underlying gender identification people assign, but that is a topic for another day ) We can talk about bridges, and don't have to say "Look at his supports" we can see "look at ITS support"

Are you talking about cars and boats being female?

I think switching genders when referring to things that do have gender (people, animals) would lead to confusion when children are trying to learn the language.

I know this is more about language influencing gender but language is a large part of how we connect with our world and each other
I find that I tend to gender things like stuffed animals, and even cars sometimes, but I am about equal between the two. I don't gender things like bridges. That doesn't make any sense to me. I don't think it includes referring to someone who is female/male in a gender neutral way. I agree that that would be confusing.
post #56 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post
Just because that's what you think it means isn't so. "Treat him like a boy" just means I'm not treating him gender neutral. I don't go out of my way to make sure he's not influenced by, *gasp*, society! I don't condone violence in any gender and rudeness is not acceptable in our home at all. Corbin plays with dolls, cleaning "supplies" and stuffed animals. He loves music and dancing. I don't dictate what he plays with or what his interests are, for goodness sake. "Treat him like a boy" is just that.
I still find this really puzzling, how is leaving your son to make up his own mind treating him like a boy? Not to be fecetious, but do only boys get to have such unfettered personal freedom?

Of course society influences our kids. In my opinion, it's our job as parents to try and mitigate any and all of the negative influences with which our children come into contact as they make their way through childhood. Issues like rudeness and violence are also influenced by our society, yet it sounds like you are willing to do what you can as a parent to try and counteract any of those types of negative societal influences, right? Perhaps you see no need to counteract negative societal influences that you do not deem to be tied to gender?

I haven't seen anyone say that boys and girls are exactly the same and should be treated as such. Perhaps that's where some of the knee jerk type reactions are coming from in this discussion.

Those of us who tend to fall into a more gender neutral territory make a point of not telling our kids they should be a certain way simply because of their sex. So no telling girls to stop being rough because that's acting like a boy, and no telling boys to stop crying because that's acting like a girl. No restricting girls or boys to only playing with certain toys or engage in certain activities that are traditionally tied to one specific sex/gender. The same goes for the clothes they want to wear, how they wear their hair, and even their life aspirations and, at least for me, who they might marry some day.
post #57 of 97
Quote:
Just wanted to say that I agree with you, Landover. My biggest problem, though is not what we say to our children so much as how we model gender. So far, all my kids have seen is mom at home doing the cooking and the cleaning, and dad bringing in the paycheck.
Ahhhh..... but you are doing what you love and want to do which is the best kind of modeling when it comes to fulling your role within society. This is what I meant by my previous reference to feminism being one of the worst things to ever happen to women. Sometimes this stuff goes so far it just gets silly, and let's face it folks, you can only fight the good fight here... nobody is shielding their kids from it.

I got a terminal degree, got the perfect job, and then *finally* was able to admit that I want to stay at home with my kids. Because... the generation I was raised in constantly told women (and even pushed women) to be just like men, to have a career or they would not be fulfilled, to seek it ALL. Nobody ever said, or even acted like, it would be a perfect decision for me to strive to be a great wife and mother as my vocation in life.

Sometimes going the other way with this stuff can be just as detrimental.

As much as all of this stuff is great about wanting to use gender neutral language and only buy shirts with things on them that you kid currently loves... (which, for the record, I think dressing your DS in pink kittens would probably cause more social issues then it would solve ). The big picture is really about truly teaching you kiddo that they are free to pursue the life that they think will make them happy. Me playing devil's advocate a little is more about how, ultimately, I don't think that my son wearing blue and my daughter wearing pink (which I happen to dress my DD in constantly because, quite frankly, she looks like a flippin' angel in pink) is going to fundamentally change who they are or what they think they can be. It is about me being real and honest with my kiddos when I tell them that they should seek, do, and embrace what their definition of happy is.

Interestingly, me making absolutely no attempt to care that my son is wearing a shirt that says, "Daddy's little slugger" has made clothes a serious non-issue in our home. I happen to love that. Whereas, paying very close attention clothing seems to have made the clothing one wears some sort of expression of who you are in other homes.

Funnily enough... reading this thread, most people on here strive to parent the same way. It has devolved into a typical MDC semantic debate.
post #58 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolagirl View Post
I still find this really puzzling, how is leaving your son to make up his own mind treating him like a boy? Not to be fecetious, but do only boys get to have such unfettered personal freedom?

Of course society influences our kids. In my opinion, it's our job as parents to try and mitigate any and all of the negative influences with which our children come into contact as they make their way through childhood. Issues like rudeness and violence are also influenced by our society, yet it sounds like you are willing to do what you can as a parent to try and counteract any of those types of negative societal influences, right? Perhaps you see no need to counteract negative societal influences that you do not deem to be tied to gender?

I haven't seen anyone say that boys and girls are exactly the same and should be treated as such. Perhaps that's where some of the knee jerk type reactions are coming from in this discussion.
Yeah that's pretty much it.

What I find baffling is people not telling their kid what gender they are, not letting them wear "gender oriented" clothes, etc.
post #59 of 97
Quote:
Here is another interesting point to consider... Sometimes society tries so hard to go against gender roles that it creates the opposite effect. I went through eleven years of higher education to finish with a PhD and start a long anticipated career (because, afterall, I can have it all... right?). I started that high powered career, had my first baby, and longed to stay home. It took me a year to admit this to myself or my husband. When I quit my job I was ridiculed by my peers. I had always wanted to raise a large family, but I felt certain (because of the fact that I was told my entire life that I should shoot for the stars regarding my career because... I could have it all) that I needed a career. I am now happily expecting #3 and am a stay at home momma who wishes I would have started having kids earlier in life. There are many arguments about how feminism was the worst thing that ever happened to women.
Well, it appears to me that "feminism" was good thing for you. Why? Because you had the right and ability to make the choices that you did, whether it be PhD career person or SAHM.

I was born in the sixties and came of age in the seventies - the raging days of feminist thought and theory. I was never told that I needed to act like a man. I was told that I had the freedom to be who I wanted to be. That is what I got out of the feminist movement. Quite different, in my opinion, than being told what you have to do in order to be successful or happy. Sure, there were fringe groups (as in any movement) who called for the radical alteration of how women viewed themselves (i.e. act more like a man; sacrifice family for career), but I think that the true spirit of feminism was to free oneself from predetermined roles and inequalities (inability to own property; unequal pay; discrimination against people who are pregnant or who may become pregnant; unequal access to education; etc.). Feminism is not limiting, it is freeing, in my opinion. Of course people are going to disagree with me, but if you are doing what you want to do, then feminism has worked.
post #60 of 97
Thread Starter 
This is what ds typically wears:
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u...0/DSC03789.jpg

(taken at the park last week)

This is the ski gear he picked out -
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u...0/DSC03726.jpg
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u...0/DSC03771.jpg

The easter shirt I made him (it has flowers on the front, on the back it says 'spring in brightly colored fabrics)
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u...0/DSC03742.jpg


People ALWAYS call him 'she/her', and I dont bother to correct them. If Levi wants to, he would, but he doesnt seem to care (maybe because he is used to it)
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