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Raising Girls in a Misogynistic Culture - Page 3

post #41 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
And I do agree that I don't think that miniskirts are appropriate for girls who are young enough to play on the playground. I think that high fashion trickles down to young girls much more so than to young boys, and that clothes that are appropriate for adults (or not, I don't really care) are NOT appropriate for kids who need to be able to move freely and run and play. I can't tell you how many young girls I see at the playground in little slip-on ballet flats or flipflops that they can't run in, in super tight skinny jeans that don't allow movement, in tiny miniskirts that they're constantly tugging down. I don't think that it's appropriate for kids of either sex to show underwear, but I can't say that I've ever actually seen a boy doing it. They still get to run around in sneakers and jeans and oversize t shirts. It's not even entirely a "modesty" issue, it's also a practical one. Those clothes just aren't practical to play in. You can't go down a slide in a miniskirt that rides up: your butt won't slide down the hot metal slide easily.

Again, I find this an issue of consumption more than pure misogyny. Companies make a lot of money selling "grown up" fashions to parents of little girls, so of course they do it. I guess I just don't understand what makes the parents think that $120 ballet flats from Crew Cuts that don't stay on are a good idea for the playground. And I'm happy to dress my DD in low-fashion but practical clothes for as long as she'll let me, but at the same time I know that when she starts getting teased for it I'll cave and buy her the stuff that "everyone else" wears. I just hope that it doesn't happen for a long time...

I agree strongly with this post. I have done home childcare for years and also have been very involved with my sons' preschool. Every year, we have to specify that girls (it's *never* boys) need to be sent in clothes that are appropriate/comfortable for active play indoors and out in a cooler climate -- good shoes, clothes that are ok to paint in , stretch in, run in, climb in, etc.

I don't know what to call it - `fashion forward' clothes for girls? -- slow the girls down. They can't run as fast in sandals, as the boys can in sneakers. They can't let loose and paint or glue or play with gak if they are afraid of mussing their dresses. I've been presented with a bill for new clothes by parents who sent their dd to my program in designer clothing and then got mad at me because the red tempera paint at the craft center that smeared in the clothing despite paint shirts wouldn't wash out (No, I didn't pay it. ) Girls can't go in puddles or in deep snow in the girly ankle boots that match their coats like the boys can in their practical waterproof rain boots or snow boots. Girls, usually smaller and thinner than boys to start with, shiver outdoors in lightweight but pretty jackets while boys jump in the snow in the parkas and snowpants their parents send. Even the snowsuits *made* for girls are often of lesser quality in terms of keeping a child warm than boys' suits are, though that seems to be improving in recent years.

Girls have to stop and pull their low-rise jeans up or their miniskirts down. Girls don't want to go on the slide or into the bush by our house with miniskirts/shorts/sandals on for fear of bug bites or hot metal or scratchy thistles. Girls in miniskirts need more bandaids on the knees than boys in long pants, I find.

I'm not against dresses -- my dd wore them all the time, but layered over leggings or pants for practicality and with appropriate warm sweaters and shoes. I'm not against self-expression. That's what my dressup center is for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewMoonMum View Post
I have to say I'm always surprised at people who think sexism is a thing of the past. That is no more true than racism "being a thing of the past".
This.
post #42 of 66
Quote:
But then, I see dresses as a way of keeping little girls restricted to begin with. Not that I don't let my kids wear them if they want.
Must disagree. I grew up dresses-only. Everything the boys did, we did. We had bloomers, shorts underneath. The dresses were a religious thing, the shorts were a modesty thing (cover more than underwear) but they were not restrictive.

It's the type of clothing that is restrictive. A miniskirt or very tight clothing is restrictive. A light, full cotton skirt isn't at all.
post #43 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
Must disagree. I grew up dresses-only. Everything the boys did, we did. We had bloomers, shorts underneath. The dresses were a religious thing, the shorts were a modesty thing (cover more than underwear) but they were not restrictive.

It's the type of clothing that is restrictive. A miniskirt or very tight clothing is restrictive. A light, full cotton skirt isn't at all.
I agree. I still prefer a flowy skirt to something fitted.
post #44 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
I will admit, my hot button issue of late, once I cannot escape even here on MDC, is the idea that good, healthy girls will not enter puberty. I see this having an impact on my innocent daughter, who has started on that journey at 8 (right on target for getting her period at the same age I did) and who has already started to ask questions as to why puberty is "bad".
Oh yeah, my pet peeve too. Nothing says misogyny like the attitude to becoming a woman. Little girl = good, big girl = dirty...And even little girl with underwear showing = dirty.

"My age XX daughter still plays with dolls..." as though that is somehow more virtuous than growing up and having a perfectly natural interest in and curiosity about sexuality.
post #45 of 66
Ugh, I hate the "close your legs" phrase! It sounds so dirty and provocative, like a young girl is purposefully exposing her privates to attract predators. It's sickening. I have three girls and for the most part I have them wear leggings or shorts under their dresses. I don't want them to feel restricted in their play.
post #46 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hey Mama! View Post
Ugh, I hate the "close your legs" phrase! It sounds so dirty and provocative, like a young girl is purposefully exposing her privates to attract predators. It's sickening. I have three girls and for the most part I have them wear leggings or shorts under their dresses. I don't want them to feel restricted in their play.
Yes, it reminds of one of the bully-girls at our local playground who harassed my 10yo dd for "swinging with her legs open" (I know I already mentioned this in the OP, but it seems relevant to mention it again here). My 10yo always wears pants or shorts to the playground, so it wasn't a case of anything "showing."

But this other little girl was telling dd "Yo mama need to cut yo hair ... you a he-she!" And of course I know an 8 or 9yo child didn't come up with all this "keep your legs together" crap on her own, so it kind of makes me sad; I wonder if her mama is a misogynist? It actually does seem like mothers can be just as female-hating as fathers can.

What's really sad is the way these bully-girls like to hang around with a teen boy who has molested at least one 11yo girl. I suppose their heads are so filled with garbage about how girls who get molested must have momentarily unclenched their legs so it's their fault, that it doesn't occur to them that some boys and men are bad news. I guess the men are just "being men" and it's up to the girls to keep their legs clenched.
post #47 of 66
I saw a teaser for a "news" clip (which I never got to see) about 6-year-old cheerleaders chanting inappropriate cheers. I couldn't wait to see what was so terrible. Then I remembered my mom talking recently about a "cheer" we used to do on the playground when I was 10. The ending went, "The boys got the muscles, the teachers got the brains. The girls got the sexy legs and WE WON THE GAME!" We really didn't pay much attention to the words then, but now I'd be sad for several reasons to hear my daughter saying that. (What does a 10-year-old know from "sexy?" And really? The best thing about boys and girls is their body parts? The TEACHERS are the only ones with brains? Ugh)
post #48 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post
I saw a teaser for a "news" clip (which I never got to see) about 6-year-old cheerleaders chanting inappropriate cheers. I couldn't wait to see what was so terrible. Then I remembered my mom talking recently about a "cheer" we used to do on the playground when I was 10. The ending went, "The boys got the muscles, the teachers got the brains. The girls got the sexy legs and WE WON THE GAME!" We really didn't pay much attention to the words then, but now I'd be sad for several reasons to hear my daughter saying that. (What does a 10-year-old know from "sexy?" And really? The best thing about boys and girls is their body parts? The TEACHERS are the only ones with brains? Ugh)
My girls learned this one, and I can't stand it, especially the bolded


apples on a stick, make me sick
Makes my heart go 246
Not because I'm dirty
Not because I'm clean
Not because I kissed a boy behind a magazine
Hey girls wanna have some fun
Here comes a boy with his pants undone

He can do the pom poms
He can do the splits
but all he wants to do is kiss, kiss, kiss
Close your eyes and count to 10,
If you mess up you'll lose your boyfriend
post #49 of 66
Oh, my! I'm so not looking forward to seeing what will be making "lipstick parties" seem tame when my boy is a teenager... IDK who I feel worse for, the boys or the girls!
post #50 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post
Oh, my! I'm so not looking forward to seeing what will be making "lipstick parties" seem tame when my boy is a teenager... IDK who I feel worse for, the boys or the girls!
They still have "lipstick parties" but the lipstick doesn't end up on the boy's face...
post #51 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post
Oh, my! I'm so not looking forward to seeing what will be making "lipstick parties" seem tame when my boy is a teenager... IDK who I feel worse for, the boys or the girls!
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
They still have "lipstick parties" but the lipstick doesn't end up on the boy's face...
I don't know if you guys are being tongue in cheek, but lipstick parties are an urban legend made up to sell a YA novel. There's absolutely no evidence that one has ever occurred, and any adolescent psychologist will tell you that it's about the last thing any teen is interested in being involved in, for a variety of reasons. It somehow made it to Oprah, as her fact-checking department doesn't have the greatest record.
post #52 of 66
Not having any teens in the family (yet) I'm not making any claims that they're "real" (and yeah, I was referring to the lipstick um, elsewhere) but have seen/heard the concept several places. Even if not exactly real, just saying that whatever is to come in the next decade will likely make these "parties" seem tame and innocent. The entire concept horrifies me.
post #53 of 66
Not sure about lipstick parties, but oral sex is becoming more common among teens. That's pretty well documented. I think it's part of the misogynistic culture being discussed; the girls are pressured to give that to the boys, with the idea that it's safe and not really sex, but man, that's not exactly reciprocal sharing of physical love.

I agree about the practical clothes-- I don't care if they are skirts (we used to wear bicycle shorts under them, but I remember feeling bad for the girls who wore minis, or even myself when I forgot it was PE day and wore a skirt or really wide shorts), I don't care if they are fashion-forward or what, as long as they are comfy and practical. I have seen little little girls (maybe 5?) tottling around in plastic high heels. More being super girly than fashionable, but it still just makes me think how our culture is more about females LOOKING good even if it hobbles us.

I can't even get into all the misogyny of our culture, but it's a huge part of why we a2re very selective abotu media, don't do commercials, and will homeschool. DH and I are feminists and the way we see even modern materials still taking the token approach to females in history (along with the racism, too!) just boggles us.
post #54 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by St. Margaret View Post
Not sure about lipstick parties, but oral sex is becoming more common among teens. That's pretty well documented. I think it's part of the misogynistic culture being discussed; the girls are pressured to give that to the boys, with the idea that it's safe and not really sex, but man, that's not exactly reciprocal sharing of physical love.
Yes, oral sex has risen... but sex, drinking, and drug use among teens has fallen precipitously since the early 1980s. So all is not lost on the teenage front And you'll actually be surprised at the oral sex statistics: teenage boys and teenage girls actually both report receiving oral sex at similar rates.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...091500915.html
post #55 of 66
I did not know that! I know it was reported differently in the studies I heard about, but to be fair that was several years ago.

I think a lot of teens are doing just fine, for sure. I teach high school so I get very concerned knowing the very high rates of binge drinking and drug use among our student population, but at the same time I know things are pretty good
post #56 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by St. Margaret View Post
I did not know that! I know it was reported differently in the studies I heard about, but to be fair that was several years ago.

I think a lot of teens are doing just fine, for sure. I teach high school so I get very concerned knowing the very high rates of binge drinking and drug use among our student population, but at the same time I know things are pretty good
I didn't know it either until I just googled. I'm pretty surprised, too. But it's a pretty interesting little factoid, and one I never would have guessed!
post #57 of 66
I haven't read the whole thread yet, but I would like to highly recommend the book "Reviving Ophelia." It is amazing!
post #58 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
but sex, drinking, and drug use among teens has fallen precipitously since the early 1980s.
oh, the days of my youth!

On thing that always fascinates me in these threads is the implication that sex was invented at some point after we all gave birth. Teens have been fooling around and exploring their sexuality for at least decades if not centuries.

Both my Dh and I were wild when we were younger, and when we first had kids discussed the possibility that no matter what we did, our kids might turn out like us.

Our DD are now 12 and 13 and at this point, both seem to have good heads on their shoulders. They genuinely like themselves, seem fairly immune to peer pressure, and have a basic grasp of consequences of different actions. I worry about this stuff less now that my kids and big and I know them. They might do a few foolish things (don't most people?) but they aren't self-destructive or seeking approval, so I just can't see things getting too out of hand.

The kids who are out of control seem to be the same ones who have a lot of issues with their parents, so I do think we can impact our kids choices through good parenting.
post #59 of 66
I worry about this a lot with DS. He's only 5 and the dichotomy is already well-defined in his mind on many issues. For example, he loves Silly Bandz. The other day, he set about ten on the table and said he wouldn't be wearing them because they were "too girly." The shapes were things like Dora and Mickey, nothing I'd call especially girly. I have no idea where he came up with that. I talked to him about and he had no explanation for why they would be girly, but agreed to wear them again when I pointed out that the shapes were characters he liked. It was so weird.

He's usually not terribly worried about the "This is only for girls and this is only for boys" thing, maybe because he doesn't get to see other kids terribly often. He adores his babies and is proud to tell everyone that he's their Daddy. He carries them in a sling or pushes them in a stroller and never thinks twice about it. Thankfully, no one's said anything to him, but I've had comments made to me about him having dolls, wearing pink, painting his toenails, having a dollhouse, etc. For a year, he went to a dance class at The Little Gym and loved every second of it. It never crossed his mind to wonder why he was the only boy. I had a mom tell me once that her son would really enjoy the class. She had no answer when I asked why she didn't sign him up.

So how do we fight it? I try to reiterate to DS that he can wear whatever he wants, play however he wants, whatever, but still the messages are getting to him. TV, other kids, other adults, etc. How do we help our kids embrace their masculine/feminine natures without thinking that they have to follow the stereotypes? How do we keep the cultural messages from becoming ingrained in their personalities?
post #60 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by heathergirl67 View Post
I haven't read the whole thread yet, but I would like to highly recommend the book "Reviving Ophelia." It is amazing!
I just saw an ad that there's going to be a movie of Reviving Ophelia on Lifetime I think. I have no idea if it's a documentary or based on stories from the book or what, but it should be interesting.
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