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Could you recommend a type of preschool for our feminist, vegan family? - Page 2

post #21 of 32


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSlocombe View Post


I don't dislike ballet, and I actively like the Little House on the Prairie books (not so much the show). ......  I want to make sure I am clear, because if I am not clear to other adults, I definitely won't be to a child...... I would also like, in general, for there to be more toys that boys and girls can play with together, pass down to each other, talk about together, etc.

 


 

much of what you say makes perfect sense to me and I felt very much the same way. When my children were small, we would do things like buy a dolly and a dump truck. We never saw one as better than the other, or one as a girl toy and the other as a boy toy.

 

Both my children are girls, and we have a Lego collection that is the envy of every boy who sees it (and none of the legos are pink). Both my DDs are now teens and not tied into gender stereotypes. Yet they both have moments when they like to dress to the 9s and do their hair and make up. It's all good -- it's all fun.

 

I've read aloud to them a great deal, and when they were young, they told ME they didn't like the Little House series because they are all about the time when women had no power, parent hit their children, and whites considered themselves better than the Native Americans. They also through the religious stuff was nuts. We ended up ditching the series after the 2nd book.  I also tried reading Little Women to them, and it was a total bust. Jo is a snotty little brat in the book -- she's so much more reasonable in the movie.

 

We've done better with more recently written books because they have stronger female characters. Harry Potter, for example, has GREAT female characters.

 

Anyway, when a child is small, a parent has total control over TV, movies, books, and music. That goes away as they get older. We avoided that icky stuff when they kids were little, and when we couldn't avoid it anymore, it wasn't that big of a deal. The kids were grounded in something more solid that Disney, so discovering Disney couldn't screw them up.

 

My children attend a progressive school with lots of hands on learning. There is an animal center with goats and chickens, a green house, a shop area (where one of my DDs learned to weld), and art center with pottery wheels and a kiln, etc. They have an outdoor skills program and the children go backpacking, fishing, camping, hiking, exploring in caves, etc. Children are allowed to dress pretty much anyway they want, and if a child wanted to come to school dressed as a Disney princess no one would stop them. None the less, they spend their day DOING things and learning they are competent, which, to me, is important than what they wear. (the school is also academic - one of my kids is totally into her Latin class, the other enjoys classic literature.)

 

(personally, I think that in the long run, forbidding things like Barbie and Disney does more harm than good, turning them into forbidden fruit. We avoided as long as possible, and then just down played.)

 

About half the teachers and students are vegetarian, and there is always a vegetarian options at dinners, field trips, etc. One of my DDs is currently in a cooking class, and there is always an option to make the dish vegetarian, though not necessarily vegan. An unwillingness to eat meat OR cheese could be problematic. Most kids eat cheese. Few children eat beans. shrug.gif

 

 

BUT -- I don't think you can pick a school for a child without knowing the child. I love my kids' school. It's amazing. I feel lucky and blessed. But I have at times questioned if it was the best option for one of my children. For my other child, it's a perfect fit.

 

 

post #22 of 32

As a feminist who loves all vegan food dishes as well as their meat conterparts raising 2 girls and a sahmom for several years,
I see your point.

The good news, if your children are interested in it, they will find it and go at it. My older daughter who is extremely girly girl, loved Trains. We would go in the Thomas store and she would play if allowed for hours. Her table of trains was so cool to all her boy-friends. Of course she also had a rack of costumes which included fire fighter, policeman, tutu, pinky dresses, some disney princess, wedgie shoes, a tool belt so our playdates were a blast.

But we were into having all types of toys. The boys loved playing in our wooden kitchen, maybe because they didnt have one. DD2 was not crazy about the thomas trains, so we ended up giving them to a family who didnt have money for xmas that year and this was the gift to their small boys.

 

I try not to do the princess free because princess comes into your house and is out just as fast and not worth worrying how its going to damage your feminist principals. My oldest likes the whole princess thing in history. She is into reading about different women in history from around the world. One book she read last month was about a princess from India. I didnt think anything of it until we were at an Indian restrnt and dd ordered something she saw because the princess spoke about it in her book and she was curious. I feel the same way about dodging princess I do about the Dad in one of the classes telling his boy not to play in the kitchen or the dollhouse at the class. Let the kids figure out himself if he wants that. Another boy would wear this dress in the class everytime he came in. It was black and white and flowing. I dont know if it was the fabric or the rich white color but he did that every session of the class.

 

 

post #23 of 32

I think you need to evaluate the preschools in your area to see which one you like the best.  I live in a smaller area i think than some, and there aren't so many preschools that come with labels like Waldorf etc., so I am not as familiar with them.

 

Regarding the princess concerns...i never really had much concerns about this sort of stuff originating from the preschool itself.

 

Now that doesn't mean your DD won't meet a kid who is all princess...with a princess bedroom, a princess bday party etc.  A kid that comes to school everyday with the princess backpack is as big an advertisement for the princess things as anything else.

post #24 of 32

"II understand your stances. I used to be more hard core on them myself but I found I had little to actually fear. Sure, Aurora from "Sleeping Beauty" is pretty passive. Snow White, Cinderella... pretty bland. Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" is quite a brave young woman who sacrifices for her father, is not fooled by Gaston's handsome looks, and recognizes kindness in others despite appearances and 1st impressions. Jasmine from "Aladdin" has a backbone and demands a partner who is actually worthy of her despite societal expectations. Mulan doesn't fit female stereotypes in her community at all and ends up saving the day with her wits. Jane from Tarzan is not a princess but she's a scientist out to explore the world at a time when women did not do such things. Pocahontas, Rapunzel... not without some redeeming qualities"

 

 

Hmm, here is the thing. For me, its not enough for me that some (a minority) of these Disney women have a bit of backbone. I don't think its that uncommon to have educated or "feisy" women even in the most stereotypically sexist media presentations. I still have an enormous issue with how this "feistiness" is framed - as something women can do IF a. they are very attractive and behave in a broadly flirtatious manner and b. they are on some kind of trajectory that does not take them away from the ultimate goal of marrying and having kids.    I really like Dr Who (it is filmed in our city ;-) ) but I have an enormous problem with how women are written in the recent episodes. Fair enough they are usually very intelligent-but also both attractive and sexualised, I have enough of a problem with it that I've kept it away from my kids, not because of the violence but because of the idea that to be a strong woman you need to wear miniskirts.

Of course I would rather that my girls aimed at being scientists or circus performers or whereever their dreams took them than generally being submissive and accepting whatever society wanted to throw at them as girls. But its also hugely important to me that they internalise the idea that they are strong and unique individuals and worthwhile members of society, utterly, utterly regardless of how attractive they are to the opposite sex.

(in practical terms, my girls are still pretty young-4 and 6-but I do think a really important part of encouraging healthy body image is for them to see their body as something capable and useful, not just to be attractive, so my 6 year old does a relatively large amount of non-gendered sports, circus skills, martial arts etc , all stuff available in our local community)

 

post #25 of 32

I've been enjoying reading this discussion. I used to have so many ideals, no characters, no barbies, no disney. My MIL used to want to murder me since she had 2 boys and then I had girls and I would't allow her to buy all the girly girl stuff she desperately wanted to. DD1 does dance some and is a gymnast but also is heavily into skateboarding, white water kayaking, snowboarding which are all male dominated sports locally anyway. She is the only female on the snowboard team on 2 different resorts that we've been involved in. She can hang with the big boys and they usually love her because she isn't a walking princess ad. And then there is my 5 year girl who was born being obsessed with everything girly girl, princesses, pop culture, barbies, you name it and she wants it. I will second the person that said it can be more difficult to be male and go against the male stereotypes then the female. We've had some problems with DD1 and not fitting into a "regular" girl role, we've run across some nasty gender bias issues that still very much do exist out there. We have been able to seek out some strong female role models that have helped. Then I've got DS1 who prefers pink, long hair, maybe some nail polish, and dancing. All fine in my book but not for many others. Our society still has so far to go before we really are accepting of everyone. 

post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post

Hmm, here is the thing. For me, its not enough for me that some (a minority) of these Disney women have a bit of backbone. I don't think its that uncommon to have educated or "feisy" women even in the most stereotypically sexist media presentations. I still have an enormous issue with how this "feistiness" is framed - as something women can do IF a. they are very attractive and behave in a broadly flirtatious manner and b. they are on some kind of trajectory that does not take them away from the ultimate goal of marrying and having kids.    I really like Dr Who (it is filmed in our city ;-) ) but I have an enormous problem with how women are written in the recent episodes. Fair enough they are usually very intelligent-but also both attractive and sexualised, I have enough of a problem with it that I've kept it away from my kids, not because of the violence but because of the idea that to be a strong woman you need to wear miniskirts.

Of course I would rather that my girls aimed at being scientists or circus performers or whereever their dreams took them than generally being submissive and accepting whatever society wanted to throw at them as girls. But its also hugely important to me that they internalise the idea that they are strong and unique individuals and worthwhile members of society, utterly, utterly regardless of how attractive they are to the opposite sex.

(in practical terms, my girls are still pretty young-4 and 6-but I do think a really important part of encouraging healthy body image is for them to see their body as something capable and useful, not just to be attractive, so my 6 year old does a relatively large amount of non-gendered sports, circus skills, martial arts etc , all stuff available in our local community)

 


I'm not suggesting we hold Disney characters up as models of girl power lol. I'm saying that it's all out there and girls don't grow strong by hiding that part of the world from them. They grow strong from having real conversations about what they see from day one. They learn by meeting great role models, reading of honorable people and characters, comparing them to what the media gives them. They learn by getting out there and doing powerful things but personalities vary and while for one girl they feel powerful scaling a rock wall, to another, designing some great outfit and learning how to produce it is just as empowering. There is a line between telling girls they have to wear mini-skirts to be powerful and telling girls that if they wear mini-skirts, they are nothing but submissive bimbos. The real goal is to have a girl who wears what she truly likes herself in. We want to give our girls EVERY opportunity, not to just stuff them in another labeled envelope of our making. 

 

My parents took the total shelter route.... no TV, no Barbies, nothing trendy. Honestly, all it left me was totally out of touch with my peers and an obsession for TV and junk media all through college. We chose more balance with our kids, 11 and 15, and find it has paid off. They like what THEY like... occasionally that lines up with what peers and the media want them to like and that is OK. Most times it doesn't and that is OK too. We don't have to fear exposure to Princesses, we just have to make sure our girls have exposure to other things to, have real conversations and show respect for what they choose for themselves.

 

post #27 of 32

this is such a big subject for me. I could ramble on and on about all the ways girls and boys are separated from each other, defined as being one thing or another, told what they like and dislike. Sometimes I feel like I am fighting the whole freakin world and sometimes I can't even remember why. We only have one preschool here, and nothing alternative, so most of my experience is in trying to get a standard school system to accommodate us weirdos. I've found it mostly depends on the teacher. Some of the things you think are important now won't seem so later, and some things will surprise you. It's not too hard to get teachers not to give kids dairy, once they understand what your limits are. But what about the constant flow of sugar that is handed to children everywhere you go, including in the classroom? Teachers who reward good behavior with candy? I don't even know how to talk to someone about that, beyond saying, "Please don't give our child sugar as a reward for good behavior." If I think about it too much next thing I know I'm questioning the whole premise of behavior modification and using rewards to manipulate behavior, the authoritarian top-down model of learning, and whether school is a good thing at all . . . though we've already decided that it's the best choice we have at this time for all of us, and it's where the kids want to be.

Gender stereotypes are like fingernails on chalkboard for me, not because I don't like frilly dresses, but because I want my girls to be free, truly, to be whatever and whoever they are. If that's girly, so be it, but let it be an expression of who they are, not of who everyone else thinks they are. How will they ever know the difference if they aren't allowed a choice? I think it's probably much, much harder for boys and their parents, though, because girls are "allowed" to wear "boy" clothes, but I pity the boy who would go to our school dressed in pink sparkles. Then again, I find myself thinking more, sometimes, about having enough unstructured time, development of creativity, and time outdoors. These are issues I knew about but didn't think about that much, but which I've become increasingly concerned about as I've watched my kids develop and seen how the school system works.

I LOVE the idea of a martial arts school, but as others have said, you won't know what kind of school is best for your kid until you meet her, and get to know her, and watch her become who she will be . . . and it will be such a beautiful journey!

post #28 of 32

It seems to me that when it comes to value systems such as how women approach men--as a strong minded woman or as a weak Disney princess will be shaped more by the values at home than by what is going on at school. Yes, there is definitely some influence from school but your influence will be very strong!

post #29 of 32


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post


I'm not suggesting we hold Disney characters up as models of girl power lol. I'm saying that it's all out there and girls don't grow strong by hiding that part of the world from them. They grow strong from having real conversations about what they see from day one. They learn by meeting great role models, reading of honorable people and characters, comparing them to what the media gives them. They learn by getting out there and doing powerful things but personalities vary and while for one girl they feel powerful scaling a rock wall, to another, designing some great outfit and learning how to produce it is just as empowering. There is a line between telling girls they have to wear mini-skirts to be powerful and telling girls that if they wear mini-skirts, they are nothing but submissive bimbos. The real goal is to have a girl who wears what she truly likes herself in. We want to give our girls EVERY opportunity, not to just stuff them in another labeled envelope of our making. 

 

My parents took the total shelter route.... no TV, no Barbies, nothing trendy. Honestly, all it left me was totally out of touch with my peers and an obsession for TV and junk media all through college. We chose more balance with our kids, 11 and 15, and find it has paid off. They like what THEY like... occasionally that lines up with what peers and the media want them to like and that is OK. Most times it doesn't and that is OK too. We don't have to fear exposure to Princesses, we just have to make sure our girls have exposure to other things to, have real conversations and show respect for what they choose for themselves.

 

 

hey whatsnextmom. think its a tricky one. Agree re the shelter actually. I didn't have barbies or tv BUT I had parents who discussed these things and I think the important thing for me was having an alternative set of values that I felt I belonged to. My mother identified as a feminist so I did too, from a very early age. OTOH I think that even the most sheltered child must surely have the opportunity to discuss these things-so maybe it comes down to how confident and willing the adults around you are to discuss the issues raised, and the perspective they are coming from. To restrict TV and Barbies from a religious perspective might be very different to restricting them from a feminist perspective.

 

I suppose the problem I have with girls choosing to wear, say, mini skirts is that I cannot honestly see how that could be a truly free choice. Mini skirts, heels, even make up are not actually generally that comfortable to wear. I am really skeptical that a child would make these clothing choices independently of a desire for social approval, or at least some desire to make believe based on their understanding of what would give them social approval. I'd really rather work on my girls' sense of self worth so that they didn't feel they needed to show their legs to get people to like and respect them. I really do want them to think-as in generally in fact the case in real life-that if you are clever and funny and kind people will like you, respect you, and give you a job if you need one, pretty much irrespective of what you look like.

 

I don't disagree with giving kids the information and exposure to values I radically disagree with, and I do think that they have the right to this information, but I do believe that this is not helpful at a young age, before about 6 or 7 certainly, then gradually as they get older, which is why I do think its right to be very concerned about the preschool chosen. I just don't think young child can filter information, or distinguish advertising from factual information, until they are that much older. I also think that if you can raise a girl with an intact sense of self-worth and a strong sense that her body is useful aside from looking pretty, once she is that much older then a lot of this stuff will just roll off. Once they hit the age that they can have those thoughtful discussions, around 7 or so, it starts to become a different matter. But preschool is something different to me. In the same way that I wouldn't give my 4 year old the choice of chocolate each morning for breakfast or allow her unlimited, uncensored tv, but I might with my 8 year old because I know he has the level of self-regulation and knows himself well enough not to eat loads of sugar or watch stuff he'd find alarming.

 

 

post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post

I suppose the problem I have with girls choosing to wear, say, mini skirts is that I cannot honestly see how that could be a truly free choice. Mini skirts, heels, even make up are not actually generally that comfortable to wear. I am really skeptical that a child would make these clothing choices independently of a desire for social approval, or at least some desire to make believe based on their understanding of what would give them social approval. I'd really rather work on my girls' sense of self worth so that they didn't feel they needed to show their legs to get people to like and respect them

 

But unless a girl is free to wear them, she'll never find out for herself whether or not she finds them comfortable. I'd much rather than DDs try things out growing up and figure out how they feel rather than leaving the house at 18 either spouting my views as their own OR doing everything the opposite because they finally can. Both are very weak. Making your own choices and  finding out for yourself what you find comfortable IS empowering.

 

Telling girls no make up, no short short skirts, etc is really saying "don't think for yourself. I already have it figured out."  And we all know how well that works long term.

 

I don't have a problem with my DDs "showing their legs."  They are both competitive swimmers and are very comfortable in their own bodies. A skort made of a little stretchy fabric is very comfortable. Telling girls that if their skin is showing, they are just looking for social approval is the exact same nonsense I was raised with in my parents ultra conservative religion. I've raised my DDs to think about their bodies in terms of what they can DO. They earn respect in a swim suit not because of how they look, but how quickly and beautifully they get across the pool.

 

My 13 year old is getting ready for a 1 week 40 mile rafting trip in the wilderness. She is both the youngest person and the only girl going (it's a school trip). Being allowed to wear high heels and a strapless dress for a fancy dinner last summer hasn't slowed her down from being a very strong and brave young woman.

post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post


I suppose the problem I have with girls choosing to wear, say, mini skirts is that I cannot honestly see how that could be a truly free choice. Mini skirts, heels, even make up are not actually generally that comfortable to wear. I am really skeptical that a child would make these clothing choices independently of a desire for social approval, or at least some desire to make believe based on their understanding of what would give them social approval. I'd really rather work on my girls' sense of self worth so that they didn't feel they needed to show their legs to get people to like and respect them. I really do want them to think-as in generally in fact the case in real life-that if you are clever and funny and kind people will like you, respect you, and give you a job if you need one, pretty much irrespective of what you look like

 

 

 

DD 15 sees her body as functional and she's extremely active. She dances, long distance runs, rock climbs. She finds longer skirts restrictive in movement where she can stick a pair of dance shorts under a twirly mini-skirt, throw on some vans and run, jump, dance, climb to her hearts content. Mini-skirts offer more flexibility and freedom of movement than jeans (though she wears those too) and far more freedom than longer skirts and yet, feels more coverage than shorts or leggings alone. I suppose if she were wearing those tight 80's minis popular when we were young and nothing but undies, it could be restrictive but it's not the case for her. Dance shorts are a girls best friend lol. DD isn't dating. She doesn't dress different to impress boys (she finds teen boys pretty clueless and uninteresting.) She learned how to apply it and to apply it correctly to look natural. As it turns out, she pretty much ONLY wears it on stage to this day. Make-up is functional even though she started training on it at 8. 

 

Isn't telling a girl she can't wear a mini-skirt pretty much telling her that her legs are sexual items instead of limbs that help us get where we want to go? Aren't we doing the same thing as mothers did 200 years ago when ankles were scandalous? I am actually thrilled my DD hit her teens NOW when there is actually some variety in clothing for them as opposed to when my nieces were teens and there was nothing but crop tops and low-cut jeans to choose from.

 


Edited by whatsnextmom - 3/26/12 at 9:23am
post #32 of 32

 

 

Quote:
 in fact the case in real life-that if you are clever and funny and kind people will like you, respect you, and give you a job if you need one, pretty much irrespective of what you look like

sorry but that is not the real world nor will it ever be no matter how much one want to hope it away

 

certain positions will always require certain attire 

 

 

 

teaching respect for oneself coupled with self expression is the key and that self expression most times is vastly different from the parents 

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