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Forcing gender roles on young children - Page 7

post #121 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by PrennaMama View Post
Robert, yes, one can change their MIND... but not their BRAIN. Lets' try looking at this in a really rudimentary way. I suspect you may have a man's plumbing. In utero, your plumbing was defined, and developed around the 4th and 5th month, and your brain architecture, and chemical signature was also developing right about then, assigning you your sexuality. Do you thnk at some point you might "change your mind" about having a man's plumbing? And then, thru changing your mind, that said plumbing will just metamorphose on its own into a woman's plumbing?
To put it glibly, yes. I'm sure that once we look hard enough, we will find differences in brains that correlate to preference for chocolate vs. vanilla ice cream, etc., yet we know that people sometimes do change preferences about various things over time. Is the brain changing? Yeah, probably, in those respects.

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Some amphibians can do this, through the drive to procreate and when there are limited mates, but humans, unfortunately, cannot.
But you assume the differences in brain architecture that have been seen account for the differences in preference. How do you know it's not some more subtle difference in the brain that accounts for those differences?

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In the same respect, we cannot elect to change our sexuality.
You just slid over from something's changing to someone's electing to change something, which is entirely different. Our preferences are involuntary. They can change involuntarily, but we can't change them deliberately.

Robert
post #122 of 255
For Demeter9, I'll just write that I've been using "s/he" and "hir" for years. Don't work in speech, though.

But on the other subject, the commercial involvement in sex-aligned genders, I'll say the causal chains are complex. I'd like to examine the example I came in with:

Bath foam was invented for a play, The Women, in 1936. It was useful then, and later in movies, for having women appear to bathe naked without actually showing them in the entire. We see the interplay of different factors:
  • social:
    • People aren't supposed to be shown the naked parts they want to see.
    • There is money to be made in getting as close to possible to breaking the rules without actually breaking them.
  • biologic/physical:
    • Women have body parts men want to see (breasts) that are relatively high on the body and hence hard to hide under water.
    • Water is transparent.
    • Foam lies on top of water and is opaque.
    • (probably biologic) Men are more interested than women in sexy stuff.
Then it spread beyond the stage & screen:
  • social:
    • Entertainment turns out (accidentally in some cases) to be advertising for products & practices.
    • What's seen on stage or screen is taken as glamorous & hence desirable.
    • Because of factors listed above, it was women who were shown nearly exclusively using the material.
    • (probably social, but see below) Fancier and broader variety of toiletries are used by women than men.
  • biologic/physical:
    • Shape of women's crotch makes it more difficult than men's to wet & clean thoroughly in shower, hence preference for tub baths.
    • (countervailing): Females are more prone than males to urogenital irritation from soap. (Not countervailing in those cases where bubble bath is tolerated better than bar soap.)
So that's what the makers of Matey, Bub, Mr. Bubble, Soaky, etc. were up against ca. 1960 when it seemed half the population was discouraged from such products. One of the ways (albeit a minor one) they fought back was via stereotypes of their own: that boys needed more inducement than girls to bathe, and that boys got dirtier than girls!

Robert
post #123 of 255
Somebody, I think it was Kristi, mentioned "gay-conversion camps". Please, please tell me you are joking? It sounds like either a tragi-comedy of some sort or something from the 1950's or 1930's or further back in time.
Did people actually sign up for these - presumably due to family to societal pressure?
To me, that sounds like having a 'white-conversion camp', to try to make white-skinned people into some other skin colour
- No offense to anyone's skin colour intended whatsoever.

It's upsetting tho', to think that the presence of a 'gay gene', would give science in an "in" to find it and then "help" parents make sure their kid isn't gay...:
Science would need to have some pretty twisted agenda to do that, imo and as for parents wanted to "help" their child not to be gay.
Next perhaps we'll want to 'help' children not to have grey eyes or freckles or curly hair.
post #124 of 255
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, she's not kidding. There are camps and support groups, both voluntary and involuntary. Teens and young adults who come out to their parents are being forced and pressured into attending this camps to try and "overcome the sin of homosexuality." It is SO wrong.
post #125 of 255
Quote:
Sex is biologic, gender is cultural.
You need to clarify. When you say sex, do you mean sexual intercourse and orientation, or what sex a person is? Because sex and gender are the same in one sense of that word.

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However, so much of what we think of as "male" and "female" is a matter not of sex, but of gender (i.e. arbitrary division into 2 types) that it's hard to find firm ground for a genetic role in "sex identity" because what people usually mean by that is a kind of gender identity.
I don't think that sexual identity is a kind of gender identity. I am a bisexual woman, but I am most certainly a woman. I know many lesbian women who are gay but are most certainly women. Now in one sense of the word, yes, sex IS gender. However, your sexual identity in as far as your sexual preferences and tastes is not the same as your gender identity. If it was then there wouldn't be any bisexual or homosexual people in this world.

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I think it was Kristi, mentioned "gay-conversion camps".
Sadly, they exist.

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To me, that sounds like having a 'white-conversion camp', to try to make white-skinned people into some other skin colour
I disagree. I'm not saying that I support gay conversion camps or even that they work, especially with the way they are set up. I do, however, believe that while skin color is a constant, sexuality is fluid and can change. Moreover, skin color can go from white to tan with a day in the sun. Some things can have a similar effect on sexuality.

I keep bringing up culture over the centuries. When homosexuality is fashionable, homosexuality is common. When it does not, it is hidden and less abundant. A lot of our desires, as a society, are dependant upon what is fashionable in society. In the 80s we thought big hair was totally rad. Now, most people think it's stupid.

While I definitely agree that your sexual preferences do have quite a bit to do with your biology and brain architecture, I maintain that they are influenced by other factors from culture to peer pressure. Everyone is different, but some people are very easily molded by society and are especially susceptible to, well, being controlled. There are people who, when placed in a school with only lesbians, may become a lesbian. First it may be pretend just to fit in, but it may become more than that. There are also people whose sexuality would be totally unaffected by having peers that are mostly lesbians, like my mother-in-law.

While I don't think that reprogramming gender roles will make a gay person straight, I do think that when something is fashionable it can become desirable. When something is common and the norm it can become part of a person's identity because of that. Gender roles and homosexuality are completely unrelated. Just as there are girls who hate dresses and love sports, there are gay men who love Broadway and/or dress in drag...and there are gay men who love to watch WWF and drive sports cars, like my grandpa. Obviously our roles in so far as gender have little to do with our roles in our relationships, especially today. Just look at me and my husband. I definitely wear the pants. Mwahaha.
post #126 of 255
I'd have to say that sex and gender are not the same. Sex is man, woman, intersex. Gender is male, female... and really nothing else. Sex is the biological parts we have. Gender is the role we play. I could have the parts of a woman, but may lead a very masculine (or male) role... "butch" is the slang word for that. In the same way, a man will have a penis, but may prefer the female gender role. The gender roles are socially created. Sex is biological.
post #127 of 255
While I do partially agree, I don't think that all gender 'roles' are created by society. My son was born with his preferences for rolling things around and beating things, which is associated with males because males are more likely to enjoy those things. I do agree that sex, as in your physical sex, and gender are two different things, and while I do agree that some parts of gender roles are created by society (like, in tiimes of old, when women were to cook and clean while men did the work), others are biological. The two are definitely not the same, but not everything associated with gender is created by society.
post #128 of 255
Quote:
Quote:
Sex is biologic, gender is cultural.
You need to clarify. When you say sex, do you mean sexual
intercourse and orientation, or what sex a person is?
The first and the third, depending on the context. Sexual orientation does not define a sex per se.

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Because sex and gender are the same in one sense of that word.
Not in any sense I'd want to use.

"Gender" means "kind". In many languages, nouns are classified as to 2 or 3 kinds called genders. Because it has been useful to have separate pronouns for male & female persons and inanimate objects ("he", "she", "it"), those commonly are put into different genders, and the genders of all the other nouns are referred to as "masculine", "feminine", and (in those languages having it) "neuter" -- even though the origin of those noun types had nothing to do with sex. The assignment of genders is arbitrary. For all practical purposes today, English has no genders, but does have sex-based pronouns.

Similarly, we have a number of other divisions in society that are arbitrary. One example is the color preferences mentioned in this thread. These divisions similarly become associated with sex, so I consider them to be genders as well, by analogy with those in language. It is important to not confuse gender with sex.

A couple years ago or so I was in a Yahoo group discussion about a case in which a 6 YO girl thought she was a boy or maybe vice versa, I forgot. What it amounted to was that the kid preferred the opposite gender -- in terms of clothing, toys, friends, etc. Yet adults were seriously considering the child's case as one of mis-assigned sex, although there was no biologic reason to think so, and even anticipated a sex change operation when the child matured. I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. You might as well think a Caucasian was assigned to the wrong race because s/he preferred Chinese food!

Robert
post #129 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonfirefaery View Post
While I do partially agree, I don't think that all gender 'roles' are created by society. My son was born with his preferences for rolling things around and beating things, which is associated with males because males are more likely to enjoy those things. I do agree that sex, as in your physical sex, and gender are two different things, and while I do agree that some parts of gender roles are created by society (like, in tiimes of old, when women were to cook and clean while men did the work), others are biological. The two are definitely not the same, but not everything associated with gender is created by society.
The easiest way to tell, albeit not completely reliable, is to look across cultures & time to see which elements of gender are sex-based (i.e. biologic).
post #130 of 255
Quote:
Sexual orientation does not define a sex per se
Neither does gender role, although many characteristics associated with different genders are biological. Sex and gender are about more than biology, but about society, brain architecture, and so much more.
post #131 of 255
I have been following this thread with much interest.

I am of the opinion that we need a radical rethinking of gender, sexuality and sexual identity for ourselves and about our children.

Many of our assumptions about appropriate gendered choices and sexual practices produce (and are produced by) mainstream ideas about gender, sexual identity and sexuality. The expectations, demands, and constraints produced when heterosexuality is taken as 'normal' within a society (for example) also produce anxieties, feelings of shame, and a perceived lack of choices for individuals who do not fold neatly into socially imposed categories.

While the social world inscribes meanings onto our lives, informs our thinking, provides us with choices for sexual expression and determines how we will make those choices through the regulation and control of our individual and collective selves, we also have the ability to construct meanings - we neither operate within a vacume nor are we victims of society. In other words, we have the ability to manipulate ideas about gender, sexuality and appropriate sexual object choice even while these concepts appear fixed, static, natural, innate and/or chosen.

There are a multitude of sexualities neither named nor defined but are as real as they are performed. These performances, of course, expose and denaturalize notions of masculinity and femininity, heterosexuality and homosexuality and, normal and abnormal.

I have raised my child to "question everything". I suspect this sort of thinking will take my child far.

l.
post #132 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Goodman View Post
You just slid over from something's changing to someone's electing to change something, which is entirely different. Our preferences are involuntary. They can change involuntarily, but we can't change them deliberately.
One's brain can change only when affected by the introduction of neural-toxins, drug-induced or illness. One can change one's sexual behavior deliberately, to match perceived needs or pressures, societal or otherwise.
Quote:
To put it glibly, yes. I'm sure that once we look hard enough, we will find differences in brains that correlate to preference for chocolate vs. vanilla ice cream, etc., yet we know that people sometimes do change preferences about various things over time. Is the brain changing? Yeah, probably, in those respects.

But you assume the differences in brain architecture that have been seen account for the differences in preference. How do you know it's not some more subtle difference in the brain that accounts for those differences?

Robert
I assume nothing. Robert, you keep asserting this 'preference' argument, as if sexual/gender assignment is something as menial as one's flavor preferences, as if humans are divided into flavors, and we just happen to like one flavor better than the other. However, the truth as far as neuro-chemistry, and brain construction is that one's brain architecture (and I intentionally use this word for that is how it is referred to in neurology, so as to call up an image of structure, permanent design) is a constant, (albeit organic and therefore subject to aging, senility, disease, and influence from outside catalystic influence; see earlier posts about chemical imbalances, etc).

I have no doubt, to comment on your 'chocolate vs. vanilla' bit, that ALL preferences have the potential of being mapped out in the brain. But the anthropological, biological, neurological FACT is that what accounts for FOOD preference and SEXUAL GENDER come from two different parts of the brain. Food preference changes because we are wired to consume a diverse (and therefore, anthropologically speaking, a more nutritious) diet. It is part of our adaptability, intended to keep us from just eating that one thing we like, which enables us to thrive, as a species.

While some may find this a little hard to palate, findings suggest that "true" homosexuality or transgenderment (I say "true" because, as I have asserted already, there is a gulf of difference between the man that has the internal wiring of a woman, and the man who is curious about what it's like to kiss another guy, and then, curiosity satisfied, never again has the desire) is a cellular anomale, a mutation (red hair is also an anomale, as is human albino, and dwarfism). It is a naturally occuring, if rarely occuring, biological event, that happens when sexual assignment takes place in utero. The cells that define (let's call it) 'brain-gender' can go a number of different ways. And it happens after the genitalia have already begun to form. USUALLY it's the homogenous "straight" placement, it just follows along in line with the genital-assignment as hormones wash over the developing fetal-brain; sometimes it's the homosexual placement; sometimes there is a 'mixed' distribution, thus bisexual folks ("true" bisexual folks, not to be confused with my friends who like to kiss girls when they're tipsy) and even more rarely there is genital assignment that is diametrically opposed to the cellular assignment that happens in the brain, after the genitalia have already begun to develope. It simply is not even comparable to 'chocolate vs. vanilla' and I resent (just a tad) the assertion that it is. It's a little like comparing your feet and your mouth. Sure, they're both part of your body, but the similarities end there. Why u chose to ignore that this isn't just a random opinion of some chicks on Mothering.com, and continue to debate something that seems pretty clear-cut (tho lengthy in explanation) is a mystery.

Rather than debating about it, maybe we should all be asking questions like "Why is society at large kept ignorant regarding sexuality?" "In what ways does our society benefit from keeping the Every-Man & Woman in the dark about this subject, or any other gender issue?" "What purpose is served by disallowing equality and human-rights to all humans, regardless of nationality, sexuality, or religion?" "How do our actions, or inactions, affect our children and their future global community, when we are subject to being kept in the dark?"
post #133 of 255
One's brain architecture and chemistry cannot change. However, there is amounting research that we can rewire the neorological paths that messages transmit through, change our way of thinking, and alter the way one's brain works. There is a type of therapy (can't remember the name) that is designed to reconnect broken or disconnected 'passages' in the brain. It can help dyslexia and a variety of other problems, because it increases the functionality of the brain and changes the way the brain works. The way our brains function change over time, and the chemical balance of our brains change, too. Just look at the actions of a teenager vs a thirty-five year old man. Behavior isn't only about experience.
post #134 of 255
I agree with nearly everything loraxc has said.

Also, I always think of the following quote by Kathy Najimy, which was her reply to someone who accused of her "going overboard" when she objected to her daughter playing with Barbie:

"Every second of the rest of the 90 years of her life, the world is going to bombard her with how perfect being thin is. My objection to it, my little drop in the thousands of drops she is going to be flooded with, is nothing. I have to be heavey-handed because I am not the world; I am just my one little voice to her. So I am going to be biased. I am. 'Cause the world is not going to be fair, If the world were objective and fair, I wouldn't have to work so hard. But I have to be really, really aware and sometimes intense just to have a chance in hell of something seeping in." (Ms. magazine)

I understand and agree with that. I don't think it's enough to try and parent in a "gender neutral" way, as if gender is irrelevant... in order for children not to conform to stereotypical gender roles by default, we need to actively and consciously counteract those gender stereotypes.

I find the see-saw analogy helpful -
If a boy is on one end and a girl is on the other, and currently the boy's side has all the weight (i.e. patriarchy), the only way to balance the see-saw is by putting lots of weight on the girl's side. If you instead try to be "equal, neutral, fair" by putting the weight exactly in the middle...the see-saw won't balance.
Likewise, if we just breezily say, "Let children be/do/like whatever they want, and support their choices regardless!", it sounds nice in theory... but it's not that easy. That's assuming they're being raised in a vaccuum. That's assuming they have true choices from the start, and I would argue that in the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy we live in, many "choices" are fixed choices.

I have heard several people mention, in this thread, that it seems like girls now have a wider range of options than boys; i.e. it's more acceptable for girls to step outside of their traditional gender role, than it is for boys to do so. It's generally socially acceptable for girls to wear pants, play with trucks, play football, like blue, and be tough, but it's NOT equally socially acceptable for boys to wear dresses, play with dollhouses, do ballet, wear pink, be very emotional, etc.
I've heard this frequently, for years, and oftentimes, people present it as evidence that girls/females now have it better than boys/males, and feminism is not only obsolete but harmful - i.e. it's "reverse sexism." I vehemently disagree. All it shows is that masculinity is still valued over femininity, to the point where it's great for boys to be boys and for girls to be boys, but being a girl? So not cool. It's like Madonna's lyrics:

"Girls can wear jeans
cut their hair short
wear shirts and boots
'cause it's okay to be a boy.
But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading,
'cause you think that being a girl is degrading."

This, in part, is why I'm a feminist, and why feminism is still necessary.
post #135 of 255
Finally someone I can agree with! Thank you Inci


I am doing my best to counteract all of this crap with my son, it is damn hard. Things like saying boys naturally like rolling cars and trains around, that pink is somehow a biological preference, that boys are this way and girls are this way are just so wrong on so many levels. Seriously people, read up, the differences between the male and female are so slight, we are talking single digits on tests. When they say one is more likely to be this way than the other, they are not talking black and white, they are talking minute chances of one being MORE like this than the other, not some blanket statement. I say to people over and over again, give me ONE trait that is inherent in just one and not the other, there simply isn't any. We should embrace people for who they are, not for how much they adhere to some societal expectation of how they should behave based on their gender.
post #136 of 255
Ditto.
post #137 of 255
[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inci View Post
...it seems like girls now have a wider range of options than boys; i.e. it's more acceptable for girls to step outside of their traditional gender role, than it is for boys to do so. It's generally socially acceptable for girls to wear pants, play with trucks, play football, like blue, and be tough, but it's NOT equally socially acceptable for boys to wear dresses, play with dollhouses, do ballet, wear pink, be very emotional, etc.
I've heard this frequently, for years, and oftentimes, people present it as evidence that girls/females now have it better than boys/males, and feminism is not only obsolete but harmful - i.e. it's "reverse sexism." I vehemently disagree. All it shows is that masculinity is still valued over femininity... /QUOTE]
And, while it may hold true in childhood, that girls have a wider range of options (like the ones you describe), it becomes glaringly obvious that as a girl ages, the expectations on her to conform to the aesthetics of femininity increase. Femininity is valued because it marks the so-called differences between men and women so clearly. Feminine women are pleasing to men because it makes them appear more masculine by contrast. Feminine women are 'vunerable, dependant, compliant'...etc, whilst masculine men are 'strong, independant, confident',...etc.

Femininity is a performance. And, sadly, it is a no-win situation really. If a woman is really good at 'being' feminine, she is often criticized as being 'shallow, superficial and vain'. If she isn't good at it, well, then she is too 'manish', and presumed to not care about men, or frankly, a failure as a sexual being.

And, here's the real kicker - femininity does not get better with age. As women age, they lose the very characteristics associated with the feminine: youth, innocence, and self-consciousness. So, even as we are 'biological women', our femininity can be called into question at every step along the way.
post #138 of 255
Inci, I agree with you about the pressure on boys, but with lolala about girls. Men don't get told, when they are older, what to do with their lives, how to parent, and what they are doing wrong as fathers on a regular basis, nor are they called whores if they don't wear a shirt. Girls don't have a wide range of options. We are expected to be independant, strong, and "boyish" yet if we fart in public, we're disgusting. When a woman choses to be feminine she is ridiculed, and then women filling 'traditional gender roles' will tell women stepping out of them that they are wrong. I wouldn't call those options, just double-edged swords.
post #139 of 255
I had no idea that wanting to look your best was such a terrible thing. If that is feminity, my boy is going to be awfully feminine.
post #140 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
I had no idea that wanting to look your best was such a terrible thing.
who said this?

And, to the second part of your statement - your 2 mo is interested in looking his best?
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