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Forcing gender roles on young children - Page 8

post #141 of 255
Look your best? What does that mean? Does it mean I only look decent if I style my hair, wear make up and wear dresses and heeled shoes? What about manicured hands? Long nails? Does my hair need to be long?

Sorry, but most days I do not fit into any kind of norm of femininity, and frankly I don't care. I don't fit into what society deems culturally appropriate for females and I don't plan to ever try. I find beauty in a woman no matter what she wears, how she fixes her face or hair, etc, etc, and find women who do what best serves them even if it doesn't fit societal expectations a heck of a lot more interesting.
post #142 of 255
And if that woman happened to like to pay attention to how she looked.....
The expectation that the concepts of feminity and capability are somehow exclusive is highly anti-woman.
post #143 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
who said this?

And, to the second part of your statement - your 2 mo is interested in looking his best?
I imagine that the fact that I pay attention to it means that he will have some interest in it. His father showers twice a day, as he works construction. My father who also is in construction pays close attention to his appearance, as does my brother and bil who are also both in construction.

They are so vain and feminine.
post #144 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
And if that woman happened to like to pay attention to how she looked.....
The expectation that the concepts of feminity and capability are somehow exclusive is highly anti-woman.
The point is that a woman who DOESN'T invest in her appearance, is often perceived as unfeminine.
post #145 of 255
[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
I imagine that the fact that I pay attention to it means that he will have some interest in it.
why?

Quote:
His father showers twice a day, as he works construction. My father who also is in construction pays close attention to his appearance, as does my brother and bil who are also both in construction.
Well... showering because you are dirty and sweaty from a long day working construction is not quite 'paying close atention to one's apearance'.
post #146 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
The point is that a woman who DOESN'T invest in her appearance, is often perceived as unfeminine.
And the one's who do are considered traitors. By other women. I'm tired of the idea that women who don't always wear birkenstocks and own hairdryers are somehow traitors to all women.

I may wear sandal in three feet of snow, but I'll be DAMNED if somone judges my 5 year old for wanting to wear pink. Or me, for the crime of letting my girls do so.

Judging children and parents based on a child's clothing is simply sexism from a different direction.

Truly honouring children would mean letting them be who they are, AND allowing it in all things. My girls are also good a MATH and you can't see that in a pink skirt.
post #147 of 255
Oh, I forgot a couple of others. Shaving legs, underarms, public area, and tweezing eyebrows and other facial hair.
post #148 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jwebbal View Post
Oh, I forgot a couple of others. Shaving legs, underarms, public area, and tweezing eyebrows and other facial hair.
Not caring about one's appearance isn't masculine or feminine.
post #149 of 255
[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
And the one's who do are considered traitors. By other women. I'm tired of the idea that women who don't always wear birkenstocks and own hairdryers are somehow traitors to all women.
I think you missed the point of my original post. I don't give a flying @#%$ what clothes a woman chooses to put on, and I don't know how I implied that women are somehow 'traitors' if they invest in their appearance.

What I meant was, femininity has its limitations. If a woman is too feminine, than she may not be taken seriously because the performance of femininity itself is not compatible with 'real concerns'. If she is not feminine enough, she may be dismissed as not 'woman' enough, and risk disapproval from men.
post #150 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
Not caring about one's appearance isn't masculine or feminine.
Maybe not, but it's much more acceptable in men.
post #151 of 255
Hmm, I don't see a lot of men worrying about stray hairs on their faces, shaving their legs, tweezing their eyebrows, etc, etc. And if they do, they are certainly looked down upon in our society. I know a very attractive man who wears mascara and it looks wonderful on him (he has to die for eyelashes already), however, he is looked at by men and most women to be a freak. He cares, but our society deems him to be TOO concerned about his appearance, and therefore NOT masculine.
post #152 of 255
Yes. I know of no men who shave daily.
post #153 of 255
Do you actually thinkt hat the amount of physical upkeep is the same for men and women, that the stringent beauty standards for women are really just about "looking your best?"
post #154 of 255
Quote:
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.
YES. That.

It sounds so easy, all that bit about just letting them be who they are. It sounds so reasonable. That's the problem.

I really feel that we are in an age where all this is getting worse, not getting better, at least in children's toys and children's socialization. It's like little girls and little boys aren't even supposed to be the same species any more. It's sort of creepy to me. Two friends of mine and I are having a joint birthday party for our kids--two girls and one boys. We are renting a bouncehouse. Guess what we got asked when we called to rent it? "Do you want the boy house or the girl house?" For god's sake.
post #155 of 255
It seems a lot of you are deciding that having boy toys and girl toys and designs for the different genders means programming boys to be one way and girls to be another. The toy companies are just trying to brainwash them into their gender roles, rather than creating toys & designs traditionally liked by each sex more to appeal to both genders more and two different personality types. Could someone please explain to me why toy companies would really care about doing that? They would sell just as many toys if boys and girls played with the same toys than if boys and girls play with toys for their respective genders; they would just sell more of the same toy, which because of its design might not appeal to certain genders as much as others anyway simply because of biological factors that do exist no matter how much we try to deny them. They are trying to appeal, not program. They don't sit around going "Oh what toy can we make today to make sure boys grow up big and strong and manly!" They care about what sells.

Moreover, if seeing girls playing with 'girl' toys and watching girls filling different kinds of gender roles is programming girls to act a certain way and vice-versa for boys, then am I programming my son to be a hermaphrodite by allowing him to play with boy toys and girl toys depending on what he feels like doing? Am I confusing him? No, I am no more doing that than allowing a girl who LIKES dressing up to play with a Barbie is programming a girl to be someone she isn't already.

I don't believe our children are exposed to fixed choices. Yes, there are traditional gender roles, and then there are new ones expected now in this mellineum. There are so many gender roles that I don't see how we could ever claim our children are being programmed into them. There's the tomboy, the CEO mom, the housewife, the girly girl, the college co-ed. Most women are a combination of 'roles' and go through many of them in our lifetimes. I turned out to be a housewife who only sometimes cares about her appearance. I have a friend who is a professional CEO mom and is obsessed with her appearance. We played with the same toys as children and grew up in the same society, so why are we so vastly different? Because we were exposed to many roles, without our parents even doing anything special, and were taught to listen to our inner voices to make sense of all the mixed messages. I had a play kitchen when I was growing up, and now I'm a housewife. Was I programmed into this role? No, I was encouraged to go to college. I also played with toy guns with my brother, but I didn't grow up to be a bank robber. I don't think our society is programming children into roles. If any child is programmed into one then far more was done to accomplish that than the subtle messages in the media that are so mixed. I think gender roles hardly even exist anymore, and I don't think we should be upset if someone does end up embodying the traditional female or modern female by choice or if they don't. Even if they do there are several roles for each gender now, and children are more than capable of growing up to decide who they want to become and which roles to fill.
post #156 of 255
Quote:
"Oh what toy can we make today to make sure boys grow up big and strong and manly!" They care about what sells.
getting ready to jump in the tub with my 3 yo, but a quick answer on just this part of your post. Kids don't buy toys, parents do! So parents decide which toy is for which gender. The companies are marketing their toys to US, not to the kids, and we come with all this gender baggage not them. The gender stuff sells because WE in collusion with the toy companies are putting our kids into these little boxes.

I keep saying it but you don't hear it, boys are not biologically ordained to play with trains and trucks, and girls to play with baby dolls and princess stuff. I mean seriously, look at baby clothes for that matter, who the heck cares what babies wear, but damn if you cannot buy clothes for a baby 6 months or older that are gender neutral! Why is this? Because we think boys need blue overalls and girls pink dresses, because we need to show everyone WHICH gender our child is. We are putting these things on them before they are even crawling. First question out of anyone's mouth when someone has a baby is "is it a boy or a girl?".
post #157 of 255
I never said they are biologically ordained, only that the types of activities they enjoy doing are usually different. It is not a universal rule, but it is a generality that does apply to the majority. They say that boys enjoy toys they can push around and do things with, like toy cars and hammers. Lo and behold, of all the toys I have for either gender the toddler boys who come to my house prefer the cars and the baseball bats. I think you are mistaking the word usually for the word always, general for universal, etc. and are this misconstruing what I am saying.

Quote:
Because we think boys need blue overalls and girls pink dresses, because we need to show everyone WHICH gender our child is.
I certainly don't need to do this. Even when my son is dressed all in blue he is mistaken for a girl. I would like for people to know the difference, of course, because I don't want my son's identity to be altered by the statements of others. He is a boy, and he should be recognized as one. I don't think being called a girl all the time is that great of a thing, just as I don't think being encouraged to do 'boy' activities when he likes 'girl' ones is good. Boys are usually, especially in my family, more rambunctuous, and blue tends to be associated with calmness so perhaps we dress boys in blue in an attempt to curb some of their energy.

Quote:
First question out of anyone's mouth when someone has a baby is "is it a boy or a girl?".
What's so horrible about someone wanting to know whether the child will grow up to impregnate a woman or give birth, have a period or call the stain on the carpet woodglue? The truth is boys and girls are different, both biologically and mentally in various ways, and regardless of their 'gender role' in society, their experiences will be very different no matter what toys we have them play with or what colors we dress them in. They each have different concerns and different interests and while some aspects of this varies, others do not.
post #158 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonfirefaery View Post
It seems a lot of you are deciding that having boy toys and girl toys and designs for the different genders means programming boys to be one way and girls to be another. The toy companies are just trying to brainwash them into their gender roles, rather than creating toys & designs traditionally liked by each sex more to appeal to both genders more and two different personality types. Could someone please explain to me why toy companies would really care about doing that?
I don't think the issue is so much about programing the behaviours of girls and boys, but rather that toy companies create (and heavily market) toys, which perpetuate and reinforce gender stereotypes. It's not about brainwashing, but rather tapping into the social conditioning that already exists. As pp's have stated, unless a child is raised in a vaccum, it is unlikely that his/her personality will develop unaffected by the powerful messages the culture sends about what it 'means' to be a boy or girl.

The differences between 'boy' and 'girl' toys simply reflect the division of public and private spheres that, despite our protests, continue to affect how girls and boys view their possibilities in the world. 'Girl' toys very much underscore the belief that girls are inherently interested in developing and fostering interpersonal relationships. Girl toys send messages that a girl's role in society is to take care of people and things-to nurture and protect, and to create connections. Boy toys, on the other hand, send messages that it's a boy's role to explore the world around him, to have adventures and to be independant. Which sounds more fun?

I don't believe that these 'personality differences' are inherent or biological. I truly believe that they are taught, and reinforced very early on in children.
post #159 of 255
Does it really make sense that *all* of the differences between boys and girls are based, exclusively, in nurture? I can't buy that, no matter how much I may want to for the sake of equality. Yes, it's true that people often treat boys and girls differently from one another, but when a parent is paying attention to such things, actively seeking to avoid them the child will lead in one direction or another. My son was indeed born with an interest in large, moving objects. I can remember him being utterly transfixed by a ceiling fan at the age of two weeks, watching cars out a window as soon as he could sit up on his own, pointing out trains and airplanes before six months.

This wasn't something that I did to him or something that I encouraged. I made a specific effort to present him with more "feminine" things, he played with baby dolls, his toys were actually more "girly" and gender neutral than not (we were living with my mom, sister, and two nieces when he was born). I often cradled him in arms-- until he screamed bloody murder and demanded to be held upright, and I realized something. Treating my son in the way that boys are most often treated by society wasn't going to cause my son to become more of a stereotypical male; it was because he was masculine that my son behaved in this way and demanded this kind of attention.

My first daughter was different. She wasn't nearly as interested in large moving objects as her brother. She wasn't as interested in interpersonal relations, either; she didn't want to be cuddled or held upright, she wanted to be left alone to move around on her own. A different personality, for sure, and less "feminine" or "masculine" than her brother. Her own wiring at birth lead me to treat her as I did; she screamed bloody murder if I tried to cuddle her and she wasn't sick, tired, or hungry. She was happiest exploring, and all Mike and I could do was offer comfort when she was willing to take it.

I don't believe that children of different sexes are wired to, say, appreciate one color over another necessarily; I believe that's a human thing, and that our brains are wired to prefer certain colors or make certain associations independantly of gender. On the other hand, those associations may well lead us to make certain connections. It's complicated. I guess I'm just saying, I can't buy into the notion that children are born blank slates and that gender is, entirely, a construct. It just doesn't make sense, and it's not what the evidence has suggested.
post #160 of 255
We'll have to agree to disagree. I think they are trying to appeal to differing personalities, not tape into the social conditioning. Buying a boy toy instead of a gender-neutral toy isn't going to make your son grow up to be anymore or less manly or boyish by someone's terms.

Quote:
that his/her personality will develop unaffected by the powerful messages the culture sends about what it 'means' to be a boy or girl.
Why don't you tell me what those messages are exactly? Tell me about the ideal boy or girl in our society. He or she doesn't exist anymore, because there are so many types of people, so many personalities, so many 'subgroups' of gender. It's not just male or female, and it probably never truly has been.

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"'Girl' toys very much underscore the belief that girls are inherently interested in developing and fostering interpersonal relationships. Girl toys send messages that a girl's role in society is to take care of people and things-to nurture and protect, and to create connections."
I see. Is THAT what My Little Pony's are about? Is that what batons and jump ropes are made to teach? Interesting. I never knew that ballet shoes and dress-up clothes did that.

Quote:
I can't buy into the notion that children are born blank slates and that gender is, entirely, a construct. It just doesn't make sense, and it's not what the evidence has suggested.
EXACTLY!!!!
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