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Forcing gender roles on young children - Page 9

post #161 of 255
I think it's very naive to assume that by merely "paying attention" and "actively seeking to avoid" gender stereotypes that you are avoiding them. It's like a fish trying to pretend he can't notice the water. Studies have shown that even parents striving to avoid this treat their sons and daughters differently. I thought many people in this thread did a good job of pointing out all nuances and conditioning that make it impossible to completely raise your kids in some kind of vacuum. For instance, my son was also interested in cars before he could speak. And he was also interested in cooking and cleaning like I do, and very affectionate, and in rocking his dolls to sleep. We're so conditioned ourselves it's so easy to find evidence that conforms, and unconsciously toss out the rest.

Also I don't think anyone is saying that we are born blank slates. I think the mistake is that most people assume that boys and girls are polar opposites, that all boys are alike and all girls are alike. And of course there is a whole lot of pressure and shame if one doesn't quit fit.

Personally I agree with Germaine Greer, who states her belief that there is no way to determine any differences that may exist, b/c we are so conditioned from day one. I find it astonishing irl how many people will just point to "the way things are" as proof that we're utterly different. Lack of critical thinking skills indeed.
post #162 of 255
I don't believe that we are utterly different, but subtly different. "The way things are" is very relavent, especially if we're talking about children's interests, preferences, and behavior long before they even old enough to be influenced by society's ideals. I doubt my 18 month old likes his cars for any reason other than that they are fun for him.
post #163 of 255
Evidence is clear. Some people are heavily influenced by their environment. Some are not. Some people seem to have a greater sliding scale of gender possibilities, and others do not.

The assumption that biology has no impact is ridiculous. The assumption that nurture has not impact is also ridiculous.

Gender neutral is not a BETTER choice than any other choice. Anyone who is going out of their way to LIMIT their children's choices to their own identity, whether by enforcing a specific gender or A LACK OF IT is equally abhorent. By pretending that gender is the only important thing, or that no gender is the most important thing you are making a decision for your child that really is not yours to make.
post #164 of 255
I think toys that could be gender neutral (like big blow up jumping jacks that were mentioned) but come in boy and girl versions are unnecessary and abhorrent. No one is talking about forcing their child into some kind of androgeny. They're talking about actively, the best they can, swimming against gender stereotype programming (which are not healthy for either gender), which is exactly what goes on in the media, the classroom, the toystore, in the world. I don't NOT buy by son cars, but I avoid the stereotypical boy crap, like weapons, you bet. I also actively buy him traditionally "girly" toys, both that he's expressed an interest in and that he hasn't. There is nothing abhorrent or denying about that. To act like avoiding gendered toys is equivalent to forcing them to be gender neutral and denying them the opportunity to pick an identity is ridiculous. It completely ignores the HUGE forces in our society that push the stereotypes on kids.
post #165 of 255
And pretending gender means nothing is also ridiculous.

I wonder how many of the people in this thread are going to tear their hair out when their children hit their teens and start acting out gender-stereotypes to find themselves....because they've been discouraged from playing out gender roles as little children.
post #166 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazelnut View Post
I think toys that could be gender neutral (like big blow up jumping jacks that were mentioned) but come in boy and girl versions are unnecessary and abhorrent.
Just a quick observation to this point, (b/c I really ought to be making dinner ) and as it relates to toy companies mass-marketing gender-specific toys:

Anyone familiar with Dora the explorer? I find it very curious that in the wake of this chararcter's success, along comes a 'boy' version of Dora -her cousin Deiago. What's the point? Was there concern that boys might identify with Dora? Really, it's the same c$%p, just gender-specific.
post #167 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
And pretending gender means nothing is also ridiculous.

I wonder how many of the people in this thread are going to tear their hair out when their children hit their teens and start acting out gender-stereotypes to find themselves....because they've been discouraged from playing out gender roles as little children.

You're really missing the point. I'm discouraging nothing. If anything, I am opening up a wider world for my son so he CAN find an identity that feels a little truer.
post #168 of 255
No, I'm really not.

If you don't see that there is also a definate trend in the alternative streams of parenting to occassionally have loud people who are vehemently agaisnt gender and femininity you are missing what *I* am saying.

Being girly and being boyish is in no way a BAD thing. It only becomes bad when it is a behaviour force through limiting the child's exposure to other possibitlies or through active discouragment from parents.

The SAME applies to people who are actively discouraging ANY gender identity in the assumption that it is a superiour parenting concept.

They are the same thing.

I am challenging people to re-examine their own reasons for denying gender and gender play on behalf of their children. Or their girls self-identifying with "girly" "feminine" (oh-gasp) behaviours. Or self-identify with "boyish" behaviours.

There is still an agenda in denying gender roles on behalf of your child. That it is anti-mainstream doesn't make is somehow a better choice.
post #169 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
Just a quick observation to this point, (b/c I really ought to be making dinner ) and as it relates to toy companies mass-marketing gender-specific toys:

Anyone familiar with Dora the explorer? I find it very curious that in the wake of this chararcter's success, along comes a 'boy' version of Dora -her cousin Deiago. What's the point? Was there concern that boys might identify with Dora? Really, it's the same c$%p, just gender-specific.

Diego has been part of the Dora-verse for quite some time. Many boys do identify with Dora and have for a number of years.

Would you be as concerned that the Daniel Cook franchise has spawned the Emily Yeung show? Were too many girls identifying with Daniel, so they need to enforce the girl sterotypes?
post #170 of 255
No one is denying any identifying with gender identity here, but instead they are examining the idea that gender= princesses and race cars. They're questioning the forcing of gender identity. And I don't know where you're getting this idea that people are putting down femininity. No one is doing that here. Rather, they are pointing out out it is already looked down upon and questioning the artificial definition of "feminine" (i.e. pink glitter princess fairy waiting to be saved and wearing make up).
But whatever. This is pointless, and you are not posting very respectfully nor making very good points, so I'm done.
post #171 of 255
Yes, there has been people in this thread that have "feminity" bashed. I am addressing that. My points are fine. You may not get my points, perhaps because you didn't see or dismissed the bashing.

There are also some value judgments on parents whose children self-identify with the norm. Like by having boys and girls who *gasp* wear pink or like sports they've been drastically harmed by bad parenting and horrible cultural bias. It is a crock.
post #172 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
No, I'm really not.

If you don't see that there is also a definate trend in the alternative streams of parenting to occassionally have loud people who are vehemently agaisnt gender and femininity you are missing what *I* am saying.

Being girly and being boyish is in no way a BAD thing. It only becomes bad when it is a behaviour force through limiting the child's exposure to other possibitlies or through active discouragment from parents.

The SAME applies to people who are actively discouraging ANY gender identity in the assumption that it is a superiour parenting concept.

They are the same thing.

I am challenging people to re-examine their own reasons for denying gender and gender play on behalf of their children. Or their girls self-identifying with "girly" "feminine" (oh-gasp) behaviours. Or self-identify with "boyish" behaviours.

There is still an agenda in denying gender roles on behalf of your child. That it is anti-mainstream doesn't make is somehow a better choice.

I agree with you, but I don't know that everyone here is working to deny gender identity (though it is my personal opinion that some are). There's a difference between denying any gender-specific play and being open to your child determining their own level of gender-specificity. I do have an agenda for my children with regard to gender-- I want them to know that whatever they choose is fine, as long as they are comfortable. I think I'm doing an okay job thus far, but of course there's no way to know that for sure until they're grown.
post #173 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
I agree with you, but I don't know that everyone here is working to deny gender identity (though it is my personal opinion that some are). There's a difference between denying any gender-specific play and being open to your child determining their own level of gender-specificity. I do have an agenda for my children with regard to gender-- I want them to know that whatever they choose is fine, as long as they are comfortable. I think I'm doing an okay job thus far, but of course there's no way to know that for sure until they're grown.
That is exactly what I mean!
post #174 of 255
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
Yes, there has been people in this thread that have "feminity" bashed. I am addressing that. My points are fine. You may not get my points, perhaps because you didn't see or dismissed the bashing.
I am going to assume (correct me if I'm wrong) that you are referring to my posts? I don't believe that by being critical of femininity that I was necessarily 'bashing' it. Hell, I'm a woman, I've been know to indulge in my feminine wiles at times, but that's not really what's at issue.

My concerns with the construct of femininity, and I am concerned because I am the parent of a 7 yr old girl, stems from its intense preoccupation with the 'body', and how this manifests itself in girls' lives. Masculinity doesn't demand such self-scrutiny and self-doubt.




Quote:
There are also some value judgments on parents whose children self-identify with the norm. Like by having boys and girls who *gasp* wear pink or like sports they've been drastically harmed by bad parenting and horrible cultural bias. It is a crock.
I am having a hard time finding evidence to support your assertion that people on this thread are making value judgements about anyone?????? This is a (mostly) theoretical discussion.


And, fwiw, I don't think it's even possible to deny someone a gender identity (or gender-play, whatever)
post #175 of 255
feminity is a pretense.
girls wearing flowers and pink! Playing with princesses! Parents even buying them! Not throwing them out when given! Boys playing with cars! Wearing a jacket with a sports ball on it!

Mostly because the parents themselves can't stand guns, or frills. Not because the child themselves doesn't.

I can't see how you missed them.
post #176 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
feminity is a pretense.
girls wearing flowers and pink! Playing with princesses! Parents even buying them! Not throwing them out when given! Boys playing with cars! Wearing a jacket with a sports ball on it!
See, I don't believe that these things, in and off themselves, are harmful. That would make them very powerful toys indeed.

I do believe that femininity can certainly be contrived though. So, in a way it can be a pretense.
post #177 of 255
Any role or trait can be over-expressed to the detriment of the person themselves.
post #178 of 255
Quote:
Was there concern that boys might identify with Dora?
Perhaps it was concern that not all boys would identify with Dora and that not all girls would identify with her either?

Quote:
they are examining the idea that gender= princesses and race cars.
Whether you want to believe it or not, those are the toys that boys and girls traditionally and in general have liked. There are boys who like princesses and girls who like race cars, but those 'traditions' were born not because we invented them but because we noticed them.

Quote:
Rather, they are pointing out out it is already looked down upon and questioning the artificial definition of "feminine" (i.e. pink glitter princess fairy waiting to be saved and wearing make up).
Not everyone considers that to be the definition of feminine. Everyone has their own idea about femininity, so I'm not concerned with exposing my children to different ones. I stand by my question, with SOOO many gender roles to chose from within a gender, how can we be saying that we're programming genders into our children? Clearly there are enough paths that are children are exposed to that they can chose for htemselves even without us denying them the pink weebles simply because they are pink. Why is THAT the definition of feminine? Moreover, why is it artificial? Women have been painting their faces since before Rome. Granted we're using different make-up now, but the concept is the same.

Quote:
Any role or trait can be over-expressed to the detriment of the person themselves.
Is that what I'm doing by letting my son have as many matchbox cars as he desires?

:
post #179 of 255
Whether you want to believe it or not, those are the toys that boys and girls traditionally and in general have liked. There are boys who like princesses and girls who like race cars, but those 'traditions' were born not because we invented them but because we noticed them.

Whether you want to believe it or not (that is just so patronizing) the indoctrination that begins from day one is a lot more complicated than merely mirroring natural interest. I think i can see why so many people have dropped out of this.
post #180 of 255
Indoctrination? From day one? You mean when my son first came home from the hospital he was already affected by these evil gender roles society and the media encourage? That seems highly unlikely. All my son wanted from day one was my breast. Was that indoctrinated?

Do you have any evidence that babies are influenced by society so much that the first toys they show interest in are not a result of their natural interest? Have I indotrinated my child because I bought him a play kitchen and a bunch of cars, and he happens to like the cars more but still plays with the kitchen pretty often, too?

I still am curious as to what the ideal man and woman are. Tell me about these specific gender roles we are perpetuating, so that I can understand, too, what is normal and what is abnormal for boys and girls in how to act and who to become.

Where is the proof that the 'traditional' toys for the specific genders were created to 'put kids in their places' rather than because we observed throughout the centuries that those were the toys children of different genders tended to favor?
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