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Forcing gender roles on young children - Page 10

post #181 of 255
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Originally Posted by moonfirefaery View Post
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.

not sure i follow you here.


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....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.

no one is saying anything about programming. if we were, there would be no arguments about gender being rooted in biology. if we had to program behaviors, they couldn't possibly be rooted in biology.


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Is that what I'm doing by letting my son have as many matchbox cars as he desires?

i think you know the answer to that one.
post #182 of 255
A great article that explains how and why gender is a social construct is "Becoming Gendered: The Socialization of Girls and Boys," by Unger and Crawford, in their textbook "Women and Gender: A Feminist Psychology."
Unfortunately, I can't find a copy of the article online, and I can't type up much of it and post it here, due to copyright laws, of course. Throwing it out there as a resource, anyway.

Also, check out the movie "Orlando" - it's a story of person (played by Tilda Swinton) who lives in many different time periods, sometimes male and sometimes female. It shows how arbitrary gender really is. For example, at one point in history, the fashion for men was long, curly hair, ruffley shirts, and tights!

This discussion is difficult, as it seems that our disagreements go deeper than children's toys and clothes and behavior... so maybe we can back up a bit.

Moonfirefaery, do you believe that patriarchy exists, i.e. that males as a group currently dominate females as a group? Do you believe in institutionalized sexism? Do you believe that sexism is currently a problem in American society?

OOPS, gotta run - I'll write more later!
post #183 of 255
I'm saying that cars are usually associated with boys and dolls with girls because that is traditionally what, in general, overall, most boys or girls have enjoyed. There are boys who enjoy dolls and girls who enjoy cars, but if you read any child development book, you find that the types of activities usually enjoyed by the two genders are different. Usually doesn't mean always, and I certainly don't adhere to any stereotype. Some things, not all things, are based on biology, and some things have to do with nurture. And it doesn't have to be just one or the other either. It can be a combination of both.

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i think you know the answer to that one.
I do know the answer, and the answer is the reason I disagree.

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Moonfirefaery, do you believe that patriarchy exists, i.e. that males as a group currently dominate females as a group? Do you believe in institutionalized sexism? Do you believe that sexism is currently a problem in American society?
Yes, I do. Why haven't we had a female president yet? Why are females paid less? I see a problem with that, but I don't think it is to do with what toys are children play with or with having gender roles "forced" on people. Equality isn't about androgynmy. It's about respecting each other and treating each other the same regardless of our differences, not becoming one and the same. I have bigger problems with other issues, though, like our political and medical systems, like the lack of back-up families have these days, etc. I don't believe men dominate women as much as before; we certainly have more choices and more respect. They are still ahead of the lead though, certainly. I disagree that there is a specific standard for women. The problem isn't women being expected to adhere to a certain role but with people not accepting the choice of role each woman makes, for example the SAHM vs WOHM battle is what concerns me not which of the two roles mom sare expected to fulfill because I don't really think we're expected to fulfill either specifically. I don't think sexism is necessarily about keeping us in certain roles as it is about keeping us beneath men.
post #184 of 255
Sociaty looks at the gender roles currently being expressed as the mainstream in that society and deems *those particular* roles as biologically determined fact, no argument allowed. For the "evidence," those who are questioned point to the way the society currently is and to the people who conveniently express the roles being pushed on them. How can the numbers lie, right?

However, as these roles eventually get questioned and thrown out, they conveniently stop being such concrete biological fact. Interesting. 100 years ago it was accepted fact that women had no interest in sports or athletics, "naturally."

Don't forget that it was once believed to be biological "fact" that higher education would turn women sterile, and that women's smaller heads proved that they did not have the intellectual capacity to vote.

I'm not actually saying that there are no biological differences between men and women. There probably are, although as others mentioned, is awfully hard to determine what they are.
post #185 of 255
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Originally Posted by moonfirefaery View Post
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?

See posts throughout this thread where observant people note how even very young babies are dressed in certain colors, bought certain things, and spoken to and treated in different ways based on their genders.

And yes amen, to the above. My BIL for example is SO convinced that the way things are are completely normal, natural, unforced. Girls aren't aggressive or competitive, boys can't control their sexual impulses. He's stuck in the 50s, but he sees stereotypes as facts. What bothers me the most is that he's an educated man and he can't even take a step back, look at history, and see how so many of these "facts" have changed according to social beliefs even in his lifetime.
post #186 of 255
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Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
I'm not actually saying that there are no biological differences between men and women. There probably are, although as others mentioned, is awfully hard to determine what they are.
right, I don't think anyone was trying to make the claim that there are NO biological differences between men and women, just that the culture has a tendancy to highlight those differences and use them to make 'truth' claims about the 'nature' of women and men.
post #187 of 255
There are differences. And that's fine. Wearing pink and doing judo don't have anything to do with having a uterus.

However, having a biological imperative to procreate does create differences in behaviour. In EVERY species and all human cultures.

That men and women have ALWAYS found ways to identify themselves in some way as NOT the other gender, should make it clear in some way most of humanity throughout time have found it important to their view of themselves as what they are and are not. Female or male.

This isn't going to go away. It can only be modified. Regardless of what makes the difference, the fact that there is a difference is too important to people's views of themselves for it too be so cavalierly dismissed.
post #188 of 255
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Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post

However, having a biological imperative to procreate does create differences in behaviour. In EVERY species and all human cultures.
you're not saying that all women have a biological imperative to procreate- are you?
post #189 of 255
I havent read all the posts but in my opinion gender is just another tool to oppress us with. My son has grown up with 2 older sisters and no father, he has played with dolls and cars and other stuff of course, he's into football,one of my girls went through a doll phase, I didn't make an issue of it, she has a vast collection of cuddly toys which at present are keeping out the draughts in our old house!She loves drawing and music, my son seems more self-concience about gender roles, it bugs me but I'm not going to make an issue of it just explain that he doesn't have to live up to this big man idea. I was into cars and stuff more than dolls as a child, probably a retaliation to the conditioning forced on me, was called a tomboy, do tend to wear non-gender specific clothes and , have lived alife where I have to attempt fixing motors, chopping wood, diy etc I find it so predictable that many people have a pre-concieved notion of what male and female 'should' be like. Its all crap imo and serves to limit our possibilities. It makes me squirm when a man says to me 'thats a mans job' when I've just plastered a wall or something like I'm meant to wait for a man to come and do it or what?The notion that feminine means looking like Jordan(model with 'enhanced' breasts)When I was a kid you never heard any thing about people being gay, my eldest was coming back from school coming out with not exactly positive stuff about being gay. Of course I have instilled in my dc that there is nothing wrong with being gay or bi, I think kids now are able to ask about about a lot more than I was as a kid.I do know there are plenty of people who reinforce gender-stereo-typing in their kids and the media isn't very helpful in liberating peoples minds. At my age 39 I just can't be bothered with all the brain-washing pushed at us to get us to conform to flawed concepts, can't even be bothered putting them in their place anymore, I knitted lots of multi-coloured jumpers for my babies and had some great wee black bootees, lots of miffed people, dirty looks etc but babies really can suit some black, they also wore lovely dresses and spotty romper suits etc. I've had a shaved head for long periods of time and that really seems to wind people up, maybe more 'tolerated' these days, been 'mistaken' for a guy many times, don't care I like to embrace my male and female self, I dont think we are as different as is made out. I know thats all quite surface stuff but deep down imo many people are scared to express themselves cos of gender rules.
post #190 of 255
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That men and women have ALWAYS found ways to identify themselves in some way as NOT the other gender, should make it clear in some way most of humanity throughout time have found it important to their view of themselves as what they are and are not.
I don't argue that men and women have historically chosen to make distinctive choices about dress and appearance that distinguish one from the other, perhaps for mating purposes. Of course, I do dispute that current trends and preferences in American society at this moment in time somehow represent some kind of biological "truth" as to the nature of this phenomenon. It has certainly not been shown across time and cultures that men are plain and women adorn. I could show you a thousand pictures of men in elaborate masks, makeup, tattoos, earrings, and clothings to prove otherwise.

I don't really see what any of this has to do with the conversation, though, honestly. Acknowledging the fact of ritual gender-based dress and appearance modification is neither here nor there in this dicussion, IMO.
post #191 of 255
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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.
Oh let's be honest - this occurs more to find someone *else* rather than themselves (and they may well neglect parts of themselves in the process,) and has little to do with whether or not they've played out gender roles as children and a lot more to do with their newfound sexual awareness and interest, LOL. And you're darn right I'm going to tear my hair when my daughter hits her teens, but it's going to be over these serious growing up issues, not whether or not she's trying out make-up and frills in an effort to be more attractive.
post #192 of 255
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Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
you're not saying that all women have a biological imperative to procreate- are you?
Do you consist of cellular matter? Do you have DNA?
post #193 of 255
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Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
Do you consist of cellular matter? Do you have DNA?
you didn't answer my question, and I'm still confused.
post #194 of 255
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Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
you didn't answer my question, and I'm still confused.
Everything that is alive has an imperative to procreate. Biology isn't necessarily destiny. But it certainly is a force to contend with, one that is programmed into you so deeply that often even your strategies to avoid procreation still promote it. Male or female.

Floral dresses aren't programmed by DNA, but effective strategies for promotion of your genome are. Strong gender association is an effective and powerful signal of such a strategy.
post #195 of 255
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Sociaty looks at the gender roles currently being expressed as the mainstream in that society and deems *those particular* roles as biologically determined fact, no argument allowed.
Which ones specifically?

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See posts throughout this thread where observant people note how even very young babies are dressed in certain colors, bought certain things, and spoken to and treated in different ways based on their genders.
I really doubt the color that my son wears or how he is spoken to has any effect on which toys he selected out of the toybin the first time he crawled over to it.

And don't think you're observant because you notice something as obvious as that boys are dressed in blue and girls in pink.

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gender is just another tool to oppress us
Being different doesn't have to mean unequal. My husband and I are of two different genders, but I'm not oppressed by being the wife, the one with the vagina instead of the penis. So let me get this straight, I should teach my daughter not to be 'girly' even if that's who she wants to be just so she won't be treated unfairly? I think I'd much rather teach her to demand equal treatment but still be her own unique person, whether it conforms ot their idea of femininity or not.
post #196 of 255
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Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
Everything that is alive has an imperative to procreate. Biology isn't necessarily destiny. But it certainly is a force to contend with, one that is programmed into you so deeply that often even your strategies to avoid procreation still promote it. Male or female.
well...I know several women who are not inclined in the least to procreate. Though, they aren't likely to admit it freely, given that motherhood is still considered a woman's 'true purpose', and well...there must be something wrong with them if they don't want children. And, I think if you were to ask men if they have a primoridal urge to become fathers you might get a few blank stares.

I think what's programmed deeply is the desire, urge, need, imperative (whatever) to have sex. So, yeah, strategies to avoid procreation do fail, but that has nothing to do with a biological imperative to bear children.
post #197 of 255
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What's so horrible about someone wanting to know whether the child will grow up to impregnate a woman or give birth
oh boy, WHOLE lot of assumptions in that don't you think?
post #198 of 255
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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.
It doesn't? You are the parent of a seven year old girl, but do you have any boys? Have you done any research about boys? Masculinity most assuredly lends itself to plenty of self-scrutiny and self-doubt. It's insulting to insinuate otherwise.
post #199 of 255
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Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
It doesn't? You are the parent of a seven year old girl, but do you have any boys? Have you done any research about boys? Masculinity most assuredly lends itself to plenty of self-scrutiny and self-doubt. It's insulting to insinuate otherwise.
eilonwy: I was wondering when someone might jump on that

I do have a son, he is only 15 mos. And, admittedly, my research has focused almost exclusively on 'girl culture' and femininity.

I realize that there is indeed, increasing pressure on boys to conform to an ideal 'masculine body'. I make no pretense to generalizations about boys as immune to body concerns.

I don't have time to really comment in detail right now, as I am off to bed (midnight here, yawn), however, I will address it more thoughtfully tommorrow.
post #200 of 255
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oh boy, WHOLE lot of assumptions in that don't you think?
No, not really. It's not an assumption, but a generalization, a hypothetical question. You can't ever know from looking at a baby what they will grow up to be, but you can tell based on their gender what role they will play in a hypothetical procreation. While not all people, regardless of gender, chose to procreate, men and women still play a different role in procreation. Whether or not a person is designed to give birth and breastfed or do the impregnating is an important, biological difference, and our actions as women and men do have a lot to do with that difference. Men do not give birth; women do not impregnate people. That may not mean anything to you but it does mean something to others, and judging them for that is pretty rude.
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