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Forcing gender roles on young children - Page 11

post #201 of 255
Rude? It is an assumption, on so many levels. May I suggest you do some real reading on this topic. There are those who do not fit so neatly into your categories of "impregnanting" and "giving birth". There are the intersexed, gays and lesbians, MtF's, FtM's, and so on and so on. I have tried so hard to just stop reading, but the misinformation is just so provactive, who can leave it alone? I am going to try again......
post #202 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by PrennaMama View Post
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 see this a lot -- individuals claiming that this type of behavior or preference is neurophysiologic and therefore somehow exalted, while that type of behavior is merely psychologic -- a matter of the programming rather than the architecture of the computer. One common area in which it tends to come up is in the assertion of "addictions". But that's another story.

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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.
I would suggest that this distinction is far from proven. Do you have examples of patients who had strokes or other injuries in the "sexual preference" area of the brain and either changed or became ambiguous as to their sexual preferences?

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It simply is not even comparable to 'chocolate vs. vanilla' and I resent (just a tad) the assertion that it is.
Yeah, I noticed it gets that way. Why the resentment? It's not like I'm a Holocaust denier, saying in effect that vast numbers of Jews & other observers are liars. We have a disagreement about facts that affect the population as a whole, but I don't see why this type of disagreement has to lead to resentment. Why can't it be like disagreement as to the origin of species or the cause of Legionnaire's disease, or something like that where people could hold strong and differing opinions?

Robert
post #203 of 255
INCI's mention of reverse sexism made me shudder a bit as I recalled my experience at P.S. 108, where I went to grade school here in the Bronx. It was the early 1960s, and the teachers (all female) were ahead of the curve on women's lib. While otherwise girls & boys were allowed to choose their activities in the schoolyard for P.E., at least twice a year the teachers made all the boys play traditional girls' games & vice versa. They also made all the boys, but not the girls, sew aprons; I don't remember what they made the girls do in the meantime, while we boys were herded into another room to sew. Sometimes in plays they made boys take girls' parts & vice versa, even when we had enough boys & girls to fill the parts.

Robert
post #204 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? 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,
I thought I already explained that. There are some cases in which the makers benefit by differentiation, other cases in which they lose, and others in which they come out even. If you have a household with a boy and a girl and a toy that's in use 2% of the time, then the boy & girl could easily share it. If, however, the boy won't use the girl's version & vice versa, then you get to sell another unit. OTOH, you increase your mfg. cost, and if it's an item that's in use so much that they wouldn't've been sharing anyway, you don't get any more sales. OTOOH, if you're trying to sell their parents man's deodorant and woman's deodorant, and they're really the same thing with a different label, and the increase in mfg. cost is trivial, but the household uses up deodorant at the same rate, it's a wash.

Which reminds me...Jwebal says:
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getting ready to jump in the tub with my 3 yo,
Now see, if I had my bubble mixture out as a consumer product, I'd be thinking, if parents share baths with their children, that means less opp'ty to sell bath foam. If they could be convinced to bathe separately and drain the tub and refill it with an "age-appropriate" bubble bath for each, that means I get to sell more foaming base! Even more if I can convince them to separate the boys from the girls and to refill the tub yet again! (Convince them re-using bath water is
yucky too.)

Robert
post #205 of 255
What I find interesting is that while we are quick to be critical of how society places value judgments on our children in terms of how they should behave, learn, play and develop, we fail to be critical of ourselves and how we place value judgments on our children. We watch them play, take interest in and/or focus on specific things and we assume (most times) it is because of their gender, some innate biological determinate factor, and/or a genetic predisposition, etc etc. It is precisely because we take notice in these things; encourage or devalue certain types of play (even on a superfical level), we too as parents, intentional or not, have ALOT to do with imposing gender roles on our children as we are not free from societal expectations or assumptions of what gender means and what is socially acceptable for our children to like, take interest in or enjoy, even at a young age.

Perhaps a more apt question to ask ourselves would be not why "little willy" or "little sara" likes cars, the colour pink, trucks, women's shoes and/or spinny things for example, but in which ways do we, as parents, impose our ideas of what these things mean to our children, to us and to others

l.
post #206 of 255
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Rude? It is an assumption, on so many levels. May I suggest you do some real reading on this topic. There are those who do not fit so neatly into your categories of "impregnanting" and "giving birth". There are the intersexed, gays and lesbians, MtF's, FtM's, and so on and so on. I have tried so hard to just stop reading, but the misinformation is just so provactive, who can leave it alone? I am going to try again......
No, it is not. I explained already that it was a generalization and a hypothetical. Even in gay couples, men do not give birth, and women do not do the impregnating. I am fully aware of the various family situations of gays and lesbians, being that I am a bisexual woman whose friendship circle consists largely of homosexuals. There are couples that adopt, who use a surrogate mother and donor eggs/sperms, etc. However, men never give birth, and women never impregnate. If you have evidence of man giving birth or a woman impregnating someone, and I mean by sexual intercourse not invitro fertilization, I sure would love to see it. If children grow up to procreate, men will not be doing the birthing, and women will not be doing the impregnating regardless of their sexual orientation. Moreover, most likely, the men will not be doing any breastfeeding, unless they manage to lactate like Laura Shanley's husband. Men will be fathers, in most circumstances, and women will be mothers in most circumstances in a family situation, even if they are not heterosexual, unless they are transexual (though the average person does not grow up to have a sex change operation.)

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If, however, the boy won't use the girl's version & vice versa, then you get to sell another unit.
But whether or not the boy and girl will play with the toy isn't up to the toy company. They are expanding their profits, not seeking to program. There are tomboy girls that won't play with girl versions of toys, too. I just don't agree that it's entirely about gender roles, but personality types. Biology doesn't 100% influence a child's preferences, nor does society.

Quote:
If they could be convinced to bathe separately and drain the tub and refill it with an "age-appropriate" bubble bath for each, that means I get to sell more foaming base!
LoL! I wonder what the differences between the different bubble baths for certain ages would be, lol.

Quote:
Perhaps a more apt question to ask ourselves would be not why "little willy" like cars, the colour pink, trucks, women's shoes and/or spinny things but in which ways do we, as parents, impose our ideas of what these things mean to our children, to us and to others
While I think some parents do this, I don't think everyone does. I don't feel I'm imposing my ideas of these things to my son. I encourage him to play with all of his toys, 'masculine' or 'feminine.' I have an issue with trying to place your child into a neat little stereotype, but I also have an issue with trying to prevent your child from becoming who they might truly be by not allowing them to play with Barbies. What if I never let my daughter have one, and she is the kind of girl that'd really enjoy one? But we never know? That would be a shame. I'm not for pushing children towards one kind of toy or another but exposing them to all and letting them decide. If you want to limit the impressions of gender roles that come from society and the media, there are more effective ways than telling junior he can't have a blue bicycle because it's stereotypical. I definitely think this is the better question. We need to realize that our society does have an impact on children's choices, but their preferences are mostly to do with their individual biology, some of which has to do with their gender and the rest with their personality. You can't make a child like playing in her play kitchen, but your words can make her chose it over other toys in order to please mom and dad. Watching your words and what words your children hear are a lot more important than disallowing certain toys because they are feminine or masculine.
post #207 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jwebbal View Post
Rude? It is an assumption, on so many levels. May I suggest you do some real reading on this topic. There are those who do not fit so neatly into your categories of "impregnanting" and "giving birth". There are the intersexed, gays and lesbians, MtF's, FtM's, and so on and so on. I have tried so hard to just stop reading, but the misinformation is just so provactive, who can leave it alone? I am going to try again......
And yet, even the intersexed often pursue some form of procreation. Even those who do not pursue biological procreation often throw themselves into some sort of propagation of memes through intense activism or through adoption/surrogacy/step-parenting. Which involves some adoption or adaptation to a genderizing concept.

Fighting your children's natural instincts to find how they fit into their own concepts of themselves and society is NOT progressive. It is isolating.

Expanding their world and teaching them to question is far more important, and far more useful to them in the long run.
post #208 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonfirefaery
While I think some parents do this, I don't think everyone does. I don't feel I'm imposing my ideas of these things to my son. I encourage him to play with all of his toys, 'masculine' or 'feminine.'
But what are masculine and feminine toys? Do you suppose that our children know what these concepts mean at a young age or do you suppose that that most people impose those ideas onto toys and that children learn from us and from others what gender(s) are imbedded within a play kitchen, Barbie or blue tricycle, for instance? If the latter, then we can also say that toy companies do nothing more than add a certain colour dye lot as most people don't like to shake their preconcieved ideas of what masculine and feminine toys are or should look like, otherwise we would not buy them. The suggestion that most people don't somehow impose notions of gender onto toys, clothes, types of play etc is rather ignorant and the further suggestion that most people don't transmit these ideas onto children (intentional or not) and the toys choosen for them, is preposterous

l.
post #209 of 255
I completely agree. When I say masculine or feminine I am referring to what we usually consider boy or girl toys, but you're right: children don't know the difference. You can refrain from teaching your child a difference in more ways than just refusing to buy them pink or blue toys or not letting them play with toys traditionally associated with boys are girls, which is what I have a problem with. Toys should just be toys, not boy or girl. Instead of complaining about toys being two different colors, which can appeal to two different genders or personality types, why not simply NOT associate the specific colors with genders? That is exactly what I am suggesting, that it isn't the toy companies, that the toys aren't created to promote gender roles, and that you don't have to buy only "gender-neutral" toys to raise your child without forcing him into a specific gender role. You just have to watch what you say and what your child hears. I'm not going to buy my kid a bunch of blue toys or a bunch of pink toys in hopes of swaying him to prefer a dfferent color or associate it with his gender, and at the same time I'm not going to deny him a supposedly gender-specific toy for the hopes of steering him away from it. Society's views aren't the final say in what roles we fulfill as adults anyway, and if it were, there'd be very few people going against the 'norm...' but as it is, there's hardly a norm today, which is one reason why I'm not too concerned in general with gender roles. There's enough conflicting information out there that I think it all balances out when you look at the bigger picture.
post #210 of 255
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Men will be fathers, in most circumstances, and women will be mothers in most circumstances in a family situation, even if they are not heterosexual...
See, this raises a few questions for me. Once the biological functions of 'impregnating' and 'birthing' and breastfeeding are done, aren't the meanings we ascribe to motherhood and fatherhood essentially social ones?



Quote:
Perhaps a more apt question to ask ourselves would be not why "little willy" or "little sara" likes cars, the colour pink, trucks, women's shoes and/or spinny things for example, but in which ways do we, as parents, impose our ideas of what these things mean to our children, to us and to others

I agree. I believe that to be part of my responsibility as a parent. Not to discourage my children from playing with particular toys, or from engaging in certain 'play', because this will of course, send the message that I think those things are 'wrong'. I have had many, many more years of social conditioning than my kids have had, and I have been influenced by many factors, so, I try to remain conscious of the subtle (or not so subtle) ways in which I teach my children to 'do' their gender.
post #211 of 255
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Once the biological functions of 'impregnating' and 'birthing' and breastfeeding are done, aren't the meanings we ascribe to motherhood and fatherhood essentially social ones?
I think some are, and some aren't. It really depends, I think. Children are going to go to mommy about their periods, and boys will go to daddy about their penises--usually, I mean. A lot of parenting is related to gender, and a lot of people feel more comfortable talking about those issues with a parent of the same sex. I'm not going to say that mothers are more nurturing or fathers are more fun, because that's not always so. But gender doesn't just become irrelevent after birthing and nursing. I suppose the advice area is partially social, but I think part of it is biological, too. Birth was a woman's arena for a long time, so was menstruation and other female topics. Same for men and their stuff. And who knows, that could be social, but feeling comfortable talking about gender stuff with the same sex might be biological, too.
post #212 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
I agree. I believe that to be part of my responsibility as a parent. Not to discourage my children from playing with particular toys, or from engaging in certain 'play', because this will of course, send the message that I think those things are 'wrong'. I have had many, many more years of social conditioning than my kids have had, and I have been influenced by many factors, so, I try to remain conscious of the subtle (or not so subtle) ways in which I teach my children to 'do' their gender.
However, you also need to be aware not to overdo repressing their gender by disapproving of genderizing play. Or stereotyping play. And that is what I see some people doing. Some parents overdo the "she's all girl" and some overdo "she'll NEVER get pink!" Both are judgements, and both speak loudly about stereotypes.

The opposite of something sometimes is just the same damn thing.
post #213 of 255
Exactly!! That is what I mean!
post #214 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
However, you also need to be aware not to overdo repressing their gender by disapproving of genderizing play. Or stereotyping play. And that is what I see some people doing.
Ok, but, here is precisely where we reach an impasse. I can only repress my child's gender-identification if I believe that gender, as a concept, is fixed and immutable. I don't believe it is.
post #215 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
Ok, but, here is precisely where we reach an impasse. I can only repress my child's gender-identification if I believe that gender, as a concept, is fixed and immutable. I don't believe it is.
Then you don't need to police it. If that's what you believe. Just put it all out, and let and explore with your child all the potential play. Withholding judgement when they act out in the stereotypical manner (or non-stereotypical for others) they naturally will try out in their play.
post #216 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonfirefaery View Post
Exactly!! That is what I mean!
I'm so glad that I'm not totally speaking Klingon here.
post #217 of 255
If you associate certain things with certain genders and thus encourage your child to shy away, you are enforcing gender roles, just in a different way. Why would you want to deliberately change your child's gender identity? Isn't trying to sway them away from a stereotype just as bad as pushing them towards one? I doubt gender identity is 'fixed and immutable,' but you can certainly teach your child to repress feelings about their identity and preferences with your actions. The same way a mother can turn her son away from Barbie dolls, you can turn your daughter away from them just the same. That would be repression, whether gender identity is fixed or not.
post #218 of 255
I let my son play with whatever type of toy he wants, he has a doll, a my little pony, even one barbie oh and for xmas he got a pink tea set from my grandma and a whole bunch of dishes and food for his kitchen set. Everyone seems shocked that he has "girly" toys, but I think it's great.
post #219 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonfirefaery View Post
If you associate certain things with certain genders and thus encourage your child to shy away, you are enforcing gender roles, just in a different way. Why would you want to deliberately change your child's gender identity? Isn't trying to sway them away from a stereotype just as bad as pushing them towards one? I doubt gender identity is 'fixed and immutable,' but you can certainly teach your child to repress feelings about their identity and preferences with your actions. The same way a mother can turn her son away from Barbie dolls, you can turn your daughter away from them just the same. That would be repression, whether gender identity is fixed or not.
No, see, I don't know why you keep insisting that ANYONE is trying to change their child's gender identity. Children are not born with a gender identity, and so we cannot change what hasn't yet developed.

I have already said that I don't discourage my children from playing with particular toys because of their association with a specific gender. I said that I try to remain very aware of the messages I am sending about the toys' meanings as they relate to gender.

This discussion seems to be going in circles now.
post #220 of 255
I think the answer is quite obvious: because I disagree and believe part of children's gender identity is biological, as I have stated time and time again. In any case, steering your child AWAY from stereotypes perpetuates those gender associates just as much as steering your child TOWARDS them does, which was the entire point of the post. Instead of being upset with me for believing this perhaps you should contact those who write children's development books and tell them to stop lying about the differences between boys and girls in the baby and toddler years.

I'm not accusing you of doing anything.
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