Is "Free to be You & Me" still relevant? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 07-17-2002, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I cried today listening to "Free To Be You & Me." As much as I love to hear the messages of empowerment for girls and the invitations to sensitivity for boys, and it really moves me in my feminist core - I am wondering if my daughter needs to hear these messages today.

Particularly "William wants a doll" where the chorus of kids tease William for wanting a doll, the take-home message is of course that those folks are wrong to tease him, and that it is way OK for him to have a doll. But the assumption is that kids will be hearing (from society, from other kids, etc) that William shouldn't be wanting a doll. Similarly in other skits/stories there is discussion of being a "sissy" and that its OK to cry, it doesn't make you a sissy, etc.

And the ones geared towards girls being anything they want, strong, truck drivers, etc

My question is - do I want my dd even exposed to the concept of sissiness, or gender discrimination? Or am I a hopeless romantic thinking we are so far past all that? I'd love her to hear this and be confused "what are they talking about?" but maybe she will be able to relate to these messages.

My dh says that parents come into the bike shop all the time and talk their kids out of wanting a certain bike "because its too girly" or "thats a boy's bike." (They are identical except for color scheme.) So there are parents out there that are still like this. Is it just my area of the country or do you still struggle with these issues?
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#2 of 15 Old 07-17-2002, 09:38 PM
 
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This is definately an issue here. My two middle children are 18 months apart with the younger of the two being a boy. His sister is very girly, therefore he is very girly. He thinks nothing of wearing pink clothes or even putting on a dress when they play dress up. He loves babies and while he is a boy in many senses he is just really into girl things. Likewise, while my daughter is into wearing beautiful dresses she doesn't hesitate to dig in the dirt or play with matchbox cars. Luckily neither my husband nor I try to discourage this type of behavior. I love that they are like this. My dad gets a little freaked out sometimes, I think, but he's coming around to our way of thinking. Let's face it, our way of life can be a lot to absorb by a conservative guy! I know there are so many people in our neighborhood that are very much the opposite about these things, though. I don't think any of it is actually accepted. It's still such a sex segregated world.

Amy - Blessed wife to Jesse (the best dad in the world), mother of 10 on earth plus 8 in heaven.   PROUD to be a Catholic! : winner.jpg familybed2.gifhomeschool.gif

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#3 of 15 Old 07-17-2002, 10:22 PM
 
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Oh I think it is definitely something that still exists as a "stigma". I have two copies of FTBYAM (both were gifts) and my daughter loves to listen, as do I. I gave these CDs to all of my nieces when they turned 5. And it's not just about feminism - there is a short piece about "a person should be what he likes to, and not just what other folks say, a person should do what he wants to, a person's a person that way."

Hey - I think I've got my first Mothering signature idea!!

LoveBeads and Love my Maddy-Moo - she's 2!
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#4 of 15 Old 07-18-2002, 01:27 AM
 
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Big Free to Be You and Me fan here. Grew up with it and now sing with my dd nearly every day. Still vividly remember in third grade when I was in my classroom's listening center, listening to William's Doll. I had the lyrics memorized and, in my own world with headphones on, was unknowingly belting out the song for the entire class to hear. One of my more embarrassing moments.

But I digress.

I wish it wasn't relevant anymore. But it is.....big time. As much as I'd like to wish that our society has moved beyond concepts such as gender discrimination and sissiness, the reality is that it's still out there and our kids will be exposed to it whether we like it or not. Might as well arm them now with the knowledge and strength to combat these silly ideas and maybe, just maybe, enlighten some others. My dd, who is now just 12 months and happens to prefer balls to dolls, may turn out to be a tomboy or a girly girl......timid or assertive.....straight or gay......makes no diff to me or dh....but, sadly, it will to some.

Maybe I see it more because I have a bald baby and people can't tell right away if she's a boy or a girl. It is often the clothes or the toy she is holding that makes them decide one way or the other. The other day my dd had on a shirt with a picture of a baby surfing, and a lady stopped and said, "I was wondering if your baby was a boy or a girl, but now I can see he's a boy because of what he's wearing." It really doesn't offend me one bit, but at the same time it show me what assumptions people are making. These concepts are so deeply ingrained in our society that people apply them often without even realizing it. I have seen it over and over again as an elementary school teacher as well.

So, I think it's not only still relevant but just as powerful as it was in 1974!
P.S. I highly recommend the book as well!
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#5 of 15 Old 07-18-2002, 08:23 AM
 
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The issues are still here and I do believe it is still relevant.
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#6 of 15 Old 07-18-2002, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You guys are so right about the assumptions people make via the clothes a baby wears - my dd is now almost 11 mo and essentially androgenous looking (outside the diaper, of course.) We often dress her in red, blue, green, etc. We were shopping one day and she swipes this tiny black & red football, it was 1$ so I let her hold onto it while we shopped and then bought it. She did get a lot of cute boy comments that day. Drat. I do wish it weren't that way.
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#7 of 15 Old 07-20-2002, 02:52 PM
 
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Hello-
Sadly, I think it is still very relevant. We are definitely not past it as a society. Just look at the toy aisles the next time you're in a store. We'll definitely be buying FTBYM down the road.
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#8 of 15 Old 07-20-2002, 09:48 PM
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You are definitely a hopeless romantic thinking that we're past
gender issues. We so, so, so, so, so aren't. To my mind, Free to Be
is as relevant today as it was the day it was released. Just on these
Mothering boards in the last few months a mother posted upset
that her daughter was playing "career woman" with her Barbie.
She wanted her to only play "mommy."

I've been shocked in dd's 11 months on earth how many gender assumptions
we've encountered... it makes me so sad. Dd will most definitely listen to Free to
Be. I cry when I listen to it too--what fabulous messages.
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#9 of 15 Old 07-21-2002, 01:18 AM
 
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I used to listen to my FTBYAM record while falling asleep at night. I loved it! I never knew anyone else who knew it (I think I had a lot of mainstream friends when I was a kid!) so it's nice to hear you all reminiscing about it.

Sadly, I do think the messages are relevent, but also, what great music and stories, you know? I didn't know it was still out...do those of you who have it now have it on cassette or CD? Where did you find it?
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#10 of 15 Old 07-21-2002, 04:14 PM
 
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I think I still have it on vinyl somewhere around here, but we also have it on CD. You can buy it on the web from Amazon.
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#11 of 15 Old 07-21-2002, 04:16 PM
 
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I have it on CD and it's available and a lot of mainstream music stores. They came out with a 25th anniversary edition in 1999, so there were a lot produced then. I'm sure amazon.com has it as well. The companion book is available at most bookstores and it has even more in it than the CD.

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#12 of 15 Old 07-21-2002, 04:18 PM
 
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for those of you not opposed to it, theres always kazaa.....
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#13 of 15 Old 07-22-2002, 07:28 PM
 
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I grew up on FTBYAM and my sister who is 10 years younger, did too--listening on the same scratched up vinyl. Last year we each got a hold of the CD and as we listen, we still both brace ourselves for the skips! Sadly, I have to echo too that it is so, so, so relevant today. I teach 1st grade part time and year after year after year now, its been battling the same gender sterotypes. I've used William's Doll in my classroom a number of times.
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#14 of 15 Old 07-22-2002, 09:01 PM
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What's kazaa?
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#15 of 15 Old 07-22-2002, 09:48 PM
 
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kazza is like napster was, only much better
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