January 12, 2013,
J.T. asks from Victoria, TX on January 11, 2013
I Am a Sexist!
I did not realize how out of the norm I had fallen with my being a sexist until i saw a fb post on a childrens book from the 1970's. The "out of date" book posted images simular to a "Dick and Jane" style with the capiton " boys like to play with trucks" "girls like to play with dolls" of course some things were way off. but most were dead on! What got me thinking "oh wow...whats wrong with me...i still think there is a difference between boys and girls" were the comments. How appauled people were with the book. (refer to Christina N. responce from Baton Rouge)
Which then led to the flood of too many "educational programs" on tv, learning the differenced in male and female and every bit of knowledge that I have retained over my soon to be 33 years.I cant be the only one that recognizes that men and women are different and think differently and process life differently. Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus...right? Someone frogot to send me the memo that were all from Earth and there isnt any difference. So much so that one of the comments stated " I really dont see any differecne other than women cant pee standing up and men cannot give birth" . Really? Women are so very important and great in there womenly way as are men! Why are we trying to blur this line too and all become "Pats"? This bothers me that I am a sexist mostly because the word is so simular sounding to the word racist. But I do not HATE either sex but value them both for the qualities they were born to give and share with eachother. As you can most likely see I am not a fan of gender neutral partaining to children. If a child wants to dress gender neutral then alright but whats so wrong with allowing boys to be boys and girls to be girls?
I also dont like to see little boys dressing in girls clothes or little girls dressing as boys. It reminded me of a little elementary girl I recently saw on the news who HATED the color of her skin. She thought other people with a different shade were prettier. I wanted to grab that mother and shake her and tell her to teach her child how beautiful and special she was. How she was made by God and designed to look a certian way. Or even if she were to explain it with out God and scientifically explain the qualities of her and how she was a healthy strong little girl. Teaching her to be happy and confident in her own skin. Remembering how we all wanted what we didnt have when we were kids. the girls with straight hair wanted curly, blond girls wanted brown and brown haired girls wanted blonde. What happened to loving ouselves for who we are and realizing were all different and its ok to be who you are. Even if its "Pat" but we dont HAVE to be "Pat" to please others and not offend ppl???
So finally my question is..how far off am I ? Still stuck in the 1950's or is it just a certian hippster group of parenting that is wanting there to be no difference between boys and girls?? gender neutral. I am not asking to offend anyone just wanting to see if I am way off in my parenting style or if this is the norm now...and I somehow missed it!
**********added*********** Girls- my daughter is a very girly girl pink princess type. I was not and am not into pink. I still loved playing kitchen (as does my son) I know other girls that arent "pink girly" but still girly...in like a pop rocker type of way. Stars, neons, peace signs, blue rocker girly.
So What Happened?™
Well looks like I am a sexist! And you all have to accept me because thats the way I am haha! Truly this did give me some insite on the topic. Thank you again ladies.
Added - I think my major issue is trying to blur the genders stating there isnt a difference when there is. not so much dolls vs. trucks but the make up of men and women. Xy chromozones and XX or testosteron and estrogen. Its there its in our system. There is a difference and its wonderful!
When I hear people say they dont need a man to raise them, there single mom did just fine and no one needs a man. It breaks my heart. I have a wonderful father and mother. Its the same to me as saying a mom isnt nessissary in a childs life. Yes I understand ppl die and there are instances in which it is better for the child than living with the abusive adult. But for the most part each parent is equally important and a value.
S.B. answers from Redding on January 11, 2013
HOWEVER.....I'm also the type that knows if I had to wait for a man to do things for me, they'd never get done. I'm not afraid to get dirty or break a fingernail. I know how to build things (yes, I have my own tools), I know how to replace thermocouples on hot water heaters, change spark plugs in lawn mowers. I trim bushes, hedges and trees. I'm not above using a chainsaw or replacing broken parts in a toilet tank. I take my own stuff to the dump and the recycler. I love to go fishing.
I've been a single mom for 15 years. Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. I tend to get frustrated by women who are twice or three times my size and act like they can't change a light bulb for themselves or carry a bag of garbage out.
I personally don't make a connection in a shift toward "gender neutrality".
I have a daughter and a son, and I didn't raise them to think that ONLY girls do this or ONLY boys do that. I've taught my son how to cook, how to sew, how to iron. I taught him these things so he can be independent.
I had a male coworker who had a fit when I told him I bought my son a sewing machine for Christmas. I asked him what was so wrong with my son knowing how to sew and he said, "It's wrong because he's supposed to get married and make his wife do it for him". I strongly disagree.
I raised my kids not to be helpless. That has nothing to do with gender.
Yes, men and women are very different. But, kids are kids and they learn the differences as they navigate through childhood.
I know some pretty manly men who can rock a pink button down shirt.
Just my opinion.
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M.S. answers from Washington DC on January 11, 2013
I agree with you that the gender neutral trend did get popular for a while. However I think most have really backed off of that in the last 5-10 years and do recognize now that there are inherent differences between boys and girls. At this point I think the folks that go a bit extreme with everything having to be gender neutral are just that... extreme.
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A.S. answers from Boca Raton on January 11, 2013
A woman who aspires to be a man is unambitious (forget who said that).
It's my belief that there are innate differences to men and women . . . however the differences fall on a wide continuum.
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T.S. answers from San Francisco on January 11, 2013
Sure boys and girls and men and women are different but we are more alike than not. Focusing on the small differences does nothing but pull us apart. The same thing could be said for different races and cultures.
I believe above all else in focusing on our common humanity.
However I am not in favor of perpetuating stereotypes. When I was in first grade (1976) we did a "what I want to be when I grow up" picture. I drew a police officer. My teacher told me, yes TOLD me, girls can be mommies or teachers or nurses but not police officers. Thank goodness I watched lots of Sesame Street and therefore I knew my teacher was wrong!
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B.. answers from Dallas on January 11, 2013
There is nothing wrong with "girls being girls, and boys being boys." Or acknowledging that men and woman are different. The problem is, well TELL children what boys are supposed to be, and what girls are supposed to be. From the moment they are born, they don't have a choice. Now, I do think MOST kids, tend to fall into the societal norms for their gender, with some blurred lines. (Meaning, they seem like a "typical" boy or girl, but like other gender toys...that sort of thing. Like a girl playing with a truck.) What about the kids who don't naturally fall into societal gender norms? That IS who they are, but society teaches them boys MUST be this way, and girls MUST be this way. So, instead of being who they are...they are not right, weird, etc.
There IS a problem with that. Unfortunately, people who adhere solely to these norms (maybe you, I don't know. I don't know you from Adam.) are the ones who typically make children who aren't "normal" feel this way.
If you think MOST boys like this type of things, and MOST girls like this...that's one thing. That's just an observation, not a judgement. If you actually think it's wrong or weird for girls and boys to like "other gender" things, then you are wrong. That mentality can damage people deeply.
I am very petite and feminine, and have a very guys way of thinking. I also would have rather played with trains, trucks, and swords when I was little. I can't imagine my parents forcing a barbie on me. People don't seem to have a problem with girls liking "boys" toys, but have a big problem with boys liking "girls toys. This mentality has created a stigma for stay at home dads. Or sensitive men. Or artists, poets, etc. Or, when a woman travels a lot for work instead of a man, they are a bad mom. We wouldn't bat an eyelash at the man traveling. Those are just some examples.
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P.W. answers from Dallas on January 11, 2013
I think you are somewhere in between. I think most people recognize that men and women (boys and girls) often think differently. However i think that in 1955 that was assumed and expected in certain ways. Today it is not assumed or expected. We give our children an open book to be whatever they desire to go for. There are less limitations.
A sexist would not only assume but expect a boy to like sports for example. Some boys don't like sports! A sexist would expect the woman in a relationship to be a stay at home mom. That it would be more important for the man to work. In todays world that is more open too.
You aren't a sexist if you think most boys prefer trucks over dolls. you are a sexist if you think it is wrong for a boy to prefer the doll.
just my thoughts.
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H.W. answers from Portland on January 11, 2013
You know, I think you are a bit confused. Sexist? I don't know... maybe?
I'm a humanist myself. Working with children, I have always ascribed to the idea that what we as adults must do is offer *access* to the same experiences to children, regardless of gender. Access means offering the same toys/experiences to a child without presuming that they will or won't enjoy it simply because of gender. As a preschool teacher, for me, this means that I do not routinely direct children to specific activities due to gender ("Suzy and Sally, why don't you play kitchen while Herbie and Saul, you can play cars and blocks). I have observed that, when given the opportunity to play with ramps, cars and blocks, girls will make equally interesting constructions as boys; and boys do like to join in playing 'restaurant' or 'house' too. I do also observe some 'tendencies' with some children regarding gender, too, and the activities they select. There is a lot of wiggle room and no absolutes with kids regarding gender and preferred activities.
I don't care what kids are wearing, really. If a boy wants to wear a barrette like big sister does, or a dress, or pigtails, I just allow it and let it go. To me, it's better than making them feel like there's something wrong with them for wanting to try it out. I mean, haven't you ever just wanted to 'try out' something for the experience? Do I buy my son (5) dresses? no. If he wants me to tie up some scarves around him so he and a friend can play at something at home, and it ends up looking like a dress? I could care less.
I don't think things are really to the gender-neutral extreme in which you are perceiving them. There are way too many femme women and girls to be "Pat" as there are very masculine-appearing boys and men. Part of my preschool curriculum included an ongoing project of "About Me", where we discussed things which we liked about ourselves and made us unique. You mentioned racism-- there's a great book by Katie Kissinger "All the Colors We Are" which discusses how parenting, ancestry (and where our ancestors came from in the world) and melanin and how those factors come together to give us each our own skin color. We liked to explore this with a mirror and paint chips, matching those to the colors of our skin, eyes, hair and lips, then writing down the lovely names on the paint chips or letting kids create their own name for 'the colors' they were.
I do think there are some people who are pretty far out there; the ones who refuse to even tell their kids which gender they are and who don't want their kids to be treated as either one or the other. Here's my thinking-- it is a human compulsion to sort and categorize; this is how we make sense of our world, and leaving a child flailing in ambiguity doesn't do them any favors. They just want to be *who* they individually are, and to be accepted for it. Some girls do want to dress like boys, primarily, I think, because they are more interested in what the boys do and play with them. (or they just like boy clothes) I've known very few boys who wanted to be girls, but the ones that did-- they did so because they had strongly bonded with girls, liked them, liked playing what they were playing and wanted to emulate them.
And with gender dysphoria, too, just telling a child to love and accept themselves isn't going to quite be a panacea to that issue if the child is completely unhappy being the gender they were born with. Some people choose to assert this early in life; others come to this conclusion as adults. I personally have no issue with transgendered individuals or transvestites.
And I think that loving ourselves for who we are also means accepting that some people believe *who they are* is someone who has been biologically given the wrong gender assignment.
It's so nuanced, not black and white. All we can really hope to do is to raise our kids feeling that they are accepted, that they have equal opportunities, and that they each have their own contribution to make in the world. Some things out there are a little sexist, that's true. That said, Dick and Jane aren't *all* bad any more than the "Little House on the Prairie" books should be chucked aside. There are very ascribed gender roles in those books, but we also see people of both genders rising to the occasion on a regular basis. Extremes of either angle (completely gender-biased or gender-neutral) aren't healthy; finding balance and treating ourselves as individuals is.
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L.F. answers from San Francisco on January 11, 2013
There is nothing wrong with agreeing that men and women are different. We are genetically wired to be different. I don't think that makes you sexist at all. If you were to say that Only men should be working and women should be pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen, then that could be seen as sexist. But recognizing that men and women ARE different, is not sexist.
The group of people who believe in keeping their kid's gender a secret and purposely letting them have no identity are a crazy group. In my opinion.
Children need to be able to identify with people like them-- That's why little girls play dress up in mom's clothes etc. Boys try on dad's ties or boots. I have no problem with boys playing with socially accepted "girl" toys. and vice versa. What I find is a problem is when people refuse to let their kids know if they are a boy or a girl or have a gender neutral identities. I think that is massively confusing.
But NO--you are not sexist~
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S.T. answers from New York on January 11, 2013
The generation that's now in their 20s are just out of college and public school and are less experienced in real life that the oldsters. Their knowlege about children is often from college professors and books written by highly educated people with no common sense.
We have tried, as a culture, to de-genderize children. Trucks for girls, dolls for boys, let the boys dress up, let the girls play with blocks. WE've done it all and have found out that boys will still turn a stalk of brocoli into a car or a weapon and girls will turn just about anything into a baby and will want o change it's clothing. My daughter wanted a rescue hero doll becuase her little boy-friend had one. She played with it for a short time - but because it didn't have clothes to change and couldn't possibly be turned into a baby she lost interest quickly. My son wanted a Barbie doll since his older sister played with them frequently and wouldn't let him "ruin" her Barbies. That Cristmas he got a Barbie. He put her in his truck and drove around the house - flew her around the living room a few times ("flew" like a missle). He never once changed her clothes or had her talk to any of his action heros. When my son had playdates they ran around the back yard with sticks or nerf guns / swords. They battled and hid and ran, etc. They would come inside to play video games. When my daughter had playdates they'd settle in to the finished basement with dolls and furniture props. They created doctor's office, classrooms, veterinarian clinics, etc. They'd care for kids, animals, grown-ups. Theuy changed clothing, move furniture around until it looked right, etc. No one ever told them what to do.
So, I am on your side of this issue - and I think most young parents discover this once theire little ones begin to show preferences as to what they want to play with and how. Shocking!
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J.W. answers from St. Louis on January 11, 2013
Lord this is a confusing question. I don't think it is an issue of sexism to say that males and females are in fact different. I also don't think the idea of gender neutral is to create a homogeneous generation.
In my mind gender neutral is don't prejudge that a girl will like pink or a boy will like trucks. Don't prejudge that girls hate mud as much as guys love it.
I almost feel like it is quite the opposite of what you are saying. It is a liberation from peer pressure including the pressure placed on you by your parents. You are free to be whoever you want to be, limited only by your self limitations.
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T.S. answers from San Francisco on January 11, 2013
I don't think you understand the word sexist. That means to discriminate against someone based on their sex, just like a racist discriminates against other races, all based on ignorance and stereotypes.
I'm not sure what else you're talking about (?) unless you're referring to that VERY small group of people who try to raise their kids "gender neutral." Those people are out there, on the fringe, but the media likes to print stories about them to get the public riled up (ie, talk show filler.) I don't pay attention to these kinds of sensational stories at all because it's NOT an accurate picture of reality. Don't buy into it.
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