I Am a Sexist!

Updated on January 12, 2013
J.T. asks from Victoria, TX
46 answers

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how out of the norm I had fallen with my being a sexist until i saw a fb post on a childrens book from the 1970's. The "out of date" book posted images simular to a "Dick and Jane" style with the capiton " boys like to play with trucks" "girls like to play with dolls" of course some things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.

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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.

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answers from Redding on

I always thought of myself as being a bit old fashioned when it came to certain gender "roles". I love being a woman, I'm tiny, very feminine, I have friends who tease me and call me June Cleaver.

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.

Blue isn't only for boys and pink isn't only for girls.

I know some pretty manly men who can rock a pink button down shirt.

Just my opinion.

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answers from Washington DC on

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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answers from Boca Raton on

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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answers from San Francisco on

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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answers from Dallas on

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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answers from Dallas on

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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answers from Portland on

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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answers from San Francisco on

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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answers from St. Louis on

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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answers from Atlanta on

If you're on Facebook, I recommend you check out Pigtail Pals and Ballcap Buddies. It is a page about gender stereotypes in the media, and teaching your children to love who they are - withOUT telling them who they should be. The woman who runs that page has a very good grasp on defining feminine and masculine, and the problems facing our children. I don't agree with everything she says, but she gives insight. I haven't seen anyone trying to make their child into Pat. It's about giving your kids the freedom to be who they are - even if they don't fit into the stereotypes.

You see, the problem is not that we don't allow girls to be girls and boys to be boys. The problem is that we tell girls what it means to be girlie, and we tell boys what it means to be masculine. And if a boy, heaven forbid, doesn't like things that are traditionally masculine, he is teased and called a "girl," as though being a girl is some sort of insult. And girls apparently have to love pink and purple. I've been in the toy stores, it's been made very clear to me. But loving only pink can be very limiting in a world that is very colorful. This is a much deeper and more complex issue than "gender-neutralizing," but I think you're on the right track. It's about loving yourself, though, without limiting yourself by what our society considers to be feminine or masculine.

All the best.

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answers from Fargo on

I don't know what this question has to do with people loving themselves. Gender neutral became popular as an answer to the strict gender stereotypes that were enforced by our culture. We taught our girls that playing with trucks was bad because it wasn't feminine and we lived in fear of our boys being gay if they played with dolls or wanted to wear pink.

I agree with teaching our young ones to be confident in their own skin, but you have to realize that gender neutral isn't forced on kids, it's just now being embraced so that kids don't feel ashamed or broken because they like certain toys or a certain "look". My niece wore boys clothes for 3 years. I am SO glad that our family allowed her to be comfortable in her own skin.

I laughed when I saw the post below that said that girls inherently want to play with dolls and such. My 6 year old daughter has always hated dolls. A few months ago, she made a play "weapon" out of a bubble wand, a glow stick and some tape so she could fight aliens. *GASP* that's boy play! My daughter enjoys all kinds of play. She doesn't naturally shun "boy play" in favor of "girl play" and I am certainly not going to try to steer her to what *I* think she should be interested in playing.

I do think there are wonderful differences between men and women, but I think so many in our culture are missing the mark on what those differences are and how to deal with them.

Now, to your original question...... You don't *seem* sexist. What I read from your post is that you don't want gender neutral forced on kids and for them to be ashamed of their gender. That's a good thing! I want my kids to be proud of who they were made to be, too. :)

Added- when you say you don't like boys dressing like girls and girls dressing like boys- how do you personally define that? Many people still think that girls shouldn't wear pants or shorts. Do you feel the same?

My last edit, I promise! :) **** Even though the overwhelming response was that you weren't sexist, you seem to be proudly attaching the title to yourself. I am puzzled by that.

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answers from San Francisco on

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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answers from New York on

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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answers from San Francisco on

Do you not believe that your daughter could grow up and be a CEO, construction manager, or firefighter, or that your son could grow up and be an at-home dad, nurse, or teacher? It's not about thinking there's no difference between the sexes, it's about believing that we should all have the same opportunities regardless of gender. Kids, regardless of gender, should have the same chance to study language arts, math, science, etc. They should have the same opportunities to participate in sports (that are equally funded regardless of gender). They should make the same money for the same work, regardless of gender.

Nobody is saying there is no difference, only that the differences shouldn't impact life opportunities. If you believe otherwise, then you should really try to move into this century for the sake of your children!

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answers from Columbus on

I agree that boys and girls lean towards certain toys, but I think we're becoming more accepting of when they don't, and that's a good thing. My son loves trucks and dinosaurs and playing in the mud, but he also likes to play kitchen. I think a large part of that is because he sees Daddy cooking & doing dishes, so the kitchen isn't just a "girl thing." My daughter loves pink and wanted to be a princess for Halloween, but she also loves to play matchbox cars and dinosaurs with her brother, just like I did when I was little.

My problem is when they take a toy that should be gender neutral, like Legos, and try to separate it. I HATE the new "girly" Legos, as much as I HATE the limited choices for the "boy" Legos. When I was a kid, we all played with the same legos, and the Lego people were equally boys and girls. You could dress up the boys like a nurse and the girls like police officers, and we thought nothing of it. Why mess with a good thing?

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answers from Pittsburgh on

"Sexism" isn't about a truck vs. a doll.
(Or building an engine vs. being a nurse, or being the breadwinner va. Raising the kids)
It's about limiting access to either option for anyone who might like it one or the other.
Of course there are differences between males and females greater than their anatomy!
That's not what sexism is about at all.

ETA: Are you sure you're a female, because women are usually good at spelling? (THAT is a sexist remark!)

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answers from Dallas on

I think your assessment of yourself as a 'sexist' is inaccurate. You don't hate men (or women), so you aren't a sexist. In fact, I think you are a sort of feminist in that you find your own femininity empowering, and you want to instill that in your children. With that, I wholeheartedly agree. I think that there is an injustice in not teaching our daughters to embrace their femininity. There is so much power in it. I agree with you, boys should be boys and girls should be girls. They are made different and should embrace those differences.

That said, my younger daughter is a major tomboy. She plays with boys toys, no dolls, etc. She demands to shop for shoes in the boys section. She is obviously being exactly who she is, and I love her for exactly who she is. Who am I to push gender roles on a five-year-old who is being true to herself? My job is to make sure she is a successful human being, not to make sure that she is the embodiment of my own beliefs.

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answers from Phoenix on

The problem, as I see it, is when we teach children that our differences or similarities are BECAUSE of our gender (or race, ethnicity, whatever). That leads to categorizing items, action, preferences, roles as suitable for one group, let's stick with gender for the sake of argument, only. If boys like trucks because they are boys, then that means girls can't like trucks because they aren't boys. I firmly believe that children should be able to like what they like, regardless of gender. This is what I teach my children: colors, toys, sports, jobs, roles, actions, clothing etc. are for everyone. True, usually girls wear dresses, but sometimes boys do too and that's ok. The dress-up bin contains high heels, dresses, suit jackets, running shoes, hard hats, jewelry, things of all kinds and they are fair game for everyone. I teach them that we are all the same (we are all people who love and hurt, laugh and cry) and we are all different in our own special ways too (likes, dislikes, outward appearances). The similarities, besides penises and vaginas, have as little to do with us being boys or girls as they do with us having light skin or dark. When you subscribe to the belief that our similarities and differences are because of our gender, you seclude the child who doesn't conform to those set rules. A girl who doesn't like "girl things" like dolls or dresses and prefers "boy things" like trucks and sports is made to feel like a failure as a girl, instead of appreciated and embraced for being who she is and encouraged to seek out what makes her happy. Drawing the gender lines for our children can be at best limiting and at worst damaging to their self-esteem and psychological well-being if they find their likes fall outside those lines.

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answers from New York on

I think you're entitled to your opinion, but I disagree.

The majority of boys do gravitate toward boyish things. The majority of girls gravitate to girlish things. But a certain percentage of people don't. And in deviating from the norm, they are not doing any harm. If a boy plays dress-up, does that somehow hurt the boys nearby, who are playing football??? Same for a girl who plays football. However, it's incredibly harmful to them to force them to be someone they're not, or to imply that they're bad, or lesser in any way, if they deviate from the gender norms. And I mean, really harmful. The suicide rate for LGBT teens is astronomical compared to the general population.

The other thing is, I don't see any effort out there, anywhere, at all, to tell guys they can't be manly and girls they can't be feminine. All people are doing is telling people they don't HAVE to conform to these stereotypes. For people who do, life is still a whole lot easier.

Just to reiterate, telling people that they have to respect other people's differences doesn't mean telling people THEY have to be different. It just means telling people they have to respect others.

In general, I think we're not living in the best of times these days. We're destroying the planet, and every landscape on it. There's been a terrible trend of selfishness over the past 30+ years, and this is reflected in the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands, and in the corresponding lack of social mobility for everyone else. I think the trend toward mutual respect and understanding is one of the few wonderfully bright spots in our time.

This is just my opinion, though. I don't necessarily think I represent a majority, and I definitely don't think of myself as hip (my taste in music is pretty much frozen in 1994).

ETA: I do see the irony of the fact that we promote racial self-acceptance and yet openness regarding gender, but I don't think the solution is to force everyone into these little pink vs. blue gender boxes. For the people who happen to fit, they're fine, but no good comes of forcing gender conformity on people who don't.

ETA again. Are you sure you're sexist? I understand you aren't comfortable with the push away from a strictly gendered childhood, but do you really want to go back to the 1950s, when the only career option for a [white, middle-class] woman was Housewife? Do you want to go back to the 1750s, when women were men's property?

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answers from Appleton on

You are not sexist, boys are boys and girls are girls. As long as we allow our children to develop as the person they are meant to be it's all okay. Some boys are never into sports but love the arts and play with dolls. They can become nurses or artists. Some girls love to play sports or do yard work or fix things, nothing wrong with that. Women can become construction workers or truck drivesrs and still be feminine off the job.

I believe kids know who they are from birth. Just let them be who they are and they are fine.

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answers from Norfolk on

The problem with " boys like to play with trucks" and "girls like to play with dolls" is that not all boys like to play with trucks and not all girls like to play with dolls.
There are no absolutes here.
Gender roles and expectations are too rigid.
You can't just conveniently plop people into square holes and round holes because you invariably find an occasional triangle and THEN what do you do?
Persecute them? Ostracize them? Burn them at the stake?
The line of thought carried to it's illogical conclusion is if you don't fit into a particular classification - there must be something WRONG with you.
And it's just as bad to say that there's anything wrong boys who actually like to play with trucks and girls who actually like to play with dolls.
No matter how well you define what ever you know/experience - there will always be something/someone somewhere who falls outside of your definition.
Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination.
If you're comfortable with that, you're doing alright.

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answers from Seattle on

1) Sexism isn't the belief that men & women are different. Sexism is the belief that one sex should not be able to do the same things as the other. For example: Going to school, voting, working.

2) The vast majority of the things you mentioned as boys v girls are total cultural constructs. These are called 'gender markers' in an anthroplogical lingo... and they're totally arbitrary.
- Long hair is VERY masculine in some cultures (meanwhile women shave their heads).
- Colors? In some cultures women wear cool colors (like BLUE...the fluidity, grace, power, and life giving nature of water), while men wear warm colors (like PINKS, oranges, reds... To emulate the protective, dangerous, volatilility of fire
- Makeup? Historically men wore as much if not more makeup than women
- Jewelry? Again, historically men wore MORE jewelry than women (because they could support the heavier weights)

3) Most cultures have recognized 3 sexes, and 3-6 genders (while ours only recognizes 2). The 3 SEXES are Male, Female, and Mixed (sometimes hermaphroditic, sometimes castrated, sometimes sex change -yep, that's been around for thousands of years, we just have better surgeries these days). The 3-6 GENDERS have tondo with the gender roles a person is choosing to partake in (including marriage). And some cultures recognize more than 6 distinct genders... But here are the 6.
- Male,
- female,
- woman hearted man (straight/ gay/ bisexual man chooses to live in female role),
- man hearted woman (aka tomboy in out slang... Straight/bisexual/gay woman choosing to live in a mans role),
- gay man (choosing either male or female gender role)
- gay woman (choosing either male or female gender role)


There's more:

- In some cultures GRANDFATHERS are the "SAHM". And GRANDMOTHERS are the government/leaders... While young mothers and fathers pursue careers that will lead them to becoming good 'parents' for their grandchildren, and good leaders of their people.

- In some cultures VIRGINITY is the equivalent of being male, and In another (Albanian, I believe) a woman can choose to 'become' a man (head of household, soldier, etc.) by becoming a 'sworn virgin'.

- In some cultures (modern western), women are believed to be the "fairer" sex (more delicate, easily hurt, needs protection), while in other cultures women are believed to be the stronger sex (one example amongst many is the USSRs tendency to have all-female or mostly female special ops and assassination teams).

... The list goes on and on and on... But my thumb is getting tired & I'm on my phone :P

LOL... So what you actually mean is not that you're sexist... But that you're either ethnocentric (believing that only your own cultures gender roles are 'correct'), or xenophobic (next phase: believing all other cultures are wrong to the point of fear/anger/disgust).

All cultures (that I know of) recognize the difference between men & women, however.

Its just that all cultures vary in what genders are formally recognized AND what the gender roles & gender markers are!!!

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answers from Baton Rouge on

IMO, with the possible exception of bras and jock straps, there is no such thing as "boy stuff" and "girl stuff." There is just stuff and the kids who like it.

As for parenting, children need to be parented by people who make them feel loved, wanted, and secure. Everything else, including number of dangly bits, is negotiable.

ETA: I wasn't "created" by any deity to be some man's "helpmeet" nor would I have been effective as a full-time homemaker. I seek neither a man to complete me nor one who needs me to complete him. I am complete by myself and am not interested in being someone else's "missing piece."

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answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter is 10. She plays with her dolls still. She plays mommy. She dresses them and does there hair and puts them to bed for hours in her room.
My son is 8. Every chance he gets to slip into my daughters room to play army and attempt doll decapitation, he fearlessly takes and war ensues.
Boys will be boys and girls will be girls.

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answers from Santa Fe on

I think it just depends on the kid. A lot of girls love girly things and princesses and dresses. A lot of boys love trucks and guns and power ranger type play. But not all. Both my kids don't really fit the mold exactly. My daughter (who is 3) is really into dinosaurs and loves trains and construction trucks. She is not interested in princesses and girly clothes. She loves pretending she is a rattlesnake. (funny!) But she may change...who knows. She does love animals and is very nurturing. Her brother (who is 8) never was interested in all the "boy" toys like cars and dinosaurs, and he was very un-interested in rough boy play when he was a preschooler. He only wanted to play with the sensitive boys and the girls. He loved wearing princess dresses and he was obsessed with dancing and musical instruments. He has become more of a typical boy as he has gotten older but he's still a sensitive guy. So, I think you don't have to think so black and white in life. Some girls love girly things and some don't. Some boys love boy stuff and some don't. That is how I think. I sure don't fit the girly model! I hate super feminine clothes and make up and things like getting your nails done or high heels. I am a mountain biker, skier, rock climber and love camping and doing biology research. I'm very comfortable in polar fleece and running shoes! :) I agree strongly that each child should be taught they are wonderful and beautiful and amazing just the way they are. Those old books are funny bc they assume every boy likes only those things and every girl is sweet and feminine. Looking back on things like that crack me up. That's why I love the show Madmen...I love that "un-PC" stuff...too funny!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Differences exist because they are inherently there, not because we created them.

For example, boy play vs girl play, those differences have been trending probably since before time, as we all observe children gravitating toward the kind of play they are interested in and stimulated by. Society is not creating or imposing those preference. What society does create are the value judgements associated with those trends. The sexism comes in when we think one is better than the other, or that lines are not allowed to be crossed (you cant be a policeman, you can't play with dolls, yada yada).

It's those with the rigid views on the boundaries that come across as sexist. I think most of us recognize there are exceptions to the trends (girls who aren't into dolls at all, boys who don't do trucks) and not all kids fit perfectly into the majority of all gender-associated traits and preferences.

But yes differences exist because they are there. Not because our belief in them causes them. I don't think that makes someone sexist.

I agree with the moms who say as long as you let your little one be whohe/she wants without imposing all the value judgements on their prefernces, you are probably doing the right thing.

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answers from Muncie on

Personally, I think it's not so much treating all children gender natural, but taking a step back and watching what your child gravitates towards then encouraging them. I think the idea is just because you are born female doesn't mean you can't like playing in the mud.The idea is to encourage your child to be who they are and not to push them into a category they aren't comfortable with. Transgender individuals are putting the idea of "boy are boys and girls are girls" in a whole new light. Sometimes that's not how it is for a child and trying to make them be is disastrous. I mean parents of trangendared children are finding their children are really emotionally and behaviourally distressed due to being made to act their born gender.

I don't think you're sexist, maybe just a little behind the learning curve?

My daughter is a pretty pink princess in mud boots and a hand full of earthworms. Every child is different.

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answers from Houston on

What Angela S. said. I think that we just don't want the societal norms to force our children into boxes that limit them. My son is a boy, and I want him to be a boy, but I'm not a leading authority on what being a boy should look like for him. Whatever he is is what a boy is, because he is a boy. That word BOY has so much other stuff attached to it that it's been painted into a blue corner.

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answers from Omaha on

I can tell you I often feel I am a sexist. I still believe there are rolls for a man and a woman. However I do compromise on certain things.

I think I am just a Me-ist I think what I want and believe what I want.

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answers from Miami on

Being sexist is really about holding people down due to YOUR expectations of what they should be like and what they should or shouldn't be doing. Kids liking to play with things that this is detailing is not really about being sexist.

What you like is not about sexism.


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answers from Chattanooga on

I agree with you 100 %. I guess I am just not "modern". It seems to me that things have gone a little too far in the gender equality department.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I agree with you.
I whole-heartedly disagree with this newest cultural movement in our country to ensure we all believe that we are all the same.

Boys are NOT girls and girls are NOT boys.
Men ARE different than Women.

We are NOT equal.
I repeat: We are NOT equal!
*This is where the 'sexism' part comes in, regardless of all the differing opinions you have gotten thus far, it's just vocabulary, IMO...all the people 'schooling' you on what sexism really means...

We are NOT equal. This statement to 'those' people is sexism. The statement 'We are NOT equal' is also VERY accurate! We are NOT equal. We can not do the same things. It's just genetics and science people and there is NOTHING we can do about it. It is also perfectly OK with me that we are NOT equal...because I do not believe that that statement means that one is better than the other......but sadly some people are blinded by words and believe that that is exactly what it means, which is where the problem lies, IMO.

But like my husband always says---which I used to hate but now I see it is sadly true---People are basically stupid.

We need to embrace the fact that men and women are different and just get over it, deal with it and work with and play-to our separate strengths! If we put half as much of our energy into playing towards our strengths and embracing our differences instead of trying to make us all believe that we are all the same, which just is not true, we would be in far better shape all the way around!

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answers from Houston on

You're not alone. God created women to be men's helpmate - to take care of him and the children - He gave us innate qualities to do so and gave men the qualities to be the head of the household to protect and provide and the desire to do so. I think it's horrible that our society wants to strip a man of his maleness and make women "equal". We're just NOT - and I think it should be celebrated, not reworked. John Eldredge wrote a wonderful book entitled, Wild at Heart - says what I've thought for YEARS (and sounds like you do too). We're not alone!!! If you get a chance to read it - do - you'll enjoy it.

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answers from Washington DC on

Someone posted that our culture is trying to "de-genderize" children by giving boys dolls and girls trucks....

What's wrong is saying it's wrong not to like some prescribed list of things that your gender is "supposed" to like.

I think that rather than de-genderizing kids, much of culture -- especially toys -- is going exactly the opposite way: Pushing everything princessy, frilly and pink at girls, and bold-colored, loud and weapon-related at boys. Last night I just glanced down a toy aisle at a large store and it was solid pink in all shades and the toys were dolls or cutesy animals far removed from reality. The other aisle was blue and green and full of water cannons, Star Wars stuff and toy guns or toy soldiers. We can say all we want that either gender should shop on either aisle, but it's the parents who shop, not the kids, and you know where the parents of each gender are heading.

The genders are hard-wired in some ways, I agree! But the things shoved at us by toymakers, cartoon makers, etc. push the limits, defining Girl as Loves Neon Ponies and Boy as Loves Things That Shoot. It's pitiful. At least some things like Pixar's "Brave" and other media are getting away from it, but no one told toymakers.

My daughter is nearly 12. She has always loved ballet but hated frilliness and pink and prince-saves-princess stories. She also has always loved bow and arrow sets and swords and playing Robin Hood (and she isn't being some soft, sweet Maid Marian). She dances on pointe now in gorgeous satin shoes and then goes outside and plays swordfighting and she loves both. She's not super-girly and she's not a tomboy; she's an individual. I don't know how much it mattered that we somehow never got around to showing her princessy animated movies, or that she was watching every old Robin Hood movie since the time she was about five. I just know that I didn't particularly offer her either dolls or trucks and she turned out fine.

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answers from Augusta on

I agree with you.
There is a difference and it is awesome. I LIKE this difference.
We were designed to be partners. Fit together like puzzle pieces. Men and women balance each other, complement each other. That's why we are different.

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answers from Portland on

I actually understand what you are saying and I kind of agree. I guess maybe I am a sexist too. But not really. I think that kids male or female like certain things in general, and that you can try to change them if you want to, but in the end, they are who they are.

I thought a lot like the other people that boys should be given dolls and let them play with them. Girls should be dressed in pants and encouraged to do "boy" things. But, the I had kids.
I have a 3 year old little girl who hates to have her hands dirty for very long, but her favorite thing to do is to dig in the mud dressed in her Cinderella costume complete with crown and high heels. She got a sparkly tutu and a metal Tonka dumptruck for Christmas. She was in heaven!

I thought boys should pretty similar right? Boy and girl stuff kind of mixed together. I bought my son a baby doll when he was old enough to hold it, and introduced him to age appropriate gender neutral stuff. But, he likes Thomas the Train, climbing up stuff, and music. He likes orange and red, not pink or blue. He likes soft things not frilly things. Its very cool and neat to see how unique they are.

I think about the boy who wants to wear a skirt and so his dad wears one with him so that he doesn't feel "different" when he goes to elementary school. But, really, he IS different; boys don't usually wear skirts. I am not saying that ther is anything wrong with it, and good for that dad for helping his son have self-confidence, but they are breaking out of the traditional and normal roles that society expects. My biggest concern, is that in the real grown up world, people are expected to have certain skills and traits that define or make up a male or female. I am not saying that there isn't room for change and bending and hey, any woman who wants to be an industrial engineer should go for it. But, she should also know how to wear a skirt and heels so that she isn't limited by what others perceive her as. In the same token, boys need to know what it means to be male in society. I think he should know the basic rules of sports, even if he doesn't play, he should know how to be strong and take charge of a situation if needed, and how to work on cars. I know this sounds sexist, but I think society expects these things from a man and I want my son to be the most successful he can be. That means that I want him to be able to do what men have been expected to do for so long, and I also want him to be himself and follow his bliss. If he wants to be a drummer great, if he wants to be a women's fashion designer, super! I would prefer he didn't follow in Hugh Hefner's footsteps, but that's the mom in me coming out.

So, in short, no you are not alone in being a sexist. This is kind of funny, and my parents, especially my dad have a really hard time with my stance or feelings; I work full time while my manly and sensitive husband stays home with the kids. I make most of the decisions and handle the money. But, my husband can and does take control when I need him to for whatever reason. I gues maybe you and I are both unique to our day and and age. Neither one of us would fit into the 1950s of tv, but I think we might actually fit into the real world.

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answers from New York on

I agree with you. Call me sexist. God created men and women to be different. I'm not going to second guess God's work. God also established an order to things including genders. I'm happy that my husband and I are different people. He appreciates how I'm made and I appreciate how he's made. Different isn't always a bad thing.

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answers from Boston on

I don't think you have any idea what it means to be sexist, which negates about 90% of your post.

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answers from Atlanta on

Well, I do think that men and women are different - but not in some of the ways you do. Men can be great parents and caregivers. Women can be great leaders, mathematicians, scientists. My problem is not when children choose to dress or play with certain things, but when we say that they have to do something or can't do something else. Or when we assume that girls can't do math or men can't work with children. Things like that. Clothes are just clothes, styles change. I don't worry to much on that either.

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answers from Houston on

I am with you on this! We were created differently!!! Period. Like it or not that is how God made us!! We are trying so hard to please everyone and not leave anyone out and be gender neutral but you are spinning your wheels. We are not the same!!! God did make us different and that is okay!!

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answers from Beaumont on

There is actually a whole line of study based on what you are saying and you can even major in it in college.

There is scientific evidence that men and women are neurologically hard wired to be different. BUT it is currently popular to say that gender and race are socially constructed meaning that our society and the pressures it puts on children determine their differences. These people want gender and race to be socially constructed so that they can re-construct them and make them more politically correct or more in line with their thinking. This belief is not based on science but on ideology.
I personally think it is some of both.

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answers from College Station on

If you are sexist, than so am I and I don't care! Yes, there are some very fundamental differences in men and women. Beyond biology. Their physiology and psychology are all different.

What do these differences spell out for society- nothing, really. Women can do the same jobs as men, and vice versa. The inherent differences in men and women are not seen on the greater societal level, but on a more personal level, I believe.

But I really think, in this instance, sexist refers more to whether you thing only women should be nurses, school teachers, secretaries, etc and only men can be doctors, lawyers, construction workers, etc. And we all know that is not true.

Gender identity is very important in the development of the human being. I think sometimes, society loses sight of the fact that we are SUPPOSED to be different!

Rock on!

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answers from San Francisco on

I think olive colored skin is prettier than my white skin, but that doesn't mean I hate myself. You can not like something about your physical make-up; it doesn't mean that you have low self-esteem.

As for the rest of your post - very confusing. Not sure where you're going with it. Yes, boys and girls are different. Anyone raising a boy and a girl knows that they are inherently different in many ways, but also the same in many ways.

Again, not sure what the point of the post is.

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answers from Austin on

I think there are people who are always looking for what's not fair, so they look for ways to categorize people as sexist as a negative term like racist. You just have to look at what is going on in their lives.

I am one to look at the experiences of those around me and let those justify my beliefs or cause me to look into it more and then change my opinion. I love a good honest debate.

From my experience as a high school teacher (and my own upbringing), the kids that came from broken homes (and especially if there was a remarriage or new boyfriend/girlfriend) had a lot more pain in their lives. Most of those acted out in ways that were a challenge but I believe it was because they didn't know how to deal with the pain. So sad, especially when the parents thought their kid's behavior was caused by the school, teachers, or their friends and continued to put the blame elsewhere.

So do I believe the best situation is a mom and a dad? Yes, but I know that isn't politically correct.

Do I have a hard time with women in certain military positions and careers? Yes, because I know men who felt compromised because they have had to accommodate a woman who wasn't as fast/strong, etc. Oh no, another politically incorrect thing to state...

Is my husband the head of our household? Yes, and so is my son-in-law the head of his household. Is my daughter as happy and content as I am? Yes, because we married men who behave in a godly, biblical way toward us. Are we both able to give opinions, viewpoints, etc. even when we disagree? Yes, because we are valued in our roles. Yet I do all the finances because I have the gift for numbers and my husband is thrilled to not have to deal with it. I pray that my son is able to find a wife who also feels secure in her role and can enjoy being a wife that will use her talents in a supportive way with my son's.

Do I believe that being a SAHM is highly valued? Absolutely! I know people where the dad is the stay-at-home parent and it works okay. The kids are happy but each of the wives has issues with it. I will not go into that as I only have 3 sets of friends that have that arrangement and that is a small sample to make a general claim about. Do I want my grandkids to have their mom at home as they grow up? Yes, I will do whatever I have to do financially to make that happen. I want my grandkids to be raised by their momma. My daughter is the nurturing one in their marriage and I pray that my son finds a nurturing young woman to marry. Yes, I know - another politically incorrect comment. But I am looking at the best interests of the children - not what would make the adults happy. If they choose to have kids (it's up to them!), I want them to put aside their wishes when they conflict with what's best for the kids. Again, I have had too many kids from several high schools in several states (along with family and friends) to validate my opinion.

If you are a SAHM, I hope you feel like you have the most important (although difficult at times) job in the whole world! There are people like me that are cheering you on. If you have struggles, go to another SAHM and get some support, especially if you are struggling financially. There are many ways to save money and make it work. Too much out there is not a necessity when it comes to raising kids. Cable, Internet, a second car, a smart phone, eating out, prepared foods, new clothes, beauty salons, nail salons, etc. are not necessities when you really come down to it. I used to think cell phones were not a necessity until I tried to find a pay phone one time. A land line might now become my new "unnecessity." Anyway, none of these things makes life better for your kids. And if you ask the kids of parents who don't have the extras and teach their kids that they are still very blessed, they will tell you that they get it. Some may not accept it until they are adults as some kids are still too focused on what everyone else has. That thinking wasn't allowed in our house. We always talked about how much more we had so we could help those who had less.

Thanks for letting me air my opinion. You gave me lots to think about!

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answers from Kansas City on

i think the point, as some have said, is to let your kids play with what they want, wear what they want, and be who they want.

the thing is, which i feel is what you're saying - i didn't "give" my son his first truck until he was almost 2. he stumbled on it at my grandma's house - and he played with that thing for EVER, so she gave it to him. it was literally love at first sight and he has been all "boy" ever since. i didn't push it on him. it just came naturally. to admit that there are those tendencies isn't sexist. it's reality.

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answers from Stationed Overseas on

You are right, men/boys and girls/women are different, and have different preferences and tendencies overall. There is nothing sexist about recognizing this difference and celebrating it. It only becomes sexist if you insist that the differences you see are the only right way to be. For example, I hate skirts and make up, and I'm an awful cook. I don't hate being female, and I don't try to be a guy. But if you expect me to "dress my best" every time I go out, and cook a perfect dinner for my husband every night you've got something else coming. As a kid I'd rather play with Hotwheels than a princess dress up set. And I was allowed to, and was never told that was wrong, because it was just me. But at the same time, it's not like I was ever told that Barbies were bad to play with, or that I should like boy and girl things equally. My parents were more encouraging of "girly" stuff, but when I did something different on my own, they went with the flow and accepted it.

Next question: Ack! My Two Year Old Is Sexist!