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PDilemma
01-31-2012, 04:13 PM
Here's the problem I have with this whole idea...people advocating gender neutral childhood or children making their own choices seem to be unable to accept that some children will choose toys, clothing, etc...that is typical of their biological sex. When that happens, the whole thing is a failure.

It is demonstrated in this thread. IceAlisa said that her son, no matter what he was offered, has always preferred to play with cars. And she was immediately told that he has been forced into a certain gender role based on his biological sex. I have a feeling that if she had said that he was offered cars and stuffed toys and chose to have tea parties with the stuffed toys, she would be lauded as a great gender-neutral parent.

Here's my question, could it possibly be that regardless of biological sex or gender roles or anything else, MiniIce is just wired to like mechanical things? And why does that have to be considered bad because he was born a boy?

Until we move past that, I can't get on board.

FigureSpins
01-31-2012, 04:27 PM
Saturday Night Live explored the realm of androgeny with the character of Pat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_(Saturday_Night_Live)

Not that SNL is a think tank or anything, but the character was definitely thought-provoking.

Southpaw
01-31-2012, 04:30 PM
Alls I know is that I don't ever want to see a gender-neutral tango.

MacMadame
01-31-2012, 04:42 PM
I have a boy and a girl and they are very different from each other. But not just because "boys are different from girls". In fact, in some of the ways they are different, it's not in traditional, gender-role ways. My son has always been pretty easy-going and easy to discipline while my daughter has always been a handful, for example. But she's also an extremely girlie-girl and she most certainly does NOT get that from me. Both of them are into theater and both are into geeky things like anime.

So I see a mixture in them of going with society's gender roles and being themselves.

BR, I think t he goal is to allows our kids to be a bit more themselves and not constrained by what society says girls and boys should be in a way that limits them, not to eliminate gender roles entirely. Though I don't see what purpose gender roles serve so I'm not against eliminating them. I just see that as a lot of work and not necessarily worth that work.

Southpaw
01-31-2012, 04:54 PM
So Zig, when you speak in Polish which gender do you choose for yourself - masculine, feminine or neuter?

mpal2
01-31-2012, 05:35 PM
Here's my question, could it possibly be that regardless of biological sex or gender roles or anything else, MiniIce is just wired to like mechanical things? And why does that have to be considered bad because he was born a boy?

Until we move past that, I can't get on board.

This is the problem I have with the whole thing about focusing on gender or gender neutral. Just ignore the whole thing. If you really want balanced happy kids the focus should be one what they are naturally inclined to like and encouraging them. I don't know that the hyper focus on being gender neutral will actually accomplish gender neutrality because it attaches a lot of importance to gender questions all by itself.

Dragonlady
01-31-2012, 05:47 PM
Ah the "I think I know it all just because I had children" of those who have children.


Hardly. I was very certain of what my children would and would not be allowed to do before I was a parent. After I became a parent, I realized that children are their own people who will not necessarily do what I want or expect them to do. Before I had children, I would say "No child of mine will ever . . . . " and after they were born I learned just how little I knew about being a parent. Things I was certain of then, I discovered are not certainties at all.

MacMadame
01-31-2012, 06:06 PM
I think the point is: hypothetical kids are easier to parent than real ones. ;)

mag
01-31-2012, 08:32 PM
I think the point is: hypothetical kids are easier to parent than real ones. ;)

Yes. They don't talk back, stay up too late, forget their homework, and they never ever leave the bathroom looking like a bomb hit it!

PeterG
02-01-2012, 02:34 AM
HOWEVER: Children can be very cruel, and I consider it my duty as a parent to make sure that when my guys are 12, they other kids can't google our family name, and find articles about how, as four year-olds, they liked to dress up as princesses.

I thought the parents of the children this thread is about feel that it is their duty to do their part to change the world so that people are less likely to google people with the hopes of finding someone to bully.


I found the gender fight back in the 70's when my kids were small. We gave them gender neutral toys. No guns, no Barbies or any kind were allowed in the house, lots of encouragement to play with whatever they wanted to play with. My son played with cars, not because he was given cars from an early age, but because that's what he wanted to play with. My daughter played with Barbies - she kept them at her great-grandmother's house.

People are born completely intelligent. The difference between children and adults is that children have less information and less experience. (Information is different than intelligence of course.) So children pick up on the things Ziggy mentioned: tone of voice, facial expression, body posture and withdrawal/absences when children have done "the wrong thing" (playing with "the wrong toy").

Your children were not only influenced by you. They were influenced by your husband, by your siblings, by his siblings, by your parents, by your husband's parents, both sets of grand-parents, friends, babysitters, siblings, teachers, people in your neighbourhood...the list goes on and on. Regardless of the great work you did in trying to let your children choose for themselves what they wanted for toys, many people played a part in determining for them what was (and what was not) acceptable.

TygerTyger
02-01-2012, 05:25 AM
I thought the parents of the children this thread is about feel that it is their duty to do their part to change the world so that people are less likely to google people with the hopes of finding someone to bully..

I'm sure they do believe this.
I also believe in doing my bit to minimize bullying, and promote understanding and tolerance.
But a parent must balance the greater good against their own child's happiness and well being.
For example: I would also like to see an end to poverty. In fact, I give to the United Nation's Children's Fund. But I put more money into my kid's college fund than I give to charity; because, at the end of the day, my son is going to go to college, even if your kid starves to death.

Anita18
02-01-2012, 08:25 AM
This is the problem I have with the whole thing about focusing on gender or gender neutral. Just ignore the whole thing. If you really want balanced happy kids the focus should be one what they are naturally inclined to like and encouraging them. I don't know that the hyper focus on being gender neutral will actually accomplish gender neutrality because it attaches a lot of importance to gender questions all by itself.
I agree with this. There are differences between genders in this society, and I don't have issues with differences. I DO have issues with how some things are automatically emphasized and others squashed because of gender differences.

I mean, I don't think one's self-worth depends on whether you're allowed to wear a dress or not. But when society is telling girls literally from infancy they need to be pretty to have any worth, there's a problem.

My friend just had twin girls and this issue has been concerning her more and more. She comes from a pretty old-fashioned family so there will be certain girly things that they'll be stuck doing (wearing a pantsuit to the debutante ball is NOT gonna fly), but she completely intends on emphasizing their abilities and interests instead of their looks.

TygerTyger
02-01-2012, 08:42 AM
I find it so frustrating that, even in the 18 month size, I cannot find clothing for my son that isn't covered in one of the following:
1. A logo for a sports franchise
2. A logo for a fictional sports franchise
3. Skulls (really? skulls? WTF?)
4. A licensed character
5. Depictions of some rigid gender stereotype

As a result nearly everything in my son's wardrobe has dogs on it. We have dogs, and that is my only attractive option.
Shit....

Japanfan
02-01-2012, 09:27 AM
This is the problem I have with the whole thing about focusing on gender or gender neutral. Just ignore the whole thing. If you really want balanced happy kids the focus should be one what they are naturally inclined to like and encouraging them. I don't know that the hyper focus on being gender neutral will actually accomplish gender neutrality because it attaches a lot of importance to gender questions all by itself.

You can't just ignore gender because it's everywhere and gender questions are treated as extremely important. If you seek gender neutrality, it will support kids in discovering what they are naturally included.

BlueRidge
02-01-2012, 11:58 AM
So is gender natural or is it socialized?