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Japanfan
02-01-2012, 12:55 PM
Gender is constructed, sex is biological.

milanessa
02-01-2012, 02:33 PM
Gender is constructed, sex is biological.

That's much too simplistic.

BlueRidge
02-01-2012, 02:39 PM
Gender is constructed, sex is biological.

I don't think I understood your previous post then. What are kids discovering about themselves?

I lean towards this notion as you put it that gender is socially constructed, except I'm still not sure what gender is, honestly. If gender is created by social conditions, how would kids choose if they were given that latitude?

And if its socially constructed what causes some kids to be "gender variant" as one of the articles I posted named it. This is something I wonder about particularly because I was definitely one of those kids who would be considered gender variant.

genevieve
02-01-2012, 04:30 PM
That's much too simplistic.

it's a simplification, but it's true.

this morning a FB friend posted a photo on her wall that reminded me of this thread. There are 2 drawings - the first one says "Girls liking pink is not the problem" and shows a girl being asked if she wants the orange one, the pink on or the blue one, and she enthusiastically says "PINK!". Second shot says
"THIS IS" and the same girl is asked if she wants the rose one, the salmon one, or the fuschia one, and everything in the girl's room is already some shade of pink.

Again, a grand over-simplification (hey it's a FB meme), but I agree with it.

milanessa
02-01-2012, 04:35 PM
Again, a grand over-simplification (hey it's a FB meme), but I agree with it.

Okay. I thought BR was asking for deeper, thoughtful answers but if that's the truth I guess discussion is unnecessary.

BlueRidge
02-01-2012, 05:18 PM
Okay. I thought BR was asking for deeper, thoughtful answers but if that's the truth I guess discussion is unnecessary.

ooh feisty! that's our milanessa.

I think the gender/social construction, sex/biological is generally how liberal-oriented people see it. What I'm mulling and interested in hearing peoples thoughts on is what really is gender and how does it differ from biologically given characteristics.

Or something like that, as far as folks think about it, not looking for anything too academic. I just wonder how really does this all play out? Why are some girls girly girls and some not, why do we have masculine and feminine, if that's not about biology?

mag
02-01-2012, 05:37 PM
IMHO, we need to accept that some girls really do like dresses and pink better than blue and jeans, and some women really do want to stay home and raise their children themselves. This doesn't mean every woman needs to make these choices, just that it shouldn't been seen as BETTER to make non traditional choices. Right from the get go I was sure storm was a boy. If he was a girl there would have been no fuss and no story about him wanting long hair, wearing pink, and liking dresses. The parents may think they are providing a neutral environment, but the moment they went public they were giving storm positive reinforcement for his choices and encouraging them. They should feel free to encourage their child, after all, that is what parenting and socialization is all about, but they shouldn't kid themselves that they are being neutral. In fact, long before they went public they were not being neutral. People, and parents especially, are not neutral. These parents have a set of values and experiences that colour the way they view the world - just like very traditional parents do and every parent in-between. Throughout this whole thread there are examples and comments about how children are influence by parents, relatives, and society with respect to their gender. It has been stated a number of time that the influence is pervasive and even well meaning parents influence their kids. Well what makes these parents any different except that they are influencing with a different set of values?

agalisgv
02-01-2012, 07:38 PM
Gender is constructed, sex is biological.


it's a simplification, but it's true. Is it?

What is the biological definition of sex?

TygerTyger
02-01-2012, 07:54 PM
IMHO, we need to accept that some girls really do like dresses and pink better than blue and jeans, and some women really do want to stay home and raise their children themselves. This doesn't mean every woman needs to make these choices....

Makes you wonder: http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/12/9393412-working-moms-are-healthier-happier-study-finds

Are stay at home moms less happy because we allow the culture at large to make us feel guilty for juggling fewer balls? Or because, having decided to stay home, we think that we have to justify that decision by being "perfect" mothers? Or is being locked in the house with an infant just really exhausting?

ROFL at my working mom contacts who have hinted that, essentially, I am so "lucky" that my husband "lets" me stay home with our son. :yikes:

PrincessLeppard
02-01-2012, 07:57 PM
I think it's the isolation, at least judging from my two friends who tried it. They didn't make it very long...

MacMadame
02-01-2012, 09:09 PM
So is gender natural or is it socialized?
I think, the way we are defining it here, gender is socialized pretty much by definition. For example, men in the upper classes in England used to dress up a lot more back in the 1800s -- they wore jewelry, fussed about the cut of their jackets and how their boots were polished and this was seen as completely masculine. Guys who act that way now are called metrosexuals because society has redefined what it means to be masculine and that kind of behavior isn't any more. There is nothing biological about this.


I don't think I understood your previous post then. What are kids discovering about themselves?
What they really like vs. what society says they should like.


And if its socially constructed what causes some kids to be "gender variant" as one of the articles I posted named it. This is something I wonder about particularly because I was definitely one of those kids who would be considered gender variant.
What we consider to be feminine and masculine is socially constructed. We know this because not every society has the same views on what it means to be a man or a woman, whether you are looking at historical or geographical differences.

But individuals have their preferences and I think those are more innate though obviously society is going to have some sort of impact. I didn't read your articles (one of the downsides of reading FSU at work), but I suspect I am also gender variant.

Whether or not I was "born this way" or built up over time is not clear to me. I do know I have only sisters, no brothers, and that my dad wanted to have a boy and often did the "boy things" with me as my sisters weren't interested. Did I just naturally gravitate towards certain interests often labeled as boy activities or did my father's positive reinforcement lead me that way? Having little memory of my life before age 6, I really can't say.

I do know that the interests that I had that were considered more masculine were all about an interest in How Things Work more so than being interested in being the hunter of the Hunter/Gather construct. For example, I rarely played Cowboys and Indians (though I did) or sports. OTOH, I was always over the neighbors building things with Legos. (Which I personally consider a gender-neutral toy but a lot of people, including Lego, do not.) I didn't hunt or fish, but I did help my dad work on the car.

Now I'm a software engineer and I am always trying to analysis and optimize. I don't think that's necessarily either masculine or feminine but I work in a male-dominated profession and I play a male-dominated sport and my non-sport hobby (photography) is also male-dominated. So maybe it is "masculine" to approach the world the way I do.


why do we have masculine and feminine, if that's not about biology?
I think certain biological differences started it all. But that most of what gender is about goes way beyond that and also much of the biological differences have been neutralized in modern society due to machinery and medicine. Yet we still have these gender constructs so I think at this point, it's about society trying to preserve itself from change more than anything innately biological.


Is it?

What is the biological definition of sex?
Whether or not you have a Y chromosome and whether you have a vagina or a penis.


I think it's the isolation, at least judging from my two friends who tried it. They didn't make it very long...
Our society isn't set up to make being a SAHM emotionally rewarding for many IMO. It's not like we live in multi-generational household in close-knit communities where women engaging in care-taking hang out a lot together and teach other how to do it, pitch in when it gets to be too much for one person and socialize when it gets boring.

Though I do have neighbors who are SAHM and they are active in their church and that brings in more of a community as the SAHMs arrange play dates with each other, and girls night out and do a lot more socializing than my dh did when he was staying home with our kids.

agalisgv
02-01-2012, 10:17 PM
Whether or not you have a Y chromosome and whether you have a vagina or a penis. Wonder where that leaves Caster Semenya :shuffle:

PDilemma
02-01-2012, 10:36 PM
But individuals have their preferences and I think those are more innate though obviously society is going to have some sort of impact. I didn't read your articles (one of the downsides of reading FSU at work), but I suspect I am also gender variant.

Whether or not I was "born this way" or built up over time is not clear to me. I do know I have only sisters, no brothers, and that my dad wanted to have a boy and often did the "boy things" with me as my sisters weren't interested. Did I just naturally gravitate towards certain interests often labeled as boy activities or did my father's positive reinforcement lead me that way? Having little memory of my life before age 6, I really can't say.

I do know that the interests that I had that were considered more masculine were all about an interest in How Things Work more so than being interested in being the hunter of the Hunter/Gather construct. For example, I rarely played Cowboys and Indians (though I did) or sports. OTOH, I was always over the neighbors building things with Legos. (Which I personally consider a gender-neutral toy but a lot of people, including Lego, do not.) I didn't hunt or fish, but I did help my dad work on the car.



I played sports in the yard with my dad. My brother wouldn't. I played baseball, football and basketball with my dad. I went fishing. I learned to shoot a hunting rifle. I helped work on cars. I sorted sports cards with him.

And I am beyond a girly girl. And I already was a girly girl as a child. My parents didn't feel that there was some boundary where I couldn't play baseball with dad in the front yard with my baby dolls in the doll carriage on the steps to watch. I was allowed to be both or all or whatever you want to define it as.

As an adult, I can name the winner of every World Series since 1982 from memory. And I polish my nails for relaxation.

We need to stop constructing boundaries and forcing kids on one side of them. We don't have to deny or ignore their biological sex to do that.

mpal2
02-01-2012, 10:38 PM
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.

Ignore is too strong a word. A better use of words might be described as a failure to emphasize perhaps? I think of my grandfather in discussions like this. He was exposed to a lot of traditional female gender roles but it was never anything that was a big deal. It just was and as a result he was a very confident and comfortable man in a lot of traditional female gender roles.

My grandfather was the youngest of 8 kids. His sibling babysitters were female and the only other neighborhood kids his age were female. If he wasn't out playing with the girls he was helping my great-grandmother cook in the kitchen. As a result he played with dolls, tea parties and became an amazingly good cook. He never felt that anyone made a big deal about it or pressured him to be more of a boy. So I guess the question still remains on how much was genetic and how much was environment and nurturing. My answer to how a kid becomes comfortable/uncomfortable is how big or little a fuss the parents make about activities. They are inverse in my opinion. If we make a big deal out of gender roles (neutral or traditional) the child is more likely to be insecure in whatever activity they are engaged in or will even become more set and opinionated about their own gender role and perhaps less tolerant of others.

(OT but I still regret that he died before I was old enough to get interested in cooking. I still miss his homemade apple butter jam and I have never found an adequate substitute. :wuzrobbed Store bought apple butter sucks.)

My sisters have all married men who do a lot of the cooking and cleaning and I have often joked that I'm still single because I haven't found my house husband. So have we learned this kind of behavior and relationship by growing up with a grandfather comfortable with feminine roles or have we been encouraged to go with things that naturally interest us? I think it's a huge combination of both. I can't tell how much each factor influenced my life but I can tell you that it was never a big issue. Likes and dislikes were just what they were and it was never a big deal or discussion. Gender never had to be emphasized or de-emphasized.

BTW, my other side of the family had very definite gender roll enforcement so we really saw both sides of the issue growing up.

PDilemma
02-01-2012, 10:43 PM
So have we learned this kind of behavior and relationship by growing up with a grandfather comfortable with feminine roles or have we been encouraged to go with things that naturally interest us? I think it's a huge combination of both.

We're starting from behind when cooking and cleaning are defined as "feminine roles".

We don't have to ignore kids' biological sex to get rid of that mindset.

But humans love extremes....

I've found myself apologizing to my hyper-feminist friends lately because I like to cook. How dare I do that!! I'm setting back the movement one meal at a time.

And on the other side of the coin, I have evangelical Christian friends who think my marriage is doomed because my husband likes cleaning and does all the other housework.

:rolleyes: