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Getting a tiny bit feminist on the teacher's ass!

(365 Posts)

I didn't raise my voice. I didn't unshave my legs or anything.
It just so happened that DS and I bumped into his class teacher at the playground this afternoon and we had a pleasant chat; the teacher turns out to have DC of her own, of a similar age to DS. She mentioned something about girls being very different to boys. I very very gently said that this was in fact rubbish and suggested she read Delusions of Gender, and added that I thought every teacher should read it as a lot of the stuff about gender difference you hear these days was not only wrong but dangerous...

I'm going to be 'one of THOSE mothers' forever, aren't I?

monsterchild Tue 26-Feb-13 14:07:14

Exotic, i have also notice the desire here for dds rather than dss. I have a ds and I couldn't be happier! Will he be a tied to momma's apron stings sort of boy and drive his DW (if he's not gay) mad with his calling me and being close to his parents? I can only hope!

Also, the Legos for girls, while too pink for reality, do get girls building and playing and that's a good thing. My Dsd buildt one of the houses, and when we rebuilt it after it was destroyed by a gigantic monster cat, she suddenly realized she could make anything she wanted out of the blocks and the fun has just started. It's great to see her interested in creating and designing a home!

exoticfruits Fri 22-Feb-13 12:04:15

The news today says that the Lego range for girls has powered a 25% surge in global sales. They are struggling to keep up with demand, despite the fact they have doubled production. It points out that it has attracted criticism from feminists - but, quite honestly, if you were on the board of the company you would be mad to stop producing it!

exoticfruits Fri 22-Feb-13 09:17:27

Sorry iPad writes by itself! Money making not money asking!

exoticfruits Fri 22-Feb-13 07:56:53

They can't supply a 'need' unless people buy into it. Obviously they do.
If businesses see a money asking opportunity they take it. I don't know the answer.
Girls are the preferred sex on MN - never once have I seen a thread saying 'I am so disappointed, I wanted a boy and I got a girl' and yet you get lots who are disappointed with a boy. Lots of us with all boys can say how affectionate they are, how artistic, how well they concentrate, how loving they are as adults etc and I don't think that we do anything to convince them. I can only imagine that is because they want the whole 'girly' thing and imagine lovely little smocked dresses, long hair to style, ballet shoes instead of football boots, a little friend etc and above all they see an adult DD that they will see regularly and go out with, and if not they will be on the phone daily, and once the DD has a child themselves they will bond as one! I can't see any other reason. I have been told, by a woman of course, that it is sad that I am missing out, and will never know,the mother/DD relationship. Ironically she has a pretty rocky relationship with her own DD! There seem to be huge expectations on a DD.

slightlysoupstained Fri 22-Feb-13 07:34:53

exotic I think it's because marketers have realised that they can sell more by creating a "need", as CheerfulYank suggests if at least 50% of parents have to buy new for DC2 then more profits.

Tapping into stereotypes and supercharging them will get a stronger response than a more normal, realistic image.

exoticfruits Thu 21-Feb-13 19:18:16

Not very clear- I meant dressing up games were just adult old clothes that you were given.

exoticfruits Thu 21-Feb-13 19:17:24

Does anyone not think it rather strange that when I was young (and I am much older than the majority on here) girls and boys were separated e.g. girls did needlework, boys did woodwork and yet there wasn't all the pink merchandise? I don't recall ever having a pink dress, we dressed up in old adult clothes, wellies were black, my school shoes were black lace ups. I learnt to ride on a 'boy's' bike because that is what my grandfather happened to get hold of. (Incidentally why do we have bikes with and without crossbars these days when most women cycle in trousers?) No one would have suggested that girls needed different lego from boys.

CheerfulYank Thu 21-Feb-13 18:25:46

I meant yy, not yay!

CheerfulYank Thu 21-Feb-13 18:24:10

Yay to the genderizing of everything. Just another way to make a buck.

Used to be all children had red tricycles, yellow raincoats...but that's no good for companies as you can hand those things from brother to sister. Not enough consumption! Have to make pink flowered or blue dinosaurs on everything so that you have to buy them for each child.

And it's so arbitrary! Grasshoppers are for boys but ladybugs and butterflies for girls. Puppies for boys, kittens for girls.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 21-Feb-13 18:04:31

And yy to what mummytime mentioned about how her dd's behaviour would be more acceptable if she were a boy.
From the other side of it, quite often boys are allowed to get away with behaviour that they wouldn't if they were girls. Apparently they have trouble concentrating and sitting quietly.
Well ds can sit for hours drawing and reading comics. So can all his friends. It's a self fulfilling hypothesis, when teachers and parents use these maxims to teach/raise children.
It means that less is expected of boys in certain areas, and that girls are seen as prissy manipulative little madams, when if they were boys it would be written off as "high spirits"
We shouldn't spend our time hunting for differences. I mean, why bother?
All nt children at 6/7 should be able, and expected to, to sit still and listen at school. They should all spend time outdoors getting free play.
I'm sure we were all expected to be able to do those things as children.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 21-Feb-13 17:57:46

I read some of Raising Boys, and it made me ragey.
Everything in it applies to children. Letting them run around outside. Not using humiliation when punishing. Techniques to help them concentrate.
I couldn't see anything in it that didn't apply to kids in general.

mummytime Belgium Thu 21-Feb-13 13:37:21

Angel my children had that. DS head to toe in blue "what a pretty girl". Then DD1 head to toe in pink (and head band) "what a lovely boy".

Recently I fumed as I went to school for yet another discussion of my DDs behaviour, and it was intimated that if she was a boy some of it would be far more "understandable". She has also been called manipulative, which actually if you get to know her, is something she isn't really capable of but is maybe a value judgement as she is a girl.

Of course back in the 70s my boy cousins all had a doll, and pushed it in a pushchair, when my DS did the same in 2000 he was stared at as if it was odd.

larrygrylls Thu 21-Feb-13 13:27:55

I would try and steer my sons away from "girlie" toys but mainly because they are crap, rather than because they are made for girls. I think that if I had girls, I would also steer them away from a doll dressed in bright pink serving a 1970s style tea party. On the other hand, if I have offered them the choice and they choose a girls' toy, then they are welcom to it. When it comes to things like drinking cups, stacking toys or whatever, though, they get whatever is in front on the shelf, regardless of whether it is the the "boys'" or "girls'" version, the only difference being the colour.

All children are individuals but we all start from an idea of what a "typical" child is and then adapt if they are different. I can't see what is wrong with assuming one will have a typical boy, for instance, and then adapting if he is different from that. In the same way, I teach my sons that they will get married to a girl and have a family one day. Of course, as they get older, they will learn that there are exceptions to that rule and, if they show me they are one of them, I will adapt accordingly.

I must say that I have never seen a teacher trying to dissuade a girl or boy from playing with a toy because it is designed for the other sex. Of course, were that to happen, it would be wrong. On the other hand, observing, when out of the school setting, that boys are behaving like "typical boys" is not wrong at all.

persimmon Thu 21-Feb-13 13:01:22

..is also a significant minority..

persimmon Thu 21-Feb-13 13:00:09

I'm a teacher and there are marked, general differences between boys and girls.
But there are also a significant minority of startling exceptions to this every year.
Reading Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph has helped me (I hope) become a better teacher of boys.

Angelfootprints Thu 21-Feb-13 12:52:14

Well despite dd1 always in pink and even with pink on her pram (gasp, shocking) people still thought she was a boy.

Far more worrying grin

nickelbabe Thu 21-Feb-13 12:49:38

hmmm.
People are convinced that DD is a boy.
all the time.
she has almost no hair (can't do a lot about that!), but she wears clothes - sometimes boys', sometimes girls', sometimes neutral.
but because she's not swathed from head to toe in pink and dresses, everyone thinks she's a boy.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 21-Feb-13 12:25:33

Oh God, yes, the STUFF that is genderised (possibly not a word) now is unbelievable.
I don't know about some people on here still living in the 1970's, and I don't really remember them, but even in the 1980's there just wasn't this divide between stuff for boys and stuff for girls.
Wellies, for example. You wore yellow ones, or blue ones, whatever your parents got you. I don't remember there being "girls" wellies.
In a local toyshop I saw packets of word fridge magnets. They had Girls words and Boys words. I kid you not.
The girls words were things like "cupcakes" and "lovely". The boys words were "jumping" and "pirate".
And you can bet if I had tried to get ds the "girls" words (not that I would, since words are just words!) he would have reacted as though I was trying to poison him "no, mum! They're for girls".
All this crap we are supposed to buy two lots of-the pink stuff and the blue stuff, is having a direct effect on the way children see themselves, and the way society sees them.
Meanwhile, people make vast profits out of this division of everything (hot water bottles, gardening tools, bucket and spades, you name it) into girls or boys STUFF.
I agree exotic, in that I don't think parents should try and mould their kids either way. I would never try and force ds to play with dolls because I think he should. Of course, his action man is not a doll. Oh no. wink

My DS has long hair and people sometimes comment on it negatively. DS loves his rockstar locks and why shouldn't he? But oh no, complete strangers have felt entitled to ask me if I'm not worried that 'people will think he's a girl'. When I respond, so what if they do? I get all sorts of shock faces.

simplesusan Thu 21-Feb-13 10:03:04

Good point made about being socially acceptable for girls to wear what some would call boys clothes and have an interest in male things. Not as acceptable for a boy to like pink, play with dolls, cooking utensils etc. All ok when they are toddlers but once they hit school age the influences kick in.
I don't know any boys who wear a dress for example and wear hair decorations.
I have know boys with long hair and I have heard negative comments about it mainly from men.
In the supermarket yesterday when I noticed the same toy, one was blue and orange, one was pink with petals on it. Guess which one had a picture of a baby girl on the front and which one had a picture of a baby boy on?

I would imagine it is difficult for anyone to buy the pink one for a boy although logically all babies should able to play with either.

My dd1 dances and has a good friend who dances with her. He is a boy. at school he is regularly bullied for it, called gayboy and allsorts. My friend tells the boys, and yes it is mainly boys, to grow up. She sites Diversity as role models which usually shuts them up. Even so it takes courage to keep dancing when you face that prejudice on a regular basis.

exoticfruits Thu 21-Feb-13 10:01:49

My whole point is that you shouldn't have to fit in a narrow expectation-the parent shouldn't have any expectation at all! Too many parents have decided they are having a future doctor who will be a Christian -vegetarian-wait and see-you might produce an atheist farmer who breeds sheep for the table! And why does it matter if the DC is happy and doing as they wish?

exoticfruits Thu 21-Feb-13 09:57:20

I have lived my home life with mainly men-there are general characteristics that are completely alien to me! This is despite the fact that I was a 'girlish' girl, but I don't think that you could call my brothers or sons particularly 'boyish' boys. My mother had been what people call a 'tomboy'.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 21-Feb-13 09:45:11

I don't know exotic. In a way it seems like you are saying on the one hand that boys won't think about feeling etc, and girls will, and then also saying that actually there are always lots of exceptions to that.
In which case, maybe, the exceptions are so numerous and varied, that actually, the rule doesn't really apply anyway, because in the end people are all different, whatever their sex.
FWIW, when my dad dies, ds asked me a few times if I was sad and if I missed him. I know that is just one child, but that is my experience of little boys.
I do think that girls can be more socially confident with adults than boys at 5/6/7 but I don't know how much that is a function of what is expected of them.
At the end of the day, it shouldn't matter, as you say. I was a boy-ish girl. My brother is a girl-ish boy. No-one should be expected to fit into such a narrow expectation.

exoticfruits Thu 21-Feb-13 09:25:23

There are also always exceptions. It is like English spelling-we accept that there are exceptions to the rule and it is fine. We don't say that it is 'wrong', if it doesn't fit the rule and it should change, we just happily learn it and accept it as normal.
My ILs from my first marriage are a case in point-if I wanted to discuss anything emotional it would be with FIL because he was comfortable with it and on the same 'wave-length' -MIL is lovely but her emotions are a closed book.
There are certain characteristic that the majority of boys will have-none will have them all-and it is perfectly OK not to have any. The same with girls.
When you have your baby you have to be open minded-they may be on your 'wave-length' they may end up thinking entirely differently on absolutely everything-most are somewhere between. The relationship will be better if you accept them as themselves and don't feel the need to mould to what you happen to have wanted.

exoticfruits Thu 21-Feb-13 07:43:00

The difference is nothing to do with what they do- it is how they think(with exceptions)
A good example is when I was a widow. When they were 5/6yrs I knew far more boys than girls. Boys are just very accepting- x's father was dead was fine for most, I suppose the majority liked a reason. It was girls who questioned me and they always got on to ' were you very sad, did you cry?' (Of course many girls didn't question)
With my DS we had to talk about it- and we did a lot. My DS was a talkative child, he used to follow me around talking, when it was irritating I used to think 'make the most of it - he will stop as a teenager' - he didn't and he hasn't as an adult- he is a great communicator. We went into how he died, why he died, how it could have been prevented etc but never once did he ask how I felt. I would imagine that he would just take it as read. However, if his present girlfriend turns out to be long term, and I get to know her well, I would imagine that we would discuss it one day and it is far more likely to be along the lines of 'how was it for you, how did you cope as a young woman?

Just as an aside boys do like toilet humour as someone said earlier- and you only have to watch someone like Stephen Fry to realise that some never grow out of it!

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