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to be sad that my DD has now passed gender discrimination 101?

(407 Posts)
ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:02:44

My DD can now accurately pick out the boys and girls in her peer group (age 1-2). Presumably she has successfully identified that boys and girls are dressed differently/have their hair cut differently.

This is entirely due to adult imposed gender discrimination, as she a) isn't looking at them naked, b) can't possibly be detecting the very subtle actual differences in behaviour/appearance.

So lets hurry onto the next lesson:

Society expects girls and boys to behave differently and have different interests, strengths and weaknesses.

Before I could at least wonder if, when she saw in books that all the girls are doing different things to the boys, she might not realise which was which and specifically which group she was 'supposed' to be in. Now I know she will be learning exactly what is expected of her every time a tired old stereotype is rolled out.

SneezingwakestheJesus Thu 28-Mar-13 00:04:21

Haha! I do try to help grin

inde Thu 28-Mar-13 11:11:27

LRD One of the studies shown in the progamme was one that showed differences from birth. I know that Cordelia Fine has criticised the research but the researcher (Baron Cohen) replied saying he had put checks and controls in place to prevent bias. Baron Cohen has written over 250 peer reviewed papers although he is mostly reknowned for his work on autism. Baron Cohen also claims to have found differences in empathy in older children corresponding to testoterone levels measured at birth.
On the subject of employment they referred to a study that had been done to find out what young women's employment aspirations were. They found the results consistent no matter which country the person came from. In other words a girl from Saudi Arabia has (on average) similar employment aspirations to one in Norway in spite of the amount of effort that has gone into equal opportunities their.
Like you I am not a scientist and I will conceed that by cherry picking and distortion you can prove anything. On the other hand even an ex commisioner for equal opportunities that they interviewed conceded that efforts to get more females into "male" professions had failed.
Personally I am in favour of some positive discrimination. Certainly when it comes to things like getting more women into parliament. The Norwegian experience seems to suggest though that we need to be selective with where the money and effort goes. Interetingly one result of the debate that the programme provoked was that funding for the Nordic Gender Institute was withdrawn.

Mmm. I have to go with 'I know who I believe' here ... and I know of course that I want to believe Fine's side.

I think positive discrimination can be good, too.

I do find it interesting that in countries where ideas about which careers go with which gender differ from others, women don't seem to have any difficult aspiring to a career we think is 'masculine'. My dad works with engineers - over here in the UK that is a 'male' career, and engineers often have the brain traits Baron-Cohen identifies as 'male brain' traits. But there are plenty of women engineers in parts of Eastern Europe. Likewise, computer programming used to be seen as feminine and is now male-dominated.

I can't know, but I reckon the social issues are so obvious - and everyone agrees they have a big effect - so it's best to concentrate on them first. If we get to the perfect equal society and find women still prefer to be SAHMs or nurses and men prefer to go out to work, so be it. I sincerely doubt we would, but I also don't see why it needs to be an issue.

LadyFlumpalot Thu 28-Mar-13 16:18:21

My DS is mostly only interested in playing with cars and watching cars and planes on TV.

This could have a lot to do with me, being a petrol head who loves engines and being obsessed with mechanical things that go fast!

Weirdly enough (or not?) I'm also a very stereotypical girly girl and when I'm not covered in engine oil so wearing grubby dungarees I tend to be found in skirts and very impractical shoes.

Sparklyboots Thu 28-Mar-13 20:56:34

Well, there may or may not be 'innate' differences (but I was also convinced by the C Fine stuff, specially in the context that the differences were accounted for by smaller versus larger brains). But I sincerely doubt they relate to preferring pink, say, or liking skirts rather than trousers, if only because gender preferences in relation to those things is not stable across our own culture through all times, or all cultures at this time.

And if there are 'innate' differences, it hardly mitigates the fact that we've constructed social systems that value in literal and figurative terms, those seemingly 'preferred' by males. Which means however you look at it, I'm disadvantaged by my gender because of socially constructed value systems. And it's very annoying.

ICBINEG Fri 29-Mar-13 00:22:04

sparkly could I borrow your brain? I would like to be able to write posts like that!

I still bf dd and she's 15.5mo.
and I work full time. she comes to work with me.
I run my own business and look after the child.

that hasn't stood in my way.
working for an employer would.

when I was a child I was a typical "tomboy" but I usually wore dresses and skirts because I found trousers to be uncomfortable and impractical. they would rub and chafe against my bum and upper thighs. skirts always had a freedom to them. and they could be tucked into knickers if necessary. trousers just got in the way.
and yes, even for playing football riding bikes and climbing trees (the latter I spent most of my leisure time doing)
my mum painted a mural of the family depicted as rabbits. I was paibted wearing trousers where my sisters all had skirts. I didn't like that because it made me look like a boy rabbit and I wanted it to be obvious I was a girl. there were no other attributes that made the difference between male and frmale rabbits. mum had a skirt, dad had trousers.. my mym said she painted me that way because I was more tomboyish and she wanted to reflect my personality.
I was more interested in my sex being depicted. so she filled in the trousers to make a skirt. you could always see that it had been trousers made into a skirt. you could always tell that I was different.
it's not a problem to be different. I've made it my goal through my life to be what I want to be even if it means being different. but kids do care.
it's really strange thinking about that.

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