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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.

Sparklyboots Mon 25-Mar-13 14:39:18

I'm with the OP. Simply talking about 'societal norms' elides from view the fact that gender is THE most important social category goes hand in hand with the fact that gender is then used as a basis on which to disadvantage particular groups of people on the basis of the social category to which they are assigned. Toddlers don't need to know whether Ashley is a girl or a boy - it's actually immaterial to their social interactions. Unless, of course, you need to train them into self-segregation for the purposes of fitting into culturally constructed norms which grant advantage/ disadvantage....

Emilythornesbff Mon 25-Mar-13 14:40:20

Recognising the difference between girls and boys is not in the same ball park as homophobia IMO.

LackaDAISYcal Mon 25-Mar-13 14:40:48

I doubt she is able to tell purely because of what they are wearing.

Perhaps you should cnduct an experiment, dress a bunch of children in jeans, t-shirts and hide their hair with hats, then the saem children in dresses with long hair/wigs and see of she can identify male/female.

tbh, I bet she would even be able to tell apart the boys in dresses. My DS loves wearing dresses, but he looks like a bloke in a dress. His build and stance are very obviously male.

Boomtastic Mon 25-Mar-13 14:42:24

Don't worry OP, she will grow out of it. In 60 years time, mums will be posting on Mumsnet about the "stupid, old bag who called my baby daughter a lovely boy even though she was dressed head to toe in pink." grin

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:43:21

I just wanted the innocence to last a little longer....

I wonder how long it will be before she asks my why there are whole colours / clothing styles that are considered beneath the supreme beings that are boys but perfectly acceptable for mere girls.

Or that it is okay to a girl to be mistaken for a boy...but beyond humiliation for a boy to be mistaken for a girl...

Or that when joining a new badminton club (because the other one would let me, a mere girl, on the team even though I thrashed the men on the team), I was told that I wouldn't be able to play until 'another member of the fairer sex arrives'. Because the single most important aspect of picking people to play a club night badminton game is not as you might expect ability to play badminton, but in fact sex organs. Surprising...but apparently true.

<it's been a bad week for feminism>

MightTinge Mon 25-Mar-13 14:44:34

Arse, cannot find the study. It did happen though.

Not that the OP awknowledged my post anyway. grin

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 25-Mar-13 14:45:05

Feck the discriminations come in because boys don't wear skirts. And if they want to they're not allowed generally. And because of many other things....I let my DDs wear what they want....but some people don't...

LackaDAISYcal Mon 25-Mar-13 14:46:30

but surely...boys only get to ear shorts and trousers. Girls have shorts, trousers, dresses, skirts, so your "mere girsl have to wear..." doesn't really wash. Boys are getting the worst deal here, they are the ones whose dress sense is more rigidly governed by social norms.

FeckOffCup Mon 25-Mar-13 14:48:25

I'm in Scotland, boys do wear "skirts" here, my DH wore one when I married him wink.

MightTinge Mon 25-Mar-13 14:50:07

A way worse deal.
It SUCKS shopping for boys.

80% of the shop is girls clothes.

I went to buy socks for my son, 12 different types for girls. 2 for boys. TWO!! And no they hadnt run out, I asked, thats all they did shock.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 25-Mar-13 14:50:37

Daisy it's about boys being too special to wear skirts....girl;s can wear boys clothing but boys can't lower themselves to wear girl's can they?

scarletforya Mon 25-Mar-13 14:51:10

This is the kind of half-baked, clichéd shite that makes me want to buy pink frilly, glittery crap for my dd and shoot myself in the face with Homers slut gun.

<argh>

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 25-Mar-13 14:52:08

scarlet if you're going to post for a reaction, at least make sense.

Hasn't there been a study that shows that people can identify babies who are identically dressed as boys or girls? And that women/girls tend to be better at it than men/boys?

Or did I imagine that?

FeckOffCup Mon 25-Mar-13 14:53:40

I would say the clothing divide is closing in recent years in some ways, it's much more commonplace now to see boys wearing pink, leggings/skinny jeans and tights in cold weather than it was a few years ago, also for boys to have long hair.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:54:20

might sorry was too busy being sad about chocolate.

Babies are strange...and can tell alot by smell...I think they lose that skill...at least I am pretty sure I could no longer tell male from female by smell alone (assuming no branded deoderant usage anyway).

So anyway the point I would like to ramble in the general direction of is that:

Real difference = fine. If with all imposed gender cues neutralised (hair do's piercings, clothes) my DD could still tell then fine. So be it. Of course it will matter less when it is much harder to tell....adverts wouldn't be able to key you in instantly etc.

Imposed difference = not fine. Making our kids artificially seem more different from each other than they really are is ultimately going to make all the other gender imbalances worse. So why not just not do it? Will the world end if people can't instantly tell if it is a girl or a boy? I haven't found that to be the case...but then I have a girl and it is okay for a girl to be thought a boy....

Flobbadobs Mon 25-Mar-13 14:55:46

I see what you're saying BUT:
Children can pick up on other clues. A nursery worker seeing a group of boys being furtive in a corner or 2 girls not standing in line... "Boys what are you up to?" "Girls stand still please"
It is pretty likely that yes she's seen groups of boys being boisterous wearing blue or girls in the home corner wearing pink. It happens but that may not be all of it, as a nursery nurse I saw it happen many times. Only ever saw single sex self grouping going on in the older children though.
Even if your DD is closer to 1 than 2 they can pick up the different language used through stories and pictures in books, the examples I gave above, other ways you wouldn't think twice about in her day to day interactions at nursery. you can't automatically assume that it's purely through looks.
I have absolutely no idea if I think you're being U or not, it's an interesting topic of discussion though! grin
Btw, I have a lovely picture of me at about 2 yo wearing brown dungarees. I still have them somewhere...

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:56:12

freddie I would be very interested in reading that if it has been done! I would love to know exactly how much is imposed and how much intrinsic!

I guess I always assume it is imposed because most people think my DD is male simply because I don't dress her in pink.

But maybe she is unusual and actually looks like the wrong gender regardless...

Flobbadobs Mon 25-Mar-13 14:56:49

Should have said purely through looks or choice of clothing.

Pandemoniaa Mon 25-Mar-13 15:02:34

But maybe she is unusual and actually looks like the wrong gender regardless...

Interesting that you use the word "wrong" when what I think you mean is "different".

You do seem incredibly bothered about artificial differences though. Can you not see that it really isn't the worst thing in the world if a 2 year old girl likes a certain colour and that her liking of it may have nothing at all to do with gender stereotyping or artificial conditioning?

I saw a tv programme about it years and years ago - I will try to see if I can remember the name or maybe someone else can?

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 15:03:46

flobb see that is what worries me about all this...first you get pressured into dressing the same...which seems innocent enough...but then suddenly nursery workers are treating you differently...or pushing you towards different toys...then it seriously gets into limitations on aspirations.

Also I wonder if boys and girls would play more readily in gender mixed groups if they weren't already so heavily labelled as different by parents?

Even if a DS likes dressing in pink and playing with dolls, will the girls accept them? Or is Boy just to different?

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 15:05:47

pand male is the 'wrong' gender for my DD.

I would have no problem if all girls spontaneously preferred pink but we know that isn't the case.

Girls prefer pink because they are trained to.

k2togm1 Mon 25-Mar-13 15:06:32

Sorry cant read whole thread right now, just thought you may enjoy a book called pink brain blue brain (can't look up author right now). Very good, well researched, etc.

I think you are overthinking this parenting thing.

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