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.

Oh don't be absurd. At what point do you think we should be able to identify the sexes? Or shouldn't we Christ, that would make picking up in nightclubs difficult. Or maybe we shouldn't care at all? How exciting it would be to get to the bedroom and be prepared for a surprise!

Your whole OP is so nonsensical that it's made me quite cross. Bugger this, I'm off to pick up my 5yo from school. She's wearing Hello Kitty wellies and has a Mike the Knight lunchbag. Sorry.

sydlexic Mon 25-Mar-13 14:07:40

When my DS was that age he saw Boy George and knew he was male, I was surprised. Widow twanky in Alladin, he knew was male, maybe there is something else that tells them.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:09:42

Oh my DD could tell for ages the difference between men and women. That's fine. Men and women ARE different.

But toddlers under the age of 2 aren't different. So why should she be able to differentiate?

Cookethenook Mon 25-Mar-13 14:10:12

Uhh, ok...

I would have thought that was actually quite an important life skill, being able to tell who is a boy and who is a girl? It's hardly discrimination. Your DD is pointing out facts.

I take it you don't dress like the sex you are then if you're so keen on avoiding 'adult imposed gender discrimination'? And neither does your partner? We'll just all walk about in hessian sacks and shave our heads shall we?

abbyfromoz Mon 25-Mar-13 14:11:38

.... This actually makes my head hurt...relax?

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:11:48

FFS I did say HER PEER GROUP in the op!

I have no problem with her differentiating men and women.

I have a problem with us artificially exagerating the difference between babies/toddlers of different sexes...apparently just for the purpose of making sure everyone knows their place.

Emilythornesbff Mon 25-Mar-13 14:14:22

Fear not.
The ability to identify gender difference in oneself (and in peers) is a normal developmental phase.
She's just perceptive.

Cookethenook Mon 25-Mar-13 14:15:08

Do you just refer to your DD as a 'child' then? Not a Girl or a boy?

MichaelaS Mon 25-Mar-13 14:15:22

Erm because they ARE different? Like people with different skin colours or people with different body shapes.

I think you are confusing a rampant passion against gender discrimination with trying to make the genders the same. There are inherent body differences between the genders. Face shape is (for the majority) a clue even in early infancy. There was some research I believe that found 1year old boys could identify other boys (girls took longer to do this).

Being a boy or a girl doesn't force you to conform to society's idea of appropriate play choices. It does mean you have either a willy or a womb. Different, not equal, neither better or worse than the other.

FeckOffCup Mon 25-Mar-13 14:17:37

Why do you have a problem with toddlers being able to be identified by gender and not older children or adults? You say there's no physical difference in under 2s but there isn't much physical difference in children until puberty, should they all dress gender neutrally until they are around ten in your opinion?

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:19:16

I will say it once more.

I do not have a problem with real difference between genders.

I do not therefore have a problem with my DD being able to tell the difference between adult men and adult women.

I do have a problem with imposed artificial difference.

I do therefore have a problem with her being able to tell apart toddlers by gender.

I'm not entirely sure she has worked if she is a girl or not. It helps that approximately 50% of people who interact with her assume she is a boy (on account of not wearing an exceptional amount of pink, I presume).

vladthedisorganised Mon 25-Mar-13 14:20:19

DD is particularly vehement in her insistence that random animals - like a bird in the garden or a dog trotting down the street - are male or female. 90% of the time I have no idea, but she's absolutely certain.
Of course with mallards or a particular sort of large dog, there's no question, but half the time I go with 'your guess is as good as mine'. Doesn't bother me.

I think this started at about 2 if I remember rightly; about the same time as she started seeing people as 'small/tall' and 'light haired/dark haired'. I think there's some developmental thing about categorisation which toddlers do.. less to do with gender awareness/ stereotyping and more to do with mentally grouping things into categories.

(for the record, I'm small, old and have dark hair with lots and LOTS of white bits in it, according to DD)

Pandemoniaa Mon 25-Mar-13 14:21:13

YABU. And rather ridiculous.

You seemed to have turned a quite normal phase in your DD's development into a ludicrously over-thought crisis. Why on earth should she not be able to tell the difference between boys and girls? My dgd is 2.3 She's been saying "Hello Boy/Girl" to other children of her age for some time. Despite the fact that in almost all circumstances, there has been little evidence of any artificially exaggerated gender differences amongst the children she meets.

pramdunce Mon 25-Mar-13 14:23:10

Are you that loon who tried to hide her child's gender from the world? Seriously, there's no problem here. Presumably your child wears gender neutral clothing? Bowl haircut? You may disagree, but I htink male and female faces are different even from a very early age. I can certainly tell the gender of most 1 year olds. Even ds, who has spent his first year being mistaken for a girl because of his long eyelashes is now quite ovbiously a boy. I couldn't tell you why, it's very subtle, but his face is unmistakably that of a boy.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:23:27


because in older children there must be an element of choice by the child (albeit heavily influenced by society).

For toddlers there is nothing but the expression of discrimination by the parents.

I saw a 1 yo at baby gym the other day, just on the verge of walking/climbing massively hindered by a huge frilly dress....others pulling hair out of their eyes. What the hell is wrong with a society that values being able to tell girl from boy over practicality of clothing/hair for play?

Emilythornesbff Mon 25-Mar-13 14:24:16

Sorry YAbu
As I explained above.
It's an important developmental stage.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:25:09

Nah I have done nothing to hide the gender of my child except give her clothes with no particular colour bias (there is as much pink as blue etc).

Maybe she just looks like a boy whatever the fuck that is supposed to mean.

FeckOffCup Mon 25-Mar-13 14:25:37

*I do have a problem with imposed artificial difference.

I do therefore have a problem with her being able to tell apart toddlers by gender*

You are going to have to find a way to live with that problem them or get over it because it's not going to change anytime soon, most people don't make a point of dressing their toddlers so that you can't tell their gender and it's really none of your business how other people dress their children anyway, if I want to dress my daughter in pink and dresses then that's not imposing gender stereotypes on her, that's just dressing her in clothes I have chosen (and she has helped me choose more recently) according to taste.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:25:53

emily yes and so is learning to mimic societies expectations of you.

Doesn't mean I have to like it.

My son has lovely long curly hair. His brothers favorite colour is purple.
I do think they discovered gender at the usual time in baby development. They are just opting to do what they like, and dress how they like.

raspberryroop Mon 25-Mar-13 14:27:57

Sudo intellectual twattery at its best.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:28:09

feck but anyone that would put a female toddler in a pink dress and wouldn't put a male toddler in the same dress is certainly guilty of discrimination.

They are treating their male and female children differently on the basis of no actual difference. That is the definition of discrimination.

Dresses/pink aren't physiologically incompatible with penises and all babies have the same preference for the colour red regardless of gender.

Dont be idiotic.

Pandemoniaa Mon 25-Mar-13 14:30:09

I saw a 1 yo at baby gym the other day, just on the verge of walking/climbing massively hindered by a huge frilly dress....others pulling hair out of their eyes. What the hell is wrong with a society that values being able to tell girl from boy over practicality of clothing/hair for play?

You seem to be having terrible problems confusing societal values with commonsense here. There will always be some parents who dress their children inappropriately for the activities they are doing. In this respect, you see just as many over-dressed baby boys as you do girls but I really don't think you can blame society for it. Nor assume there is some grim, global plot to ensure gender discrimination is hammered home from babyhood onwards.

DewDr0p Mon 25-Mar-13 14:30:45

Perhaps you should get some new books OP? hmm

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

I bet DD wouldn't be able to separate out the boys and girls from a photo taken in the 1970s.

Of course that led to massive confusion and a total inability to pull people of the right gender in night clubs...or something.

LackaDAISYcal Mon 25-Mar-13 14:31:00

I hardly think that being able to tell boys and girls apart is gender discrimination 101. I thought you were going to bemoan that fact that your eight yo wasn't allowed to join the football team or something, slightly more discriminatory. Not that your DD has reached a perfectly normal developmental milestone.

Of all the things to get your <non frilly> knickers in a twist about hmm

And for the record, behaving differently is as much about genetics as it is conditioning. True fact. Radio 4 said so yesterday.

Why dont you go down to Saudi, and launch a line of Pink Thobes to the fashion conscious men, while you are at it?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 25-Mar-13 14:31:49

OP you just need to keep encouraging her to be open minded. I have two DDs aged 8 and 5 who are very vociferous about equal rights for boys and girls.

DD2 came home outraged from her 1st nursery when a keyworker had tried to discourage a boy from dressing up in a princess frock.

I went to see the manager over this...and was told that the keyworker had been told never to stifle the children again...

I was able to report back to DD that her friend could now wear whatever he liked without being told off.

The boys mother has always allowed him free expression and he is rarely without his Strawberry Shortcake bag.

DD2 is just as outspoken and never lets anyone off with sexist remarks.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:32:11

pure what is idiotic specifically?

If your child wants to wear colour X and you say they are not allowed because of their gender, how is that not discrimination?

DreamingofSummer Mon 25-Mar-13 14:32:15

Yep - it's full moon again tonight

Emilythornesbff Mon 25-Mar-13 14:32:24

No you don't have to like it.

But I think your reaction shows that you don't really understand it, or the importance of appreciating social norms.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:33:53

What actually comes after 101? <doesn't understand the american system>

JuneChurch Mon 25-Mar-13 14:33:58

Of course you can tell the 1970s boys and girls apart hmm

lottieandmia Mon 25-Mar-13 14:35:01

I think this is silly. Even when babies are really young it's often clear whether they look like a boy or a girl, not taking into account clothing etc. Girls and boys are different from conception because of xx or xy.

Don't you think there are more important things to be sad about OP?

LackaDAISYcal Mon 25-Mar-13 14:35:11

that's because in the sevnties we were all dressed like boys in denim dungarees and t-shirts and looked like boys. Does that not say that girls were denied an identity as children? Is that not in itself a form of discrimination?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 25-Mar-13 14:35:15

Social norms be damned Emily! If we were all to follow those then we'd still be in bloody crinolines and gay people would be getting flogged!

MightTinge Mon 25-Mar-13 14:35:15

You're being rather OTT.

They did a study on a group of 12 month old babies, all dressed in white baby grows. The boy babies naturally grouped together and played, as did the girls

There was nothing there to tell the children what sex the others were, and yet they unconciously knew.

She was always going to find out...

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:35:18

social norms that keep people safe / make life bearable (eg. no killing, share toys) are good.

social norms that keep people in their place artificially by gender are not good.

I can be okay with the first and not the second surely?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 25-Mar-13 14:35:36

Tinge...who is "they"?

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:36:52

lottie happily I have the capacity to be sad about more than one thing at the same time!

So don't worry...all the important things to be sad about (lack of chocolate, wine, and biscuits) are still being taken care of.

LackaDAISYcal Mon 25-Mar-13 14:37:29

though in fact in one of my school photos even everyone in dungies and t shirts the girls were obviously girls and the boys obviously boys.

Pandemoniaa Mon 25-Mar-13 14:37:37

If your child wants to wear colour X and you say they are not allowed because of their gender, how is that not discrimination?

What I particularly dislike about your assumptions, OP is that they are precisely that, assumptions. Based on absolutely zero knowledge of the circumstances. You see a 2 year girl in pink and think "That poor child. She's now under the yoke of a patriarchal society's insistence on conforming to gender stereotype". The 2 year old girl is much more likely to be thinking "I like this T-shirt. I'm glad I chose it today".

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:37:53

june can you? really? I was looking at a school photo (non-uniform) from that era and I would say about 10% were readily identifiable by gender....

MightTinge Mon 25-Mar-13 14:38:05

I knew someone would ask. wink

They being the psychologists.

I'll try and track down the study so I can give you actual names if you like.

Emilythornesbff Mon 25-Mar-13 14:38:33

Btw, I think it's great that you let your dd chose / wear clothes from a more neutral "palate".
And you'll clearly be able to guide her in the ways of being a confident indidual which is great.
I hope I mange some of that with my dcs.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 14:38:34

The photo I was looking it was y1....might make a difference....

myfirstkitchen Mon 25-Mar-13 14:38:37

At 10?? Surely most kids can pick out who's a boy and who's a girl years before that? Even growing up watching the krankees?

FeckOffCup Mon 25-Mar-13 14:38:38

How is it disrciminating against my DD to put her in a skirt? She is wearing jeans today but it could just have easily been denim skirt and tights, she would be the same child and I wouldn't treat her any differently so where does discrimination come into it? You have a point about the frilly dresses for everyday wear not being practical but we only use them for special occasions not going to tumble tots/the park etc.

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.


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 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.

Sparklyboots Mon 25-Mar-13 15:09:00

*A way worse deal.
It SUCKS shopping for boys.

80% of the shop is girls clothes.*

YY - but it's easier to get a job, become an MP, have a career AND children, walk down the street without being hassled, have lower standards/ interest in personal grooming, walk out of family responsibilities, be valued for taking an interest in your own children, exploit others to realise your own gender identity, be listened to in a discussion, make a point without it being referred to your menstural/ biological status, get away with 'spirited' behaviour, get away with lower qualifications plus a million more that I CBA to name right now, if you are a boy.

I'd take the poorer choice of clothing TBH

SneezingwakestheJesus Mon 25-Mar-13 15:12:25

I get the impression that OP will just about EXPLODE if her dd ends up liking "girl" stuff. Some girls will be trained to like pink stuff by parents who only buy pink but some girls will genuinely choose pink when they are given the option. We all had the same clothes growing up (blues, pinks, reds, all sorts). I preferred white and bright orange clothes, my sister always chose the pink ones. Who trained her to do that? She just liked the colour.

Khaleese Mon 25-Mar-13 15:12:35

My god its a good thing.
My two year old couldn't work out if the tesco checkout lady was male or female.

He repeatedly asked it a man or a women, at the top of his voice for five minuets. ( to be fair i couldn't tell)

I was mortified, really mortified.

You need to chill OP. my son wears heels and requested sparkly shoes at clarks last week. No i didn't indulge him. He's free to wear them at home but not out. Don't make your child a target.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 15:14:19

OKay so I posted a picture...and yes she is wearing blue...but she does have a red coat also....

So looks like a boy?

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 15:15:27

My DD is just insistent that all women are 'mummies' can be 'men' or 'daddies'

I always think about TTC threads on here and worry about her yelling 'a mummy' at all women....

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 25-Mar-13 15:16:22

Khalese you speak like a coward. Don't make your child a target indeed. What a crock of shit.

My Dd has short hair and wears "Boys" stuff a lot. She's not a target.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 15:16:35

Liek I said she has been sorting adults for a while...but new this week was 'boy' and 'girl' mostly directed at kids under 3 at soft play.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 15:17:09

yuck. So you are actively repressing your childs personality?


Megatron Mon 25-Mar-13 15:19:09

My DD wears what she wants. She mostly wears her brothers old football gear with wellies because she wants to. I don't try to make her 'look' like either gender but no one has ever thought she was a boy as she seems to have a very 'girlie' face.

I don't think that a toddler knowing which of her peers is a boy or girl means much at all to be honest and certainly don't think it means there is a lack of innocence.

SneezingwakestheJesus Mon 25-Mar-13 15:19:24

Yeah, it's not the clothes that make her look like a boy. I would have thought that was a boy too had I not known because of her hair and her face. No clue why though but I think some children have boy faces and some have girls.

southbank Mon 25-Mar-13 15:20:17

Oh ffs op,you are talking complete rubbish!
Who trains their daughters to like pink?
I have 3rd old twins,girl and boy.
Neither have been trained to like stereotypical boy or girl colours,toys,programmes or clothes.
We have a mix of pink,blue whatever at home
And guess what,my daughter loves pink.because she is 3,because it's pretty to her,it's not an issue!
My son loves blue,wrestling,spiderman and trains.that's also his own preference.
Both of them dress up in princess dresses because it's fun,and it's not an issue.
Both of them want to wear my lipstick and perfume-they are 3,they like what they like.

catgirl1976 Mon 25-Mar-13 15:20:39

My head just exploded sad

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 15:22:18

southbank well what would you call dressing a child in nothing but pink for 2 years from birth?

How is that NOT training them to like pink?

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 15:23:21

Her hair just grew that way...all I did was chop the mullet off when it reached epic proportions....she just doesn't apparently what to properly grow hair on the top of her head.

Sparklyboots Mon 25-Mar-13 15:23:56

Who trains their daughters to like pink?

Nearly everyone they come into contact with. Those preferences are not freely-determined expressions of innate personality, and if you think they are... you might just be the least well read person I've come across today.

Megatron Mon 25-Mar-13 15:24:26

I'm sorry but I just don't think you can 'train' a child to like a particular colour. DD wore mostly yellow and green when she was tiny. Her favourite colour is now red.

Emilythornesbff Mon 25-Mar-13 15:24:28

You are correct.

Op, I think your daughter is likely to benefit fom your feminism
But differences are not a bad thing. (neccessarily)

ElegantSufficiency Mon 25-Mar-13 15:25:50

Op, how is being able to tell a boy from a girl a liss of innocence?

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 15:25:58

Do you people live in an alternative universe where fashion doesn't exist?

Suddenly every one just LOVES jeggings (or whatever). You do get that it isn't spontaneous but copying that makes this happen?

So as long as your DD knows she is a girl, and is exposed to lots and lots of media that tell her what girls look like then she is likely to come out matching the stereotype.

To say she made a free choice under these circumstances is...well....silly?

southbank Mon 25-Mar-13 15:26:23

Well if I dressed my daughter in pink its because I liked it,it is possible to like pink and not have this whole fecking issue of gender discrimination,stereotype or anything else.

i'm with you IC
i'm fed up with it.

i have no problem with a toddler knowing who is a boy or who is a girl (it helps with pronouns), but i don't want it to go into "boys do this, girls do this"

most adults can't tell if DD is a boy or a girl, she has very little hair and wears gender-neutral; shaped clothes most of the time.
what i mean is that she wears clothes that are practical for doing what babies/toddlers do.
there's no point putting tiny girls in dresses (or boys for that matter) because they really are very impractical most of the time.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 15:28:55

elegant because she will now be susceptible to all the advertising directed at girls (that emphasise love and flowers and friends and passive cutesyness over anything with action in it).

Before I could give her a mix of toys and let her get on with I will be in direct battle with <pauses dramatically> the whole universe to keep her mind open and all options available.

GinAndSlimlinePlease Mon 25-Mar-13 15:29:18

I don't see the problem. I like dresses. I like pink.

If I had a girl I would dress her in pink, and in other colours too. And in a dress.

I don't see the problem.

If there is a problem, it's that more men/boys don't wear pink dresses grin

OhDearieDearieMe Mon 25-Mar-13 15:29:26


I am sad for you OP. You must give yourself a proper banging non gender specific headache worrying about all this shite. As a matter of interest what would you be fretting about if you'd had a boy instead of a girl?

Megatron Mon 25-Mar-13 15:29:26

OP I don't think you're interested in talking through other's views on this, which may be more similar to yours than you think or may be completely different. It seems you just want to tell everyone that you are right and they are wrong. I'm out. Shame, as it's an interesting topic.

ElegantSufficiency Mon 25-Mar-13 15:30:09

I think u should save your energy for the real issues. and soon, they might not be theory, your own real dd will come home from school and quote some cool boy who was making disparaging remarks about girls. then u will have to roll up your sleeves and try and explain why that cool boy was wrong and not funny and why she shouldnt collude with the laughter. and that is presuming she will listen. she might walk off.
so i say save your energy for issues that might matter.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 15:30:20

south and does your OH also mostly wear pink? Does your DS like pink just as much? Or did you some how treat your kids differently...or <pauses dramatically again> discriminate between them?

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 15:32:02

magatron sorry if you thought I was ignoring your contribution...I can't answer everything at once....

Maybe some people are more or less susceptible to advertising, trends etc.

I personally have no engagement with fashion and work in an almost exclusively male environment....

GinAndSlimlinePlease Mon 25-Mar-13 15:32:36

I think you may be overreacting slightly <tilts head>. Are you feeling ok IC?

seriously, I would want any child of mine to be confident enough to play with what they want to play with. regardless of society's stereotypes. being able to differentiate between boys and girls really shouldn't change that?

hamdangle Mon 25-Mar-13 15:34:10

You are thinking waaaaay too much about this. Girls don't necessarily prefer pink because they're trained to. My mum never let me wear dresses or pink or have dolls and stopped me from being a bridesmaid when I was little. As a result all I wanted was pink and bows and pretty things and I still do! I always wear dresses and heels for work.

My DS1, on the other hand, wore a purple sparkly tutu EVERY single day in nursery. The nursery nurses kept trying to coax him into a batman outfit but he wouldn't have it so they took it off him every day before I got there! I turned up early one day and saw him. They were apologetic till I pointed out that he wore fairy wings every night at home anyway. It made me feel so sad to think that they had been so worried about it or thought that I would even care.

He only ever played with dolls too and I don't think I ever bought him a car. I don't think he would have known what to do with it!

Sparklyboots Mon 25-Mar-13 15:35:58

I think you may be overreacting slightly <tilts head>. Are you feeling ok IC?

Tres patronising

seriously, I would want any child of mine to be confident enough to play with what they want to play with. regardless of society's stereotypes

Tres burying-your-head-in-the-sand-about-the-power-of-society's-stereotypes

catgirl1976 Mon 25-Mar-13 15:37:45

DS has long curly hair and is wearing red and white stripey trousers and and red top

I think, if we were out and about, people would know he was a boy because

a) I refer to him by his name, which is Tristan and unusual for girls and
b) I refer to him by "he" and "him"

I doubt they could tell by looking at him, but the names of children and how they are refered to by those around them "he, her, she, him" etc tends to be a bit of a give away

Maybe your DD is picking up on names and language rather than appearances / clothing given most children are dressed pretty gender neutrally IME

Unless we move towards gender neutral names and gender neutral language I think your DD might be able to tell them apart whatever they are wearing.

ElegantSufficiency Mon 25-Mar-13 15:38:03

Come back to me when your dd is 11. i have informed my dc alobg the way of marketing and how it makes everything seem better than it is. ive told my dc that because they are healthy sporty and active they will look every bit as good goung in to pennys and creating their own look with the same money that would buy 1 holluster hoodie.
ive always taljed down the products my dc has wanted and talked up lego and meccano.
i feel u r going to get a huge shock tho. both at the piwer of advertising and your dc not accepting your way of seeing things. u will have a blank canvas on your hands if she doesnt turn round and rebel.
my own dd loves painting her nails and putting pink stripes in her hair. temporary tattooos. i just think u r cruising for a few big shocks.

JacqueslePeacock Mon 25-Mar-13 15:38:11

ICBINEG, I always find your posts on here interesting. I looked at the photo of your DD and wouldn't have had a clue if she was a boy or a girl (perfectly fine at age 1-2, I should say!) I especially find what you say about her now knowing the difference between her clothed male and female peers interesting - not least because a lot of the stuff I have read on gender differences and whether they are innate or not focuses on children of this sort of age, and uses their liking for trucks vs dolls etc as a sign that it must be innate. I think we vastly underestimate the amount of socialisation that our children have been through at this age, and that until we can test newborn babies for this kind of thing we will really struggle to be able to say anything useful from that kind of study. (And even for newborn babies, I have read that we talk to our foetuses differently in utero depending on what we think their sex will be!)

kim147 Mon 25-Mar-13 15:40:20

It's quite interesting listening to the gender clues children use. Just saying.

goldenlula Mon 25-Mar-13 15:41:10

It is odd isn't it, op you are concerned with the fact your dd at a young age can differentiate between male and female, while my ds2 at 4.6 years is still being seen by SALT, with one of the reasons being because he doesn't differentiate between male and female (as I said that is just one of the reasons).
My dd rarely wears clothes that are solely pink, she has a rainbow of colours, infact it is quite possible that ds1 has more pink in his wardrobe! Ds1 has always preferred pink, until about a week ago (aged 7.5) when he confided in me that he thinks he prefers red now, but that he will still wear pink as it is a shade of red!
Ds1 was always being mistaken for a girl as a young child. It didn't really bother me, just found it odd that the reason given was his curly hair, as if curly hair is only to be found on a girl! Dd does where a lot of dresses though, bu they do not restrict her in any way at all.

goldenlula Mon 25-Mar-13 15:41:34

Where???? Wear obviously!

ElegantSufficiency Mon 25-Mar-13 15:44:08

But. the nail varnish i can handle. what is important is that she doesnt prioritise looks over study, that she feels entitled in a world of entitled men to march to the beat of her own drum, that she never dums down to win male approval, that she doesnt go through life needing male approval, that she likes herself, and can draw a LINE between what she wants and what others (inc society) may want from her.

alk of this stuff is so much trickier. putting a toddler in a blue coat is easy. that's y i dobt mean to patronise u. when yoyr dd is older u will see new things to focus on. you will have a varying amount of control over them.

Timetoask Mon 25-Mar-13 15:46:04


This is hysterical. You are talking like this is new ffs. All that has changed is fashion. Even bloody cave dwellers wore their animal skins differently depending on sex.

AngiBolen Mon 25-Mar-13 15:46:56

You can train your DD to like pink? Really? How can I do it....I would really like a pink room in my house, and 7yo DD isn't playing ball. (She does however want a One Direction bedroom. I'm not sure what that says about society)

9yo DD loves his pink jumper very, very much though. smile

OP, from the picture you have posted, your DD does look like a boy. I too looked like a boy when I was that age. <<shrugs>>

My DS often chose to wear dresses as a toddler. He was especially fond of a white one with little strawberries on which DGMa had made for slightly older DD.
It was nice he gave it a new lease of life ! I guess having an older DSis may have been an influence.

I think it's a shame that society seems somewhat obsessed with making sure boys and girls are put in the right boxes - play with the right toys, and wear the right colour clothes etc.

So, yes, I think Mothercare etc. have gone too far in one direction with their pink and blue clothes departments, but possibly OP has gone too far in the other. I would be pleased if my toddler was able to say which of her friends were girls and which boys, just like I'd be pleased if she'd noticed the difference between cats and dogs, or cars and trains - or like my DD at just a bit older than OP's, could tell you the names of all her dinosaurs !

GirlOutNumbered Mon 25-Mar-13 15:50:27


clippityclop Mon 25-Mar-13 15:51:24

Gawd. I've read most of this and have a headache... As I type one dd is happily watching Scooby Doo which her best friend has just announced is" just for boys, but OK really" and other dd is busy with the pink felt tip pens. Friend's son was here earlier having a lovely time prancing about in one of my dds old ballroom dresses and has now gone to his football training. Like your dd they are all themselves, all wonderful for who they are, it's what they do that's important and not what they look like, we're all on a spectrum of masculine/feminine, all unique. I wonder of your daughter is your first child?

WorraLiberty Mon 25-Mar-13 15:52:56

OP, why ask if you're BU if you're so very sure that you're not?

It's just waste of everyone's time surely?

And imo YABVU for over thinking this spectacularly.

I hope you don't end up projecting your own issues onto your DD.

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 25-Mar-13 15:52:58

Oh ffs is this ALL u have to worry about?

somewhereaclockisticking Mon 25-Mar-13 15:54:20

there are times when I can't tell and this leads to a very awkward moment when I don't wish to make a fool of myself or insult that person - and then immediately opt for the wrong gender and want the floor to swallow me up.

southbank Mon 25-Mar-13 15:55:47

No op my dp doesn't mostly wear pink,he doesn't mostly wear any particular colour.
I don't mostly wear pink,I like it but I don't just wear it.
My favourite colour is green,what does that say about me?
My dd wears a mix of colours,but just to wind you up even more I actually used to deliberately dress her in pink when she had no hair as I used to be so pissed off with people saying how lovely to have 2 boys,she's a girl so I wanted people to address her as such.

Shesparkles Mon 25-Mar-13 15:56:02

When my ds was a baby, if I had dressed him in very feminine clothes, he'd have looked like a boy wearing girls clothing.
Boys and girls as babies are physically different. In general, boys tend to have a bigger head, bigger hands etc than girls. Hats why they follow different growth and development charts.

Whether you like it or not, humans are PROGRAMMED to tell the difference between the sexes from a very young age, just as your child is doing, it's called BIOLOGY, and no amount of hand wringing over trying to make males a d female the same, is ever going to change that.

catgirl - that's great in theory.

I often call DD by her name, which is Eleanor, so obviously a girl's name, I refer to her as "she" and "her" and even sometimes say "come, on then, madam!"
and still people say "oh, he blahblahblahblah" or "look at him" or "he's got a lovely smile" and "what a cute little boy" and "isn't he just a typical boy!"
etc etc.

precisely because she's wearing practical clothes and has very short hair.
(actually, I had it even when she was dressed head to toe in pink once, so confused )

LegArmpits Mon 25-Mar-13 15:56:36


clippityclop Mon 25-Mar-13 15:57:14

Ha, that's what I meant really Wishwasanheiress!

somewhereaclockisticking Mon 25-Mar-13 15:57:33

Just be annoyed when your dd goes to pre-school/school and is told that she shouldn't be wearing/liking that because it's for boys only - all my girls have been told at pre-school age by boys that they shouldn't be wearing blue and hey presto - they refuse to wear it because it's a boy's colour (just after I'd bought a beautiful sparkly coat) I then spent ages convincing dd3 that it's ok to dress in blue because Cinderella does.

tomverlaine Mon 25-Mar-13 15:57:44

I don't know if DS knows the difference between boys and girls of his own age- he's never said anything - I know he plays with mainly two boys but i don't think thats because they are boys per se but because they like playing with the same things-cars/trains etc- which I think is nature rather than nurture. DS has had the gender neutral toys and the generally deemed "girl" toys such as dolls /kitchens etc but just isn't interested.
Dress is difficult with boys as to be honest the most practical clothes are gender neutral (eg trousers that any gender could wear)-I would be open to buy him pink/sparkly things if he expressed an interest but he hasn't he does have pink drink containers etc (they were cheap) and I think at times people have checked his gender.
I want him to be open to all options regardless of gender - eg not to dismiss something because its girly - but I think it is easier if you have a son rather than a daughter to be more casual about it as you are not as concerned maybe about the impact of gender discrimmination.

But I think you need to pick your battles - it doesn't matter if your DD can distinguish which of her friends are boys/girls but she should not make her choice of playmates based on this

wishiwasanheiress - no, it doesn't mean that it's all she's got to worry about.

If posters would refrain from saying that, I would be grateful.
just because she's moaning about one thing doesn't mean that she hasn't got a million worries in her head.

blackcurrantjan Mon 25-Mar-13 15:59:22

OP I understand your concerns but I'm sure its just a natural stage in development. I was almost three when my DB was born and I remember watching my DM change him and asking what 'that' was. My DM said it was his willie and I asked did I have a willie when I was a baby, thinking it must be something only a baby had, to which my DM said 'No only boys have willies. This must have shocked me as it's one of my earliest memories. grin My point is that I was aware he was a boy before this I just didn't know why and my parents would not have gone in for stereotyping. I think toddlers probably just pick up the differences from hearing people refer to other children as him/her, son/daughter etc or as someone else said earlier, they start catagorizing at this age.

Flobbadobs Mon 25-Mar-13 16:00:24

School run done thank god, it's wild out there!
ICBNEG the good news is that nursery workers aren't allowed to perpetuate gender stereotypes. It just shouldn't happen whether regarding the toys a child plays with or in their interactions with the children. A child should be free to play with anything regardless of gender.
Having thought about this on the way to school I think you're on a hiding to nothing if you are expecting the whole of society to change it's attitude towards this though, it's up to individuals to look at the way they raise their own children and their own expectations wrt gender.
Fwiw though, I do agree with you.

Hulababy Mon 25-Mar-13 16:01:01

I grew up in the early 70s - you can definitely tell the girls and boys in all my class pictures, even very early ones. It is not true that all children wore generic clothes and had generic hair styles. In most photos the little girls still have longer hair tied up, often in a ribbon. There are many skirts around. Pink didn't appear much i grant you - but the clothes were very often distinguishable. Even where they wear trousers and dungarees it is is still very obvious.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 25-Mar-13 16:02:29

I saw a picture of my playgroup recently from 1973 when we were all about 2/3 and you could easily tell the girls from the boys. So it was no different then. It is very natrual as a parent to dress your child to enable him or her to fit in. I would not dress DS2 in a dress and grow his hair just so that noone could guess his true gender. Now if he wanted to do that himself at a later date that would be fine, but I wouldn't do it to him

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 25-Mar-13 16:03:00

x posted Hula!

pigletmania Mon 25-Mar-13 16:04:51

Gosh I should be worried as my 14 month old cannot discriminate between te genders, apparently at this age tey should be eating with cutlery and a bowl confused

SoupDreggon Mon 25-Mar-13 16:05:36

How on earth is the fact that a 2 year old can tell boys/girls apart discrimination? confused

Unless it's because all the girls are made to sit out whilst the boys do stuff.

southbank Mon 25-Mar-13 16:05:39

And btw no my son isn't as bothered about pink,not because he's discriminated against-which I really can't beleive you actually dared to suggest!
My children are treated differently because they are different people,different needs,different preferences all through free choice.
Our house is harmonious and we don't have the clearly quite stressful concern that our children are being force fed stereotyped shit that will someday affect their confidence,place in society,treatment of the opposite sex.
I also just went out to buy some Easter eggs for them,you would probably think I have chosen them based on sex however I know my son will just love his spiderman egg and my daughter will love her Minnie mouse egg.there really is no deeper issue for them.

SoupDreggon Mon 25-Mar-13 16:07:05

I agree with Hula - I grew up in the 70s and girls didn't wear pink. It was still obvious who were girls though (and I was a tomboy with older brothers!)

Robinredboobs Mon 25-Mar-13 16:07:24

I don't know if it's entirely true. I was watching a tv programme while my 2.5 year old was pottering around, on screen was an amazingly beautiful woman in full make up and a long satin gown. DD said, that's a man! I said no love, it's a woman. She insisted and got in a huff. Programme moved on and turned out the lady was in fact a transgender man..

She also clearly identifies little girls wearing "boyish" clothes or with short hair. I think that age group take no notice of clothes but study faces very carefully.

AngiBolen Mon 25-Mar-13 16:10:08

I think the bowl head haircut in the '70's had a lot to do with boys and girls looking similar.

catgirl1976 Mon 25-Mar-13 16:11:44

Was that hairstyle mandatory? grin

I know I had it smile

southbank Mon 25-Mar-13 16:17:36

Lol Angi that could have been my school photo-I also had the obligatory haircut!

LackaDAISYcal Mon 25-Mar-13 16:18:18

I think your DD looks like a boy because I think you are maybe trying a little bit too hard to not make her look like a girl and that makes me feel a little bit sad for her. And there will probably come a point when she wonders why you dressed her this way and she may even feel a little bit resentful of you for it.

By all means don't encourage the pink-out, but don't try and deny her her gender and the identity that comes with it, whether you like it or not.

stressyBessy22 Mon 25-Mar-13 16:20:22

girls have different faces to boys.I bet I could tell the sex of most 1and 2 yr old children based on just a face shot.

Hulababy Mon 25-Mar-13 16:24:23

AngiBolan - I reckon on that photo there are 9 girls and 8 boys.

SigmundFraude Mon 25-Mar-13 16:26:02

I think that the biggest problem your DD is going to face will be you questioning and analyzing every choice she makes.

So glad my Mum wasn't a feminist.

Hulababy Mon 25-Mar-13 16:26:58

Both me and my brother had the haircut too smile

stressyBessy22 Mon 25-Mar-13 16:28:14

why do you want your Dc to be some gender-neutral weirdo being.You are going to screw your child up royally if you continue this way.
This is the society your child is going to grow up in , she is going to be very unhappy if she doesn't conform with even its most basic conventions

squeakytoy Mon 25-Mar-13 16:33:23

Words almost fail me with the absurdity of the OP.

She is a little girl. You sound as though you are doing everything possible to force and push your own agenda of feminism onto the poor child. I get the impression that you actually want people to see your child and assume she is a boy, just to prove your bizarre point.

Floggingmolly Mon 25-Mar-13 16:33:31

You've dressed her in blue and given her a crew cut...
You've fallen into the trap of trying so hard not to fall into one camp that you've gone too far and fallen into the other. No, she doesn't look gender neutral, she looks like a boy.
Why is that preferable to her looking like a girl (which she is)?????

i don't understand why some of you are dead set against feminism.

remember that you've made these comments when you vote, or go out on your own, or make a purchase without your husband's permission, or get a job where you earn the same as the man doing the same job, or go on maternity leave etc etc.

feminism starts at making sure that children know they are equal in stature.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 16:36:25

I HAVE NOT GIVEN HER A CREW very dare you.

As I said earlier...I de mulleted her and that is it.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 16:37:45

a mullet-ectomy if you like....

KirstyoffEastenders Mon 25-Mar-13 16:40:02

floggingmolly what do girls look like?

Ah, she is lovely Icbineg smile

NewBlueShoes Mon 25-Mar-13 16:57:28

A few points...
Lots of boys have long hair at the moment.
At nurseries all children will have the same access to all toys but its very interesting watching how they play differently with them.
Shouldn't you be on Dadsnet so as not to uphold the stereotype?!!!!!

LastTangoInDevonshire Mon 25-Mar-13 17:02:04

I thought that experiments had shown that even children as young as a few months old can tell the difference in the sexes?

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 17:04:43

Small girls can tell, like everyone else, whether it is a girl or a boy- despite parents trying to disguise it- they are not silly.

QueenBee245 Mon 25-Mar-13 17:05:18

I agree that there is a lot of gender stereotyping especially with the likes of mothercare
However As lots of parents on this thread have highlighted children choose their clothes a lot of the time
So YABU to expect other girls to not pick pink clothes or boys to not pick blue etc
And YABU to expect your views and opinions to be an important factor when parents make decisions for THEIR children
Not everyone is as educated on topics like this as some of us may be.

I also agree with other posters about young children not relying on clothing/hair to differentiate between genders: DS age 3 chooses to wear a lot of red and blue and rarely picks his pink or yellow t shirts, he has longish curly hair, he is referred to as a 'she' by adults a lot of the time but he's never been referred to as a she or a girl by any of his peers.

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 17:05:39

I think that people under estimate children- they are not blank sheets to imprint whatever you like.

thebody Mon 25-Mar-13 17:06:48

You need a hobby.

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 17:07:33

Exactly QueenBee- adults may be fooled by a boy with long blonde curls but another child won't be.

RandallPinkFloyd Mon 25-Mar-13 17:14:30

I think I sort of understand what you're trying to say.

The only bit I'm not understanding is why you don't think she knows what sex she is. As in biologically. If, as you say, she is able to differentiate between other people's gender why is she unaware of her own? Has she never ever been referred to as a girl?

I haven't looked at the photo but are you perhaps trying so hard not to dress her as a girl that you've ended up dressing her as a boy? I don't know you so it's purely my thoughts in what you've written about your daughter constantly being mistaken for a girl. Only when my DS was a baby I'd say it was about 50/50 with strangers guessing.

I also picked up that you say you know nothing of fashion and link that to working in a male dominated environment. Surely that wouldn't make you any less aware of fashion, just perhaps less aware of female fashion in the workplace. You must still see people in the street, so you must still be at least aware of current fashions on a very basic level, regardless of how much it interests you.

I get the impression that you are happy for your DD to look like a boy but wouldn't like it if she looked like a girl. I'm sure that's not the case in reality but that's the way it comes across in writing iyswim.

I think I'd worry about that having the opposite effect on your daughter than you want it to have.

I think you make some very valid points but I do think you are perhaps over thinking this one issue.

MamaBear17 Mon 25-Mar-13 17:26:01

My DD understands which of her peers are girls and which are boys. She is 20 months. She will call her little friend Oliver 'a good boy' and tell me that 'Abigayle is a big girl'. She lives in trousers, wears all kinds of different colours - her favourite colours are orange and purple. She isn't making the distinction that pink = girl and blue =boy. She is just learning that Oliver is a boy and Abigayle is a girl. When the children at nursery do something well she hears them praised as such with a 'good girl' or 'good boy' comment from the staff. I too think you are reading too much into it. Your daughter is simply clever, and has picked up on which children are referred to as girls and which are referred to as boys.

thebody Mon 25-Mar-13 17:28:28

Trouble is though kids grow and have their own ideas,and a nasty habit of activky trying to piss you off.

Your dd may become very girly ax a reaction to your influence.

That's what makes parenting fun and real though and not serious abc academic.

Mumsyblouse Mon 25-Mar-13 17:42:18

I agree the gender sterotyping and colour coding is worse in the Uk than in continental Europe where it is more normal for children to wear trousers and a t-shirt, there's far less 'princess pink' and 'Thomas the Tank engine blue' out there.

Having said that, I was that 1970's child with the bowl hair-cut and the brown cord dungarees. My parents deliberately dressed me in gender neutral clothes. Unfortunately this just made me feel like a plain version of all the pretty blonde pink-dressed girls I saw at parties. Now I dress in a very overtly feminine way (make-up, heels) on a daily basis.

Be careful you don't make a big thing about it. Being a girl is not a bad thing.

ll31 Mon 25-Mar-13 17:45:28

Op, how did you become a feminist in this g ender discriminatory world? did you perhaps use your brain and think? I suggest you relax and realise that you can fight ' universe' all you like but your dd will in time make up her own mind.

TheCraicDealer Mon 25-Mar-13 17:51:48

Being a girl is not a bad thing.

Which is precisely why I worship at the altars of L'Oreal and Topshop, amongst others [sarcasm]

Ok, so she might not need to know who's a boy and who's a girl at the moment, but there was probably some time in the long, distant past where it might've been quite handy to know if the adult you're approaching is likely to feed you or ignore you. Some of the defining features of gender (such as men having longer middle fingers, different face shapes, etc.) are there from babyhood. They're not 100% reliable, but to most there's an innate knowledge as to what the gender of the person in front of you is. Especially if the person is a peer and you can compare to the face in the mirror.

That type of evolutionary trait is not likely to be "bred out" or disappear within a few generations.

I'm sorry, I honestly can't get my mind around half these posts, but based on the OP ... does no-one else think it's really interesting how a child that small can tell, given there aren't necessarily visible physical differences?

I guess this is one of those where everyone who has kids has got bored of this stuff, but to me it's amazing they can tell.

Also ... FFS, 'discrimination' means 'telling the difference'. It starts with identifying the difference. The OP's child has started being able to tell a difference between two groups ... eventually, she will work out that the rest of society has an unpleasant attitude to her group, and that difference will become significant.

I don't get why that's particularly OTT to have a mildly sad moment over?

moogy1a Mon 25-Mar-13 18:09:40

you know, I was just wondering last night what happened to the nutter who was raising her kid as "gender neutral" ....

RandallPinkFloyd Mon 25-Mar-13 18:09:40

Worded the way you've worded it LRD it's not OTT at all.

The way the OP worded it did sound OTT, perhaps it's as simple as two people expressing the same views but in a different way. Or perhaps it's the same opinion but different extremes.

I don't know, but your post makes me react very differently to the OP's. That's the way with the written word I suppose.

scarletforya Mon 25-Mar-13 18:10:04

I thought that experiments had shown that even children as young as a few months old can tell the difference in the sexes?

Exactly LastTangoInDevonshire but let's not let science stand in the way of a juicy conspiracy theory! wink

I think that people under estimate children- they are not blank sheets to imprint whatever you like.

The whole idea of the human brain being a Tabula rasa is well out of date as any first year Psychology student knows. People are born with innate tools for understanding/analysing the world around them and other people, they're not just empty vessels into which 'society' pours it's prescribed expectations and agenda.

randall - yeah, I know ... I wondered if that was what the OP was getting at, and then she got all caught up?

But like I say, I honestly can't get my mind around the rest of the posts and didn't read every one, so maybe I am wrong.

I just find it so fascinating that a child that age can do something as subtle as recognising what must be cues like what colour clothes (but that doesn't always hold), length of hair, pronouns etc. ...

It does seem sad that all of that happens and yet for lots of people, the later stages are so much sadder.

But you may be right that isn't what the OP meant at all.

But society doesn't only have an unpleasant attitude to the female sex LRD ?

It's a mixed picture. Other girls will identify her as a potential friend for starters.
Not that boys can't be friends too - but I know by nursery my DD was already beginning to have closer friendships with other girls.
How much parents and teachers encouraged this I'm not sure.

But I don't think the growing awareness we are female is all negative is it ?

Looking back on my childhood I think to me it meant I was someone like Mummy and Granny and my teachers, with all the rich mixture of characteristics they had.

Journey Mon 25-Mar-13 18:15:42

I can't help but think that people who go on about gender stereotyping contradict themselves. If a girl plays with something pink they view it negatively. If a girl plays with something blue then this is great. Why don't people like this just let their dcs play with whatever they like and stop classifying everything. Surprise surprise some girls like playing with traditionally viewed girl toys with the same applying for boys.

Pigsmummy Mon 25-Mar-13 18:16:34

YABU and even more so for wasting everyone's time asking the question when you are so convinced that you are not, I suspect that your DD might hate the family photo albums when's she is older.

juggling - no, of course society doesn't just have an unpleasant attitude towards girls. And of course being a girl isn't all negative.

I guess I just read it thinking ... here is a baby who has learned to do something. And it's amazing and you think wow, aren't our minds fascinating?

But then you think about, maybe, when you were 6 and you realized someone thought boys were the ones who got to play football and you didn't - or your little son realized that boys who played with dolls would be called names.

Obviously there would also be good times - lots of them - but lots of those moments where you recognize a difference between one gender and the other, you're doing it because you're realizing that society treats the two genders differently, and that can hurt.

Maybe I am reading this totally wrong, I don't know ...

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 18:21:45

I don't think it amazing they can tell. I do think it sad that people don't think that children can work it out - they pick up all sorts of subtle cues.
My friend's DS, at 8yrs old had big blue eyes, long blonde hair that he wore in a pony tail and liked to wear a white shirt, with a red tartan kilt. All children just knew he was a boy. (Adults got it wrong)
He is now 18yrs old and has a very nice girlfriend. People talk such nonsense - he chose to look like that when he was 8yrs because he liked it.
So many people think children are so dim and that parents can engineer what they like.

I would think she'll love looking back at everything she got up to and how cute she looked when she was little just like most of us do. My DD was looking at pictures the other day and said "you know that place we went to .... well, I didn't realise I was so small when we went there. I look tiny !"
I doubt she'll be so superficial to care about the clothes she wore or her haircut at 2 !

But, exotic, they are very subtle cues, right? I mean, there is no physical difference other than genitals, which they wouldn't get to see ... not all parents do the pink/blue thing, and even names aren't that reliable. How is it not amazing?

TheCraicDealer Mon 25-Mar-13 18:29:21

I would think she'll love looking back at everything she got up to and how cute she looked when she was little just like most of us do......I doubt she'll be so superficial to care about the clothes she wore or her haircut at 2

Are you really sure about that?

Btw, I thought most people who went on about gender stereotyping did do what you say people should, juggling. Seems logical to me, but I'm only seeing what people do/say they do!

RandallPinkFloyd Mon 25-Mar-13 18:30:11

Kids are pretty amazing. They suss out way more about people than just their gender wink

I think all the stages can seem sad if you look at them in a certain way. The loss of innocence at each level always seems such a shame. But that's life isn't it, sadly we all grow up. The innocence of youth is fleeting.

I think you have to turn it round and make sure you don't miss the positives in every stage too. There's nothing sadder than someone who spends their time pining for the innocent child they had and misses the interesting child they have iyswim.

I also worry about getting the balance between sharing our beliefs, experiences and knowledge, and letting them make choices for themselves. As much as we want to protect our children from the negative things we've experienced it's important not to shield them too much because they need the tools to cope with what life will throw at them.

However hard it is we have to let them form their own opinions, we mustn't do more than gently guide them. That's why being a parent is the hardest job in the world!

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 18:30:47

I agree with journey - just leave well alone. My DSs loved a toy kitchen - it was no big deal- it wasn't especially put their way. The huge message I get is that boys things are superior - a girl gets applauded if she wants to be out playing football- but woe betide her if she wants to dress up as a princess. Maybe she likes dressing up and hates football - why not?

I know that people on MN won't have it LRD but there are differences between boys and girls and they pick up on it- despite parents not understanding it. And it is nothing to do with pink.

Yeah, that makes sense randall.

exotic - sure, I expect there are differences, but not physical ones ... that's why I was so fascinated that they'd pick up on the social conditioning so early on, is all.

Sorry to come into the thread and do the whole 'wow, babies!' thing! grin

As you were.

RandallPinkFloyd Mon 25-Mar-13 18:36:56

My DS is 19mo and I still do it regularly grin

Aww, she is nearly the same age as my niece. smile

RandallPinkFloyd Mon 25-Mar-13 18:45:34

He came out with a 7 word sentence the other day, I couldn't grin wide enough!

It's all pretty amazing when you think about it.

It is!

And wow, bright too.

Darn, you've got me all broody now and I only clicked on the OP cos it looked like a feministy debate. grin

rollmopses Mon 25-Mar-13 18:52:00

OP, you have won the award for the Most Absurd Notion of the year.
Do stop the gender hysteria, it's simply daft.

RandallPinkFloyd Mon 25-Mar-13 18:53:19

Don't be broody, he has a ridiculously snotty cold. It's been a trying week to put it mildly. It's a good job he's cute that's all I'll say.

And the sentence was only "oh grandma, what you doin, silly billy" he's really not Socrates!


Ha! Love it.

Hope he's better soon.

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 18:57:55

Because they are not picking up on the social conditioning - they are picking up on the differences.

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 19:04:59

The problem is that parents are bringing all their knowledge of social conditioning to it. The DC has no knowledge or experience so they just 'know'.

MidnightMasquerader Mon 25-Mar-13 19:28:41

I'd love to meet a 1YO who can tell girls' names from boys' names. grin

JacqueslePeacock Mon 25-Mar-13 19:30:30

exoticfruits, which differences specifically do you think they're picking up on?

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 19:46:14

gah now my thread has gotten away without me....

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 19:48:13

thebody this IS a hobby...this and folding origami flowers....

ElegantSufficiency Mon 25-Mar-13 19:54:58

ICBINEG YOU Have all the answers, so ....

How do you make sure a daughter realises that her body doesn't need improving, from her hair to her toenails?
HOw do you make sure your daughter studies and works hard and understands the importance of these thngs without becoming a perfectionist?
How do you make sure your daughter doesn't go through life needing male approval?
How do you make sure that your daughter can draw a really clear and distinct line between what she wants and what other people want her to be/want?
How do you make sure that your daughter understands that women in the media are portrayed through the eyes of (often) sexist and misogynist men?
How do you explain sexism and misogyny ?
How do you get your daughter to take even a passing momentary interest in feminism when she wants to watch josh and drake?
HOw do you persuade your daughter that she is funny, clever, sporty and an individual with or without that Hollister Hoodie?

Fwiw, my son paints his nails, wears his hair long. NO genderstereotyping in my house. But the no genderstereotyping that 's the easy part. Wait until they're 10-12

AM i SCARING the life out of you? I hope so. pink SHMINK

MidnightMasquerader Mon 25-Mar-13 19:58:09

But surely Elegant, if you join the dots, this whole pink overload in toddlerhood is part of the foundation that all the problems you outline is built upon?

raggedymum Mon 25-Mar-13 20:03:47

LRD thanks - I also read 'discriminate' as 'tell the difference' and was getting very confused that no one else seemed to.

It is sad, OP. My DD is too young for that yet, although I completely missed the avoid-the-pink boat what with MIL unable to pass up a pink frill and a relative who works for Disney. Curiously, I was just thinking earlier today how sad it is that my friend can't have fun dressing her baby boy in cute dresses like they used to in the 1800s but I can dress my baby girl in cute dresses and trousers, too. Although I recognise that is because girls can aspire to boy things but the reverse is looked down upon, which is sad.

Anyway, though, perhaps you can use this to discuss what people see as boy-v-girl and how individuals can be different than the average? Children love to categorise (it's a very human trait), and I understand they want to do it to everything at some stage. But I think they can understand exceptions and generalities too. I remember being in nursery and my friend told me she (I categorised her as a girl) was a 'hermaphrodite' and had 'girl parts and boy parts' but used the little girls room. As a child I just nodded and decided that people could be inbetween too. As an adult, I have absolutely no idea if the child was inventing this or telling the truth (I remembered the word, as it struck me as long and complicated and interesting, only learned that it was the appropriate term years and years later), but I do know that that seemingly insignificant playground conversation did have a profound impact on how I saw the world and that there was shades of categories possible -- the idea generalised well beyond gender.

Vegeeta Mon 25-Mar-13 20:09:28

May I ask what you dress your daughter in?

Vegeeta Mon 25-Mar-13 20:12:39

I must be confused about unspoken dress codes tbh, when I bought our baby girl a "trainee Jedi" baby grow and her mum got her one with beatles lyrics on we must have gotten it wrong ;-)

Stropzilla Mon 25-Mar-13 20:14:07

I actively HATE pink. I don't dress DD1 in pink, or encouraged her to wear it. I have also never told her she couldn't. Before she was in school, she started showing a preference for it. I agree it's a bit sad that she's coming home some days, saying "Blue is for boys" at which point I ask her what colour the jeans are I am wearing. Yes, society will impose its values on her, you have to remind her while they exist, she doesn't have to agree with them.

You DO need to relax a little though, it does sound as if you have had a few negative experiences with men and now you have gone a little too far the other way.

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 20:17:39

I will get shouted down if I say any differences- I always do on MN where people insist there are not any. Any I state someone will say 'rubbish- my DD does that' as if there can't be exceptions.
DCs have no preconceptions about gender and social conditioning so they can just pick up on the differences. No one ever got my friend's DS wrong, despite his long hair and skirt. I remember the odd Canadian couple who experimented with their DCs and had the 'genderless' DC- their elder one was a boy 'encouraged' to choose 'girl' things- in the group the girls were not happy with the, as they put it, 'boy girl'.
If I was OP I wouldn't play around with ideas of gender- it is likely to cause resentment later on- unless you have a DC who thinks like you which is a bit of a lottery. Just give them free access to all.

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 20:19:22

If you don't relax a little it makes your DC want the opposite.

But surely there are differences? I think there must be.

But I think they are to do with social conditioning. I couldn't prove that, but nor could you prove they're not - we just don't know. DC not knowing about social conditioning isn't relevant, is it? You can't completely take a child out of its society, not even with experiments where you try (and I think they're cruel).

ConstantCraving Mon 25-Mar-13 20:28:26

Interesting. My DD is 3.5 and can't always tell the difference between boys and girls now - she cetainly couldn't at 1 - 2 years! She never wears dresses or skirts (although I have bought them for her) prefering trousers, and she doesn't realise there are some things that are designed for girls and some for boys. I've never told her blue is a boy colour or that boys like certain toys and girls like other things. Her favorite toys are her animals and thomas the tank engine. I'm wondering how the OP's DD has picked up the gender roles so very early?

TiggyD Mon 25-Mar-13 20:33:58

Your "DD"? Just because they were born physically female doesn't mean they're actually female. They might be transgender. I'm shocked that you're forcing a gender on your child OP. That's discrimination that is!

TheCraicDealer Mon 25-Mar-13 20:36:06

I'm wondering how the OP's DD has picked up the gender roles so very early?

Because someone's broken into the OP's home and forcing her DD to watch Disney princess movies on a loop while the rest of the house is asleep.

ConstantCraving Mon 25-Mar-13 20:37:46


tvmum1976 Mon 25-Mar-13 20:41:42

I think I'm pretty far along the spectrum of hating sex discrimination/ gender stereotyping and am constantly banging on about it, much to the annoyance of many people I know I'm sure, but I think this is a bit silly. The problem is not whether she knows who is a boy and who is a girl (that is a normal part of developing a more complex perception of the world) but what you and others encourage her to do with that information. My 2 year old has known the difference between boys and girls for quite some time, but I try to take the heat out of it, by never suggesting that certain colours/ toys etc are for one sex or the other and trying to keep things as neutral as possible. much as I hate to say it, I think YABU.

ConstantCraving Mon 25-Mar-13 20:42:00

Mind you my DB believes his DD is naturally into fairies and princesses and DS similarly loves trains because he's a boy. This despite the fact that his DD's nursery was decorated with fairies from day one and she was given the most hideous pink plastic dressing table at 18 months. He can't process the fact that my DD loves trains and tractors and is indifferent to pink / princesses etc.

wreckedone Mon 25-Mar-13 20:48:07

I wouldn't put my boy in a dress, because he looks like a most, but I agree, not all cases, from a few months old, boys look like boys and girls look like girls. My lad is apparently very pretty, he has long eyelashes and huge eyes, but he's always looked like a boy. If I put him in a dress (and I would if he wanted to wear one) he'd look like a boy in a dress.
BTW, he could tell who was a boy and who was a girl at about 13mo-I doubt at that age it was anything more than hearing some children being called "good boy" and others being called "good girl".

LRD, when DS was around that age (or slightly older) he was at nursery with a set of identical twins. I could never tell which was which. The nursery staff had great difficulty telling which was which (they had to note any subtle differences in how they were dressed each morning and remember which was which). But the toddlers all knew with 100% accuracy - indeed, didn't see how there could be any confusion at all. It's not quite the same as boy/girl, but it's an interesting illustration of how toddlers are perceived differently by adults or by other toddlers.

ConstantCraving Mon 25-Mar-13 21:01:25

Hmmm. Seems my DD is the only one that can't tell the difference.

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 21:05:58

I could always tell the difference between identical twins as a child, even if they were not together - I can't as a adult. I have always found that children can understand a child with a speech defect and if I can't understand I can just ask another child. Some adults think that children don't understand things unless they make them very obvious - they are much more sophisticated than that.
They read body language - which is why parents have problems with getting them to eat etc.

MiaowTheCat Mon 25-Mar-13 21:07:00

Shit - I knew I was doing this parenting girls thing wrong but I didn't realise I was meant to be brainwashing them into wearing pink from head to toe from birth as well as everything else. They wear minimal pink - I don't like the colour and DD1's colouring really doesn't suit baby pink (she's very like me in that it makes her look washed out to hell - but red and strong pink suits her), and it shows the muck up as well - no more sinister reasoning than that... hell today DD1 was in orange and DD2 was in purple and blue - I buy stuff I like the look of - nowt more sinister than that. Sometimes it's dresses, sometimes it's trousers - at the moment it's mainly dreses for no other reason than it's cold and I'm sick of putting baby socks back on feet and tights are harder to pull off with a gleeful giggle - doesn't make me a failure as a mother or a candidate for Toddlers and Tiaras - just means I've put them in whatever clothes I have that morning.

I also don't automatically assume society's out to get them based on the contents of their nappies - if they end up behaving in a stereotypically "girl" way - that'll be the result of their own choices - nothing's off limits (even though dolls creep me the fuck out) but I'm not going to push them EITHER way and I think pushing them to the point that traditionally female colours, types of dress or toys are forbidden is AS bad as pushing them the other way.

And I'm definitely not going to weep and wail when they figure out boys and girls are one way of mentally categorising the world. I can find better things to worry about if I'm so inclined to lose sleep at night for utterly random reasons.

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 21:07:13

She is probably just not interested in telling the difference ConstantCraving.

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 21:10:40

And that way you will have sane, sensible DCs able to make up their own mind Miaow . A mother for ever prosing on about gender must be very irritating.

ConstantCraving Mon 25-Mar-13 21:13:37

True, Exotic. She can tell the differences between animals, which are much more interesting than other children grin.

seriouscakeeater Mon 25-Mar-13 21:14:46

Jesus welcome to the world of crazys!

Hulababy Mon 25-Mar-13 21:15:04

Don't most toddlers just like a mix of toys and colours, etc. They may have a favourite toy or a favourite colour, but ime, every child I have come across like a bit of everything, even right into and through primary.

Even a pink princess loving girl usually will love a game of chase and climbing trees, or will wear other colours through choice ime.

abbyfromoz Mon 25-Mar-13 21:18:28

I can't believe the amount of attention this post has got! Bonkers!

exoticfruits Mon 25-Mar-13 21:20:51

My DS knew the difference between cars at 2yrs - he was interested- his brothers didn't.
I would have a bit more benign neglect and leave them alone.

Child of our Time did an experiment when the children were about 10 months old where they dressed them in the "wrong" gender clothes and gave them for 10 minutes or so to one of the other parents to look after. Only one adult had any suspicion whatsoever. And all the parents responded to distress on the part of the child by attempting to distract them with a stereotypically gendered toy appropriate to their apparent gender, in some cases ignoring some very clear signs from the child that he/she wanted another toy.

DD2 is (by far) the smallest and most delicate-featured of my children, yet she's the one most often assumed (by adults) to be a boy (more so than DS, who at the same age with similar length hair would often be assumed to be a girl).

ElegantSufficiency Mon 25-Mar-13 23:04:36

midnightmasquerader no it is nothing to do with her having had a slight preference for pink, for a while, a few years back now, actually, like 7 years ago now. Pink is nothing to do with the tightrope that young women today are facing.

I agree with the poster who said it's not discrimination it's telling the difference.

Sometimes people are allowed to be women. children are allowed to be girls confused. That is not the issue, or the problem. The OP is bonkers if she thinks that her dd being able to distinguish a boy from a girl is a massive problem. It's not. So, OP doesn't like PINK? don't buy pink. Don't put her in Pink. Don't send her to Ballet. Send her to Play ball, and HOckey. And praise her bravery when she does abseiling, and running in blue jeans, trainers and a grey hoodie, and yet still still still still still daughters will come home from school giggling and laughing at the boys while the boys hold court. girls seek the approval of boys more than boys seek the approval of girls. Girls need the approval more. That is the problem our daughters will be facing as they grow up.

What ages are your daughters? Mine is 11. I can't helping thinking god almighty i wish I could go backto the days of thinking I had it all sorted because I was so clever and so smart that I didn't buy my dd a fairy costume (unless my son wanted one).

If you have tiny daughters, never mind about PINK. listen to what they want. if you're so determined that they not like pink then you have FUCKED UP ALREADY BECAUSE girls are being hardwired to people-please. "Mummy lets me choose my clothes, it's MY choice but she doesn't like me in pink, so i like blue! i do , I really do." years later in therapy she'll be realising "I can no longer draw a clear line between what I like and what people want me to like! I make people happy! or I try to!"

So for the third time and I hope the OP has the brains to absorb this pink is very small fry in the bigger picture, and presumably the bigger picture is raising a confident happy daughter who is proud of being a woman, who likes being a woman!

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 25-Mar-13 23:09:10

Just skimmed through this thread and I award it as the daftest one I've ever read.
Congratulations OP.

exoticfruits Tue 26-Mar-13 06:20:41

Wow, ElegantSufficiency - well put!
I hope OP listens.

exoticfruits Tue 26-Mar-13 06:28:33

I should think that if you have a forceful mother with an 'agenda' like OP you learn to be a 'people pleaser' early on. You either fit in with 'my mummy says' or you fit in with it on the surface while being resentful underneath - it takes a brave DC to rebel. Why not just give space, listen to them, and support them. They are highly unlikely to tell you what they really want when you are tunnel visioned in the first place.

MrsLouisTheroux Tue 26-Mar-13 06:41:59

I'll speak for myself as someone who grew up in the '70s when all was brown/ orange/ purple.
I love the colour pink, was attracted to frills and pretty things, loved heels and makeup. Non of these things featured in my childhood as my mother hated this stuff. I caught glimpses of it all from Aunties, friend's mums.
So, this stuff wasn't forced on me, I'm attracted to it instinctively.
Where do I fit in your theory?

ChristineDaae Tue 26-Mar-13 06:47:37

My daughter has a grey and blue Elephant. Apparently that's a girl. So is his bright pink elephant friend... Not sure it matters all that much tbh.

SoupDreggon Tue 26-Mar-13 07:09:23

And in contrast to Mrs LT, I grew up in the 70s as the youngest of three - two older brothers - and, despite my mum's best efforts to have the little girl she hoped for, she got a tom boy who hated pink (and still hates all things pink and frilly).

MrsLouisTheroux Tue 26-Mar-13 07:27:21

There seem to be quite a number of people who say I hate pink, I don't like all of this girly frippery.
Well that's your choice as it was my mum's choice in the '70s.
But I loved pink and everything girly.
In forcing your gender neutral choices onto your DDs you are just as guilty as those who dress DD's in frills and head to toe pink. Whichever way, the child is conforming to the parent's tastes.

GirlOutNumbered Tue 26-Mar-13 07:31:31

Completely agree MrsLouis.
My two boys have a range of clothing from black to purple, pink and orange. They choose what they want to wear each day and I couldn't give a toss if its a pink shirt or Dinosaur Tshirt.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 07:36:18


I am bonkers if I don't like pink? Well that's okay because as I said already my DD wears pink exactly as much as any other colour.

So is that okay? I am not bonkers or forcing her to prefer blue?

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 07:44:25

Apols if someone else has written this....only read the first page.
There was some research done a few years back which found that infants can tell the difference between the sexes of babies of the same age just by looking at their silhouettes.
Something to do with posture and proportion.
Yanbu to dislike artificial and restrictive gender (which IS more of a societal thing), but you can't fight the city hall of biology.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 07:49:31

I am not bothered about her being able to tell from real differences that boys are boys etc.

I am bothered that the minor small differences between boys and girls aged 1-2 is blown out of all proportion by parents that are apparently extremely anxious that mistakes not be made about the gender of their child.

So yes, children can possibly tell anyway even if everyone shaved all the hair off and dresses kids in white. And yes there are some very small difference in boys and girls that age. What there are NOT are any serious difference in preferences for activities, interactions, colours, clothing or hair. Those are all reflections of the parents bias.

But what my DD sees is that there must be all of those...because every boy she sees is wearing a dinosaur T-shirt and every girl is wearing flowers.

In a few years this will turn into different behaviour expectations for the boys and girls (boys are allowed to run around and be wild - girls aren't).

In a few years more this has further devalued to girls are into fashion and boys are into sports. Girls are caring and nurturing and boys are active and aggressive.

Until finally we arrive at women bring up the kids and men having careers.

And yes I am perfectly aware (as a non-fashionable mum working in an almost exclusively male environment, whose favourite colour actually is blue as it happens, though god forbid I dress my DD mostly in MY favourite colour because that will apparently be fucking her right up for her whole life according to this thread) that there are people that buck the trend.

I am glad that there are a handful of people on this thread who 'allow' their boys to wear the odd item of pink and possibly even expect them not to exhibit un-lady-like behaviour.

BUT I have never seen a boy at our local soft play in a dress and I have never even seen one in pink.....oh and I have heard 'boys will be boys' and 'girls' don't do that/play with that' etc. etc. etc.

SoupDreggon Tue 26-Mar-13 07:59:58

There seem to be quite a number of people who say I hate pink, I don't like all of this girly frippery.
Well that's your choice as it was my mum's choice in the '70s.
But I loved pink and everything girly.

Good for you confused

I assume that's just a bad juxtaposition to my comment and not a dig at the fact I said I hated pink.

GirlOutNumbered Tue 26-Mar-13 08:03:09

I let them wear what they want and play with whatever toy they like.

However, I will not let my boy wear a dress! Why would I? Why would anyone?

Throughout time and in all cultures men and women dress differently to define themselves.... I am at a loss as to why that is a problem.

Even David Beckham looked ridiculous in a dress.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:07:07

Oh and while I am here - for all of you that have attempted to denounce me for only being sad about this one thing (on the extremely skimpy evidence that I bothered to post about it), or have said there are more important things to worry about well here is my list.

I am substantially more sad/worried that:

My mum is dying of cancer.

Things are shit at work due to lack of funding

In my line of work, for identical applications with a male or female name, the female version is considered 20% less employable, 20% less competent and 10% more likeable (so if you think it is okay to pigeon hole girls as friendly and boys as doers...reap your rewards right there).

So is that okay? I am not a single issue sad person...believe me.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:08:21

girl as long as you also wouldn't let your girl wear a dress then that's fine.

If you think dresses are okay for girls but not for boys then you are part of the problem.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:09:55

girl also I have no problem with men and women dressing themselves however they like. I have a problem with dressing babies/young toddlers differently to define them because the parent shouldn't be defining the child...that is for them to do.

GirlOutNumbered Tue 26-Mar-13 08:10:27

ICBINEG - Do you never wear a dress?
What do you think would be acceptable attire for a man and woman?

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:12:30

girl It is not about women v. men (who actually are different shapes and have formed their own opinions about gender identity etc.)

It is about toddlers who aren't different shapes and should be left to form their own identity...not have the parents identity forced on them.

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 08:12:31

The reason people think boys look ridiculous in dresses is because they think that girls and women are inferior, and that's pretty much the long and short of it.
Otherwise, I wouldn't be sitting here in trousers.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:12:58

I have worn a dress about as many times as my DH has....a handful....

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 08:14:06

And let's not forget, it was once illegal for women to wear trousers, we had to fight for this aspirational attire.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:15:02

min yes indeed. Boys aren't supposed to look 'pretty'.

I actually made the mistake in the early days of saying how pretty someones male baby my defence he really did look pretty...and why that is something to be ashamed of in boys and praised in girls I can't imagine.

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 08:19:00

Girl, you would shit bricks if you met my DS. He's quite gender-fluid, and chops and changes his identity as he pleases, as well as his clothes.
He's very popular with girls and boys, and is an incredibly secure, confident, happy boy who is regularly spotted up trees while sporting a Chinese silk dress.
Why? Cos he bloody wants to, and we haven't told him he can't.

RandallPinkFloyd Tue 26-Mar-13 08:20:17

I get the feeling this thread is a complete waste of time OP.

From what I can see you aren't reading people's posts at all, just picking out the odd phrase to fight against.

A lot of posters have taken the time to make genuine observations and post thought provoking views. I've certainly learned things.

I don't think it's on that you are being so dismissive. If you actually read the whole thread properly you may see that it's not quite the you against the world situation you think it is.

Sticking so rigidly to I'm right and you're all stupid isn't a reasoned debate. What you're missing is several interesting and thought provoking viewpoints from people who's views are actually coming from the same side of the feminism argument as yours.

Refusing to see them or engage with them does not make them any less valid.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:20:58

Boys are defined by their actions, girls by their looks.

hence In my line of work, for identical applications with a male or female name, the female version is considered 20% less employable, 20% less competent and 10% more likeable

and I could add that after interviews, female candidates are four times as likely to draw comments like 'I'm not sure she actually did the work' and 'she might just have had a good supervisor'.

We also have a massive issue with profile enhancement. A woman that pushes herself forward for promotion is labelled a little arrogant, ambitious etc. A man that pushes himself forward for promotion is also labelled a little arrogant, ambitious etc. but for men those are considered to be acceptable and even praise worthy attributes. Not so much for women.

In fact I would go so far as to say that around here ambitious is a compliment for a man and a criticism of a woman.....makes things a little tricky.

GirlOutNumbered Tue 26-Mar-13 08:23:07

Illegal to wear trousers? Can you point me in the direction of that information please.... I don't live in Paris by the way.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:23:13

randal I have a problem in that every time I read that pinkification of girls isn't an issue, I feel the urge to respond...

This means my resources are all tied up with getting annoyed with the 'of course you can't put boys in would they climb trees' brigade.

Maybe you could summarize the good points I missed?

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 08:23:21

^^Is the real battle. All this BS over pink, frills, make up and sparkly shoes is just the icing on a massive shitcake.

I have two girls. One is an utter tomboy. Refuses to wear pink. Lives in navy/black/beige/red/blue. Wears boys clothes (which I buy for her quite happily)

The other wears pinks. And dresses. And sparkly shit. Which again, I buy quite happily.

Two girls. Both reared in the same house with the same influences.

They are just different. It's just how they are.

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 08:26:19

It's on Wiki, Girl.
Can't be arsed doing links on my iPhone, but keywords illegal women wear trousers.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:27:02

freddie that's great - and kids are all different.

But the pay gap stats don't lie.

If I apply for a job I would be well advised to 'male up' my name if I want to be taken seriously....

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:28:24

Or do we think that one of the actual average differences between adult men and women is that men are on average more competent and women are on average more likeable?

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 08:28:31

Exactly, Freddie. You just have to let them be.
DD is a massive girly on the surface.....but she's physically very tough and confident.

Meandmarius Tue 26-Mar-13 08:28:31

ICBINEG so effectively what you are saying is that parents should go out of their way to dress their 1-2 year-olds in non-gender specific clothes? How is this helping their development in the long term? Don't get it.

Pay gap stats are not to do with wearing pink.

hamdangle Tue 26-Mar-13 08:30:00

My DS1 wore a purple sparkly tutu everyday in nursery for years. I couldn't have cared less. He didn't catch the gay! Would you really stop your DS from wearing a dress if they wanted to, girl?

he always played with dolls too. It was only when he got a bit older that he realised that people would think it was weird which made me very sad. I remember when he was about five and he first started to realise that it wasn't what he was 'supposed' to be doing. I was at a party at a friend's house whose mother was a childminder. She had a blue box of boys toys and a pink box of girls toys. He ran straight over to the pink box really excitedly and then realised that he was being watched and stopped. He went over to the blue box then and picked out a car. He sat there staring at it for five minutes wondering what to do with it and then chucked it back in the box and got himself a Barbie instead.

We have another DS now and DH can't wait to buy cars and train sets. I've told him firmly that DS will play with what he wants. If that's cars then fine but if that's fairy wings then that's also fine!

GirlOutNumbered Tue 26-Mar-13 08:30:26

What on earth do you do for a living? Male up your name? Honestly, it's like you live on a different planet to me! I have never had any issues due to my gender, and I often wear a dress to work!

I'm beginning to think this is a joke thread.

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 08:30:57

I can't see how it'd impede their development. It might impede them picking up artificial ideas of gender.

My girly girl, at the age of 18 months, was quite capable of expressing a preference for pink sparkly clothes.

My tomboy was quite capable of expressing a preference for trackies and navy stuff.

I would have been "actively repressing their personalities" if I had made them wear something they didn't feel comfortable with.

BarredfromhavingStella Tue 26-Mar-13 08:33:26

DS has long hair & is frequently refered to as pretty, doesn't bother me as he is very pretty-he's also quite obviously male.

Have DD & DS, if you look at photos of them at the same ages they look the same except DD is quite obviously a girl & DS is obviously a boy & not because they are dressed in a gender specific way...

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 08:34:04

Sadly it's not a joke, Girl. It's great that you're unaffected, and I've not been affected too badly either, as I've always been a bit meeja, but lots of industries and sectors are rife with under the counter discrimination.
Ice, are you in academia/engineering/law?

BarredfromhavingStella Tue 26-Mar-13 08:34:29

Also have to add that you win an award for the most bizarre OP I have ever read.

RandallPinkFloyd Tue 26-Mar-13 08:35:53

Now you're just being rude and sarcastic.

As I said, it's actually been a very interesting thread, shame you intentionally missed it.

I also have 3 sons.

One is eminently more "likeable" than his girly sister.

Personality does not correlate to pinkness.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:37:39

randal well I have rescanned the thread and the main counter points I can find are:

'But boys and girls are a bit different even as babies.'

yes they are. but no where near as massively different as their parents treat them - 6 month olds do not have a preference of flowers v. dinosaurs

'No matter how you treat them as babies, girls will end up being pink glitter fiends mostly engaged in clique forming activities with their best friends forever and boys will be tree climbing monkeys and into football'

I completely deny this. The evidence is that in non-patriarchal cultures this doesn't happen. In a cultural void the average behaviour of girls and boys and men and women would be very much closer than it is in a culture where stereotyping messages are everywhere you look

'there are more important things to worry about'

yes there are. just because I post about something doesn't mean it is the one and only thing I care about strangely.

'if you force your DD not to wear pink you will just push her in that direction'

My DD has a roughly equal number of clothes in all colours and dinosours v. flowers etc. I notice that noone is suggesting that by denying your DS's pink flowery clothes, that THEY will be pushed toward them in adult life though....

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:40:10

girl I work in academia in a science department.

The rate of female drop out massively exceed the male.

Identical job applications have been found to be 20% better when coming with a male name on the top.

Women are 4 times as likely to be queried on the validity of their work, their personal contribution to it and their competence.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:41:05

freddie then why DO people think that on average a woman is more likeable and less competent when in reality they were identical?

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 08:41:41

Thought so!

Not involved in it personally, but live in a famous university city and have academic chums.....
It's quite a horror show at times!

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:42:04

freddie this is not about individuals actually being more or less likeable.

This is an identical CV being judged as less competent and more likeable when NOTHING has changed except the name on the top.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 08:42:37

Apprently it is rude to ask what I might have missed in the thread confused.

For the same reason that people generalise about all sorts of groups? But it's wrong when applied to individuals?

RandallPinkFloyd Tue 26-Mar-13 08:44:31

All you've done there is pick out the arguments you were hoping to find when you started the thread. You've completely ignored anything you didn't want to see.

I'm out.

hamdangle Tue 26-Mar-13 08:46:35

I think the pay gap is more to do with women having babies and maternity leave than attitudes but when I worked in marketing I definitely came across the idea that ambitious women are ruthless or 'bitchy' but for a man to be ambitious or even aggressive it was desirable. That was ten years ago though and I think this is changing. Look at Deborah Meaden and Hilary Devey on Dragons'Den. I don't think Hilary is diminished in anyway because she rocks a nice frock either.

Oh, and in the past boys were very pretty and wore make up wigs and heels. And pink was traditionally the colour worn by boys and blue by girls because pink was seen as more aggressive colour And blue was calming so gender stereotyping has nothing to do with the actual colour pink.

exoticfruits Tue 26-Mar-13 09:18:29

I think Freddie very sensible. Wait and see what child you have and respond to them, rather than try and mould the one you want to your expectations.
Mothers who prose on with their own agenda-without listening to the child will get problems.

MrsLouisTheroux Tue 26-Mar-13 09:25:25

This thread is a perfect example of an OP who is projects. Over-thought, neurotic and frankly too much. OP, there are bigger thing to worry about in life.

MrsLouisTheroux Tue 26-Mar-13 09:26:28

'Who projects'

cory Tue 26-Mar-13 09:30:41

fwiw I grew up abroad where there was far less gender discrimination in children's clothing; at the age of 5, we all wore the same blue jeans and stripeytops, we all climbed trees and built go-carts together, and boys had much longer hair than they do now. I can assure you by the age of 5, I was still able to pick up subtle gender differences. A 5yo is not a baby.

Katnisscupcake Tue 26-Mar-13 09:32:29

Your HV is going to love you when you take your DD to her 2 year check... perhaps someone should warn her/him. At DD's she was asked to point out which were boys and girls so it appears that they do measure some of a DCs development on being able to differentiate. Are you going to start an argument with the HV about it aswell?

BTW, DD is 3.5, her favourite colours are Black, Orange and Yellow and she takes a Fireman Sam bag to school. She also insists that she's Batman. She is just reacting to what her friends do (whatever gender they are), I think it's as they get older that they generally partake in 'gender specific' choices (princessy things etc) at the moment, they do whatever any of their friends do!

You do know, that at some point, no matter what her sexuality, whether she is heterosexual, lesbian, metrosexual or any other flavour of sexuality, at some point, identifying the gender to which she is attracted is going to be an essential life skill, don't you?

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 09:50:33

I think talking to people helps with that, Freddie ;)

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 10:16:32

erm how did people get the impression I am trying to stop her being able to identify girls from boys?

If I had wanted to do that I would have deliberately called them the wrong things for the last year....

Also how am I forcing her to be anything? She has some of everything and gets to wear and play with whatever she wants.

If that turns out to be pink glitter then so be it.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 10:17:25

randal right - so you could have reiterated what I missed and I would have responded or you could call me rude and flounce.

Nice choices there....

exoticfruits Tue 26-Mar-13 10:21:35

* Over-thought, neurotic and frankly too much. OP, there are bigger thing to worry about in life.*

Exactly. Enjoy your DC-go out and fly a few kites-get muddy-have fun and stop worrying about it. She will be what she will be-and that is very often not what our mothers want to us to be!

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 10:25:08

Okay one more time.

You write a CV, you send it to 200 people. 100 get the CV with a male name attached. 100 get the CV with a female name attached.

You ask how employable, competent and likeable the person is. You ask how what salary you think they should be on.

You find that people reading the CV with the female name think the IDENTICAL CANDIDATE is:

20% less competent
20% less employable
10% more likeable
and should be earning 10% less <-----the REAL pay gap for anyone that is interested.

This is a problem because if I am equally qualified for a job as a male applicant, they will always beat me onto the shortlist.

How do we address this problem?

We reduce the power of the "women are likeable/friendly/nurturing while men are competent/doing/achieving" stereotype.

How do we do this? Well banning adverts that stereotype would help...but IMO it starts with treating our babies differently according to gender from the moment they are out of the womb.

All children are different...and gender is only a tiny tiny fraction of their whole lets stop defining them by that one characteristic?

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 10:26:22

Actually I do think it is quite important that my DD will one day apply for a job and may be rejected based solely on gender.

But yeah...let's go fly a kite....

OP you clearly have too much time on your hands I have a to do list a mile long maybe you could come and help.

exoticfruits Tue 26-Mar-13 10:31:05

I would have more sympathy if my very personable, intelligent DS, with a 2:1 degree could find a job.

I would like to address the problem of getting all young people into work-there are no jobs for them. Full stop.

exoticfruits Tue 26-Mar-13 10:33:28

Actually I do think it is quite important that my DD will one day apply for a job and may be rejected based solely on gender.

And that really is utter bollocks! I am at that stage-knowing many young adults and it simply isn't true.

I would go and fly kites-much better than making women into victims. Why not go and fly kites and make her into a strong young woman who know her own mind?

exoticfruits Tue 26-Mar-13 10:34:21

knows her own mind. (rather than knowing her mother's mind and having to please her for a quiet life?)

And as the mother if 3 sons I find it almost insulting for you to suggest that they will walk easily into jobs whilst dd will struggle. Firstly have you read about underachievement of boys in schools and the huge issues this causes. Secondly my dc's are individuals who will face a variety of indivudual challenges regardless of their sex and you op seem keen to turn your daughter into a victim instead of her own persin.

Icbineg - if gender is only one characteristic and only a teeny part etc - agree totally.

You might want to stop focussing on it yourself. (Which I don't mean to be rude but you are totally over thinking this)

I'll bet you a pound to a penny my tomboy DD goes further in life and gets jobs easier and earns more than DS2. That's because of her personality and academic ability, not her gender.

FreyaSnow Tue 26-Mar-13 10:46:11

I understand the point you're making that differences in character between the sexes should not be invented or vastly over-exaggerated.

But the wearing of clothes at all times is a social construct. It hides most of the biological sex of young children, as their sex is less easy to work out from faces than it is in adult faces. As children know that adults have a biological sex from looking at them, isn't is quite natural that children would want to know the biological sex of each other as it is a basic human category? As we have hidden their bodies from each other other, why shouldn't many parents choose instead to show that information through haircuts or certain clothes?

It seems bizarre to not comment on the social rule that we hide parts of children's bodies from each other at all times, but then object to parents finding other ways of passing on that information.

jamdonut Tue 26-Mar-13 10:50:54

hobnobs...just what I was going to say. The whole deal in school now is that boys are under-achieving and demotivated because the whole balance of education shifted towards girls,who are now the ones more likely to get A*.

We have to make sure that activities will appeal to boys as well as girls. That is not an easy task.

There has been a computer club for girls at our primary ,for some years(CC4G). The have now had to start CC4B so the boys have the same. Why not just have "computer club" for everyone?

I have 2 boys and a girl. I think the environment is geared up for girls far more than it is for boys, in this country .

What are you going to do if she's rejected for a job for some reason other than gender?

coralanne Tue 26-Mar-13 10:56:07

ICB. That same CV exercise was done with an "Asian" name and an "English" name (both males).

Guess which one was chosen as the most suitable for the Job?

I suspect freddie gender will always get the blame.

SneezingwakestheJesus Tue 26-Mar-13 11:00:14

I think I'd be wary of how much you over think this on a daily basis. You could give your daughter issues about not wanting to be too girly just to keep mummy happy.

Hobnobs - I fear you may be correct.

RandallPinkFloyd Tue 26-Mar-13 11:06:04

If you dislike being called rude then I would suggest perhaps not being rude.

You started this thread purportedly because you wanted a debate, to see if people thought your opinion reasonable. Your replies however have been nothing but dismissive, condescending and rude.

If you'd read my posts you'd see I actually don't completely disagree with you. That's no fun though is it. Far better to be the lone voice of reason fighting against the masses.

You absolutely cannot say you don't care if your daughter chooses to play with pink glittery shit whilst earnestly telling everyone else that no girl likes pink out of personal choice. Surely you must see that.

And no, I won't be going back through your thread and repeated other people's posts. I'm sure you are perfectly capable of reading the thread yourself. Whether or not you choose to ignore vast swathes of it is entirely up to you.

It does however make me disinclined to continue posting on a thread. That's not flouncing as you so patronisingly put it. It's ending my part in a discussion.

TheCraicDealer Tue 26-Mar-13 11:12:02

20% less competent
20% less employable
10% more likeable
and should be earning 10% less

I'm certainly not discounting your views and experiences within your own sector, but how have you come to these figures? You keep quoting them, so I'm assuming you're referring to a study or something rather than using your own arbitrary figure. Which would be daft and unrepresentative.

On a "Feminism" thread on AIBU a while back I was shouted down because I stated that I didn't feel that I'd been discriminated in my life (ever) simply because of my gender. And that's from a young woman working in an industry which is overly represented by middle aged men. But of course I'm simply naive and blind to the male conspiracy theory that is keeping the wimmins in their place.

GirlOutNumbered Tue 26-Mar-13 11:28:54

I am also interested into how this study was conducted and how those figures where arrived at. Do you have some source information please.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:00:26

randall I haven't said that NO girls would choose pink outside of societal influence just that most wouldn't. And that a presumably approximately equal number of boys would pick pink....

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:00:37

just finding the paper....

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:07:26

okay paper is here

Other highlights include, mentoring being more readily offered to the male candidate and the fact that women are equally bad at biasing against women as men.

FreyaSnow Tue 26-Mar-13 12:09:14

All this stuff about pink and playing with trucks is something that huge numbers of people take issue with. That is a very different thing from your original post which seems to be suggesting that it is a bad thing for young children to know who is a girl and who is a boy, and you haven't explained why that is a bad thing.

GirlOutNumbered Tue 26-Mar-13 12:09:19

Thanks will read.. Just wanted to say though that I am not in the least bit surprised that women where as bad at bias. You only have to red some of the threads on here to realise a lot of women, seem to hate women!

That's an American study at a first glance?

So unless you're in the States it doesn't relate to your workplace, as you implied?

Oh. And what Freya said.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:11:02

coralanne yes indeed....gender is only one discrimination tool out of many.

although oddly if you say it is harder for Asian people to get jobs in academia due to discrimination hardly any one says 'wait that's silly because I know an Asian person and they are really clever and have a job.'

But on this thread there are any number of people stating that the existence of women who don't like pink, or who do have jobs in male dominated professions must mean that there is no real problem....

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:11:51

Oh my god Freddie! You are right! There is only gender discrimination in the states!

NB. the states have better female retention figures than we do for academic positions.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:14:08

freya I thought that was obvious from my OP. I don't like my DD knowing which she is and which other kids are because now she can start absorbing what she 'should' be playing with from others.

IF she didn't know which group she belonged to then she could carry on oblivious.

Obviously there is no intrinsic problem with identifying gender. ALthough it is sad that we make it so artificially easy. It should be tricky to identify, because in reality the differences are subtle.

Ic- do you realise how rude that sounds?

Equality and discrimination legislation is different here than in the states.

You implied this was something you had direct experience of, and a relevant research paper to back it up.

In my opinion, you are just being rude, and goady. And have an agenda you are setting out to push.

I'm out.

FreyaSnow Tue 26-Mar-13 12:17:42

So people should hide differences from each other to avoid discrimination? Like if gay people didn't let anyone know they were gay, they wouldn't have a problem?

Or is the way that girls are girls that bothers you? Should they replace all this shameful pink, long hair business by boys and girls wearing a symbol sewn on to all their clothing?

And for the record. It's not a flounce. It's a "there no point it's not a debate"

MorrisZapp Tue 26-Mar-13 12:20:11

Please tread carefully OP. Your kids will have their own views and opinions very soon, and will learn to say the right stuff at home 'pink is silly, girls can be astronauts' etc, while enjoying being 'normal' when with friends or at school.

I grew up like this. in some ways, I liken it to having a strict religious childhood, although my parents were atheists. I had to be one person at home, and another when with my peers.

Of course your kids are going to hear your opinions etc, and that's fine, but if they feel that they can't disagree or go their own way then they will just nod and smile to your face and inwardly think 'god, mum's such a killjoy'.

My folks have mellowed greatly with age, also I'm not backwards in coming forwards with my own views, so I have a great relationship with them as an adult. But looking back, there were times I was almost pushed to the limit by my mum's obsession with gender issues, and her refusal to see or hear any opinion that contradicted 'the research'.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:22:06

You know before the paper I linked was published people would look at the evidence from other fields of academia or even other areas of employment, all of which show the same thing and say...oh but surely we don't do that in science! We are scientists...we judge objectively on evidence.

And then whomph. No we don't we are just as shit as the rest...perhaps more so as we have less excuse.

But there will always be someone who thinks 'oh but this is about american academics...UK academics are different (ignoring the massively multinational nature of academia, the fact that a lot of academics in the US are British and vice versa). If someone did a UK study then people would say 'Oh but that doesn't happen in our university...'

I did this with variation of learning style across students. I quoted the literature that says that different students learn in different ways. 'oh but science is different' so I found the literature that says that physics student are the same. 'Oh but it is different in our University'. So I collected data from our actual students that showed the same thing. 'Oh but maybe there was selection bias' Yeah but if any group of students shows a distribution of learning styles then a distribution exists surely? 'Maybe they didn't understand the question'

Yeah or maybe, when all the evidence collected from EVERYWHERE shows the same trend it might be time to accept that it is because that trend really exists.....

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 12:24:51

I think it's the value judgements made on those differences that OP's trying to get at. I think.

Like - "Oh no, she's in the big gender meat-grinder now.....can't stop it....hope she doesn't get told she's rubbish at maths....." kinda thing.

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 12:29:11

Hopefully we'll all mellow.
Morris - do you feel your mum was reacting to a set of v restrictive conditions that she'd had to negotiate as a girl? That she was over-compensating so you wouldn't have to suffer them?

See, it's the restriction of choice that does my head in, and the narrowness of it, like if you like sparkly hairclips you can't have a good business brain, or like chemistry. You have to "do" either or. That needs to stop, because it's still astonishingly rife.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:30:10

morris but I am not going to stop my DD wearing pink if she wants to?

Why does feeling sad that she with soon be failing victim to peer pressure equate to forcing her to dress like a boy?

Actually we do read books to her with all the genders everything from hungry catepillar to cave baby, to the gruffalo have been called 'she'. Not sure why all animal protagonists are male in the first place....

In fact I heard DH reading cave baby last night and it was mum being brave and dad being good at painting....but I think that was just for a change...usually we go 'conventional'.

There is nothing that can be done for thomas the tank engine....there are no female characters in the 3 books she has and it is all high jinx and naughtiness from cover to cover.

Heard DH saying 'and for no reason that would make any sense to an external observe, the fat controller rewarded Thomas's bad behaviour by giving him his own branch line' but I think he knew I was listening and was probably just trying to get me to blow tea out of my nose.

Bunbaker Tue 26-Mar-13 12:30:33

"I have a problem with us artificially exagerating the difference between babies/toddlers of different sexes...apparently just for the purpose of making sure everyone knows their place"


Vive la difference I say. If all toddlers looked androgynous and all wore the same clothes life would be so dull. Why is it so important to you? Perhaps you would have felt more comfortable in China many years ago when everyone all wore the same clothes.

FreyaSnow Tue 26-Mar-13 12:30:48

If results from everywhere are the same, there is no point fighting sexism. We would have to accept that it is a universal experience that never changes between time period or geographical location.

But that isn't the case. The extent to which sexism is experienced, the nature of that sexism and the causes of that sexism vary. The experiences of a white woman in the UK in university are different to those of a white girl in the UK in school. The sexism experienced by white women in the US is not the same as that experienced by African American women in the US.

If you have something specific to say about UK schools with evidence, then say it. You are essentially setting up a straw man argument by making out that because most people on this thread are not opposed to boys and girls knowing who is a boy and who is a girl, we are denying the existence of sexism, which is not the case.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:31:20

min would it be possible to contract you for interpreter work on MN in general? You seem to be able to put what I am trying to say into terms that people actually get!

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 12:32:23

V interesting thread in a lot of ways.
I'm due to interview a Hilary Devey-type character later this week. Went into a mega mega male-dominated industry and thrived. I'm going to ask her how she got through any hassle, if indeed she had any. Have a feeling she'll say she ignored it, pretended not to notice it and ploughed on regardless, WITH blonde hair and lipstick, which is what we need to teach our daughters.

FreyaSnow Tue 26-Mar-13 12:33:33

We are not artificially exaggerating the difference between different sexes of toddler. We are artificially hiding them by having them always wear clothes in front of each other.

My kids would have known who was a boy and who was a girl because of all the little kids running around naked in the park's paddling pool in the summer.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:34:35

freya I also am not opposed to children being able to tell the difference.

I feel that the massive amplification of that difference is at least in part responsible for gender discrimination amongst adults.

There is evidence a mile high for loss of women from Uk universities (referred to as a leaky pipeline) and there are endless initiatives for doing something to fix it Athena, juno etc.

Same at school. Boys under performing at GSCE, no girls taking any science at all at A-level in huge numbers of schools.

I am sad that now my DD can tell she will be exposed to the messages that lead to this discrimination.

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 12:36:04

You're making some v interesting points, Freya - I'm going to have a good think about this clothes business.

Also, though, male and female gait is different, because of the pelvis, even before secondary sexual characteristics start to show, so I wonder how much of this is used innately.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:36:34

freya that is a fair point. But seeing alternative genetalia doesn't tell you that girls should like flowers and boys should like action heros.

It doesn't tell you that girls are 'cute' and boys are 'strong' as many baby gros now do.

If the only difference we saw between little boys and girls was the actual difference I would have no problem.

And I wouldn't face the situation where my ability at everything from sport to work was judged erroniously on my sex organs.

MorrisZapp Tue 26-Mar-13 12:38:14

My parents never ever said 'no' to us. They were classic 70's liberal parents. If I had wanted to wear a pink tutu then they wouldn't have stopped me. But they would have made their views very plain, in a way that made me feel it wasn't worth the hassle.

I was happy to be a 'tomboy' as a child, and preferred climbing trees, wearing jeans etc so that wasn't such a battleground then. It was when puberty dawned and suddenly I was the traitor, wanting to look nice, have fashionable clothes etc. I felt a wedge between my mother and me then. Sorry, but it's easy to get primary school kids to agree with you. It's when adolescence hits that they will start to feel conflicted, if my own experience is anything to go by.

Minouminou, my mum had a normal, happy childhood, but discovered feminism in the late 1960's and all her views then grew from that. She was/ is an academic feminist/ sociologist. I think she did want me to have lots of freedom that she felt she hadn't had, but it was a particular kind of freedom ie on her terms.

Hullygully Tue 26-Mar-13 12:39:02

I haven't rtft

but life is tres depressing and gender stereotyping has an iron grasp on most everything. <helpful>

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:39:12

bun we don't have to dress them alike. Just dress them regardless of gender.

I have no problem with frilly frocks if an equal number of boys and girls are in them...likewise dungarees.

Yes vive la difference...but not based on arbitrary boundaries that will then be used to pigeon hole people for the rest of their lives....

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:39:54

Yo hully!

well I agree with that....

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 12:42:03

I'd go one step further and say that even if girls wear frilly frocks and boys wear dungarees and ne'er the twain shall meet.....they should not be subject to value judgements and bias.

FreyaSnow Tue 26-Mar-13 12:42:56

A lot of the reason why women don't advance in scientific careers is that they are often very ill suited to people taking time out of careers because they are pregnant or caring for young children on maternity leave. It makes absolute sense for girls not to take Science A levels and not go into a career that is going to kick them in the teeth and out of a job once they get pregnant.

Pretending there is no difference between males and females and therefore making no attempt at all to accommodate the lives of the people who get pregnant is not going to end sexism.

It would be far better for females to acknowledge the facts that they are female, and work together as a group to make society work to include us than to spend any period of time pretending that our collective lives are going to be just the same as those of men is ever going to happen.

Hullygully Tue 26-Mar-13 12:43:55

No of course not.

I have one of each, it's interesting to hear their views. DS was cross the other day because he met a girl at a party and she said he had to message her first because "he is the boy"

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:44:27

Morris yes I can see that as a problem for the future. And exactly as you say for atheism as well.

I am atheist but can understand how it is possible to be a scientist and not be. My DH doesn't get it. I have pointed out again and again that he needs to get a grip on the religion = thick vibe because his DD may turn out to have faith.....

I don't think I need a grip on the pink lipstick wearing = thick vibe because I don't have one. I hate the system not the individuals in it. They are and should be free to choose. And even if my DD wants to work in the fashion industry then so be it. Your children can have different moral values to you without you not loving them etc.

She will know that with every ounce of strength I can put behind the message.

Hullygully Tue 26-Mar-13 12:44:48

Or change the way the world of work is structured of course, freya. Change it to a structure that suits all adults and parents.

Hullygully Tue 26-Mar-13 12:45:50

Really Icbineg?

Mine know that there are certain incontrovetible lines that once stepped over will lead to pariahdom and ostracism.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:47:12

freya but as the data I showed states, that is not the whole picture. If you have an okay pregnancy, then the difference between a male and female parent could be as little as a months physical recovery time. We assume a mother will take more time than a father because we assume women are the nuturers. which comes right back to stereotyping.

And actually in the states it is uncommon for either parent to have more than a months leave in that is not a massive source of pay gap etc.

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 12:48:10

What changes would you make if you were Prez for a day, Freya?

I know the Nordic countries share parental leave and so on, but I don't know how well it really goes down within a company if a bloke takes a few months off. I hear conflicting anecdotes from friends there.

FreyaSnow Tue 26-Mar-13 12:48:35

HullyGully, yes, I agree. The world of work needs to change to accommodate people's lives.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 12:49:04

hully well obviously this is all theoretical at the moment...

I have to say that if my DD became a cosmetic surgeon I would really really struggle....

Or a handbag designer....

I feel these are professions that prey on women by making them doubt their own value...just so it can be bolstered by treatment/fashion accessory X.

But I am so wholy against brain washing that I can't see a way out!

GirlOutNumbered Tue 26-Mar-13 12:56:24

Isn't it the mum that young babies need for food and comfort. Why is that a bad thing?
I'm taking my second maternity leave and I will walk back into my job in a few months time with no one batting an eyelid. Surely that's progress.

FreyaSnow Tue 26-Mar-13 12:56:38

Iceberg, even if women were to return to work after 1 month, which I wouldn't want to do for numerous reasons including breast feeding my children, why is it okay for the workplace to discriminate against people who carry out nurturing roles? Why should women have to become less nurturing just because society devalues them for it?

A lot of women in the states don't go in to academia or drop out of academia because they don't want to work in an area that won't let them look after their children and go back into a career.

A lot of women don't go into academia in the US because they have a limited time before their fertility drops off a cliff to build a career and have kids, and being a poorly paid lackey as a grad student (very different to the structure in the UK) for years and years is a waste of their reproductive and career building years, often with no job at the end of it.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 13:00:16

freya I totally agree with everything you are saying here. Women (and men) should be able to take on that role and then go back to work with no more of a sting than the lost time impacting their progress against age. The only point I was making is that discrimination goes much deeper than that.

Even if all parents were back at their desks 2 weeks after becoming parents, women would still endure a pay gap and be considered less ready for promotion.

It isn't that what you are saying isn't a massive problem - it is that there are even bigger problems.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 13:02:23

I'm not sure I would recommend academia to anyone at the moment...the funding situation is just too bleak and there are more efficient (higher paid) ways to be a teacher if that is what you want.

But that doesn't mean girls shouldn't do science at school. Science is great for lots of jobs....<states the blindingly obvious>

FreyaSnow Tue 26-Mar-13 13:04:31

Min, I actually think it needs a lot of government employees to sit down and look at all the data, and make that data available in simple form to the public, and for there to be a huge debate on it.

I would say a lot of issues could be sorted out by making housing more affordable and providing decent benefits to families of young children. It would make more sense for people to have children younger (as they do in Iceland) and build careers later.

But that means acknowledging that women have a window in which they can have children. As the average age of a first time buyer without a deposit from parents is now 37, all this 'women shouldn't have kids unless they've worked first to be able to pay for that lifestyle choice' is a nonsense. Women can't wait until they're 37 to have kids, because many of them will find they can't get pregnant.

We should fund young families and make housing more affordable on the expectation they will jointly contribute more in the workplace later, as my mother's generation did. Because the current system isn't working.

RandallPinkFloyd Tue 26-Mar-13 13:26:50

"Oh no, she's in the big gender meat-grinder now.....can't stop it....hope she doesn't get told she's rubbish at maths.....".

^^ this. This bit I totally understand and agree with, but I think the majority of parents feel like that. I know I do.

I hate the fact that my DS's doll is commented on. It's never once been commented on in a bad way, but the fact that people feel the need to say "well why shouldn't he have a doll if he wants one" shows me that there's still an awful long way to go.

Feminism has made huge changes to the world but yes there is still a depressingly long way to go.

I agree with a lot of what you're saying OP and I think you make some very interesting and thought provoking points, but yes, I agree getting Min to translate for you may not be a bad idea wink

exoticfruits Tue 26-Mar-13 14:01:12

But that doesn't mean girls shouldn't do science at school. Science is great for lots of jobs..

They are still extremely difficult to get. DSs girlfriend has a science degree-has just got a job yesterday after 10 months of trying. She wasn't 'odd' doing science-I went to her graduation (RG university) -it was a day of science graduations and I didn't count, but it looked a fairly even balance between the male and female.
Even though I am old enough to have a graduate DS I was brought up that girls can do anything-far healthier IMO than making out they are victims.
(Dressing everyone the same didn't work in communist China)

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 14:07:06

The FB page I Fucking Love Science is run by a bird!!!!!

The reactions from subscribers when she "came out" were funny. Most people were unphased, but there were some along the lines of "I thought you might be because you write in such a non-aggressive manner" (or some such.....).

No idea what this poster meant....I'm trying to think of notoriously aggressive scientists......

Sparklyboots Tue 26-Mar-13 14:32:40

I find Richard Dawkins pretty aggressive.

I was also brought up with the rhetoric that girls can do anything which is why it's so very annoying that it turns out they can but only if they (a) do it like a man i.e. without demanding irritating things like mat breaks (b) if they do take mat breaks, accept that it means their progress towards promotion is interrupted - which I'm currently experiencing in my place of work (c) still maintain different standards of personal grooming etc. from men (none of the men in my place of work are considered to be 'making a point' when they turn up sans make-up) (d) recognise that when they criticise other workers this will be interpreted as 'bitching' where male colleagues are allowed to discuss standards of work in others without correlative objections (e) are less likely to be invited to interview (f) are less likely to be offered the full amount budgeted for the role, etc. etc.

I don't view myself as a victim but do get quite annoyed about this stuff. Even the notion that 'women can do anything that men do' reifies the basic assumption that maleness forms the ideal model against which we are all measured. How about demanding that men do everything that women do? For example hold down full time jobs, stay on the promotion track, and raise children without the support of a Wife.

minouminou Tue 26-Mar-13 14:38:05

I had the Dawk in mind, but he's the only one. I guess Neil Degrasse Tyson speaks quite plainly as well, but again, these are two out of lots of public scientists (as it were), who again are a handful out of thousands and thousands.

exoticfruits Tue 26-Mar-13 15:44:24

Rather than relying on hearsay about women not doing Science I decided to take my programme from a graduation last summer.
A RG university -all Science graduates. Our 'slot' had 192 graduates, 74 were men, 98 women and 20 were names that I can't tell e.g. Nittanjyot, Ming Fung, Medjedline, who may well be male but I'm not going to look them up.

foreverondiet Tue 26-Mar-13 19:00:40

At my DS's nursery 3 of the boys have ponytails as its a jewish religious custom to not cut boys hair until 3. So even with a girls hair style (ds2 has had his hair cut as have most of the other boys) he still knows which children are boys and which are girls. Could be clothes - although not sure as ds2 himself likes to wear DD hand me down pink stuff so as he wears pink he'd never assume pink = girl. Think toddlers can tell by monitoring behaviour speech appearance - even when things are confused like boys with ponytails and pink hats!

foreverondiet Tue 26-Mar-13 19:06:33

Just read the post about putting toddler boy in pink dress shockshockshock

Whilst my ds2 has rummaged on hat and scarf box and chosen pink Dora hat, I am hardly going to dress him in a dress!!! I mean adult men could wear dresses but they don't just as toddler boys don't!!!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 26-Mar-13 19:09:15

Oh forever get a grip with all the shock

Boys won't catch anything from dresses you know.

exoticfruits Tue 26-Mar-13 19:09:42

They used to of course-back in Victorian times they were all dressed the same and went into trousers at around 5 yrs. I don't think it made the slightest difference. My grandfather looked very pretty at 18 months with dress and long hair.

FreyaSnow Tue 26-Mar-13 19:11:24

My grandfather also, and that was in 1925. I've known a few boys wear dresses as toddlers. Nothing of any real consequence, either positive or negative, seems to have come of it. Not really an issue, surely?

exoticfruits Tue 26-Mar-13 19:13:13

Not an issue at all-unless people make it one. Even when I was young, baby boys had pretty romper suits with smocking.

Bunbaker Tue 26-Mar-13 19:59:43

"We assume a mother will take more time than a father because we assume women are the nurturers which comes right back to stereotyping."

Not stereotyping, but nature. What about women who breastfeed?