Bertie the queer argument against mothers = female is that those who give birth might not identify as female but as "agender" or as men. So you can't say things like "women give birth" because it discriminates against people who don't identify as women. That is what I've seen.
Isn't the mothers/women argument that "mothers" as a group do not represent "all women" as a group? Or have I misread/missed something. I have no idea what thread you are all discussing so am a bit lost
I agree with Penguins that it's important for girls to see men behaving in ways which contradict the "All men are X" and "Men don't Y" messages. But does it work for boys? I am of course doing my best to show DS that women aren't slaves who clean for men but actually that pretty much depends on DH doing half/most of the cleaning, so it's actually more about something he is doing "as a man" which is against the expected male norm.
I suppose that he gets to see me have equal say in important decisions and have access to money and for DH to generally treat me and my opinions with equal importance and respect (although that last one is DH again, argh!) and stand up for myself if I don't agree with something. And I work, at least part time so he understands that women have important jobs in the "outside world" as well as being Mum at home.
Though, I think this is difficult for SAHMs and it's problematic in that it always seems to be the main example brought up about what kind of "role models" women should be for their children - career mums/FT working mums. Nothing wrong with that at all, of course, but it feels limited as being the main thing that women can "role model" for their children.
Penguins, yy, I agree, but I think one of the difficulties may come when you try to discuss some things like choices in childbirth or bfing that have to do with female anatomy (I am trying v. hard not to say biology here).
On a different note, why do some people in AIBU always have to have a pop at feminists? It drives me up the wall. If we were the Borg, we'd just assimilate them, but most of the posters here seem to engage willingly and be interested in discussion.
Oh yeah, of course. And some people me who grew up with a mum and a dad may have lacked advice in that area because my mum found it embarrassing to discuss. It was just an example that spring to mind of a time when it would be helpful to have someone close who can advise based on personal experience
>I don't see calling something a feminist issue, or even a women's issue, means it must only affect women. I just think it means a disproportionate effect on women
No - if you think of the famous title 'Fat is a Feminist Issue', clearly doesn't mean fat just an issue for feminists; or for women, it means it is an issue with which feminists may need to engage. (disclaimer - I've never read the book!)
On role models - it's something I remember thinking about when I was about 11 or 12. I remember reacting against both the "what can be done" and "what should be done" camp. I remember thinking that "what can be done" is obvious and "what should be done" is bullshit. I was a pain when I was growing up.
I agree with what has been said about role models. I don't think a child needs to learn to model themselves or behave 'as' their gender. I think that is wrong.
However, we live in a highly gendered world and I do think that there are aspects of navigating that where children can benefit from watching it being dealt with in a healthy way. My example will be about girls because currently I only have daughters. As they grow older, I think my daughters will benefit from seeing their father's reaction to the sexualisation of marketing, his attitude to online pornography, his attitude to body hair. Because there is a lot that gets thrown at children as 'this is how it is' and 'this is how men/women think' and, whilst obviously children can learn as they grow up that it isn't the case, I also think it's easier to absorb some of this stuff when messages like that are being directly contradicted in your closest personal relationships. I do not for one second think that it needs to be your parents, but I do think having messages about gendered behaviour contradicted at a personal level is helpful. And I do think that having some of those very gendered messages contradicted at the direct level of someone of that gender is often more powerful than me telling them it is incorrect.
If you read parenting books from not that long ago, little boys were supposed to be with mummy until age 7 or so, because that's how they learn emotions and girly things like that - then then should go off to boarding school or learn from daddy so that they don't become soft.
When you think about it, a 'male role model' for a boy is just another way of saying that boys (and girls) need to be taught the correct way to be masculine (or feminine) and that therefore they require someone who has already mastered that performance to show them how to be.
Which, of course, they don't need.
But they probably would find it helpful to have someone of the same biological sex who has experienced the physical (and emotional, if they are different) aspects of growing up into an adult when one is a male (or female).
Really simplistically, I'm thinking that a girl with two dads would probably really appreciate some experienced advice on sanitary protection. Yeah, you can learn yourself, but having someone advise you would save much angst and awkwardness with leakage that could be prevented with more knowledge etc.
I think maybe what I have issues with is the term 'role model' itself. It implies that a child literally 'models' him or herself after a single individual.
I think what matters is seeing how adults interact with each other and with other children. That's how you learn about your own identity and place in the world. Given we live in a society with men and women, it's good to see men and women interacting, but is that the same as 'having a role model'? I'm not sure.
I wondered about role models too. What are role models for? To show you what can be done? Or what should be done?
Steve Biddulph's Raising Boys said boys should have male role models 'cos mums don't know fuck-all about penises, what with being women and all that. (Sorry, a bit biased against his book. Chucked it.)