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

(365 Posts)
SolidGoldBrass Wed 20-Feb-13 00:47:29

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

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

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 20-Feb-13 04:53:34

grin Nando.

One of the things I worry about is whether my well-meaning gender-neutrality is actually harmful. I put DD in whatever clothes are clean fit her and are task specific. So, Thomas boots for the beach, tunic dress and leggings for running around. They are roughly divided between gender neutral, 'boys' section clothes and 'girls' section clothes.

However, neutral as I am being, the parents of boys are not putting their boys in skirts and dresses. Am I unwittingly saying, "boys stuff is great so girls should wear it as well, girl's stuff is shit so boys won't wear it" or, as I hope, am I saying, "it's all nonsense"?

slightlysoupstained Wed 20-Feb-13 05:46:15

Puzzles me when people say "but we've treated DS and DD exactly the same and they turned out different". Unless you kept your kids in a box, they'll have had more influences than just you from day one.

If parental input was the be-all & end-all, second generation immigrants would only be fluent in their parents' language.

sashh Wed 20-Feb-13 06:01:50

* I do think that boys and girls are very different in terms of behavior, socializing, learning, playing... *

I'm a teacher and the only difference I see is the girls are more squealy sometimes. The way they learn is different because they may be more visual, or more kinesthetic learners.

Melanthe Wed 20-Feb-13 06:49:14

* KC225 *

^ I have twins - one boy, one girl. From day one everything was the same... I would say from the age of three, they are very different - not just personality wise which is to be expected. There are marked differences between girls and boys that I do not believe we have enforced. My husband and I talk about it all the time. ^

Can you elaborate KC225? What differences are there that are not personality, but gender differences? How do you recognise those differences as 'boy and 'girl' traits?

Melanthe Wed 20-Feb-13 06:50:04


I have twins - one boy, one girl. From day one everything was the same... I would say from the age of three, they are very different - not just personality wise which is to be expected. There are marked differences between girls and boys that I do not believe we have enforced. My husband and I talk about it all the time.

Can you elaborate KC225? What differences are there that are not personality, but gender differences? How do you recognise those differences as 'boy and 'girl' traits?

Repost because the font fail bugged me!

exoticfruits Wed 20-Feb-13 06:52:37

I find them very different- I don't know why it is taboo to say it. Why on earth do people have such angst about having a baby boy when they wanted a girl if there is no difference? Try saying that on a baby thread ' don't be silly- you are making a fuss over nothing- there is no difference'!

CheerfulYank Wed 20-Feb-13 06:54:42

Nah, YANBU. You didn't scream in her face or anything. grin

I'm not convinced that there aren't some inherent differences between the majority of male and female brains/psyches/whatever, but I am convinced that not everyone fits neatly into those categories and we need to be sensitive to that, and not think it's wrong or bad.

AIBU in that this clip always makes me laugh, then? smile

TheFallenNinja Wed 20-Feb-13 06:59:43

If a teacher of my children spent any of their time pushing any agenda other than the educational topic in hand I would be making plenty of noise about it.

Teachers should not be "conditioning" anybodies children but their own.

This is not to say I disagree with any particular agendas but given that we are constantly told that teachers have barely any time to teach the curriculum then I expect that to be the primary focus.

exoticfruits Wed 20-Feb-13 07:00:04

Of course not everyone fits neatly- they never do.

crazycanuck Wed 20-Feb-13 07:44:55

All those posters banging on about there actually being physiological differences between boys and girls really do need to read Delusions of Gender. She cites numerous studies that conclude that any measured physiological differences are VERY slight, and are actually amplified by societal conditioning.

Wolfiefan Wed 20-Feb-13 07:49:40

I agree Crazy but teachers need to work with the students in front of them. That finds what works for every student. It would be irresponsible for us to ignore differences or pretend they did not exist (whatever their cause.)
I have one of each. Vvvv different. How much is gender and how much is just that each of my kids are unique and special?

Wolfiefan Wed 20-Feb-13 07:51:17

But this was a casual conversation in the playground. The poor teacher was probably exhausted, on her way home and thinking about everything that still needed to be done once the kids were in bed!

Midori1999 Wed 20-Feb-13 07:55:23

I haven't read 'Delusions of Gender' but I think I may now, so thank you for that OP and YANBU.

I have three boys and one girl. (Have had three girls though) if I ever say anything about how my DD is different from her brothers or one of her brothers I get 'that's girls for you'. It really annoys me beyond all belief. DD is different because, well, she's different. She's also a whole person, not just a gender. I hate that already society is attributing behaviour or gender.

I have mostly brought my boys up myself and although I wouldn't say they've been treated gender neutrally, they've all had do Los, kitchens, hovers etc, things that some families would think we're 'for girls' and I've never taught them anything like boys don't cry or have to be brave or any of that rubbish. Yet DS2 was recently embarrassed to tell me he likes My Little Pony and the idea that this is embarrassing for a boy must have come from society, because it certainly hasn't come from me. Sadly, he doesn't feel this is something he wants his peers to know and I feel I have to respect that, although I wish he didn't care what they think. Perhaps when he is older. sad

cory Wed 20-Feb-13 07:55:49

I don't know about inherent differences. All I know is that some of the differences which my English friends assure me are inherent are ones I knew nothing about when I grew up in Sweden. No doubt if I moved to Saudi Arabia, I would find that there are far more "inherent" differences than we ever knew about in the UK.

TheFallenNinja Wed 20-Feb-13 07:59:07


Yep. And probably weary at people who, when she expresses a view, being told (however gently) that it is rubbish.

Teachers (like many professions) must have a smile sweetly and nod on agreement for these situations, it's good customer service.

FrameyMcFrame Wed 20-Feb-13 07:59:56


Children are all individuals, gender stereotyping is wrong and goes on far too much in schools. It's actually really bad for boys as well as girls.

Startail Wed 20-Feb-13 08:00:06

At primary age there is one finder mental difference, girls mature earlier than boys.

In a KS1 class this can be very noticeable.

Yes, I have two incredibly different girls, but they are still not as loud and physical as most boys.

ScarletLady02 Wed 20-Feb-13 08:03:18

I haven't read this book, but I will look it up now. It's a subject that interests me greatly.

Things are getting slightly better I feel (my sister was not "allowed" to do technical drawing as a subject at school because she was a girl....she's in her 40s) but there's still a long way to go. It does seem to be more acceptable for girls to be "tomboys" than for boys to be "girly". That saddens me in a way, because as another PP mentioned, it seems to reinforce that there's something intrinsically inferior about wanting to be girly.

ChestyLeRoux Wed 20-Feb-13 08:04:59

I work with younger children and dont believe its innate for one second.By the time they have got to primary they have been socialised that way.

desertgirl Wed 20-Feb-13 08:06:00

I have one of each and they are in many ways the opposite of the stereotypes. (DS is more nurturing, more actively pushed wanting to go to dance classes, more into reading etc rather than charging aroundn etc). What I have noticed is that (a) I feel more self conscious about DS acting 'like a girl' than about DD acting 'like a boy', though I try not to show it, and (b) there is far more external pressure on DS not to do things because they are 'girly' than the other way round. Even on Mumsnet far more people talk about their DD being a tomboy than their DS being whatever the reverse is.... Why then is the perception that it is girls who suffer more from social conditioning?

ChestyLeRoux Wed 20-Feb-13 08:06:09

Also for girls not being as loud and physical of boys ahahhahahaha I wish that was the case!!

cory Wed 20-Feb-13 08:07:14

I believe there may well be inherent differences that show up in a statistic material.

And naturally, at a given stage in their development, some things are going to be more noticeable: a 10yo girl who has reached puberty may well come across as very different from a boy of the same age who is nowhere near that stage in life. So a school teacher who only sees children between 9 and 11 may well feel these differences are greater than someone who follows the same group of sibling from birth to adulthood.

But as CheerfulYank says, not everybody is going to fall neatly into categories.

desertgirl Wed 20-Feb-13 08:08:47

Bit of a cross post sorry, takes me ages to type on phone!

MrsWolowitzerables Wed 20-Feb-13 08:11:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RedHelenB Wed 20-Feb-13 08:13:16

Naando - no way do I believe that any teachers that were trained after me ( and probably before!!) would be telling girls to cook & telling boys not to wear pink!!

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