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

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

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

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

So lets hurry onto the next lesson:

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

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

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?

jamdonut Tue 26-Mar-13 20:44:59

You do know that 100+ years ago boys were dressed a lot like little girls for the first 3 or 4 years of their lives. I have seen a photo of my great grandfather looking very girly with ringlets and what looks suspiciously like a skirt and knickerbockers!

This is similar :

jamdonut Tue 26-Mar-13 20:47:39

And what about this? Girl or boy do you reckon?

jamdonut Tue 26-Mar-13 20:48:47

Here's the previous link again.

abbyfromoz Tue 26-Mar-13 20:50:05

Easy... Boy. Girl on barrel and boy.

abbyfromoz Tue 26-Mar-13 20:51:15

Actually on closer inspection all boys.

tvmum1976 Wed 27-Mar-13 02:58:52

I'm really conflicted about this one. I agree with you OP that gender stereotyping with young children has reached ridiculous and scary proportions and I totally agree that it does matter. I also disagree with several PPs who have suggested that if the parents pursue a feminist agenda of any kind then their children will inevitably rebel. I was a child of the most out there feminist mother of the seventies- was forbidden from wearing pink, playing with Barbies, regularly discussed oppression from a ludicrously young age etc. OF course I desperately wanted to wear pink as a seven year old, but as an adult I think it is what shaped me into a thinking, questioning person, and I believe my mum's feminism is what is responsible for a good deal of my success in life. It has definitely shaped my own views- I am a feminist and try to apply this in my own parenting (albeit in a slightly less earnest, seventies way.)

BUT this comment:
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.

is ridiculous. all parents bring up their children in accordance with their own tastes, values and cultural expectations. We all do this whether consciously or unconsciously. you are doing this as much as every other parent, and that is no bad thing. that is what parenting is.

exoticfruits Wed 27-Mar-13 06:29:46

When they are little we are bound to bring them up in accordance with our tastes, values, cultural expectations etc BUT we have to be aware that they may reject them when older. E.g you may be a vegetarian for ethical reasons and therefore of course you won't give them meat, however they may decide there is nothing ethically wrong in eating it. You can still only produce vegetarian food but they are perfectly free to eat meat elsewhere. You may be an atheist, when older they may become a Christian and train as a vicar.
They are their own person- not a mini you. I can't see why it changes your relationship at all- there should be room to embrace the differences.
OP has very set ideas - I just wouldn't apply them too strongly-DD is not a mini you. You may be lucky and she will agree or she may find you too dogmatic and irritating. I would give her room to develop and find out who she is.

LadyFlumpalot Wed 27-Mar-13 06:46:28

Oh crumbs. I have always preferred to put DS in blue tops, purely because he really suits blue (especially greeny blue) with his blonde (long and curly, I refuse to cut his beautiful curls) hair.

Now I'm worried everyone will think in gender stereotyping when that had never even crossed my mind!

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