Is it the pink and lilac?

(13 Posts)
Beancounter1 Tue 11-May-21 21:00:28

So I've been following the attempts of some of the 'TWAW' promoters, and am bemused by the incoherency and lack of logic.
Trying to make sense of these ideas, as described by people arguing in good faith that TWAW, it seems to me that there is a unexamined belief that there really are other 'characteristics' or 'identifiers' of being a woman, apart from biological facts. The argument seems to be that you shouldn't focus on the biology when deciding who is a woman, but look at these other factors, including how a person 'feels'.

Is this perhaps partly a result of at least two decades (since the late 70s) of just about all children's clothing and toys being extremely stereotyped - i.e. pink and lilac clothes and toys for girls, never for boys. It is as if the gender stereotyping has been so all-pervasive for so long that a generation have come to believe that this 'gendering' really is part of what makes someone a man or woman. That you can ignore biology and identify a woman by her appearance, and furthermore (in a generation brought up with social media) that the sex is just not important but socially-visible identifiers are all that matters.

There seems to be a genuine incomprehension (among those who haven't thought it through) that 'sex' is not the same as the gender stereotypes, that sex is not gender identifiers. So we need to spell this out really clearly as otherwise some people just don't realise it.

OP’s posts: |
Shedbuilder Tue 11-May-21 21:25:44

Yes, many of us here have been saying Sex Not Gender for years now. Welcome to the club. You will find this thread will open your eyes even further and bring you up to speed on a lot of things that have been going on. It will take some time to work your way through. Good luck!

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3145470-Break-it-down-for-me

PhoenixandtheRug Tue 11-May-21 21:32:34

You know the way genderists insist that GRA reform will not impact on women's same sex spaces? I never understood it until the penny dropped that they actually believe men are women because of some weird feelz in their heads, and biology doesn't come into it.🥴

SmokedDuck Tue 11-May-21 22:52:37

I don't think it's nearly as simple as the clothes. I would say there were a few mutually reinforcing ideas that have created a sort of synergy in a particular direction.

Maybe most difficult is that some of the ideas seem to pull in opposite directions, but together they don't.

So yes, lots of emphasis on gendered consumerism.

But at the same time, the belief that the thing that gender is meant to represent to us socially, is insignificant. Pop culture has told us that differences between men and women are very minor indeed, to the point where many women genuinely believe that men and women perform at the same level in sports, are equally likely to be in the most demandingly physical jobs, many people feel it's sexist to say that men are more likely to be involved in violence.

And an increasing sense that biology in general isn't significant, that, for example, your "real family" are the people you get on with rather than blood relatives. This has also been extended in some cases to legal documents like birth certificates for reasons around social justice, but this sets a precedent that maybe isn't so helpful around this issue.

The think, I suspect, is that while no one wants to be trapped by strict gendered roles, gender constructs have the social effect of reminding us of what they represent, biological sex. So when you make a lot of effort to play down sex in a society where it's become less important because of changes to technology and work, and then in the other direction consumerism and marketing want to emphasise these two types of representation so they can get people to buy them, you get this weird result.

NiceGerbil Wed 12-May-21 03:33:46

Not just since the 70s- I think the 70s and 80s in the UK were a blip. Sex role was heavily enforced before. And all over the world through history. And still is.

I did read a thing that I found made sense that if you feel like the opposite sex then the way to signal that/ express that is in the cultural trappings. That does make sense to me.

That was ok back in the day when transsexual was the word. Before it was. This current approach.

In the end many many men see women and girls as 2D not whole people. We are MILF, old dear, jail bait, the blonde, ball breaker, tart etc. Even men I know and who know me have fallen back on this. On stereotypes they know I don't meet. But in the end- girl first woman first not person. Depressing.

the ideas about gender seem to feed off that massively.

NiceGerbil Wed 12-May-21 03:46:21

So the things around

People who are in late middle age describing themselves as girls.
The stuff about enjoying being sexually harassed
The fact that breasts seem to be a really big deal. If you're female then binding/ mastectomy. If you're male then getting some. Very male oriented and to do with sex. If you've got tits you're a woman (girl).
The high profile people who dress in ways that women never would, and often at an age where women would be ridiculed if they did
Etc etc

That's all male gaze sex stuff. And there seems to be a strong flavour of that going on.

Can I mention sissy porn? The'female' role in sex. To be dominated. Penetrated.

So yeah it's not great at the moment is it.

Women are more than tits and holes. But an awful lot of male people don't get that.

Bottom line is there's a lot of fetishising the idea of girl/ woman from a male gaze sex (intercourse) based perspective.

YouJustDoYou Wed 12-May-21 04:26:12

I was watching an American talk show yesterday where the guests were a mum and her trans daughter (so, male to female). the mum asked her trans daughter "But you won't ever answer me, what is it that now makes you a female? Is it because you're wearing tiny tight skirts? Is it because you wear make up? What? Because I don't wear those things and I'm still a female! So answer me, what makes a woman? And WHY do you think you're now one?!". The trans daughter couldn't actually articulate, as none of them ever can, what EXACTLY she meant by "feeling like a woman", only that it meant wearing tiny skirts and make up and getting breast implants. The trans daughter just kept spouting off "you're just bigoted/full of hate/I just feel like a woman so I am ine" lines. The mum was like, but I'm trying to understand where my son has gone, I'm trying to understand why suddenly twerking in a tiny skirt for money on onlyfans makes you "female". The trans daughter simply couldn't answer.

Advertisement

AMillionMilesAway Wed 12-May-21 05:10:33

YouJustDoYou

I was watching an American talk show yesterday where the guests were a mum and her trans daughter (so, male to female). the mum asked her trans daughter "But you won't ever answer me, what is it that now makes you a female? Is it because you're wearing tiny tight skirts? Is it because you wear make up? What? Because I don't wear those things and I'm still a female! So answer me, what makes a woman? And WHY do you think you're now one?!". The trans daughter couldn't actually articulate, as none of them ever can, what EXACTLY she meant by "feeling like a woman", only that it meant wearing tiny skirts and make up and getting breast implants. The trans daughter just kept spouting off "you're just bigoted/full of hate/I just feel like a woman so I am ine" lines. The mum was like, but I'm trying to understand where my son has gone, I'm trying to understand why suddenly twerking in a tiny skirt for money on onlyfans makes you "female". The trans daughter simply couldn't answer.

This iw hat Would like to understand. I have nothing against trans people, they are of course free to live as they want to. But surely there is more to "feeling" female than outward appearances and vice versa. Nobody has ever been able to define why they think a "pink brain" is different to a "blue brain" (horrible, sexist terminology IMO) and how that relates to outward appearances.
I don't feel like I can ask this IRL/social media, you'd just get shouted down as a transphobic. But I'd really love to understand more.

WarriorN Wed 12-May-21 06:59:53

The most "gendered societies" where there are very clear gender roles, have always led to ways of one sex trying to find a way to be the other. So Iran (is it Iran?) who transes the gay away to Native American Indians or Native Aboriginals who created "third" genders (females who took on male roles in the case of the Aboriginals.)

Many stories of women pretending to be men to achieve academically in Victorian times.

I have a memory from reception-class in the early 80s of a little boy who loved playing in the home corner with us. As the year went on other boys teased him to the point I remember he was sobbing on the playground, vehemently wishing he could be a girl. (Like he couldn't be a dad?! 🙄)

For children gender stereotypes is definitely linked to pinkification of toys which also inhibits how each sex learns. Gender stereotypes have been linked to poor emotional literacy in boys, translating to more depression and violence as men. Worse achievement in space shape and measure in girls.

I have a background in visual arts and so I'm very aware of how women have been portrayed through the centuries to us, especially more recently in advertising and fashion. The naked dying female or the female muse for the male gaze is v common in art history and also in film.

I honestly think the rise in ROGD in girls was a direct result of both learning about trans via online media but also a backlash from both the pressure of bodily image, hyper sexualisation, trauma due to sexual violence seen in cultural media and actual assaults (from the daily mild mundane to the most serious) and also the lack of visual representation of more 'masculine' of butch looking women and lesbians in popular culture.

Porn is the other big driver.

I could comment on men but it would get me deleted.

WarriorN Wed 12-May-21 07:03:57

I do think homophobia , internalised and experienced, is a big issue. Society is very heterosexual. In many countries there's outright daily homophobia on show.

There's no coincidence that around 80-90% of trans identifying young people later decide they're gay.

Puntastic Wed 12-May-21 07:15:21

Someone pointed out on a baby or pregnancy thread the other day that research into monkeys has suggested an innate bias towards 'boy toys' for males but no bias at all for females- they were equally interested in everything.

So, even if you're buying the idea that boys just naturally like cars, you can't use that logic to suggest that girls like Barbie.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2755553/

Beancounter1 Wed 12-May-21 18:09:29

Hi Smoked Duck,
Interesting point, that society is simultaneously telling us that there is 'no difference' between men and women, boy and girls, yet simultaneously we are bombarded with gendered merchandise and sexualised images. No wonder people are confused.

Hi Nice Gerbil,
I take your point that societies the world over have always had gendered roles for men and women. However, I grew up in the 70's and recall a real push to have toys that weren't gendered. I was dismayed in my teens in the 80' s to see the backlash and the avalanche of pink and lilac arrive.
And of course men see women as stereotypes as that is all the media show them. I believe that unless a boy grows up with sisters, he is unlikely to have a realistic view of the female sex.

Hi YouJustDo You and Million Miles,
This is a great example - complete incoherence and an inability to explain how, if it is not biology, a person can be a woman.

Hi Warrior,
Yes, I agree that the images we see all around from early childhood are as significant as the gendered clothes and toys.

Hi Puntastic,
Interesting study! So males are 'more gendered' than women in these monkeys. I would have thought that in humans it is women who are now more 'gender conforming', though perhaps not! Maybe it is because of the total straightjacket that society puts boy in that so many seem to now want to jump ship over to 'the other side'.

Maybe all the khaki and camouflage that boys are dressed in is even more damaging than the pink and lilac. But only men can solve this and stop policing other men and boys.

OP’s posts: |
SirVixofVixHall Wed 12-May-21 20:29:14

The late seventies were fine, and the eighties. If you look at my (all girls school) class photographs from that time, about half of the girls had short hair cuts, out of school they all dressed in shirts, ties, old men’s overcoats etc, while every single boy I knew wore makeup. All the bands we listened to had both men and women who happily wore whatever they wanted.
This pink/blue thing is really recent. Every girl in my dd’s school has long hair for instance. They look so much more conventional than my cohort.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in