Talking Gender & Kids

If you’ve just stumbled across this blog, then you may not know about my interest (both personal and professional) with society’s view of kids and gender. I’ve written about it before for Bitch magazine, Bamboo Family magazine, and other publications, as well as many posts here on this blog. And I even co-created/moderated a panel about it for Hampshire College’s Civil Liberty & Public Policy conference last month (more on that soon!). Suffice it to say, all things gender and kids really piques my interest.

While I’ve been off working on one project or another, both my Twitter and Facebook feeds have been full of fabulous articles and blog posts talking about kids and gender, and I wanted to share some of my favorites with you.

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My pal Annie from Ph.D in Parenting did a 4 part series looking at society, gender and children.

The world we live in is gendered. The world our kids are growing up in is gendered. Despite being told “you can be anything you want to be”, the message our kids get tell a very different story. In a perfect world, we would all be able to define what our own gender means to us, instead of having others define, shape and police it for us. But that is not the case.

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Dr. Robyn Silverman writes about her daughter, and allowing her to color both inside and outside the gender lines.

For us, we feel that if our daughter is to become the person she was meant to be on this planet, we can’t limit her. Keeping safety and character in tact, we simply don’t keep her from experiencing, exploring and experimenting.  I want her to keep all 5 senses open and sharp so she can discover…herself.

No boxes, no ceilings, no lines. Just her. In her glory.

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Malic White’s Bitch guest blog series, The End of Gender is a great read in general, but I particularly loved this recent post on “sex-appropriate” colors for children that delves into the history of it all, and included an interesting chart from a 1927 Time magazine article that showed which sex-appropriate colors were approved by major department stores of the time.

While metrosexual fashion reclaims pink as a “manly” hue, I’m not so sure if pink and blue will ever lose their cultural significance (plus, sporting a shirt that reads, “Real Men Wear Pink” only reinforces the line the between masculine/feminine gender roles). But the history of pink and blue shows us just how arbitrary gender signifiers can be, and in the genderpocalypse, that’s knowledge we can apply to just about everything else.

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An article up at the Huffington Post looks at a new curriculum that focuses on positive boy-girl relationships. Currently, the kiddo’s bff is a girl (they’ve essentially been friends since birth and treat each other like siblings) and for the most part, their difference in gender hasn’t really come up. Perhaps it helps that they both favor the color pink, enjoy playing “family” and “butterflies” (both intricate games that have lots of complex rules that change almost daily), and riding their bikes. Then again, they’re both 5 – so perhaps their nonrecognition of gender as they play will change with age. Or perhaps they’ll have a much more open and fluid view of it due to their steadfast friendship(that’s them up above). Either way, I’m more than supportive of curriculums that strive to break down gender stereotypes and ensure that boys and girls have equal educational opportunities and experiences.

Their hope is that interacting positively will become the default. “We think it’s going to promote gender equity, non-stereotyped thinking,” he said. Fabes said that poor co-ed relationships are often to blame for bullying, victimization, harassment, and dating and domestic violence that exists today.

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Have you stumbled across some great articles or posts talking about kids & gender? If so, please share your finds below!

One thought on “Talking Gender & Kids

  1. Pingback: Sex vs. Gender | The Mamafesto

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