Friday, April 04, 2008

Genderization, Genderfication, Gendermaking

"Girls like Pink
Boys like Blue (and Pink)
Girls like dolls
Boys like airplanes"

We've made a pretty conscientious effort not to promote gender roles with our kids.
Will dons a tutu to dance along song Sophie. Sophie enjoys soccer and playing with the toy airplanes (to a point). Our stories are selected to avoid reinforcing stereotypes. The kids do not watch commercial TV. In short, we do everything short of taking things out of our kids hands, or forcing them to wear or play with something. Well almost nothing. We do tend to buy clothes in the "gendered" sections. Sophie has dresses, Will does not. We let Sophie's hair grow long, Will gets a shorter crop, so we are not perfectly neutral. But we do try .

Of course, they are exposed to other kids, and get a lot from that. And there are still the unavoidable adverts in stores and billboards and the like.

I've noticed an acceleration of this lately, Sophie is less interested in cars and trucks, or planes. Will will play with stuffed animals, but doesn't much care to play "mommy" anymore. (His 'I'm a mommy possum' was one of the cutest things of all time). We still do our best to renounce stereotyping of "boys do this, girls do that" sort of stuff, and make an effort to promote examples of girls interested in science and sports, and boys cooking and caring, but there is a leviathan of resistance.

I am not overly worried, but it is interesting to watch how insidious the gender-roles can be.


At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that you're promoting girls being interested in science and sports and boys being interested in cooking and caring. That's a realy smart way of introducing diversity to children. More parents should do things like this, but unfortunately people still say things like "you can't wear pink your a boy", and so on.. I'm writing a paper on genderfication and stumbled on your blog post. Keep it up, speak loud, and make a difference!


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