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No More Boys and Girls

(17 Posts)
Imperfect27 Tue 22-Aug-17 11:50:51

Surprised that no-one else has started a thread on this.

I think we are quite ' gender stereotype sensitive' in our family - I grew up as the only girl with 4 older brothers in a very male chauvinistic household and can see how this impacted on my life - some positives, some pitfalls ...

The teacher's use of 'Love' to address girls and 'Fella / Matey' for boys was something that made me wince from the start.

Good to challenge stereotypes that can be limiting, but this rather than for the sake of it ... I had 2 boys and 2 girls - a girl first and we bought her a garage and a shape sorter for her first birthday .... she wanted to play with the dolls! I guess we gave her the choice and the boys enjoyed the pram and pushchair and tea sets too!

I do wonder where the boundaries lie between striving for gender neutrality and confusing sexual identity?


mostlyharmless Tue 22-Aug-17 12:19:41

It was a very interesting programme and really made me think about how we treat the grandchildren. We do try to provide gender neutral toys and activities, but do we try hard enough? For example the two girls get the butterfly versions of things such as birthday cards, while the boys have transport themed cards! Very difficult to be really gender neutral all the time.

The part where the nursery worker played with the (cross -dressed) babies offering them only toys they thought suitable for their "fake identities" was quite shocking.

ninathenana Tue 22-Aug-17 12:22:28

Haven't seen it

Imperfect27 Tue 22-Aug-17 12:51:58

I remember seeing a similar 'gender swap' experiment before where younger babes in arms were dressed differently. Adults generally talk to baby girls in softer , higher tones and 'rock' them more gently. Same-aged baby boys are spoken to in lower tones and jiggled about more ....seems there is so much ingrained and possible innate in the different in ways we raise children from the cradle. But it is interesting to think through what we impose.

Imperfect27 Tue 22-Aug-17 12:52:41

Sorry about the typos!! blush

yggdrasil Tue 22-Aug-17 14:50:50

It was very illuminating, and I am looking forward to part 2. If you haven't seen part 1 you can probably find it on catch-up

goldengirl Tue 22-Aug-17 16:22:47

It was interesting when - I think it was this programme - that baby boys were dressed as girls and baby girls as boys and then the ways they were played with with unknowing adults was recorded. Definite stereotyping there. One of my little GS loves to push a dolls buggy when he comes to play - and it's pink. My DS gulps a bit but lets us get on with it; it's the reactions of the occasional male in the park that highlight the stereotyping. Little GS doesn't care a jot grin and when he's finished his play with that he moves on to cars and soldiers.

Morgana Tue 22-Aug-17 16:40:42

It was a fascinating programme. I do think we have become more pink and girly as a society over the last few years. We seem to have become besotted with looks. When I was teaching I had a young lad who looked very like a girl and was horrified to find myself treating him differently to the other boys.

mostlyharmless Tue 22-Aug-17 17:34:15

The second episode is on Wednesday 9pm BBC2.

I asked my grandsons (5 and 8) after the programme whether they thought boys or girls were stronger, cleverer. They surprised me by both saying they were the same. I've asked the granddaughters (4 and 6) in the past and they say the same too. They did a climbing wall activity last week and the 6 year old granddaughter was surprisingly better at it than the 8 year old grandson. The fact that I was surprised is sexist in itself! The instructor was also surprised though!

The boys in the TV programme (7 year olds) seemed very sexist.

Imperfect27 Thu 24-Aug-17 08:18:22

I enjoyed the second episode and there was much food for thought. Completely agree with the 'labelling' issue re t-shirts. Having worked in nurseries for many years, it was noticeable that boys that wore 'little monster' t-shirts often were. My daughter blogged extensively on this issue recently with many people saying this view is OTT - I was glad for her to see it being given profile.

However, I was uncomfortable with the exercise to 'bin' anything that was not gender-neutral on the home front - a step too far perhaps and for some children this would have meant their whole bedrooms and toy supply! Not realistic and I think it is more about introducing balance/ counter balance.
I think the central message of thinking through and removing 'limiting' gender stereotyping is sound and as a teacher I can see how easy it would be to address some things head on in the classroom. Interesting that in the experiment, as boys became more emotionally articulate, behaviour improved ...

downtoearth Thu 24-Aug-17 10:03:34

My own children boy and girl where just under 2 years and similar in size so bought neutral clothes and toys more for financial reasons but they played with either boys or girls toys and young friends daughter 5 on sunday prefers girly and pink ...all girl household..but will play with boys toys....

Imperfect27 Thu 24-Aug-17 11:51:50

I think there has been a relatively recent 'explosion' of 'blue' and 'pink' STUFF marketed directly to gender (last 30 years). That's not to say people haven't bought girls dolls and boys footballs for a very long time, but I do think children have a lot more money spent on them now and there is plenty of tat to spend it on.
Perhaps it is just the way of it that our children had fewer clothes and toys. My girls and boys definitely shared some clothing and all played with all the toys we had for them so by default perhaps there was less differentiation.

I remember a fancy dress competition at school when I was ten and /I elected to dress as a 'boy' pirate. I am also very competitive. was brought up with 4 brothers so maybe some attitudes rubbed off. I played football a lot too! grin

minesaprosecco Thu 24-Aug-17 12:14:55

Totally agree with you about the explosion of pink and blue imperfect. It's not just for children - have you tried to find a card for a daughter or daughter in law that isn't pink and girly? It makes me wonder what on earth went wrong with the feminist causes we all fought back in the day!

Morgana Thu 24-Aug-17 23:51:59

Yep! But we old feminists have been undermined by all those female pop stars who have flaunted their female sexuality to achieve fame. Perhaps we should blame those Barbie dolls!

yggdrasil Fri 25-Aug-17 10:03:54

I watched it, congratulating myself on how I had managed. My daughter had construction toys as well as dolls. She never wanted pink!. Not to say she didn't get it sometimes, clothes were passed around from friends. Her little brother had a pale purple anorak because the pink one didn't dye very well. He had access to all her toys she didn't want, and spent almost a year between age 1 & 2 looking after a discarded doll, feeding, putting to bed etc. After which he dropped it and that was that.
My daughter's children have been brought up the same, my granddaughter went through a pink phase, but that is what it was, an intense phase then dropped totally.

Deedaa Fri 25-Aug-17 17:22:35

I took GS1 to a pre school party when he was about four. All the boys were dressed as super heroes, cowboys, indians or pirates. All the girls were princesses - how depressingly boring! When DD went to a party at that age she was dressed as a pirate, I wouldn't have dared to suggest a dress grin

NfkDumpling Fri 25-Aug-17 19:55:16

A very interesting series. The last programme showing the results was particularly interesting, the body's having become more articulate and empathic and the girls more outgoing and confident. It will be good if the methods could be rolled out nationwide?

Toy and kids clothing manufacturers just need to be persuaded to give up their steriotyping. I feel that's where the blame mostly lies.