“It’s OK to be Different”: Supporting Children Against Gender

December 22, 2011

This is the first part of a continuing series where I will highlight articles and resources that offer strategies to support children against “Gender”.

Today’s first article is a fantastic one by a teacher who describes the ways she has supported her students against the tyranny of “Gender”. Highly recommended.

http://togetherforjacksoncountykids.tumblr.com/post/14314184651/one-teachers-approach-to-preventing-gender-bullying-in

Feel free to send in articles that you feel are relevant to this series.

 

20 Responses to ““It’s OK to be Different”: Supporting Children Against Gender”

  1. yttik Says:

    That is such important work. I can’t believe that we’re about to enter 2012 and we’re still enforcing rigid gender roles! Locally ToysRUs is one of the worst, they separate their toys into “girl toys” and “boy toys.” One side of the store is pink, one side is blue. I walk out of that store having a gender identity crisis.

    I’ve seen some good posters up in the school gym, “she’s not a tomboy, she’s an athlete” and “run like a girl” or “throw like a girl” with pictures of famous female athletes. We’ve come a long, long way with female sports and I worry about all the budget cuts. We still barely fund female athletics and they’re always the first to go when money gets cut.

    Our school has recently started tackling bullying and it’s been really frustrating because nobody wants to talk about gender, misogyny, or homophobia. Some of the attempts to avoid it have gotten almost comical, because it’s like a huge elephant in the room. At the root of every darn bullying incident is gender, mostly a hatred of women and girls, which then become homophobic slurs.

  2. SheilaG Says:

    I can’t believe it’s almost 2012, and we are still having these discussions about what children should be able to do. This pink and blue nonsense has just got to stop. What will it take?
    And are we back in the pre-feminist stone age yet again?

    • yttik Says:

      Sometimes I wonder if gender conformity isn’t getting worse, if we aren’t in the middle of some kind of backlash.

    • GallusMag Says:

      I agree- there is a huge backlash of Gender Conservatism. There are some signs of progress (or reversal of the backlash) though. This news really cheered me up:

      “Hamleys, the famed toy store on London’s ritzy Regent Street, has stopped grouping toys by gender. My Little Pony, meet your new neighbor, Transformers 3 Cyberverse Commander.

      This month, the 230-year-old toy store confirmed that it has dispensed with its pink “girls” and blue “boys” floors. From now on, toys will be organized around types like “Soft Toys” and interests like “Outdoor” and “Arts & Crafts” with gender-neutral red and white signage.”

  3. Purplerage Says:

    I’m truly inclined to think that when one has hyper aggressive, militaristic patriarchies engaging in corporate backed, imperial campaigns of terror, occupation and plunder around the world
    (the US and UK imperial patriarchies in particular) that particular manifestation of male supremacy has to impact upon other areas, especially on home ground. Hence, the reclamation and assertion of extreme sex role fetishism, phallic dominance (the celebration of phallic torture of females that is gonzo porn, the sex trafficking in women and girls to military bases, as well to the US and UK etc.), the sickening intensification of the ‘cult of masculinity’ which requires that females be cast and kept as the polar opposite of males and the importance of patri-mythology, both past and present, to normalize it – the contradictory facts on the ground be damned, the mythology is all sacred and the high priests of patri-evo-psychology are busily doing their bit as well.

    Excuse the ramble, I’m up far too late, but I do think there is something to the above worth thinking about.

  4. katieB Says:

    Thank you for being the voice of reason. I have been saying and/or thinking these things for a while now! My question is: How can I not become completely discouraged when the transgender community can’t even get basic science right, but their “facts” are presented in all media outlets without any question
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-wooledge/amy-koch-marriage_b_1156847.html?ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

    • katieB Says:

      I refer specifically to the first paragraph of the article where the author mistakes a baby’s sex for gender. Huge distinction!

  5. Bev Jo Says:

    You are absolutely right as usual, Purplerage! It is all conscious and calculated. And yes, Sheila, so much has gone backwards. I can’t get over how almost every woman who comes on my nature hikes call every animal “he.” Even the Lesbians do it. And the increase in high heels is horrific. It’s all around us.

  6. SheilaG Says:

    Well, there are moments…. the neighbors just had a new baby, and when they brought the baby over, I said, “She really looks tiny!” They corrected me saying the baby was a boy, but I felt happy in reversing the reversals.

    All animals are she out in nature!!!

  7. amber powell Says:

    I dont believe anything of significance has changed in the way the average person treats gender interests and preferences. Girls play with dolls and boys play with trucks. Thats it for almost everyone. We make too much of a the very few enlightened parents who can see the stupidity of this. This belief is so deeply ingrained that it will take generations to make any significant change.

  8. FeistyAmazon Says:

    Heheh..I like that Sheila….just say ‘she’ . There’s a guy at work that refers to EVERYTHING as ‘he’, including the pipe he’s running to everything he does….everything to him is a ‘he’, even inanimate objects that aren’t anything….

    But I did my best to avoid mall insanity and such till literally the very last day, Xmas eve, where my partner bought a beautiful jacket for her holiday present(in the men’s section of course, since we’re both Butch)! The salesclerks treated us with utmost respect…but I HATE passing the perfume section to get out, and can’t tolerate the children’s sections ever…the girls sections are always so pinked out…overwhelmingly pepto bismol…I mean there are more colors in life that girls and women like than pepto bismol pink! and the boys sections glorify violence and those macho ugly cartoons like in staid white men clothes, in limited colors of macho male bright red, blue, olive green, ect. Most men’s sections unless you look for hip hop clothes(which because of their colorfulness I appreciate) are very staid and boring: same colors: red, blue, burgundy(maybe)grey, brown, black and maybe yellow. No turquoise blue, very, very rarely purple, or teal green. I have to look more to minority men’s sections for more colorful clothes that are more likely to have my size as well. Even in the big men’s stores, the colors are even more staid, unless again, catering to the hip hoppers….but it’s the girls’ sections that disgust me the most. Even fashionable women’s clothes, women have a choice beyond pink, like sophisticated black, red, ect. and other choices of colors, but yet the whole breast cancer thing still caters to pink everything, same pepto bismol pink, and one never hears of the ‘red dress’ campaign against heart disease which affects even way more women. Though I’d never wear a red dress, I do wear a red vest, and my partner has heart disease so I began wearing that pin.

    I’ve seen pink boxing gloves, tools, pouches, hard hats and other what are considered ‘manly’ items catering to women always in pepto bismol pink, hardly ever in all the other colors both women and men may enjoy: moss green, royal blue, purple and lavendar. I am determined to find a purple hardhat, cuz you’ll NEVER catch me in a pink one!
    -FeistyAmazon

  9. Bev Jo Says:

    I think it could all change immediately if feminists were in control of all the media. Maybe not for everyone, but if it appears that attitudes are different (less overtly misogynist and no more showing females in any form of male-defined “femininity), then people do want to fit in and follow trends, and so would be greatly influenced. This would have to be complete media change — no more girls and women looking remotely male-feminine or having bizarre porny poses and gestures, no makeup, dresses, silly shoes and hair styles — not one girl or woman portrayed in a way that a male isn’t portrayed. And all behavior changed too. It would make a huge difference.

    But the media and patriarchy are enforcing even more rigid roles. And even many feminists raising kids are doing the same thing.

    It’s the blanket, unquestioned belief that male-invented femininity is true femininity and anything else is truly male. It’s as unreal as the standards of beauty we’re taught that even most feminists believe. When challenging looksism, they will say they don’t care about looking “beautiful.” Few will say that patriarchal-defined “beauty” is actually ugly — very ugly. (Plastic surgery, breast implants, makeup, high heels, humiliating dresses, etc.) Just saying no to the lies is a beginning.

    • Purplerage Says:

      So well said Bev! Patriarchal-defined ”beauty” IS ugly, consisting of all that is unnatural (proof that men really do hate and fear the female body), it completely negates the natural physical state of be-ing female – making it appear shameful and abnormal. The natural dykely beauty of western lesbian being and dress is so rare and special and all but invisible within the western heteropatriarchal culture at large that we’re forced to survive in. I’ve been given so many contemptuous looks by hetero females due to my lesbian dress – water of a duck’s back to me now. However, females are made so very hateful and unlovable to themselves and eachother in striving to comply with heteropatriarchal cultural dictates that it is a tragic irony that it is their very male-identification and attraction to the male sex that lies behind it.

  10. luckynkl Says:

    Up until WWII, blue was the color for girls and red was the color for boys. You can still see it in the old bicycles. Girls’ bikes were blue and boys’ bikes were red. Heck, even in the 70’s, my bikes were blue and my brothers’ were red.

    Colors are based on the auras some people can actually see. Blue = calm, peaceful. Red = angry. Now you know where we get terms like “red with anger” or “green with envy” and equate white with purity and innocence (young children’s auras tend to be white or light yellow). Some folks can actually see these colors in people’s auras! We can now also begin to understand why blue was the color for girls and red was the color for boys. Girls were more peaceful. Boys were prone to anger. No doubt sex roles had something to do with that as well.

    Obviously some time after WWII, boys decided to steal the color blue from girls. What else is new with boys? Eternally envious of girls, boys have always stolen whatever girls have. Maybe the color for boys should’ve been green instead of red? But red matches up as well, since envy so often leads to anger.

    What about pink? What does that color mean in the world of auras? Be prepared to be horrified. Pink = estrus. Meaning the female is sexually receptive or in heat. Are you starting to get the big picture? Now excuse me while I go throw up.

    • yttik Says:

      That’s a really good point. The history of pink and blue is really fascinating and shows how influenced we are by cultural expectations of gender. Many years ago you would have been ridiculed for dressing a boy in anything but pink or red. Some of the antique etiquette magazines talk about blue being a washed out, serene color, only suited for girls.

      History is full of examples like this, the way gender stereotypes are completely cultural and subjective. At one point in history men were wearing the high heels, the tights, and the wigs. Our expectations for women and men have been all over the place just in western culture alone. These are all invented norms that we’ve created in our minds, depending on what time period we’ve lived in.

  11. Bev Jo Says:

    Thanks for the info about pink signifying estrus, Lucky. I’m still trying to get over that lipstick and nail polish are old prostitute signals to customers about what they were willing to do, and now they are considered what all women and girls should wear. There is no dignity for most women in the media. Newscaster men allowed to look dignified and women expected to look like clowns. But Rachel Maddow shows that there are other options, though even she is expected to wear a low-cut shirt compared to how men are covered up. There is no real alternative media image to the pressure on women and girls to look ridiculous and be caricatures.


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