Friday, April 25, 2014

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Let’s Talk about Gender…

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

boysI’d like to talk about gender, gender roles and how we understand gender in our children as we raise them.  Am I allowed to?  Has this become an untouchable topic? 

Between those that say boys and girls are the same, those that say gender is different but selectable, and those that say gender is something you put on like a change of clothing – it seems one no longer may discuss gender without instantly being classified as a bigot or homophobe or misogynist.

Can I discuss that boys and girls are different?  Plenty of studies have been performed that children raised in “gender neutral” circumstances (where they are given equal choices of boy and girl toys, colors and activities) still tend to play with traditional boy or girl toys and involve themselves in boy or girl preferential activities. Of course there are some girls who will benefit from having the more boy-like options open to them, and some boys who benefit from the girl-like options.  But the vast majority trend moves into to the norm.

girlsIs it ok to discuss that?  There were a few generations when they tried to defy the natural trend – it didn’t make much of a difference. And there are still those pushing that direction – hard.  Here’s an example, the daughter of an author of Freakonomics is running a protest campaign about McDonalds in the U.S. asking if their customers want a Happy Meal with a “girl toy” (a my pretty pony) or a “boy toy” (a skylanders toy).  Yet they miss the one key question… regardless of the way of describing the toy, how many parents with boys order the meal with the pretty pony choice, and how many with girls order the toy with the monster adventure figure toy?

Strangely after a generation of “gendering down” boys (where roughhousing, adventurous play, and physical interaction is all prohibited or severely limited), young women of the current generation are complaining that the men are not manly enough and/or not being protective, providers, or fixers and do-ers.  Somehow society hasn’t connected de-boying boys with men who are less valued by the young women.  But the men are willing to do the dishes and diaper the baby.

CaptureOf course I’ve been discussing all of this in terms of cisgender.  That would be the artificial word created by those who wish to warp concepts of gender to represent those who act in the pattern of their genetically determined gender.  That would be as opposed to… those who don’t.  That’s a discussion for another time… if we’re allowed to talk about it.  Probably not, as I need neither the hate mail nor accusations of incitement.

I might mention that the Torah (bible, etc) are relatively 100% clear on the requirement to focus on gender roles and normative gender activities.  But again, one can’t mention that anymore without being considered biased and bigoted.  You can’t have a religious position that disagrees with “that” community anymore – you’re dangerous if you do.  A target.  Someone who’s in the way of where they are taking society.

The future is here.  Conform or be pushed aside and reviled.  Everything goes… except the Torah / Bible / tradition / normalcy.  The unusual, the weird, the troubled, the damaged and those with “challenges”, the 2%, they are the norm now.  You are the problem. Keep your “man” and “woman” roles to yourself.  They’re not wanted anymore… because “they” know best.

1 comments:

Daniel Schwarz said...

The problem here is how should society deal with the edge conditions? Betwen 0.1% and 0.2% of babies are born "intersex" - having both male and female characteristics. Some of these babies have surgery so their physical characterisics align with one gender. For these children, in later life their self-conception of belonging to a gender may not match the one to which they have been surgically assigned. Who decides whether that child should play with "boy" or "girl" toys, or should dress or act like a boy or girl? Must they go through surgery again?

A more common scenario. A girl may display tomboy characteristics, might enjoy playing with traditionally "boy" toys. Or a boy may wish to play with "girl" toys. Is this to be forbidden? For most kids it's a passing phase.

In the case of McDonalds, the solution was simple. Now, rather than identifying the toys as "girl" toys or "boy" toys, the cashier is instructed to simply give the toys' names i.e. ("space ranger" or "my little pony") and asks which the customer wants. A simple solution that harms no one at all. How is this bad?

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