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  1. #1

    Gender Roles and Stereotypes

    I know this article is from last year, but I came across it whilst doing research, and found it to be very interesting. I enjoyed reading about the genetic versus environment aspect of this.

    I have been learning a lot about gender stereotypes within the family through my courses, such as the woman has the responsibility to care for the home and provide emotional support, while the man is the leader and the one who earns money. I know that the world has changed drastically, and many people no longer adopt these stereotypes. These discussions usually also talk about raising boys to be boys and girls to be girls. For instance, boys play with cars and girls play with dolls. I have also read stories recently of parents who allow their children to freely play with anything they want, whether a boy wants to dress up as a princess or a girl wants to play with trucks.

    For me, I have noticed that each of my children are very different. My son does love cars and superheros, whilst my little girl loves everything pink. However, I do encourage each child to play with the toys they like, regardless of who it is supposed to be for. My son has started school, and he sometimes says things like pink is for girls or I can't play with dolls. I tell him he can play with whatever he likes, and he surprised me one day by sitting and playing dolls with his sisters. He dressed the dolls and cared for them, and it was very sweet. I know some parents face a lot of negativity for raising their child to be free from gender roles, such as when the boy wants to wear dresses to school. I am not sure how I would feel if my son wanted to do things like dress in clothing designed for girls, not because I am against it, but because I know it could lead to trouble in school. I do want my children to feel comfortable with who they are, so I do support them and I try to not let them see stereotypical gender roles.

    How do you feel about gender roles and stereotypes?

  2. #2
    I wouldn't say we have are necessarily trying to raise our children free of gender roles, not in the way I've seen others do it, however I do try to keep things in moderation. My children have some tendencies that are stereotypical of their gender, though I encourage them to openly explore other options when teachable moments occur. As a general rule, my children play with all of the toys in our home without regard for who they are intended for. I have one son who is very "boyish" in the traditional sense and one who is less so. My daughter loves pink, but she also enjoys cars and video games. I always try to respect their own interests, while keeping stereotypes in moderation.

    We too are dealing with the school issue. Last year, my daughter was home schooled. This year she is in a traditional school setting and there is a lot of talk of gender stereotypes. We have had numerous conversations about how they shouldn't exist and there is no reason a boy can't play with pink things or a girl with blue.

    As for the thing about boys wearing dresses to school, if that is what my son felt drawn to I would support him 100%. I feel very strongly about these issues and would feel the same if my daughter wanted to cut her hair and only wear pants. If my child were transgendered, the school could not and would not infringe upon that. If they tried, we would seek an alternative means of education, fight it in court or both. Of course, I am lucky to have a valid teaching certificate and the option to teach my children at home if I so choose to.

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