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Gender-neutral preschool
By slice
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 02:13 PM

What do you think? Too far? Or a model for preschools elsewhere to emulate?

http://beta.news.yahoo.com/no-him-her-preschool-fights-gender-bias-122541829.html

From the color and placement of toys to the choice of books, every detail has been carefully planned to make sure the children don't fall into gender stereotypes.

"Society expects girls to be girlie, nice and pretty and boys to be manly, rough and outgoing," says Jenny Johnsson, a 31-year-old teacher. "Egalia gives them a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be."


Lego bricks and other building blocks are intentionally placed next to the kitchen, to make sure the children draw no mental barriers between cooking and construction.


Nearly all the children's books deal with homosexual couples, single parents or adopted children. There are no "Snow White," ''Cinderella" or other classic fairy tales seen as cementing stereotypes.


Jay Belsky, a child psychologist at the University of California, Davis, said he's not aware of any other school like Egalia, and he questioned whether it was the right way to go.

"The kind of things that boys like to do — run around and turn sticks into swords — will soon be disapproved of," he said. "So gender neutrality at its worst is emasculating maleness."


Egalia doesn't deny the biological differences between boys and girls — the dolls the children play with are anatomically correct.

What matters is that children understand that their biological differences "don't mean boys and girls have different interests and abilities," Rajalin says. "This is about democracy. About human equality."

52 Replies to Gender-neutral preschool

re: Gender-neutral preschool (karma: 2)
By sworddancer2
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 02:37 PM
I can understand the point of view, but I think they are going too far. I find this especially revealing:

Nearly all the children's books deal with homosexual couples, single parents or adopted children. There are no "Snow White," ''Cinderella" or other classic fairy tales seen as cementing stereotypes.


Teaching children that homosexual couples, single parents etc are "normal" (ie not something "disturbing") is one thing. However, they seem to be completely ignoring traditional nuclear families. Why can't they also accept those families?

If they are presenting all these alternative gender roles, non-traditional professions, non-traditional families, why can't they also include traditional roles and families for balance? What is wrong with Cinderella if you are also showing single mothers and professional women? A stay-at-home mother or father in a traditional family is just as valuable as someone being less traditional.

If they wanted something balanced and equal, they still have a long way to go.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Caulfieldmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 02:56 PM
Edited by Caulfield (215826) on 2011-06-27 15:00:47
After reading the article, I'm finding myself appreciating certain procedures Egalia has taken (including storybooks about homosexuality, black dolls, toy placement, etc), but this is a liiiiittle to extreme for my taste, regardless of how liberal I am.

There's nothing wrong with identifying with your gender and even the stereotypes that go along with it. Most of my female friends will admit they grew up watching princess movies and playing house, and it's not exactly as though they're psychologically damaged by their involvement in predominantly female activities. I played with dinosaurs and cars in preschool, but would go over to the playhouse and play Sailor Moon with my girlfriends five minutes later. I mean, isn't that a part of learning and growing as a child? Being able to discover and have choices in regards to how you play? It seems to me as though Egalia is forcing so-called "gender equality" on these kids, rather than letting them decide for themselves. I mean, there are bigger issues to deal with in educational facilities than perceived gender divides, especially since developed countries have made enormous strides in equality between the sexes. They're expending a LOT of energy that could be better directed, in my opinion.

All I'm saying is that a girl isn't grow up to be a damsel in distress if she reads Cinderella. Oh, and a boy won't necessarily become a meat-eatin', machinery-drivin', womanizin' man just because he plays with Tonka trucks.
re: Gender-neutral preschool (karma: 1)
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 03:01 PM
I bet you that the little boys will use the barbies as toy guns. At least, that is what my little brother did. I also "nursed" my brothers toys and "took care" of them as a mommy.

My little brother and I played house a lot, and he also played with my dolls.

I am a teacher and a nanny and I personally see huge differences between boys and girls. I honestly do not think that it is social conditioning. The 2 year old girls were a lot more quiet, focused, and played inside without destroying the whole house. The little boys I had was always getting into things and they were always climbing and getting hurt. They also used to be a lot more daring, and I had to make sure they didn't jump off from the top of the stairs.


I think that this preschool is going a bit too far.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Anon1234567890member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 03:05 PM
Way too righteous.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 03:18 PM
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-06-27 15:18:42
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-06-27 15:24:21
jazz_lover wrote:

I am a teacher and a nanny and I personally see huge differences between boys and girls. I honestly do not think that it is social conditioning. The 2 year old girls were a lot more quiet, focused, and played inside without destroying the whole house. The little boys I had was always getting into things and they were always climbing and getting hurt.

Of course they act differently. The concept of gender is very, very, very deeply ingrained in the way our society is structured that it seems like a natural thing by now--but it's not. Sex, the biological "parts" a person has, is nature's doing. Gender, the way we identify a person and their responsibilities in life based on their biological "parts," is completely constructed by humans. So yeah, little boys and girls act differently and tend to like different things--but not because "it's nature," like some people prefer to think. Gender differences exist because we put them there, we made them.

Caulfield wrote:

All I'm saying is that a girl isn't grow up to be a damsel in distress if she reads Cinderella. Oh, and a boy won't necessarily become a meat-eatin', machinery-drivin', womanizin' man just because he plays with Tonka trucks.

I agree, but the problem is that most schools and parents don't take this into account--people tend to just accept that gender is what it is and that it's this concrete, "natural" thing, when it's really not. I think it'd be totally fine for us to say what you just said (which I agree with), but then we also have to work harder on the whole to make sure those little girls who'd rather be meat-eatin' and machinery-drivin' and those little boys who'd rather be damsels in distress--and all the other kids in between--are just as welcome in society as any other kid. That's where we tend to go wrong, because anything that transgresses gender boundaries is typically seen as a terrible, unspeakable problem that has to be fixed. That's what needs to stop, and I think that's the idea this preschool is trying to deconstruct.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 04:12 PM
I nanny kids that are about 18 months, and they are already different. Do you think society could effect them that young? I am honestly curious what you guys think of that.

Girls are potty trained a lot younger, they try to talk earlier, and they are a lot more gentle.

Boys like to stare at things moving, less talkative, and they are a lot more "violent". They throw more things, kick etc.
re: Gender-neutral preschool (karma: 1)
By moara
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 04:18 PM
Edited by moara (97529) on 2011-06-27 16:30:49
That's not entirely true. Yes, for the most part, gender is a construct, and what it means to be "feminine" or "masculine" is culturally derived, but to say that sex differences are restricted to our reproductive organs is oversimplifying.

The brains of children develop differently, with certain areas of the brain maturing faster than others between boys and girls. For example, little girls develop the ability to concentrate quietly sooner, and boys develop spatial reasoning sooner. These differences largely even out in adulthood. www.psychologytoday.com . . .
I think that given this biology, a better approach at early childhood education, rather than having a genderless classroom, is to have sex segregated ones. That way each individual child will have the chance to develop their own interests at their own pace, without it being considered a gender thing. Afterall, children are smart. They're perfectly capable of discerning that all the boys want to play loudly and actively, and all the girls want to role-play. www.singlesexschools.org . . .

I don't think it's productive to just pretend gender doesn't exist. I do think it's more helpful to teach that it's a spectrum, and not a binary. To me, that fits both the science and allows for better understanding and acceptance of people.

Brain differences largely even out in adults, but there are still differences. They just don't fit so much into the culturally defined roles that we have today. It's more complex than that, but you can see where gender stereotypes may have developed.
For me, it's useful to think of brain or personality as characters that differ between the sexes in the same way that height does, in that the average man is taller than the average woman, but many women are taller than many men, and that's completely natural, and not so much like genitals, where you have one or the other. Of course some traits really don't differ between the sexes at all.
I really enjoyed taking this test
www.bbc.co.uk . . .
I have a slightly masculine brain, which didn't surprise me.
re: Gender-neutral preschool (karma: 1)
By PogMoGilliesmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 04:20 PM
boys and girls are different. physically, hormonally, mentally, and every other way. To deny these differences is to deny reality. yes, there are boys who ware wired more like girls, and vice versa, but to artifically erase all opportunities for diversity will lead to kids who don't identify with anything.
re: Gender-neutral preschool (karma: 1)
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 04:34 PM
jazz_lover wrote:

I nanny kids that are about 18 months, and they are already different. Do you think society could effect them that young? I am honestly curious what you guys think of that.


Absolutely, without a doubt.


I think the basic idea of this school is good, and it's better than the other end of the spectrum. I'd rather see kids in a school like this than in a school that punishes (intentionally or not) a child for exploring something interesting that doesn't fall upon gender lines. Especially having been in a daycare that DID punish based on gender lines...I think it's important that everyone who works with kids be aware what gender stereotypes are and how to avoid passing them on. A major improvement would be to not say things like "Big boys don't cry" and "boys will be boys", or talking to girls in a softer, higher-pitch voices than boys who many adults talk to in a lower, raspier (a touch of growl?) voices. It does bleed into the toys kids play with, the way people act around them. Of course there are innate biological and genetic tendencies that separate and then bring together boys and girls at different stages, but a LOT of that is defined by adults projecting their definitions onto the kids.

Summed up, the school may not have it 100% right, but I think between the two extremes, this is the extreme I would choose. If I had a kid in this school, I could easily develop whatever traits (gender-stereotypical or not) at home (which is really much more influential at this age).
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By girlwithghilliesmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 04:48 PM
^^ No, people are different. You can't just draw a line separating two halves of humanity from each other and then state that the two halves differ in all areas. If you take a girl and a boy and compare them, then yes, they will differ in some ways. But this is true of any two individuals you happen to compare - regardless of gender. You can generalize (some) trends along the gender binary, but it's irresponsible to try to extrapolate these to an individual. It's also not especially useful to do so. Adult women and men differ in their reproductive roles but not in their capabilities in work, education and other areas of life.

I nanny kids that are about 18 months, and they are already different. Do you think society could effect them that young? I am honestly curious what you guys think of that.

Gender-role training begins at birth. Parents in our heavily gendered society treat baby girls and baby boys differently immediately. For example, boys are generally regarded as physically stronger than girls - but no such strength discrepancy exists among pre-pubescent children. Studies have been done where a photo of the same baby is labelled "boy" and "girl" in order to gauge people's prejudices. Sure enough, people thought the "boy" photo looked strong and robust, whereas the "girl" was weak and delicate.

Enforcement of the gender binary doesn't do any good, and it does do harm. It's a form of social segregation. Instead of learning to identify with others as human beings and establishing common humanity as a basis for interaction, we teach kids to "identify with" (really, place themselves in rigid categories) a certain role and the members thereof. this not only limits the children themselves, but alienates children from each other by making children of a different sex into the Other. this bodes ill for girl-boy and man-woman interactions later in life.

Additionally, enforcement of the gender binary does measurable harm done to children's academic lives. Probably the most well-known example is the discrepancy between girls' and boys' math scores. When children learn math in an environment that supports the idea of "gender difference in all areas", girls internalize the idea that because of their gender, they are naturally less adept at math. If you don't expose the children to this particular prejudice, the score discrepancy disappears. Similar results occur with boys' language skills.

I'm all for the deconstruction of the gender binary system. People are complex, dynamic human beings, not archetypes.

I'm pressed for time right now but I'm sure I'll have more to add later.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By moara
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 04:52 PM
^you make some interesting points. Do you have any sources?
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By bethnee_rose
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 05:06 PM
Hmmm. I think they are going a bit too far.

I am having some trouble putting what I am thinking into words right now (first thing in the morning) but I will give it a shot.

I see that they are trying to break down the gender stereotypes thing, but surely they can do that WITHOUT going to such an extreme? At the Kindergarten that I work at, because the children are free to play 'boy' and 'girl' games, and we don't encourage them to play a certain type of game they flit between gender stereotypical games, the boys play 'girl' games just as much as they play 'boy' games, and vise versa.

I am going to give some examples from the kindergarten that I work at (children are 3 - 5 years) because I think that can get across my point a bit better;

We have plenty of books with single parents, adopted children, we have books that deal with bullying and I think we have a few books that deal with a loved one dying, but I don't know if those are available to all children. But we also have a huge range of other books, like Cinderella, Snow White, all the Dr Suess books etc. My point here is that the children can make their own choices, they are not forced just to read certain types of books. If they want to read a book with a child who has a single parent they can, but if they want to read Dirty Bertie or Zachery Quack instead, that's cool too!

Boys and girls are free to play typical boy and girl games if they choose, but you know we have everything available to all the children, some times the boys have days that they just want to play "goodies chasing the badies" and the girls play with the babies and dress up, BUT both the boys and girls change the types of games they play all the time, and just as often as not the boys are playing 'girl' games and vise versa. Just yesterday I found a group of five boys playing family, they had given themselves each a role to play (A dad, mum, brother, sister and one was a puppy!!!!) and they were having a great time. I then go out side and a group of girls (and one boy) are covered head to toe in mud playing with trucks in a puddle.

We don't encourage them to play a certain type of game, they are free to choose what they want to do.

Also, on the note about baby dolls, we have white dolls, dark dolls, asian dolls, dolls with hair and without hair and an equal amount of boy and girl dolls.

Another example I can think of is a week or so ago I brought in my laptop with videos of my sister dancing on it, because a child who knows us out of kindy had seen her dance and wanted to show her friends. Anyway, nearly every child in the kindy (there was about 30 that morning) watched these videos and they loved them so much that afterwards they wanted to do some ballet. So we put on music, and all the boys and girls went and dressed themselves up. They all wanted a skirt (boys included) so when we ran out of skirts we got material and made tie up skirts for them, so we ended up with just about every child in the kindy dressed up in skirts and doing ballet. My point here is that the boys have no problem with dressing up like a girl and doing a typically 'girl' thing like ballet because we don't make a big deal about boy or girl things, but we don't force them to do feminine things just to try break down the gender stereotypes... they do that themselves given the opportunity!

The only thing we do say to the children, is if they come out with "That's a *boy or girl* colour" or "That's a *boy or girl* game" we say "There is no such thing as a boy colour or girl *colour or game*" and try to explain that it is ok for a girl to like blue or a boy to like pink etc.

Well, I don't know if that has made any sense, but it has taken a flippen long time to write! I think my point was, they don't need to go so far to remove the gender stereotype, and I don't think there is actually a problem if boys decide to play 'boy' games and girls 'girl' games, but they should be free to choose either way, and not be influenced by us adults.

*end*
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 06:43 PM
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-06-27 18:45:14 mark it up, yo
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-06-27 18:46:42
PogMoGillies wrote:

but to artifically erase all opportunities for diversity will lead to kids who don't identify with anything.

We already have those kids, though. That's what being queer/genderqueer means--that you don't identify with either of the genders we categorize people into. And that happens with the gender binaries we have in place right now, so I highly doubt that deconstructing those strict categories will severely screw up the kids that already identify as boys and girls. :?

And moara, you're right that there are some biological differences between girls and boys; I didn't mean to deny that or to say that the differences are solely reproductive. But my point still stands: SEX is biological, GENDER is socially constructed; any LGBT Studies/Gender & Women's Studies 101 class will tell you that.

This preschool's directors might be a little too focused in this particular case, but the overall point is that we need to create more spaces where it's perfectly acceptable for kids to like the toys they like, and behave the way they want to behave (within disciplinary reason) without fear of crossing those gender boundaries. Because anytime someone does that, in our society, we freak out, and frankly, it's unnecessary. The goal, I think, is to deconstruct those gender binaries.

Also,
sworddancer2 wrote:

However, they seem to be completely ignoring traditional nuclear families. Why can't they also accept those families?

It has to do with privilege. I'm sure they do also accept those families and I doubt they're talking crap about them or anything like that, but they're not representing them as much in this preschool because traditional nuclear families are the norm, almost everywhere in the U.S. Many of these kids probably already have a mother-father family structure, and it's what they see EVERYWHERE, so they probably already know it's okay. Think about it in terms of white privilege: if we put up more posters of kids of color in a preschool, would we also say "Oh, but we're ignoring those underrepresented white kids. Why don't we accept them too?" Of course not--because whites have been a non-minority for ages now. White people, on the whole, have had the privilege of being implicitly accepted by society for years and years, so because of that, they don't really need extra representation. Same with nuclear families, heterosexual people, thin people (I would argue, but that's not part of this thread)...
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 09:42 PM
AlwaysOnStage wrote:

jazz_lover wrote:

I nanny kids that are about 18 months, and they are already different. Do you think society could effect them that young? I am honestly curious what you guys think of that.


Absolutely, without a doubt.


I think the basic idea of this school is good, and it's better than the other end of the spectrum. I'd rather see kids in a school like this than in a school that punishes (intentionally or not) a child for exploring something interesting that doesn't fall upon gender lines. Especially having been in a daycare that DID punish based on gender lines...I think it's important that everyone who works with kids be aware what gender stereotypes are and how to avoid passing them on. A major improvement would be to not say things like "Big boys don't cry" and "boys will be boys", or talking to girls in a softer, higher-pitch voices than boys who many adults talk to in a lower, raspier (a touch of growl?) voices. It does bleed into the toys kids play with, the way people act around them. Of course there are innate biological and genetic tendencies that separate and then bring together boys and girls at different stages, but a LOT of that is defined by adults projecting their definitions onto the kids.

Summed up, the school may not have it 100% right, but I think between the two extremes, this is the extreme I would choose. If I had a kid in this school, I could easily develop whatever traits (gender-stereotypical or not) at home (which is really much more influential at this age).


This! In "normal" preschools, you still see gender roles strictly enforced through peer pressure. All it takes are a couple of obnoxious little kids to make fun of another kid for playing with a toy that isn't "gender appropriate." By keeping all toys gender neutral, you avoid those problems. I don't think that this school is necessarily structured the best, but I find it vastly preferable to the average preschool. Kids will still play with gender-specific toys at home and with their friends, having 7 hours a day, 5 days a week where they can play with whatever they want with no fear of teasing is awesome.
re: Gender-neutral preschool (karma: 3)
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:10 PM
So what if a girl chooses to play with dolls, and play house, and basically act like a stereotypical girl? And a boy just wants to roughhouse and play with cars and trucks?

If that's okay, then I'd be okay with it.

Nearly all the children's books deal with homosexual couples, single parents or adopted children. There are no "Snow White," ''Cinderella" or other classic fairy tales seen as cementing stereotypes.

On no planet is that okay. The clear bias there is terribly disturbing. As a kid, you need to see your life represented in your environment. You need to be reassured and told that's okay. There's scientific words for all that and I'm tired and don't feel like phrasing it correctly but it's really important and if they're not doing that, their idea of social equality is screwy.



It has to do with privilege. I'm sure they do also accept those families and I doubt they're talking crap about them or anything like that, but they're not representing them as much in this preschool because traditional nuclear families are the norm, almost everywhere in the U.S. Many of these kids probably already have a mother-father family structure, and it's what they see EVERYWHERE, so they probably already know it's okay.

Equality doesn't mean "we exclude or over-represent the minorities to make up for 'privilege.'" It means equality. Full stop.

If you want to exclude or over-represent the minorities to make up for a perceived 'privilege,' fine. But don't call it equal; you've weighted the results.

If they have no representation of traditional nuclear families, it's as if they've taken all the "girly" toys out of the classroom. Big freaking problem.



Me, I like gender roles. You won't find a single society on the planet that doesn't have them. You can be a girl and still like cars. I think we should expand upon what's already there rather than try to wipe the slate clean.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:32 PM
^Heart, I never said I agree with their total lack of representation of nuclear families, I was just explaining what might be the reasoning behind it. But it's not a "perceived" privilege, it's definitely there. If you want to deny white privilege, heterosexual privilege, and all those other privileges we've got floating around, go for it, but you'd be wrong.

Other than that, I agree with you on the fact that we should focus on expanding the binaries, because wiping the slate clean just isn't going to happen, with all the years we've spent relying on the two-gender system. We can't go backwards now; might as well move forward instead.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Cadbury_Eatermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:52 AM
Firstly, addressing the discussion about society and gender.

I understand men and women are different. They are biologically different for reproduction, and have differences in hormones and such.

I know in society there are gender roles, but I believe there shouldn't be. These biological differences don't equate to differences in behaviour etc. that most people consider innate. Both genders should be able to do anything they please.

I think most differences are due to societal conditioning, from the day most come out of the womb, they are conditioned to act differently due to gender.

Back to the preschool now,
I adore the premise of the preschool. It appeals to the liberalist I am. However, it seems a little biased. A nuclear family should be portrayed alongside same sex couples etc. But I prefer this to many preschools that are super divisionary based on gender.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By aerial
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 09:28 AM
I think some folks over think things A LOT! Is everyone messed up now because they grew up playing with their gender specific toys? And making sure kids know there are all kinds of family set ups in preschool? I found this out too and my parents never said divorce is wrong, gay couples are wrong, single parents are wrong. I asked questions when I realized someone's family was different than mine. I don't think it is important by age 5 to know all the different types of family structures.

Also for myself growing up I hated dolls, I had more boy friends than girl friends from a young age. I played more cops and robbers and cars than house, but I am a female, I grew up fine no one cared what I played with and in the end it didn't matter. And unless something has changed I don't recall a lot of parents forcing gender specific toys at their kids after they had reached an age where they could choose. One other strange thing as much as I hated dolls my best girl friend loved Barbies, and all sorts of girlie things and I made a point of getting them and pretending to love them only to make my friend jelous, not because society was telling me I had to be more girl like.

I just don't get it. Kids have been coming out fine for years, why mess with things? If I had children I would probably want to paint my girls room pink, but when she was old enough if she would rather play with trucks then dolls that would be fine. I'd put her in ballet but if she wanted to play football that would be fine too. I would not go out of my way to teach her by age 5 about homosexuality or death or differing family structures but when she asked I would honestly field her questions. I would not put her in a gender netural yuppy preschool just to prove some stupid point that I didn't try and raise her as a girl. Overboard!
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:02 AM
aerial wrote:

I found this out too and my parents never said divorce is wrong, gay couples are wrong, single parents are wrong. I asked questions when I realized someone's family was different than mine.


You may not have needed a school like this, because your parents were very open and allowed you to investigate and explore and they supported you in this. Not all parents do that. In fact, given my experience, there is a LARGE part of the population in the US alone where gender lines are VERY rigid, experiences of different family compositions is non-existant, and sadly, many people who are raised in these conditions end up raising their children in these conditions.

I grew up with parents who were able to support me when I strayed from stereotypes, but I also lived in an area where I saw the exact opposite often. I've witnessed the down side of strict gender stereotypes being propagated--boys terrified of showing emotions, feeling the need to overcompensate with aggression resulting in bullying and abuse of peers. My experience tells me that, yes, kids are growing up wrong as a result of overly strict gender identities. Boys suffer more than girls in this system, especially since women have been liberated (a girl can dream about being a pilot in most households, but most boys cannot dream about being a kindergarten teacher or a nurse).

Some families do allow for a certain amounts of breaking the stereotypes of gender, but it is crazy to think that all families are like that. Just because YOU didn't need something like this doesn't mean that there aren't many children out there that would benefit.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:10 AM
aerial wrote:

Kids have been coming out fine for years, why mess with things?

The naivete of this statement just blows my mind. Please, PLEASE open your eyes, and Google "gay teen suicides" or "transphobia" or "anti-trans violence". ALL kids have NOT been "coming out fine for years," and much of the abuse comes from the fact that they cross the "traditional" gender or sexuality boundaries. You seriously need to see outside your own personal box, because while it's lovely that your parents didn't raise you with strict gender boundaries, many more parents do, and society as a whole actually punishes people very hard who don't obey gender stereotypes.

I would not put her in a gender netural yuppy preschool just to prove some stupid point that I didn't try and raise her as a girl. Overboard!

Overboard for you, maybe, because you swear you'd be one of those accepting parents who "doesn't need" this sort of thing. What you're not realizing here is that not all parents act like that. Not all parents are quite so welcoming of gender-boundary-crossing. I mean, think about the people who say acting like another gender is unnatural and should be dealt with accordingly. (Yeah, surprise, they're out there.)

This preschool is not set up for people like you, who had parents that don't freak out when faced with gender nonconformity. This preschool is set up for people who DON'T have parents like that, who live in a society where gender nonconformity is punished, and punished very harshly.
re: Gender-neutral preschool (karma: 1)
By Claritinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:25 AM
CienPorCientoPAZ wrote:

This preschool is not set up for people like you, who had parents that don't freak out when faced with gender nonconformity. This preschool is set up for people who DON'T have parents like that, who live in a society where gender nonconformity is punished, and punished very harshly.


Well... Sort of. It seems to me that even though it's a tax-funded pre-school, parents have to choose to send their kids there (hence the parent's quote about why they chose this school, the long wait-list, and the comment about one child being withdrawn.) Call me crazy, but I tend to imagine that the parents who are very rigid about gender roles and don't think it's OK for boys to "act like girls" or girls to "act like boys," and even moreso, those that punish gender nonconformity, will not choose to send their kids there. If I had to wager a bet, I'd guess that the overwhelming majority of parents sending their kids here are pretty liberal and open about gender to begin with.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Sumayah
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:33 AM
Edited by Sumayah (204191) on 2011-06-28 11:43:30
I've nothing really to add to this other than that Sweden seems to be the hip forward thinking place to be if you don't want your child to be raised without gender identity. It reminds me of the thread from last year or so: www.dance.net . . . I wonder how much the whole thing with "Pop" effected the ideas behind this preschool?
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By aerial
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:38 AM
Okay fair enough, not all parents were like mine. But think about that for a minuet. Do you think this school is for parents who do enforce strict gender roles or ones that are already open minded? I doubt Mr. and Mrs. anti gay, anti differing family structures, girls are girls boys are boys are going to consider this school. Maybe we need a teaching tolerance school for the adults.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Anon1234567890member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:38 AM
Cien, people are always going to hurt and kill themselves. Schools like this aren't going to make mental illness go away. Also...
Of course they act differently. The concept of gender is very, very, very deeply ingrained in the way our society is structured that it seems like a natural thing by now--but it's not. Sex, the biological "parts" a person has, is nature's doing. Gender, the way we identify a person and their responsibilities in life based on their biological "parts," is completely constructed by humans. So yeah, little boys and girls act differently and tend to like different things--but not because "it's nature," like some people prefer to think. Gender differences exist because we put them there, we made them.

Proof please?

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I honestly believe that stereotypes don't grow out of thin air.
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