Forum: Arts / Debates

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re: Gender-neutral preschool (karma: 1)
By Claritinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:53 AM
Edited by Claritin (139973) on 2011-06-28 11:59:11
Edited by Claritin (139973) on 2011-06-28 12:00:50
^Well, it's a chicken or egg kind of thing and no one knows exactly what comes from nature and what comes from nurture. What we do know is that our idea of gender norms are culturally constructed. We know this mainly because different cultures have different ideas of what is masculine and feminine behavior. If something were biologically innate, we would see it cross culturally pretty much without fail--such as certain facial expressions. Although there is some overlap with gender role, they are certainly not all the same and there is definite variation cross culturally. For instance, in some cultures, the men are expected to be the nurturing gender. I will try to find my notes on this later. They are buried somewhere deep in my room now that I've been done with school for a month.

Also, in regards to the comment that school will not make mental illness go away: This is certainly true, however, I think certain environments go a longer way in altogether not fostering certain illnesses and disorders. While there is definitely a biological component to mental disorders, there is also an environmental one. I don't know the numbers off the top of my head and if gay/transgendered/genderqueer/anyone who doesn't conform to a traditional sexual identity youth actually have a higher rates of mental illness or suicide. However, if they do, I think it would be interesting to take a look at the biological factors at play because I would suspect that they probably are not more biologically predisposed toward developing a mental disorder than average, which would point to environmental stressors.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:02 PM
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-06-28 12:04:20
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-06-28 12:05:47
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-06-28 12:09:17
^^No, of course they don't--all stereotypes and gender roles come from somewhere. But that doesn't mean we have to abide by them as strictly as we think we should. Judith Lorber, and several others (Google's a wonderful tool) wrote a great piece on the construction of gender. Proof? Well, think about it: biology and social roles are not inextricably linked. The proof that gender is socially constructed lies in the fact that a biological male can assume the gender roles expected of a biological female, and vice versa. If gender were actually biological, a "natural" thing, men wouldn't be able to perform women's roles (and vice versa). Claritin also pointed out the cross-cultural differences among men and women's roles, and that's another example of proof. (But again, you have to remember that SEX is biological, and GENDER is social. Two very different terms.)

Also, Louise, I never said mental illness will go away when we deconstruct or expand the gender binaries, because that's not true. Mental illness WILL always exist. I pointed out those cases not because they may or may not involve mental illness, but because they involve abuse based on the transgression of gender and sexuality boundaries. They're examples of how as a society, we tend to punish people who go outside the lines.

Claritin, you're right that the people whose kids really need this preschool probably won't send them there, and I don't think I worded things very well there. You're right in that specific to this preschool, the kids who need it won't be going there. I meant to be speaking in more general terms, though. The idea that's at the core of this preschool (the idea that gender is socially constructed, no one HAS to abide by it, and we should stop punishing those that cross boundaries) has an intended audience, and that audience is not the group of accepting parents that have no problem with this. Unfortunately, yeah, those are the parents that are going to be drawn to it, and that's a problem that faces many movements and ideas like this.

Edit: Found a blog post that does a way better job of explaining my view on this than I can, haha.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Claritinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:14 PM
The idea is great and definitely well-intentioned, however, and maybe I'm just cynical, I don't think we can realistically expect something to be implemented like this on a wider scale. It is much too radicalized, at least for the United States, I can't speak for Sweden. I mean, this is a country where tons and tons and tons of people think it's inappropriate and dangerous(!) to be teaching teenagers about safe sex. I agree with Heart that building on gender roles rather than trying to erase them is the way to go.
re: Gender-neutral preschool (karma: 1)
By Wicked_Elphabamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:15 PM
This whole thing is stupid. Teaching tolerance about "non-traditional" families is great, but we've reached a sickening level of needing to be PC. My parents gave me stereotypical "girl toys" as well as a hot wheels set. I'm hardly gender confused. But, I guess if you're so concerned with your kids being gender confused or whatever send them to this pre-school.
re: Gender-neutral preschool (karma: 4)
By Claritinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:24 PM
Edited by Claritin (139973) on 2011-06-28 12:25:14
^Just wanted to point out that "the plural of anecdote is not data."

Anyway, as was stated earlier, just because your parents were OK with you playing with non-traditional "girl" toys doesn't mean that everyone comes from a family like that. Some kids do get punished for playing with the "wrong" toys.

For me, it's not a question of "gender confusion" (I'm honestly not sure what you mean by that) it's more a question of allowing children to live up to the full potential (in whatever direction they want) without the restriction of gender, which, as pointed out, is artificial. Do I think the pre-school has the right idea? Sure. Do I think they are going about implementing it the most effective way. Definitely not.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By imadanseurPremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:38 PM
I've been teaching dance for 18 years. I studied child development in college, and have 8 nieces and nephews whom I've been around all since birth, and have many friends that have kids and seen different parenting styles. I've learned that all kids are very different, and while I see what the school is attempting to do and support it as teaching kids to be accepting and more open to differences in life, I don't think it is going to change the way kids are wired. I believe very strongly that you are born gay, or you are born straight. (Some people have trauma in their life that make them choose a different path, but let's not focus on that.) I also believe that some girls are going to be wired to like pink, want to take ballet lessons, will be happy wearing make up and high heels, and could spend hours coloring and drawing. I believe other girls are going to be tom boys and never want to wear a dress. I realize that environments can shift kids likes and dislikes, but I also know households that are into softball, tennis, and running and have a girl that just wants to play dress up despite the heavy influences of sports around them and vice versa. My brothers boys love guns, and sports, but have enjoyed cooking since they were in pre-school. My other nephew has had a ball in his hand since he was about 4 months old. It didn't matter how many dolls you gave him to play with. He would have searched for a ball, made one out of tape and paper, or ripped off the dolls head because that was round enough to toss around.

While it is a less popular view...there are significant studies that suggest gender largely a result of nature, particularly the effects of hormones on the developing brain.

I am not saying that society doesn't impact thoughts and ideas and imprint them on us all. I fully support that, however I still believe we are not just a blank canvas when we enter the world. DNA is a tricky thing and I think we have many parts of us that are hardwired and have some things established that influences our choices. Then we become a collection of other people's habits.
re: Gender-neutral preschool (karma: 1)
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:49 PM
No matter how well-intentioned this place is, I would not trust any system from Sweden. Send my kid to a tax-supported school where the STATE decides what is best for my kid? No thank you! For example, it is illegal to homeschool in Sweden and children have been taken from their parents who defied the law. Same goes if you choose not to vaccinate - you risk losing your kids. Anyway, I don't trust a government school that conducts social experiments on its citizens.
re: Gender-neutral preschool (karma: 1)
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 01:05 PM
If you open up a boy toddler and a girl toddler, slice out their brains, and study them, they are going to look different. Point blank.

Boys and girls are different. They are broad, sweeping statements you can make about each SEX. Our brains are different, our behaviors, our emotions, our inter-personal relations, the way we think, it's all different and that comes down to biology.

Being female is a lot more than having boobs and a vagina, and being a boy is a lot more than having a doodle swinging between your legs.

Females are wired to give birth to and raise babies. Men are wired to provide for others, to hunt, and to get their sperm into as many females as possible. Each of these in turn lead to many biologically-based differences in human behavior: different chemicals in the brain.

I'm not bothering to cite a source because that's human biology 101. It's not debatable and if you deny it, you're wrong. I don't really care either way.


As for mental illness. Suicide rates among the rainbow-favoring population are higher than the norm by around 30%. However, there is a big difference between situational and biological depression. In simple terms: if you beat someone over the head with a stick every day, they will not be happy. If you remove them from that situation, they will be happier:

The study also found that, across all race/ethnic groups, younger cohorts of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals (those in age groups 18 – 29 and 30 – 44 as compared with 45 – 59 years old) had lower prevalence of almost all mental disorders categories, and the difference was statistically significant for mood disorders. Younger cohorts also had fewer serious suicide attempts than did older cohorts (but this was statistically significant only for the middle cohort).

“The finding regarding younger cohorts of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals is consistent with social stress theories that predicted that the liberalization of social attitudes toward homosexuality over the past few decades can lead to a decline in stress and related mental disorders and suicide among lesbians, gay men, and bisexual individuals” said Dr. Meyer.


Though I don't believe it is as yet possible to determine the difference, rates of actual biologically-based mental illness within the gay(etc) population should be the same as the general population: around 10%. I have not studied it much but from what I've seen the difference is ignored by clinicians as treatment is the same for both varieties (which I disagree with, but that's a separate story).

(Personally, that sort of fuss bugs me. I've been told that I am an extreme rarity because I was never abused in my childhood and still have a range of mental disorders. I've had doctors try to tell me I was abused and don't remember it, despite a clear hereditary history of the disease in my family. Morons.)
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 02:51 PM
What does mental illness have to do with this...? I'm confused as to how we got from the construction of gender to talking about situational vs. biological mental illness.

EMT wrote:

This whole thing is stupid. Teaching tolerance about "non-traditional" families is great, but we've reached a sickening level of needing to be PC.

You're completely missing the point. This is not about being politically correct. Trying to offer more than just 2 genders, and trying to lessen the punishment people receive when they go outside those categories, is not about being "PC." You can't just take something that makes you, personally, uncomfortable, and call it "a need to be PC."

I'm hardly gender confused.

Good for you. But the world does not revolve around you, or operate according to your principles. Just because YOU had parents who accepted whatever you wanted to do as a kid with regards to gender, doesn't mean every kid in the world has parents like that. The idea of expanding the "rules" surrounding gender does not exist solely for people like you (although if you're this close-minded about the idea, maybe you could benefit from it too); it exists mainly for people who DON'T have those accepting, welcoming resources available to them.

I can't say it enough: it's not about being "PC," it's about creating a space where everyone, regardless of whether they obey gender rules, is safe and able to live. It's about lessening the knee-jerk, "that's not right" reaction we have when people cross gender boundaries (yes, I know, that didn't happen to YOU; again, that's not proof that it doesn't happen to other people).

But, I guess if you're so concerned with your kids being gender confused or whatever send them to this pre-school.

...What? Why would you send your kids to this school if they're "gender confused" (not a real term, but oh well, we'll run with it)? If you're worried about them being "gender confused," wouldn't you send them to a school where all the typical gender rules will be enforced, in the hopes that they'll find their "true gender" or something? Your logic makes no sense.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Wed Jun 29, 2011 01:49 AM
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-06-29 01:58:25 Added stuff
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-06-29 01:59:43 Gender roll? I think not...role
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-06-29 02:17:21
"No "Snow White," ''Cinderella" or other classic fairy tales seen as cementing stereotypes."

How is this opening up the gender role thing? What if boy wanted to read fairy tales and wanted to act like a princess? I think they are trying TOO hard to NOT be gender orientated , that in turn, they are actually creating their OWN stereotypes. They seem to be saying that regular stereotypes are "wrong". How is this a safe place for children that DO take on traditional gender roles?

When I was younger, my parents wanted a boy very badly and they expected a son during my birth. Therefore all my clothes were boy clothes, blue walls, trucks etc.
By the time I was 18 months I was already picking out headbands to wear. I had "fake heels" that I wore, and I pretended to be a princess. I only wore dresses that had lace and I pretended to be a mommy to all my stuffed animals. My parents did NOT push me toward being a "girlie girl" at all. ( Although I DID pretend to be a Ninja as a kid too. A ninja with a pink outfit...)

I think that if a preschool took away my fairy tale books, I would think there was something wrong with ME for being a girlie girl.

I will never send my child to a preschool that has MORE homosexual, single parents, adopted children books, then regular gender/traditional roles. By them having a inbalance, they are pushing their own bias for my child. It is one thing to have 50% 50%, but it isn't the case here.

No fairy tales? I would have died as a child, because I wanted to grow up and marry a handsome prince.

This school is a hypocrisy.

I am willing to bet that they are using this preschool as a stepping stone for something more political. In idea, a gender neutral world will be great, but this school is just plain creepy. I think that there is a huge hidden agenda behind this TAX SUPPORTED school.
I correlate this idea to someone covering a bunch of horse manure with daisies, and telling everyone that we need to be more Green and care about the environment.

By the way, I think this is the dumbest part of the article.

****From a bookcase she pulls out a story about two male giraffes who are sad to be childless — until they come across an abandoned crocodile egg.****
If they are so gender safe, that they refuse to call the children "him or her"...why should it matter if the two MALE giraffes found an egg?


By the way, I think that there are biological differences between males and females as a fetus.

*****This demonstrates a tendency for girls to use interaction as a way of solving the problem while boys wanted to do use some form of action to solve the problem. In the absences of socialization to explain this difference, this is supportive evidence that male and female biology influences behavior. Another piece of medical evidence that supports this notion of biology influencing behavior is a medical condition known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia or CAH in which the fetus is exposed to unusual levels of androgens during development. Girls that suffer from this disorder have behaviors that we typically associate with boys and end up expressing interest in male typical activities and careers.

This evidence supports the notion that the presence of a particular level of male hormones in development influences the behavior of boys including the types of toys they play with, the types of activities they typically enjoy and the career choices they make.****

www.brainy-child.com . . .
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:11 AM
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-06-29 10:14:58
jazz_lover wrote:

They seem to be saying that regular stereotypes are "wrong". How is this a safe place for children that DO take on traditional gender roles?

I sort of agree with you. On one hand, they shouldn't prioritize or over-represent one type of family or person over another. On the other hand, as I said before, many of these kids probably already have traditional families with parents that take on traditional gender roles--they already know that's okay. Heterosexual parents and nuclear families have certain built-in privileges that homosexual parents and non-traditional families don't, and that's why this preschool is pushing for more representations of them. Maybe they're pushing the balance too far to one end, but that's their intent.

By them having a inbalance, they are pushing their own bias for my child.

I see what you're saying, but wow, you just came dangerously close to the whole "gay people recruit little kids" argument. I know it's probably not what you meant, but...be careful with that.

In idea, a gender neutral world will be great, but this school is just plain creepy. I think that there is a huge hidden agenda behind this TAX SUPPORTED school.

What kind of "hidden agenda" could this preschool be promoting? The fact that we should accept and welcome non-traditional families just like our own? The fact that it's COMPLETELY FINE for kids to stray from the typical gender binaries? Man, we better watch out for that crazy scheme.

If they are so gender safe, that they refuse to call the children "him or her"...why should it matter if the two MALE giraffes found an egg?

...This is not an actual problem with the preschool. You just sort of picked out something random that's not an actual problem (the people who run the preschool probably didn't write that book, and do you have any idea how hard it is to find a book with gender-neutral characters? Does not happen) and nitpicked it a little bit.

By the way, I think that there are biological differences between males and females as a fetus.

Well, yeah, there are biological differences between boys and girls. We've never really denied that--the objective with this preschool is to say that while boys and girls are different in some ways, it's perfectly okay for a boy or a girl to transgress the typical gender boundaries. This has nothing to do with biological differences, because it has nothing to do with sex. It has everything to do with gender, which is a social construction.

Anyway, I think the article you posted is, quite frankly, a load of crap that's trying to excuse the "boys will be boys" mentality.
"Boys' Behavior" wrote:

Take that boy and put him into a setting in which he is expected to sit still for long periods of time and to learn through having someone talk to him, want to have him play quietly in the house and pay attention to his homework, to express himself by talking and you begin to see the dilemma that is being created for that boy and for those who are trying to enforce this structure. This structure is not allowing for how this child is created to operate, it pushes him towards “girl” behavior. Have enough of this constraint and you will begin to get school failure, school resistance, disruptive behavior and possibly rebellious behavior.

(emphasis mine)
So, ask a boy to sit quietly, talk with someone, or pay attention to his homework, and you're pushing him toward "girl" behavior that'll result in failure? Really? I can see why you used it as your source, because it clearly reinforces the idea that gender is a biological thing that nobody can change, and that we should just accept the fact that boys and girls are the way they are, because "it's science". But really, you should read your sources more carefully before you post them, because the level of BS in that article is astounding to me.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:34 AM
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-06-29 10:40:50
^ I don't think that the article is exactly scientific, but I think that they make a good argument.

I have had 100's of kids come in and out of my classroom throughout the 3 years I've taught, and there IS a significant difference between the boys and girls. Of course, there are exception to the rules, but being around so many children in my professional life, there is a CLEAR difference, and I don't think it is exactly society molding them.
Girls like to play "pretend to be a pony" and they use a lot more imagination then the little boys that I have taught. I also saw that they were playing a little more rough then the girls. The girls hated to play "house" with them, because the boys were always being too rough, and they found "accidents" really funny. I watched these kids play and the girls were quietly having dinner/sitting around the table. The boys were throwing the "play food" out the window and trying to hit a target.

( Heck, these boys are taking ballet classes, and sometimes they want to be a princess too. We let them play with scarves, outfits that are the same as girls etc...BUT the WAY they play with "girl items" are different then the way girls play with them. They just seem more...rambunctious? I am not sure if this is the right word, but they seem to lack to sensitive that girls do. For example, there was a trail of ants in our studio. The girls went to stare at them, name them, talk to them, coddle them etc. As soon as the boys saw them, they tried to squash them.)


CIen ,I'm not sure if you deal with younger kids on a regular basis. While I understand what you are saying, I am not sure if you have a clear understanding of the difference. I agree with you on the THEORY that boys/girls should not have their gender treated differently. I 100% agree with you that adults should not tell a child " you are a boy, don't cry" or " be more lady like and don't play in the mud". I just personally think that this preschool is going beyond being neutral. I think they are pushing THEIR views and what society SHOULDN'T be unto the kids.

Maybe some parents who have raised both girls AND boys can comment on this? Was your boy child different from your girl child from 12 months-3 years. In terms of attention span, physical activity level, "make believe", etc.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Claritinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:10 AM
Edited by Claritin (139973) on 2011-06-29 11:11:14
jazz_lover wrote:

^ I don't think that the article is exactly scientific, but I think that they make a good argument.

I have had 100's of kids come in and out of my classroom throughout the 3 years I've taught, and there IS a significant difference between the boys and girls. Of course, there are exception to the rules, but being around so many children in my professional life, there is a CLEAR difference, and I don't think it is exactly society molding them.
Girls like to play "pretend to be a pony" and they use a lot more imagination then the little boys that I have taught. I also saw that they were playing a little more rough then the girls. The girls hated to play "house" with them, because the boys were always being too rough, and they found "accidents" really funny. I watched these kids play and the girls were quietly having dinner/sitting around the table. The boys were throwing the "play food" out the window and trying to hit a target.


How do you know, though? Nature (biology) versus nurture (environment) is one of the most long standing debates in the field of psychology. This is because it's very, very, very difficult to parse the effects of biology and environment since no one is devoid of one or the other. Most psychologists now believe that it is an interaction between both genes and environment (back in the day, many thought it was strictly nature or nurture.) However, people still cannot agree on to what degree each affects the individual, and really, it probably varies person to person. There is evidence to support that nature predominates and there is evidence to support that nurture predominates. The bottom line is, we still really don't know and observation is just about the least reliable tool to measure cause ever. One of the first things they teach in research is "correlation does not equal causality." Just because two things correlate does not mean one is the cause of the other. (In this case, sex and gendered behavior.)

I watched a cool video where they dressed a boy baby in pink and then later in blue and had adults interact with him. The adults very clearly treat the child differently depending on his perceived sex. When they think he is a girl, they cradle him, talk to him in soft, cooing tones, call him feminine adjectives (graceful, pretty), and speculate that he will be a dancer or a nurse. When they think he is a boy (heh), they don't cradle him, they stand him up, are more physically active with him, talk to him in less soft tones, call him masculine adjectives (strong, rugged), and speculated that he will be a football player or firefighter. Most adults don't even realize they are actively treating babies different because certain behavioral scripts are so ingrained in us that we don't think about it. So just because two babies grow up with the same parents doesn't mean that they share the exact same environment.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:19 AM
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-06-29 11:23:25
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-06-29 11:33:47
^Do you have a link to that video? That would be so interesting to see. I am just imagining them call the girl " Man this little boy is gonna be a football star, look at those legs". haha

I honestly don't think there is anything wrong with gender roles, as long as it isn't negative. " Don't be such a little girl and cry, be like a tough man" or " Why are you burping, no man will marry you if you aren't lady like".

I am a horrible example to ask though. I love big muscular guys who are in uniform, who can throw me over their shoulder while leading me into the cave..I mean house...
I don't think I would be sexually turned on by a guy who knitted pink sweaters for his small dog. I am not sure if this is social conditioning or if it is just a biological sexual wiring.
Example of my turnon ( Although these man could be gay for all I know, and not interested in a girl like me)
agent-oo8.webs.com . . .
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Claritinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:31 AM
^It's called "A Child's World," but I doubt it is available online. I've seen it in a couple of different classes.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:34 AM
^ I am going to go to SFSU, so I am sure I will run into that video sometime.

End of hijack
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:58 PM
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-06-29 13:02:10
jazz_lover wrote:

CIen ,I'm not sure if you deal with younger kids on a regular basis. While I understand what you are saying, I am not sure if you have a clear understanding of the difference.

I've taught ballet to 3-5 year-olds for 2 years now, and I have several relatives under the age of 6 that I see fairly regularly. So yes, I do deal with little kids, and I do understand the examples you're talking about. I'm not arguing that the differences don't exist, so I don't really get why you keep bringing that up.

And Claritin did a great job of addressing the "social vs. biological" thing, so I won't bother getting into that too much. Basically, the expectations of each gender are socially constructed, based on biological characteristics typically assigned to each sex. Now, those gender roles have been in place for so long that by now, it's easy to see them as a product of biology, or nature's doing, and who knows--maybe at this point in our evolution, certain things have become hardwired into the brain. But for the most part, the expectations of each gender grew out of their biological differences, and have become deeply ingrained in our society.

I still don't understand why it would be bad if this preschool were trying to "push the agenda" that anyone, regardless of where they fall on the gender spectrum, should be accepted by others. They're not going to oust the heterosexual, nuclear family model--and they're not trying to. Heterosexuality and the nuclear family is safe, trust me; both institutions have hundreds of years' worth of privilege behind them. What is the big problem here, exactly?
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Wed Jun 29, 2011 04:59 PM
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2011-06-29 17:02:04 typeooo
^ I have no problem with them opening up a safe place for kids to be. The problem is, they are pushing their own agenda, and the "typical stereotypes" agenda is being pushed out.
I just think that this preschool is doing exactly what they are preaching NOT to do. They are saying stereotypes are wrong, yet they pull out fairy tales and they don't let little girlie girls enjoy them?

Do you understand what I am saying? I am not sure if I am getting the point across very well.

Let me try.
Lets say that a high school was going to reform the diet of the children in order to give them the option of health choices. Not only did they get rid of candy, but they got rid of whole fat milk, white bread, fruits high in sugar, juice in order to give the child a "choice" if they wanted to eat healthy.

If the teen were to really choose, they would provide all the foods from above and try to educate the children on health diet. " Eating white bread is ok, but whole wheat bread has all these good vitamins that will make you strong, healthy, smart etc. It is up to you to chose between the white bread and whole wheat bread". It wouldn't be much of a choice if they got rid of the white bread to start off with.

" Tim do you want the wheat bread or the wheat bread?"
" I want the white bread"
" Well we don't have that, because we are trying to give you the CHOICE of eating health"
" If I had a choice, I would chose the white bread"
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jun 29, 2011 05:16 PM
CienPorCientoPAZ wrote:

What does mental illness have to do with this...? I'm confused as to how we got from the construction of gender to talking about situational vs. biological mental illness.



Claritin wrote:

Also, in regards to the comment that school will not make mental illness go away: This is certainly true, however, I think certain environments go a longer way in altogether not fostering certain illnesses and disorders. While there is definitely a biological component to mental disorders, there is also an environmental one. I don't know the numbers off the top of my head and if gay/transgendered/genderqueer/anyone who doesn't conform to a traditional sexual identity youth actually have a higher rates of mental illness or suicide. However, if they do, I think it would be interesting to take a look at the biological factors at play because I would suspect that they probably are not more biologically predisposed toward developing a mental disorder than average, which would point to environmental stressors.


CienPorCientoPAZ wrote:

Also, Louise, I never said mental illness will go away when we deconstruct or expand the gender binaries, because that's not true. Mental illness WILL always exist. I pointed out those cases not because they may or may not involve mental illness, but because they involve abuse based on the transgression of gender and sexuality boundaries. They're examples of how as a society, we tend to punish people who go outside the lines.


LOL.

I will ask Boyfriend the Montessori Preschool Teacher his thoughts on this when I see him tonight.

one quick point though –

I still don't understand why it would be bad if this preschool were trying to "push the agenda" that anyone, regardless of where they fall on the gender spectrum, should be accepted by others. They're not going to oust the heterosexual, nuclear family model--and they're not trying to. Heterosexuality and the nuclear family is safe, trust me; both institutions have hundreds of years' worth of privilege behind them. What is the big problem here, exactly?

If the school truly has no representation of the nuclear family – no books, movies, pictures, anything – it is not psychologically the healthiest place for children from nuclear families, who, at such a young age, need that reassurance that “this is okay” the same way kids from one-parent, homosexual-parent, mixed-race, or whatever else homes do. Additionally, wiping representation of the most common family structure out of the picture is NOT equal, does not paint an accurate picture of society, and is detrimental to children who often are not as perceptive as adults and will not understand that what they see in preschool is not what the world is really like. It’s going to be culture shock when they get to elementary school and find themselves in a 90% white (or whatever it is in Sweden), majority-two-parent, WASP environment.


And yes, this school pushes an agenda in the same way ALL schools push an agenda. Any place that is there to teacher you something is giving you THEIR interpretation of “this is the way the world is, this is what is correct.” It is impossible to do so in an unbiased fashion. And yes, you’d probably have to be somewhat more conservative to be able to see the “agenda” of what you consider “correct.” Goodness, we’ve had debates on here about the number of continents and what specific region the term “America” refers to. They are very few things that are not subject to opinion. Facts are facts, but how you teach those facts makes a BIG difference.
re: Gender-neutral preschool (karma: 1)
By Mendelmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Jul 09, 2011 08:24 PM
I've only skimmed through all the replies and haven't read the article mentioned in the original post. However, it appears that some relevant data have not been brought up in discussion: it was recently reported that young female chimps carry sticks and treat them like dolls.

Here's a review of the work:
news.harvard.edu . . .

And here's a link to the actual article (I think the article is now open access, but it might require a subscription or university access to view):
www.cell.com . . .

If we are to believe the authors' conclusions (personally I found some of the data lacking, but I'm also not in this line of research so don't know what the acceptable standards of the field are), then the premise that gender norms are entirely constructed by society begins to fall apart, and we'd have to seriously re-evaluate attempts to eradicate gender differences.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:18 AM
Montessori preschool teacher boyfriend's response to this was: "Oh my god, the horrible things they are doing to the development of those kids!", followed by some ranting and raving. Basically, he went on to say that children this age don't actually have the sophisticated perception to understand gender roles. He teaches and spends most of his time around 3-6-year-olds. They aren't yet advanced enough to get any sort of benefit from whatever this school is on about. The skills they are working on forming at that age are much more basic and more important to worry about than gender roles.

Considering that the article describes a boy who has climbed into the oven area of the kitchen and is sticking his head out the hole, I see his point. The kids don't care that that's a kitchen. I defer to him on this topic as he knows much more than I did, and if that didn't make sense it's because I did a crap job explaining it.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By lemony
On Sun Jul 10, 2011 03:14 AM
Edited by lemony (56305) on 2011-07-10 03:17:52
I wasn't going to reply to this, but I'm an ECE major, so I will.
Yes, there is a difference between SEX and GENDER. However, the reason we have these gender roles is because of the characteristics and different brain wiring boys and girls have. Boy and Girls are inherently different and to make everything "gender neutral" is going to screw those children up. Boys are physically stronger than girls - so who is more suitable for a job with heavy lifting or manual handling? Girls are designed to give birth and feed (breast) children. Who is the most suitable and equipped to be in that caring role? I'm all for gender neutral toys and whatnot, as some stereotypes are bad, i.e, boys who like to do ballet are homosexual or whatever (which is kind of a common misconception here in the U.K), but this pre-school seems to be taking it too far - they are marginlising those from nuclear families - not a good thing. Play (including toys) is believed to have the function of acquiring gender roles with children. Children then learn (through play) how to behave in accordance to their gender. (Frost et al, 2001, p267). But their sex will ulitmately influence their choice of play, and thus create a "gender role".

I think the thing we have to rememeber with gender roles is that realise yes, men and women are inherently different, and better at some things (or able to do more things) than the other, but we should have respect for what one another do, and not fight for being equal, when biologically, we are not.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member
On Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:23 PM
lemony wrote:


I think the thing we have to rememeber with gender roles is that realise yes, men and women are inherently different, and better at some things (or able to do more things) than the other, but we should have respect for what one another do, and not fight for being equal, when biologically, we are not.


The danger here is if (and when) people take gender roles to an extreme and make them stereotypes, for example, who frown upon men who naturally tend towards a caring and nurturing position. Or men who are NOT physically stronger than the women. I agree, the point is not to have the children grow up the same or confuse them into thinking they are (or should be) identical, but I do think it's respectable to give children the CHANCE to grow up how they naturally will.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By BeautifulMistakemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:48 PM
jazz_lover wrote:

^ I have no problem with them opening up a safe place for kids to be. The problem is, they are pushing their own agenda, and the "typical stereotypes" agenda is being pushed out.
I just think that this preschool is doing exactly what they are preaching NOT to do. They are saying stereotypes are wrong, yet they pull out fairy tales and they don't let little girlie girls enjoy them?


That's what I see it as. What is wrong with a girl who wants to play with barbies only or read fairy tales or play in the kitchen area? What is wrong with a boy who likes to play with action figures only? A girl I graduated high school with played with toy trucks more than barbies and my younger brother played with barbies more than I did.

Yes, it is good to have gender neutral toys and to teach about different family dynamics but it seems like to do that they're cutting out everything else which is not good either.

When it comes to stereotypes like guys doing ballet are gay and the such, it's not the children we have to change. Where are they learning that from? Sometimes it's the parents teaching the kids that.

I have kind of read through the replies but I don't usually reply because it's so hard for me to type out my thoughts in a way that makes sense. lol So I hope this has made some sense.
re: Gender-neutral preschool
By kandykanePremium member
On Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:52 PM
I would think it would be more helpful to encourage kids to play with the opposite gender specific toys. It's OK for a boy to play with a kitchen or a girl to play with trucks. That's where tolerance comes from, not cutting out gender play altogether.

kk~
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