There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. -- William Shakespeare

 





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kids have no concept of gender roles or excepted behavior

i saw two separate posts today that were both very uplifting (because they showed young children doing things very well), but with a host of comments, healthy and unhealthy, from adults attached. 

the first video was a little boy who was doing such an impressive job with his makeup and contour that i was wicked jealous. he was very technically precise, he was very talented, and at the end, he looked absolutely stunning. 

i'm sure you can imagine the type of unhelpful comments that were being tossed around; people accusing his father of being absent, or of being ineffective; people calling this small child homosexual slurs; people saying that all this "gay/trans confusion" is because of things like this. lots of judgment, lots of homophobic stuff, lots of overinflated egos. lots of suggestions for bike rides, and football. 

(by the by, if you ever refer to the world as "your world" - as in, "stop doing this and fucking up my world" - you are a narcissistic prick, and nothing more. thanks for sharing "your world" with the rest of us.)

the other video, in juxtaposition, is a small girl changing the oil of a car. it was very impressive, she was a very diligent, and clearly mechanically minded child. the flood of comments was on her triumph was almost exclusively positive , and encouraging, except that people kept using the term "tomboy."

now, here is my issue with the term "tomboy": it makes you feel separate, and different, and more masculine than your peers, so much so that even the description has the word "-boy" right in it. the intent is to be accepting, but as we've learned through race/sexism/etc struggles, separate but equal isn't equal, and when you reinforce that "you are different from other girls, because you prefer different pursuits," you set those girls up for one of two mentalities:

1. i am not as good as other girls, because i like "boy" things. i am a tomboy, not a normal girl or boy. i am alienated, and don't fit in anywhere.  

2. i am better than other girls, because i have more masculine traits, and that's much better, and more valuable, than feminine ones. 

so either you're isolating your kid, or you're planting the seeds of a lifelong battle with internalize misogyny (hating her fellow women, because they don't have these desirable masculine traits).

 

either way, here is the "up" of my majestic allyoop.

1. YAY! do what the fuck you want, kids! pursue what interests you and fuck gender stereotypes and keep doing what you love!

2. YAY! there was actually also a shitload of supportive comments, people jumping in to debate the crappy judgmental people, and the positive seems to be outweighing the negative response.  

 

but seriously. don't enforce or straight up force your kid to do things because "that's what boys/girls do," don't stifle your kid from investing in their interests because it doesn't fit tradition concepts, and STOP CALLING LITTLE GIRLS TOMBOYS AND REINFORCIMG THAT YOU HAVE TO BE "PART BOY" TO CHANGE YOUR OWN FUCKING OIL. 

 

 

 
 


 
saikotikgunman on
Re: kids have no concept of gender roles or excepted behavior

My mother taught me to change tires, run chainsaws, and operate heavy machinery.

 

One of my best and only friends growing up played sports and she build things in the dirt with me at least as much as she did anything feminine.  In fact, her mother sort of dreaded us spending time together because I encouraged her desire to play in all the mucky, shitty, slimy places I did.

 

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard my mother refer to herself as a tomboy, though she certainly grew up doing things often associated with males, as expected being the eldest child on a large farm.  However, my friend did call herself a tomboy, and to the best of my knowledge, it wasn’t a loaded gun pointed at the head of her womanly esteem.  She’s actually one of the most well adjusted people I know.  While perhaps the two possible pitfalls you list are valid concerns, I don’t really see them present in any of the girls I know who identify as tomboys or who were called that growing up.

morte on
Re: kids have no concept of gender roles or excepted behavior

i grew up in a family of "tomboys," grew up doing carpentry, changing tires, raising dogs, and horses etc, etc... and being called a tomboy the entire time. my mother still calls me a tomboy. 

and i have trouble with women. because, while being called a tomboy, i was being praised for being apt at anything mechanical, and hearing that my great grandmother was, to quote my grandmother, "a ninny," for being feminine, and generally opting out of heavy or complex manual labor.  

so it was totally toxic for me, and contributed to the internalized misogyny i later had to process, and overcome, and still sometimes catch myself participating in.  

i was also taught by example that men only truly respected women who are "handy." you have to earn having a man listen to you by being tough. that a pretty woman must equate her value with her appearance, and that one who invests herself in indoor pursuits is not to be given the same type of trust a tomboy would, because a tomboy is masculine, and therefore is more logically capable than a "girly girl." 

so yeah, my suggestion would be to actually ask your friends, and see if any of them have ever considered the negative implications of the language being used. because i don't talk to my friends about this shit, either, so i'm sure they make the same assumption about me.  

but it surely effected how i grew up thinking about men, women, and myself. 

 



 
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