6
   

Swedish school bans "him" and "her"

 
 
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 09:31 am
The other day I was reading an article about how boys are being failed by schools and how girls are outpacing boys in high school graduation rates and in college admissions (and graduations).

Then today I come across this:

Quote:
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.

Meanwhile, nearly all the children's books deal with homosexual couples, single parents or adopted children. There are no 'Snow White,' 'Cinderella' or other fairy tales.

Director Lotta Rajalin notes that Egalia places a special emphasis on fostering an environment tolerant of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people...

....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."


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2008453/School-bans-bid-stop-children-falling-gender-stereotypes.html

I noticed when reading several of the articles about Storm, who is being raised gender free, that many of the parents they talked to discussed the feminine things that their son's enjoyed (fingernail polish, jewelry, dresses) but that there wasn't any mention of girls wanting traditional boy type things.

As a girl who is raising a boy all of this leaves me really confused.

Share your thoughts to help me think it through.

Thanks!


 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 09:36 am
@boomerang,
Quote:
'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."


If boys are not allowed to pretend that sticks are swords, that's not gender neutrality--that's choosing a value to put on their activities and telling them that that valuation says their activities are wrong. That doesn't qualify as neutral.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 09:43 am
@Setanta,
I wonder if girls are allowed to pretend that sticks are swords.

Would I be able to pretend to do car repairs (one of my favourite weeBeth activities - fixing my red plastic jeep) if I was a little girl in that program?
Walter Hinteler
 
  0  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 09:45 am
@boomerang,
Well, this preschool is run by the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights, RFSL ...

That's something, I would expect within such an organisation.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 09:49 am
@boomerang,
I think that a lot of the "male activity" barriers have already come down. Girls are much more free to be "tomboys" (though they're rarely even called that anymore, and if they are it's usually approvingly) than vice versa.

I was thinking about this the other day while watching a softball game. The girls have a dugout area with a fence, you have to take a circuitous route to get back in if you've left. One of the girls didn't want any part of that and hoisted herself over the fence. (And it was a pretty tall fence, took some athleticism to get over it.) It was a very "boyish" move, to my mind, but it was completely natural and didn't get any particular reaction. I was looking at that girl and thinking that not that long ago she might have gotten some sort of censure for that -- from the other girls if nobody else.

I look forward to the activity barriers coming down in the other direction, too. I do see boys (not even just little ones) with nail polish sometimes, but that's still A Thing. (People notice and comment, whether pro or con.)
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 10:15 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Thanks, that clears things up a bit. I was wondering why a pre-school would be so heavily invested in teaching about every type of family than a traditional family.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 10:17 am
@Setanta,
I agree. I wonder if they have "boy" type toys and activities. Legos don't count, in my opinion, as a boy thing. And cooking doesn't count as a "girl" thing either.

I know the school has dolls as they are mentioned in the article. I wonder if they have action figures too....
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 10:20 am
@ehBeth,
I'd like to know that too, ehBeth.

You reminded me of my niece, whose father was a mechanic. Her first word was "screwdriver".

0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 10:26 am
@sozobe,
I agree it is still A Thing.

It has been okay for a girl to be boyish for a long time but people do still seem to get hung up on boys being girlish.

My neighbor's 8 year old daughter told me "I'm really a boy" the other day. She likes to come over and play with Mo because he's "the only kid around here with fun toys". It seems to me that kids figure this stuff out on their own without a lot of "help" from parents and preschools.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 10:33 am
@boomerang,
This preschool sounds silly -- too agenda-driven, not enough of a focus on what's actually best for the kids.

I think adults do have a lot to do with the whole thing though, in terms of how they react. If the dad reacts with horror when the little boy tries on his sister's sparkly dress-up shoes, or if the preschool teacher says to the little girl who has strayed into the boys play area "come over to the play kitchen honey, would you like to make some tea?" then that affects what attitudes the kids grow up with.

I think preschool teachers (and parents and the rest) are at this point more comfortable with the girls playing with legos than with the boys trying on the sparkly dress-up shoes. I do think that's in the process of changing, though.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 10:52 am
@sozobe,
It happens with adults too. I remember my husband and I visiting his relatives for the first time in Arizona. I got into a good conversation with, as it happens, three of the men about construction issues around Phoenix. I was virtually pulled into the living room to talk with the ladies about, you know, piffle. Now some of my best friends are ladies, heh, and I sometimes am one, but that day I felt the burden of societal rules at play.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 11:47 am
@sozobe,
I think another part of it is that many "boy things" and "girl things" really aren't. Building is something that society has encouraged boys to do, but girls have always played with blocks and there are plenty of women who build things. Same with sports. You can be an athlete and a girl; you don't have to be a boy to be good in sports. If you look at things that are really, really gender specific, I think you probably still see the same reactions from adults both ways. If a girl was running around with a stick pointing it people and yelling "pow pow", I wouldn't be surprised if she got called down five times faster than a boy in the same circumstances - war is a male thing. Likewise, primping to show off for the opposite sex is primarily a female thing, hence the reaction to nail polish and sparkly shoes. If a boy was playing kitchen with the girls I doubt that would attract any negative attention, but put on a feather boa and heels and see how fast people notice.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 11:59 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

Well, this preschool is run by the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights, RFSL ...

That's something, I would expect within such an organisation.


from the quoted article

Quote:
The school opened last year and is on a mission to break down gender roles - a core mission in the national curriculum for Swedish pre-schools.
Walter Hinteler
 
  0  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 12:43 pm
@ehBeth,
I don't deny that - I'd just looked up their Swedish website.
0 Replies
 
hemingway
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 04:27 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

Well, this preschool is run by the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights, RFSL ...

That's something, I would expect within such an organisation.


this says it all, this is not the new way to go, its still radical but is praying on peoples morals and using social pressure to its advantage to raises discussion's such as this one, and trys to make it all more right.

people think that this is progressive, i totally disagree.
0 Replies
 
MonaLeeza
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 05:21 pm
@sozobe,
My kids (1 boy and 1 girl) had a dress up box when they were little and I left it up to them who wore what. My son usually chose a particular dress and looked great - he had nicer legs then any of the women in my family. I thought he might have had an interesting career ahead of him but he grew out of it. What will be will be.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 05:26 pm
@MonaLeeza,
MonaLeeza wrote:
What will be will be.


0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  3  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 05:33 pm
@boomerang,
Well, I loved "boy" and "girl" things....and so did my male friends when we were little.

I loved construction toys and trucks and stuff...and cowboys and Indians, and also dolls and stuff.

The boys loved my girly stuff, too...but knew better than to play with it when adults were around.

I stopped at the footbrawl stage, though....I hated (and still hate) the aggression and physical mayhem. I also hated the male putdowns about sexuality, and still do.

So, damned if I know.

I think there is a continuum with clusters of more girls than boys at one end, and more girls at the other.


If it's all so innate, though, I wonder why so many cultures expend such crazy energy in trying to enforce gender roles?

Think of the way in which boys who express less traditional masculinity have been tortured through the ages, and how women were kept in what was assumed to be their natural place by quite brutal laws and social censure?
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 05:51 pm
@dlowan,
You raise an excellent point.

But to me tolerance doesn't mean pretending we're all the same, it means accepting that we're different and being okay with that.

Boys and girls ARE different. I don't think it's all cultural.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jun, 2011 07:07 pm
@boomerang,
I think most of it's genetic. Great studies done and shown on BBC over 12 or more years of both boys and girls - can't think of the series right now, but the kids in the study were all raised a-gender (if that's a word) - then when they were placed in a playroom at age 4, the girls all hung together, as did the boys. The girls gravitated to the 'girly' things, and the boys to the 'boyish' things. None had previously played with a truck or a doll or a gun. That's just the way it went, though, when they were introduced to those items. Girls were more collaborative and the boys were more destructive and 'alone'.
 

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