I got into a heated discussion with two of my Christian friends about the proper way to raise a boy. I explain to them that if my future son were to ask me for a doll, I would gladly buy it for him.
They immediately told me I would ruin his life and by allowing him to play with dolls how would he know that he was a boy and act like a boy?
I try to prove my point by asking who says it isn't right but they would not listen and told me I was "closed-minded" and my son was going to end up wanting to be a girl and wear dresses.
My question to you all is do you believe in teaching gender roles on to your children or will you let them become whoever they desire?
I find it amusing when the people actually being close-minded, turn around and call the other person close-minded. It's as if they think that if they say it first, it will be true. In any case, I don't believe in teaching gender roles to children. I think that there is a lot we don't know about gender identity and sexuality, and that by putting children in a place where they feel the need to conform to a rigid set of rules regarding something they understand even less than we do, is a bad thing.
I completely agree with you. I will raise my children to be creative in whatever ways they feel, and I will not entertain my own preconceived idea of their future into which I might inadvertently pressure them. Their lives, their choices. Applause for you!
I don't believe in teaching gender roles in the sense that your friends are advocating. I think that children will learn them regardless if they have a woman and man (mom and dad) in the home. Even homosexual parents' kids learn these "gender roles" on their own. But what does a gender role even mean? It seems to be something that's fading away anyway.
As a transgender person, I have given this a lot of thought. I was raised in a very "normal" household and whilst never "pushed" to do boyish stuff, I knew from my earliest recollection, around 4 years old, that it probably wasn't a good idea to mention that maybe I was a girl inside. I did observe how boys behaved to help me avoid standing out. I let my children play with whatever toys they want and engage in activities without restricting to gender-specific things. Interestingly both of them have always displayed very gender normative behaviour! So from personal observation and experience I think people move to the place on the gender spectrum where their inner, core identity is. Whilst certain parts of expressing that are societal, my current opinion is that your true inner gender is innate., but I don't know if that is genetic, in-utero conditions or some combination of factors.
I certainly don't believe in teaching gender roles and would allow my children to play with whichever toys or even dress-up clothes they choose.
But what if your son did want to be a girl and wear dresses all the time? Would you draw the line there?
Our America with Lisa Ling did a show last year on transgender lives which discussed this issue. Here is a segment on a transgender child I found fascinating.
Beautiful video Jewelz! thanks for sharing.
There was a very moving program on O recently called "I am Jazz" about an 11 year old trans girl. Born male she had lived as female since 5, and her family of two old brothers, an older sister, and her parents were very supportive, loving people.
I saw Jazz in some related links when I looked up this video. The wisdom is so wise with that one! She's such a fantastic speaker. Wow!
Also, I have a funny story about dolls I forgot to mention. One of my gay friends told me he always tried to play with his sister's barbies when he was young. His parents would constantly take them away from him and give him "boy dolls" to play with. He said, "Cowboys, Army Men, and half naked wrestlers with rippling muscles? Yep. That'll turn a gay kid straight!"
LOL - yes, the logic doesn't quite bear scrutiny! Have to say though, I did like most traditional "boys' toys" except sports-related ones, which did not interest me at all.
Maybe the point is that all straight men are supposed to be closeted homosexuals? That certainly explains alot of the christian "right".
I've known some very hee-man types that were gay and some people that fall in line with what people expect from a gay man when it comes to what we see in media. They all had very average childhoods so I think it all has very little to do with what toys etc someone is given. I find the idea that there is some secret gay agenda to steal all out kids away by messing with their minds with dolls and such like some of the fundies like to scream to be laughable.
I agree, my comment above was a joke pointing out that overt homophobia in the christian right is really just closeted homosexuality.
Video not available in my country :( 'tis a pity as I thought it would be quite interesting.