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Author Topic: challenges of being a feminist parent
smllinv
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posted 14 November 2004 04:30 AM      Profile for smllinv     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
how do you tackle the many challenges of being a femininst parent in such an overwhelmingly gendered society. is it just me or are we going back to the 'heydays' of biological determinism where every behaviour is explained away in terms of inherent gender differences.
i have a four year old daughter who refers to herself as a "boy with a vagina" because everything she wants to do, ie: run, jump, yelp, be a superhero, firefighter, police officer etc, belongs to realm of boys.
infuriating...

[ 16 November 2004: Message edited by: audra trower williams ]


From: vancouver | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 14 November 2004 06:20 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There are inherent gender differences. Though all children cross the what some would consider gender lines, girls appear to be more adept at doing so.

Girls are more likely to play with "boy toys" and participate in "boy games" than visa versa. However, maybe one problem is in the labelling of toys to be gender specific.

Having raised my daughter, in what some would call a feminist manner, she has not yet fully recognized at 27 just what it means or should mean. In fact, she did at a younger age than today IMO. How much of this is rebellion against a parental philosophy I do not know. Or how much it is to do with the nature/attitude of some girls/women taking out their brains and dropping them on the floor when they commence having a relationship with a male.

My granddaughter asked, just a short while back, how a little boy that is a friend of hers was discovered to be a boy when he was born. Though she knew what a penis was, and a vagina, she had apparently not correlated that this was the determining factor of gender between the 2 sexes.


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 14 November 2004 11:39 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
There are inherent gender differences. Though all children cross the what some would consider gender lines, girls appear to be more adept at doing so.
Girls are more likely to play with "boy toys" and participate in "boy games" than visa versa. However, maybe one problem is in the labelling of toys to be gender specific.

I'd have to disagree with you, remind, that the differences are largely inherent -- I think they are more predominantly taught. From what I've seen of my children and my friends' children, there is a wider range of variation within each sex than there generally is between them.

Maybe I feel that way because of my own upbringing. I am small and feminine-looking, much like my mother. I have my father's personality. My mother taught me to wear feminine clothing and makeup, to sit properly and display ladylike manners. My father taught me to spit, shoot, fish, drink rye and argue. Thank gawd I didn't have a brother -- I might have missed out on a good half of my personality (and some of my charm!).

One of the interesting things about raising girls (boys, too, I suppose, but I don't have any sons, so I will mainly concern myself with girls) is finding the balance between what are considered female role-specific activities and male role-specific ones. I found that my daughters were both attracted to princess stuff, dresses and fluffy things. They love baby dolls and cooking things. My younger daughter (nearly 4 years old) is in a dress fixation right now -- my older one (7 years old) went through it at the same age.

On one hand, I don't want them to conform to an ultra-feminine ideal with no balance to it, but at the same time, there is no point in fighting it too much. I let Ms B go through the girly phase, and while she still likes dresses sometimes, she more often chooses blue jeans. She has also chosen to study Kung Fu. We go twice a week -- on one of the days we go, she is the only girl in the class, and is okay with that. She's learning to go for what she wants despite the social gender roles.

I don't think we can ignore those roles, either. They will get them on tv, from the other kids in school, from other parents and caregivers. For example, I swear, if I have to listen to another parent, in reference to their rambunctious and ill-mannered male child, say "Oh, he's just such a boy", I'll scream. But the fact is, they will encounter expectations of difference regardless what you do. The most you can do for them is to give them opportunities to explore both sides of the coin, and support them in their choices. Let your girls (and your boys) take from both and find the right balance for their personality.

[ 14 November 2004: Message edited by: Zoot ]


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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posted 16 November 2004 04:02 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think being exposed to lots of healthy couples as a kid does lots of feminist good.
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Debra
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posted 16 November 2004 04:14 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As a kid I was daddy\s princess and I was also "on of the boys"

I loved climbing trees, riding bikes, getting dirty, exploring, capturing bugs.

I hated the stuff the girls did most of the time.

As an adult I'm still a strange mixture of girlie girl and tomboy.

Sometimes I think adults need to back the frig off and let the kids be themselves.

One of my boys at age 8 asked why people were angry with the mother of a child that was murdered by her nanny for working... after all the dad worked too.

My youngest son likes pink and playing with dolls as well as playing with trucks and "more manly things "

However, he has been informed by some of the other boys that their dads say pink is gay and only girls play with dolls.

The best we can do is let our kids explore what appeals to them and explain as best we can that there will always be idiots in the world but they shouldn't let the idiots make their decisions for them.


From: The only difference between graffiti & philosophy is the word fuck... | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 16 November 2004 04:34 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here is a book review of "An Unconventional Family" by Sandra Lipsitz Bem, about her adventures in egalitarian marriage and gender-neutral childrearing. Instead of copying and pasting the whole thing here. I wrote the review, by the way; and the book was great.

I do find myself thinking a lot about this topic. Now that I have a baby girl, I wonder if I'm treating her as neutrally as I think I am. I wonder if her gentle, peaceful, passive nature is really her or if it's something she's already been encouraged to be. I wonder how I will encourage her to explore other things when there's already so much pressure on her--just 10 1/2 months old--to look like and be a girl.

You would not believe the number of frilly little dresses hanging in her closet. Most days she wears jeans and sweatpants (I mean, how do you play in a dress?) but there they hang, lovely gifts from generous family. She has been given not only pink dresses, but pink teddy bears, pink blankets, pink tracksuits, pink everything.

I see people (*cough* her Dad *cough*) doing things for her that I know full well she can do herself, and I wonder if it's started already. I try hard not to do that myself, but maybe I am and I don't notice it?

She got some nice little presents from her aunt and uncle--a dollhouse. The Little People one. Why the dollhouse? The other "boy" ones look like more fun to me.

It's a bit disheartening to see how young it all starts, to wonder what you can do, and if you're contributing to it despite yourself.

Hmm. I guess I have nothing constructive to add, but I will be reading this thread with great interest.


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 16 November 2004 11:15 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In this instance, I was speaking more of abilities, as opposed to socialization norms and characteristics.

For example, behavioural studies show that most girls walk and talk earlier than boys and develop emotionally sooner.

However, there is a catch up phase where boys muscle development exceeds that of girls and they are able physically to do more than girls their age. And language skills also level out.

For the most part, I agree with you by way of socialization and personality development, that it could be social environment factors at play. Though not always in the ways one would think.

quote:
Originally posted by Zoot:

I'd have to disagree with you, remind, that the differences are largely inherent -- I think they are more predominantly taught. From what I've seen of my children and my friends' children, there is a wider range of variation within each sex than there generally is between them.



From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 17 November 2004 11:43 AM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by remind:
In this instance, I was speaking more of abilities, as opposed to socialization norms and characteristics.

For example, behavioural studies show that most girls walk and talk earlier than boys and develop emotionally sooner.

However, there is a catch up phase where boys muscle development exceeds that of girls and they are able physically to do more than girls their age. And language skills also level out.

For the most part, I agree with you by way of socialization and personality development, that it could be social environment factors at play. Though not always in the ways one would think.


I was referring also to "abilities". There are certain milestones set for children at certain ages. If there was any significant difference, they'd have seperate sets of milestones for boys and girls. They don't, maily because THERE IS MORE DIFFERENCE WITHIN THE SEXES THAN THERE IS BETWEEN THEM.

Let's take speech, for example. You have a baby son. You've heard that boys don't speak as early as girls. Therefore, you've developed an expectation that he won't speak as early, so maybe you don't put him so much in a position of having to express himself verbally as early on as you would a girl (ie: you don't wait that extra 10 seconds before giving him the cookie he wants so he will be more motivated to say "cookie"), and VOILA!! You have fulfilled your own expectation.

Or you maybe don't put your daughter into sports as early on as your boy, etc, etc, etc. You choose which abilities to develop or not develop based on your expectations and the preconcieved notions you have.

And what does "develop emotionally sooner" mean, anyway? That girls are supposed to develop empathy sooner? Can you honestly say that isn't a social expectation? Let's use it as an example anyway. Boys are not as actively encouraged to develop empathy because it is not considered a masculine trait in our culture. Girls are expected to be more empathetic. This is a socially constructed stereotype.

I'm not saying, either, that I am completely guilt-free in the social environment arena. I've had my expectations, and I don't have any sons so that I can say I would have been exactly the same with a boy or not. Heck, I'm not even the same between the two girls I have. But at least I know what I'm doing when I buy Barbies, baby dolls and hot wheels. Most people don't even think about it.

athena dreaming -- I don't think you're doing any harm with the pink, etc. It's part of the raising of girls in this culture. Balance it where you can -- and know that if she shows a predeliction for the pink and fluffy stuff, she'll grow out of it, especially if you offer alternatives in addition to it. My youngest wants to wear dresses all the time, loves princess stuff and wants a motorcycle so she can ride motocross like her papa.

[ 17 November 2004: Message edited by: Zoot ]


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
periyar
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posted 17 November 2004 12:54 PM      Profile for periyar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think about this a lot. Treating my kids according to prescribed gender norms are highlighted for me because i have a 3 1/2 year old son and a 1 1/2 year old daughter.

When i had my daughter, i ran out and bought all kinds of dresses, barrettes etc for her. Funny thing is she can't stand wearing any of it- when i put the barrette in her hair, she takes it off immediately- meanwhile my son wants the barrette in his hair and will leave it on all day. She doesn't like to wear dresses, especially with tights- my son is very curious about both.
I no longer push any of this on her-no big deal. But i have to admit that i'm reluctant to encourage my son's interest in wearing dresses even though i can't think of a good reason/explanation to tell him why he can't.

I don't feel particulary comfortable with this response, but I guess it's because i'm preparing for that conventional, conformist system called school. What do others think of this dilema?

One area where my kids do fall into conventional gender stereotypes is the whole nurture/aggression dichotomy- my son has a tendency toward aggressive behaviour more than my daughter. When he turns it toward her- i am quick to intervene-most times he'll just hover over her, threatening to do something-and she'll start to cry- when he tells me he didn't hit her, i'll say-it doesn't matter- if you make her feel uncomfortable -that is wrong -i know that the root of this behaviour is probably jealousy- as she's the baby-but i'm challenged with recognizing that his emotion of jealousy is legitimate and that i need to teach him not to deal with unpleasant feelings using aggression and intimidation- particularly within the male-female context. It is really hard because as a woman, i identify more with my daughter's experiences. Also, day to day parenting can be hectic and sometimes a thoughtful reasoned response is subordinated to quick and stressed out reactions-like pulling them apart or yelling the old standby- stop it right now!


From: toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
exiled armadillo
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posted 17 November 2004 01:08 PM      Profile for exiled armadillo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There are still a lot of stereotypes out there, as our children get older and find work they will find a fair amount of resistance to their ways.

I'm speaking of the expectation that the minute some guy in a $1000 suit walks through the door, they will go all quiet and demure. (I laugh cause the ones who do this the most, in my experience, are some of the biggest vipers when the mens back are turned)

I think this is an appalling disrespect to yourself and woman to do (as if you are worth less than this guy). however, that is seen as the proper way to behave even today and your bosses don't like it. I've seen people loose jobs over it. Any comments on those kinds of situations and how to help our kids with them?

quote:
I no longer push any of this on her-no big deal. But i have to admit that i'm reluctant to encourage my son's interest in wearing dresses even though i can't think of a good reason/explanation to tell him why he can't.

why don't you get him a night shirt? Its a guys night gown, then he has somewhere he can wear it.


From: Politicians and diapers should be changed frequently and for the same reason | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 17 November 2004 01:26 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
One area where my kids do fall into conventional gender stereotypes is the whole nurture/aggression dichotomy- my son has a tendency toward aggressive behaviour more than my daughter. When he turns it toward her- i am quick to intervene-most times he'll just hover over her, threatening to do something-and she'll start to cry- when he tells me he didn't hit her, i'll say-it doesn't matter- if you make her feel uncomfortable -that is wrong -i know that the root of this behaviour is probably jealousy- as she's the baby-but i'm challenged with recognizing that his emotion of jealousy is legitimate and that i need to teach him not to deal with unpleasant feelings using aggression and intimidation- particularly within the male-female context. It is really hard because as a woman, i identify more with my daughter's experiences. Also, day to day parenting can be hectic and sometimes a thoughtful reasoned response is subordinated to quick and stressed out reactions-like pulling them apart or yelling the old standby- stop it right now!

Is it really a male/female behavioural thing, or is it a sibling rivalry thing? You say it's about jealousy, and I believe you. The thing is, as an elder child, I did the same thing to my younger sister, and Ms B does it to her younger sister, and I have a friend who did it to her younger siblings, male and female. It's children and pecking order, not masculine aggression per se. Regardless, you're teaching him the right thing -- aggression is the wrong way to deal with jealousy.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sharon
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posted 17 November 2004 02:01 PM      Profile for Sharon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
But i have to admit that i'm reluctant to encourage my son's interest in wearing dresses even though i can't think of a good reason/explanation to tell him why he can't.

Did you know that there was a time when little boys who misbehaved in school were sometimes made to wear a girl's dress as punishment?

It's an interesting dilemma you have. All the moreso because most parents don't discourage their daughters from wearing clothing that has traditionally been considered "boys' clothes" -- jeans, slacks, etc. I often think that even as feminists, we're inclined to move toward a "male" model of doing things -- dressing/working/etc. -- as if it were inherently better.

(There's a connection here with something skdadl wrote in another thread about the importance of preserving the products of women's work -- the crafts: quilts, smocked dresses, crocheted tablecloths -- after years of seeing them de-valued. I have written many columns on this subject.)

Meanwhile, my son will be 10 next week. He was never allowed to have a gun so he built guns out of lego. We're both pacifists and he's all war, battles, weapons -- he can take just about anything and turn it into two armies, set up in battle formation. He thinks of war as a game but, I'm glad to note, when he hears horrifying news on the radio about the actual war -- beheadings, torture -- he's shocked.

I am always glad when he says something that lets me know that much of what I preach is getting through and I hope it will be there when he needs it.

I guess my position is that, no matter how you do your nurturing, there is still an element of nature in how your child turns out.


From: Halifax, Nova Scotia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
exiled armadillo
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posted 17 November 2004 02:11 PM      Profile for exiled armadillo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Meanwhile, my son ...was never allowed to have a gun so he built guns out of lego. I'm glad to note, when he hears horrifying news on the radio about the actual war -- beheadings, torture -- he's shocked.

That sure does soothe the soul eh? My son has never had restrictions on guns or anything, and he is the same as your son. He's shocked easily (still hasn't watched Jurrasic Park becuase its too violent). Its nice to know that even though they are experimenting, that they will absorb some of your values. (especially the most important ones)

As for the sibling rivalry... I have a very wise doctor I go to when I have major problems, like my kids threatening to kill each other. and he told me that sibling rivalry is less abot the relationship between the kids and more about their relationship with you. If you give them as much time as they can stand, they will stop competing for your attention.

While this has worked for me in many instances, the jury is still out. I jsut spent all day yesterday with one of them (stayed home cause of tummy trouble) and last might she was threatening to kill her sister). maybe we just can't win 'em all!


From: Politicians and diapers should be changed frequently and for the same reason | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
shaolin
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posted 17 November 2004 02:47 PM      Profile for shaolin     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
It's an interesting dilemma you have. All the moreso because most parents don't discourage their daughters from wearing clothing that has traditionally been considered "boys' clothes" -- jeans, slacks, etc. I often think that even as feminists, we're inclined to move toward a "male" model of doing things -- dressing/working/etc. -- as if it were inherently better.

I agree. Demanding equal rights to do all the things men do in a man-made world is a very shallow version of equality. We need to value 'traditionally female' roles and qualities and incorporate them as important elements of society. Instead of a successful woman having to be boobs in a business suit, we need to encourage things like empathy and other traditionally feminine characteristics as being important for both genders.


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periyar
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posted 17 November 2004 03:10 PM      Profile for periyar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Zoot, i agree that it is about sibling rivalry, however, because my kids are different genders, i want to be reflective in my approach-be aware that my own socialization/experiences around gender/sexism can impact how i deal with sibling rivalry.
I agree with Sharon about nurturing and 'natural' tendencies-i like think of it has tendencies toward certain personality or character traits- so as not to approach it in a fatalistic manner- most of these personality traits have been labelled male or female and i'm aware these are social constructs. I think as a parent, I try to reinforce the good ones and discourage the problematic ones.

From: toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
periyar
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posted 17 November 2004 03:26 PM      Profile for periyar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
skdadl's post resonated with me because i do value nurturing- Perhaps it gets a bad rap because its perceived as a passive or submissive activity , like many activities attributed to women.
i'm in a female dominated profession which can easily be described as nurturing. I'm a social worker and i have done some counselling during my career. Being actively engaged and interested in the struggles of the clients I had, facilitating a process whereby they can identify their problems and create their own solutions was not a passive activity.

Currently, I am at home with my kids because i want to have a strong impact on their early years- as part of many strategies i will be utilizing over the years to counter racism, sexism, classism, homophobia- all that oppressive crap they will be innundated with on a large scale level when they enter the school system. So in this sense, again, I don't see nurturing as a passive or submissive activity.


From: toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 17 November 2004 08:06 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Zoot--thanks. That's good to hear. Though I have to admit that the pink (amazing as it is to see the Great Pink BAby Girl Machine in action) is less troublesome than wondering if I'm treating her as neutrally as I thought I would. You know. When I cushion her fall, is it really because she's as small as she is (and she's tiny)? Or is it because she's a girl and I've bought into all that fragility crap subconsciously? Would I spend all day with a baby boy just snuggling on the couch sometimes, or would my subconscious expectations of a more rambunctious nature lead me to put them on the floor and let them play?

does that makes sense? I'm in a place of really questioning whether or not my parenting is as feminist as I'd like, but not able to really evaluate it because a) I'm in it, and b) most of what I'm nervous of isn't conscious intention, but subconscious expectation.


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
smllinv
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posted 17 November 2004 09:04 PM      Profile for smllinv     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
it's so nice to hear that others deal with the same concerns i have. I too have always been hyper-conscious of the gendered messages i send my dd. from the start everything has been gender neutral - toys, clothes, colour of paint on her walls, etc. But I wonder if I interact with her differently than I would a boy. I know I find it very troubling when she isn't 'nice'. But I think Zoot made a great point about the importance of being cognizant of what we're doing when do act in accordance with societal norms that prescribe how we are to parent our boy and/or girl children.

quote:
But i have to admit that i'm reluctant to encourage my son's interest in wearing dresses even though i can't think of a good reason/explanation to tell him why he can't.

i can comisserate with you there. i think people are so much more accepting of 'tomboys' than they are of boys who like to wear 'girl's' clothes and play with dolls etc. it's a tough one; i know when my dd really pushes the gender line i start to feel a bit uncomfortable. she has worn a tie to daycare for the last few days and i got some very weird - and disapproving - looks on the bus taking her there.

quote:
swear, if I have to listen to another parent, in reference to their rambunctious and ill-mannered male child, say "Oh, he's just such a boy", I'll scream.

It's that sort of thing that sparked this thread. I work with families and I am so tired of biting my tongue listening to parents attribute their 2 month old's behaviour to their gender. Often times it will happen where a child does something and everyone in the class will go "oh, boys/girls are more likely to do that" or "it's just because he's/she's a boy/girl... it's natural" meanwhile they ignore the fact that two other children in the room who are doing EXACTLY the same thing are of the opposite sex.
so question for you all: maybe a good starting point for a new thread. What are some good gender neutral toys and/or good shops for buying gender neutral toys. Personally, I'm a big fan of IKEA's toys but it's hard to get around those requests for spiderman, hotwheels, etc, etc.

[ 17 November 2004: Message edited by: smllinv ]

[ 17 November 2004: Message edited by: smllinv ]


From: vancouver | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 17 November 2004 09:25 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I should point something out, here -- I don't always make a huge effort on the gender neutral front. Seriously. I buy feather boas. Pink and purple ones. Tiaras, magic wands with sparkly fringes, the whole 9 yards. I dress them up in pretty dresses on special occasions, and I LOVE buying them clothes! Fancy hair baubles, too -- especially for Ms T's waist-length blond curls.

I want them to grow up knowing it's fun to be a girl, and that it's okay to have fun with one's feminine side. Sometimes neutral isn't as much fun as stuff from either extreme.

I also bought them a toy tool bench and lego and a spring horse. The tickle trunk has male and female clothes, and we play with cars, too. I am making an attempt to give them some choice in the matter, and to encourage them to make choices on their own opinions, not what is a "girly thing" or a "boyish thing".

Ms B is starting to be less into the girly stuff, and as her tastes change, so will the things we give her. Like the spy kit she's into playing with right now... Still, she needs to know we're open to her trying on all the hats she needs to -- even the fluffy pink ones.

[ 17 November 2004: Message edited by: Zoot ]


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sharon
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posted 17 November 2004 09:28 PM      Profile for Sharon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And I loved this post
From: Halifax, Nova Scotia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 17 November 2004 10:00 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I had the same dilemma with my son when he was around 3 or so. He loved flowers and hearts (shapes he recognized) as much as he loved other stuff. He didn't "get" that pink is usually worn by girls. And so one time, when we went to buy him some shoes, he saw some Barbie shoes with a few hearts and flowers, and pink trim on them.

I told him he could pick out his shoes, but when he picked the Barbie shoes, I subtly, without saying "Those are for GIRLS!" told him that those are nice, let's keep looking and see what else there is before we decide. And I steered him towards more boyish shoes.

My reason for doing so? He was in full-time day care at the time, and if he'd gone there wearing Barbie shoes, he likely would have been teased. It certainly would've been remarked upon by members of my family (and scornfully by certain members) and I didn't want him to have to deal with that. I just felt he was too young to have that put upon him, especially since he was already dealing with the whole "my mommy and daddy don't live together anymore" stuff.

I don't remember what kind of shoes I got him, whether they were superhero shoes, or Blue's Clues, or something like that. I actually wouldn't have had a problem getting him Dora the Explorer shoes, for instance. But Barbie is just too syrupy-girlie. In fact, I consoled myself by telling myself I wouldn't even like to get those for a girl. But if I'm honest with myself, I would have been more open to it with a daughter than with a son.

However...I have never had a problem with him playing "dress up" with girl stuff, and when he saw me painting my nails, he always asked if he could have some and I always said yes. And I got him a Barbie for Christmas one year because he saw one once and thought they were neat. Of course, I made sure to get him "Doctor Barbie" rather than one of the vapid roles. And I like to think that I never actually implanted the "that's for GIRLS!" thing in his head, although his father does, so I guess there's no getting around that.

[ 17 November 2004: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 17 November 2004 10:27 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michelle--

that reminds me of a story I read about a boy who wore a barette to preschool or kindergarten. Another boy kept teasing him about being a girl until he got so frustrated he pulled down his pants and said, "see? I have a penis, I'm a boy." The other boy said, "That's stupid. Everyone knows that everyone has a penis, but only girls wear barettes."


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 17 November 2004 10:32 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was resistant to some of the Barbie and syrupy girly gak at one point. Then came the day I was trying to talk Ms B out of something like Barbie shoes (I think they actually were, too) and it struck me: I'm imposing my tastes on her in a really overt way. And we'll leave the store with the more sensible shoes, and she'll be sad about it, not because it can't be helped, but because my opinion about what colour her shoes are is more important than hers.

And then I thought about the high-heeled red shoes in my closet that I can't wear all that often and how much pleasure they give ME when I do get to...

She got the Barbie shoes. And I let her pick her own shoes, within price range and reason.

I think you made the right choice, Michelle -- you have to take into account that people will be jerks about such things. Which is a pity. If hearts and flowers make you happy, you should have them, regardles which sort of genitals you have.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 17 November 2004 11:04 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No, I do not completely agree with your stated premise about ability development being different because of hearing that girls do so, one has lower expectations of boys, or girls in certain cases. Yes, there is milestones for development, and children can exceed or fall short. That is how the average is formulated for the development milestone.

There are many studies in linguistics and motor skill development with faternal twins and other single unit children of different genders that have commenced at a very young age, that support what I have stated. There obviously sliding scale differences, between individual children, but I do not believe, the studies are erroneous from my experience. I will endeavor to find some on line that I have in my own reference books.

Just as women have been found to have quicker and more refined motor skills than males, and as such can do certain hand eye coordinated tasks quicker. It is not because of gender bias or training when they were raised. It has to do with body brain physiology and nothing more.

Though self fullfilling prophecy (re:cookie example)is correct in some cases, but by no means all.

Where do you get your belief that "THERE IS MORE DIFFERENCE WITHIN THE SEXES THAN THERE IS BETWEEN THEM."? Edited to say: I remember Nicholson made a theory in this regard, and now assume that you mean this as a quote of his.

No, I was not speaking about empathy at all, but coping skills and ability to adjust in a more introspective manner. Of course, you will argue that it is because of the old "boys will be boys" excuses, and in some measure you will be correct. Again, I will look for studies in my reference books and see if I can find them, or similiar on line.

Having stated all this, I do agree that boys have historicaly been treated different than girls within societies and that can be attributed to ability development and your correct it can be noted in the areas of empathy, and responsibility.

quote:
Originally posted by Zoot:

I was referring also to "abilities". There are certain milestones set for children at certain ages. If there was any significant difference, they'd have seperate sets of milestones for boys and girls. They don't, maily because THERE IS MORE DIFFERENCE WITHIN THE SEXES THAN THERE IS BETWEEN THEM.

Let's take speech, for example. You have a baby son. You've heard that boys don't speak as early as girls. Therefore, you've developed an expectation that he won't speak as early, so maybe you don't put him so much in a position of having to express himself verbally as early on as you would a girl (ie: you don't wait that extra 10 seconds before giving him the cookie he wants so he will be more motivated to say "cookie"), and VOILA!! You have fulfilled your own expectation.

And what does "develop emotionally sooner" mean, anyway? That girls are supposed to develop empathy sooner? Can you honestly say that isn't a social expectation? Let's use it as an example anyway. Boys are not as actively encouraged to develop empathy because it is not considered a masculine trait in our culture. Girls are expected to be more empathetic. This is a socially constructed stereotype.


[ 18 November 2004: Message edited by: remind ]


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
smllinv
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posted 18 November 2004 12:50 AM      Profile for smllinv     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
want them to grow up knowing it's fun to be a girl, and that it's okay to have fun with one's feminine side. Sometimes neutral isn't as much fun as stuff from either extreme.


good point zoot. i also buy the "girly-girl" things now, when my dd asks for them, which i need to admit is rare. However, she has a very close friend who loves shiny, sparkly, feathery things and who is always in a dress and i often buy her things that fit the bill. I guess what i meant is that i tried to start out "gender neutral" by buying both boy and girl toys, dd's room is filled with dolls, trucks, play kitchen stuff, trains, fancy dress up clothes and an obscence amount of spiderman stuff, etc. I just wanted to be sure that when she hit the age that she could show preferences for things that it would come from her and not me. I hated the thought of her thinking that she couldn't do something, like something, etc because it "wasn't for girls" does that make sense at all?

on the a similiar note however, a friend and I, actually the one with the "girly-girl" daughter realized a few years ago that we were maybe sending the message that toys traditionaly designed for boys were somehow superior. like we were proud of the fact that our baby girls loved playing with cars and talked with dismay about the dreaded day that they would ask for a Barbie. we realized that by taking this approach we were doing exactly what we said we didn't want to, we were elimating choice.
so last summer, dd and i were in powell river in this very funky store that had a bunch of beautiful hand made tu-tus. i started talking to dd about how much i thought her little friend would like them, blah, blah, blah. then i realized it never occured to me that dd might also like them so i said, "would you like me to get you one of these". she rolled her eyes and scoffed "mommy, i don't do tu-tus!" it totally made me laugh but i just wanted her to know that door was open.

anyway, this is a bit of a rambling. i've found all your inputs very interesting.

one more thing:

quote:
There are many studies in linguistics and motor skill development with faternal twins and other single unit children of different genders that have commenced at a very young age, that support what I have stated. There obviously sliding scale differences, between individual children, but I do not believe, the studies are erroneous from my experience.

there are also many studies that show that parents talk more to girl childen from the very beginning, especially about things like emotion, which explains why they may talk earlier (even though from my own studies I've learned that the difference is minimal). The studies you talk about may not be erroneous is what they report but they are often designed and administered in a way that sets out to prove a predetermined hypothesis, and with the already set belief that there are biological explanations for gender differences. therefore, I would argue that often researchers tend to "see what they want to see" to be fair, i think the same can be said for studies that set out to counter sexist research. i have very little faith in the idea of "objective" research of any kind. but i think that if you set out believing that you're boy child is going to hit or that your girl child is going be a nurturing being, there's a greater than likely chance you're interactions with that child will reflect those expectations.

[ 18 November 2004: Message edited by: smllinv ]


From: vancouver | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 18 November 2004 08:44 AM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, that's more what I'm worried about myself--toys and clothing, ok, whatever. I do want her to have all of her options nad not get one thing pushed over another (but frankly with the way my ILs go on, I'm going to have to be pretty pro-boy-stuff to counter their influence. anyway), but in the end if she likes pink, she likes pink.

I'm much more concerned about trying not to treat her as if she is a fragile, helpless being because she's female. I think this would be easier if she were a bigger baby, but she's not (under 5th percentile) so often I don't know if I'm treating her differently because she is different, because she's a girl, or both.

I remember reading a study that showed that N American parents spend more on their boy children, including health and education, than on their girl children. I'm sure most of those parents don't mean to and it's totally unconscious. I'm sure they don't think they love their boy children best.

So how, as a parent, does one counter these kinds of tendencies? Or do you just have to be vigilant and hope for hte best?


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 18 November 2004 10:36 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Zoot, I found there are many studies on line about both sides of the debate between constructionist and physiological predetermination of gender attributes. However, the following link depicts best the argument and the current revising of formerly held constructionist theory.

It is a PDF file. In a nut shell, hormones make the difference and there are differences that are NOT constructed like the ones I noted, while others are as you and i noted.

http://www.dana.org/pdf/other/graymat_menwoman.pdf


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
chacha
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posted 20 November 2004 05:35 AM      Profile for chacha        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A couple of thoughts...
One, my friends bought their son, who loves radios, a Barbie radio. Had to laugh, they would never have done that for a daughter (nor would I). Anyway, he likes it.
I am also a parent who refuses to buy guns and found my kid fascinated by all things warfare. I compromised and bought knight stuff, and I am actually finding the war aspect of the play an excellent means by which to discuss all the issues that come up surrounding our attendance of peace rallies. He has a lot of questions about war, about stopping injustice, about why war starts... and he is only 4!!! I thought I would avoid it all until later (naive) but I brought him to peace marches so of course he started picking it all up.
Sometimes he plays games about soldiers or tanks going out to take all the guns and bombs out of the world. And I am reminded of the excellent resource "That's Not Fair!" (about teaching activism in elementary classrooms) where the authors remind adults that kids don't have a complex chomskian world view, and their activism may seem unappealing and like "charity" instead of justice to us adults. However, kids respond in the moment to the immediate problem, not the system... yet. Its our job to help step them through piece by piece.... So, with the guns stopping guns thing, I have to admit I take this approach of accepting he sees only the first step, and sometimes, not always, asking, but then this guy still has guns, who takes those away. He finds these discussions interesting and so do I, especially when he takes me on about toy guns and argues me into the ground with his logic!!!
Recently, for example, he learned from a friend that I write and perform political street theater. Knowing I also am active against war, he latched onto this idea, asked whether there might be soldiers in my next play, when I said yes, he immediately volunteered to play that role, and said, now, mom, lets go make me a gun, so I can be in the play.
I said, but we don't have guns for toys.
He said, no, mom, (exasperated), the gun is for the play to show people that war is wrong!

And of course, he's right... that is exactly what I would do in my play, and what's more, like him, I would *enjoy* playing the bad guy, and see it as part of a movement to build peace!

So... my new approach is to simply not admit to him that he has won the argument with me about ar toys using my own logic and practice.


From: Victoria, BC | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 20 November 2004 08:59 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I used to feel very strongly about not buying violent toys for children. I still don't buy macho crap like GI Joe (luckily he hasn't been begging for it), but my son is going through that stage that many little kids go through, a fascination with all things gory and death. And he also loves "action" in movies, like swordfights and the like.

He begged me all summer to buy him a toy sword. I didn't do it because I had cats at the time (they're living with Debra now ) and I just KNEW that when my back was turned, he'd be "playing" swordfight with the cats. And also, maybe it was a hangover from the "no war toys" feelings I've had in the past, which I've renounced to a large degree now.

But anyhow, I got him a toy sword for Christmas this year (or maybe his birthday, which is coming up a couple of weeks before Christmas). And in the summer, I've been meaning to get him one of those "super soaker" water guns, and kept not getting around to it. But I have no ideological objection to buying one for him - they're fun! I would still not want to buy him realistic-looking guns, just because I have an aversion to them myself, but not because I think it will turn him into a crazed serial killer or make him want to buy guns when he grows up, or support war.

I've also taken him to a couple of street protests against war. They have planted some interesting seeds in his mind, and we've had some pretty great discussions as a result. Initiated by HIM and carried on by him.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
miles
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posted 20 November 2004 09:33 AM      Profile for miles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michelle my parents would never buy me a toy gun or sword growing up.

When I was about 10 they changed their strategy a bit. They decided that they could go and buy pieces of wood and teach me how to make a toy. If i wanted a sword then i had to draw an outline, sand it down nail it together paint it etc.


From: vaughan | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sharon
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posted 20 November 2004 01:32 PM      Profile for Sharon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michelle, one day William and I were in the supermarket and we ran into Dan's auntie (William's great-aunt). She always makes a fuss over William and indulges him and she told him to go pick out anything in the store that he wanted because she wanted to buy something for him. He walked directly to the super-soakers -- because he knew darn well that I wasn't going to buy it for him and he knew that I wouldn't turn down Aunt Pat's generous offer.

So William has his super-soaker (she bought the big deluxe model too!)-- and yes, he has also had the medieval sword, helmet, breast-plate set.

But I still feel the same way about guns as I always have -- I simply don't like the symbolism of guns in the house. And as others have mentioned, I find even talking about a no-gun policy leads to good discussions about war and other conflicts and how they can be handled.


From: Halifax, Nova Scotia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Gryphon
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posted 10 December 2004 06:06 AM      Profile for Gryphon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't understand what's wrong with having a gender. Why do feminists insist on fighting it? i'm a male inside, and a male outside. some people are female inside and female outside. some people have a different gender than their physical sex. accept it. People are have gender differences, and we're not all the same inside. so what if we live in a gendered world? should we be made to abandon our genders because you don't feel like you have one?

And another thing. Why do feminists insist that it's partriarchical to say that people have gender? most do! There are plenty of women out there who consider themselves women instead of feminists. I'm heterosexual. i find the opposite sex (and the opposite gender in combination) attractive. Am I a sexist pig for that? fuck no. though you're entitled to think that I am, if you want.

femininity is my complement, and it's not a conscious choice that I'm attracted to it. I find it very ironic the aim of feminism has become to destroy that from which it derives its name. not going to tell you how to raise your kids, but I do know that being made to live contrary to your own nature leads to severe psychological problems. If you force a left handed person to write with her left, it will fuck her up. Same thing with using shock therapy to 'straighten' out queer people. I haven't read about whether the same is true when a parent tries to make her children live genderless lives, but i'd be very interested in finding out if it is. I suspect it would be.


From: Guelph | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 10 December 2004 08:27 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michelle, is there any more appropriate way (I mean in the sense of not exposing him to taunts) that you can encourage your son's love of flowers? I see that as a very positive thing.

This is perhaps a bit "culturalist" but there are so many Persian paintings of roses, gardens. And the princes appreciating them at least as much as the princesses do ...

Flowers and plants are beautiful, they bring so much joy and foster an appreciation of nature. Do you think he'd enjoy growing little plants?


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 10 December 2004 08:38 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, absolutely. His father loves flowers, too. I "helped" him get his father rose, tomato and herb plants for Father's Day last year, as something they could grow together, for instance. His dad has a major green thumb (unlike me).

And he draws hearts all the time, especially when he makes cards for special occasions, etc. In fact, the card he made for me for my birthday a few weeks ago was a big heart folded in half, coloured in, with "I love you Mom" printed on it.

So, he has lots of hearts and flowers in his world.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 10 December 2004 07:58 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Gryphon:
And another thing. Why do feminists insist that it's partriarchical to say that people have gender? most do! There are plenty of women out there who consider themselves women instead of feminists. I'm heterosexual. i find the opposite sex (and the opposite gender in combination) attractive. Am I a sexist pig for that? fuck no. though you're entitled to think that I am, if you want.
You're mistaken in what you think feminism is about. Feminism isn't against gender, it challenges preconceptions about gender roles and asks that a broader and more realistic idea of gender be embraced. It makes logical sense to not confine the genders to narrow and specific roles, because people, regardless of sex and gender, do not naturally confine themselves in ability in most areas.

It is no less fair or optimal to have power and wealth and influence confined to a small economic group than it is to confine it to one sex. Feminism, at its best, seeks to address all inequity - gendered, sociopolitical, economic, etc. Feminism, at its best, seeks an equitable society where choice and opportunity are extended to all people, regardless of sex, gender, orientation, religion (or lack thereof), culture, ethnicity, etc. Such an equitable society functions better, on every level, both pragmatically and compassionately.

quote:
If you force a left handed person to write with her left, it will fuck her up. Same thing with using shock therapy to 'straighten' out queer people. I haven't read about whether the same is true when a parent tries to make her children live genderless lives, but i'd be very interested in finding out if it is. I suspect it would be.
The same thing applies when you try to force your children into narrow gender-specific roles that cramp and inhibit their lives. With the exception of certain biological roles that men and women play, there is no reason to confine their abilities, to straighjacket them with a set of duties and responsibilites that doesn't take advantage of their natural and learned talents.

My eldest daughter works for a progressive company that provides IT support - an industry that is still male-dominated. She sought out the opportunity because she was raised to understand that she, as a woman, could accomplish anything she wished, regardless of her sex. She sought out the opportunity because it was something she knew she would be good at, and because the company actively recruited both young men and women. This is not the case everywhere.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gryphon
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posted 10 December 2004 09:21 PM      Profile for Gryphon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
You're mistaken in what you think feminism is about. Feminism isn't against gender, it challenges preconceptions about gender roles....there is no reason to confine their abilities, to straighjacket them with a set of duties and responsibilites that doesn't take advantage of their natural and learned talents.

quote:
The same thing applies when you try to force your children into narrow gender-specific roles that cramp and inhibit their lives.

This is exactly my point. Why force boys and girls to play with things they aren't interested in? If your daughter wants a doll, or your son wants a tonka toy, don't let your politics get in the way of the kid's fun. let kids be kids. So what if they may choose something that was traditionally reinforced gender roles in the past?

I don't take issue with girls playing with boys things or boys playing with girls things or anyone wanting to play with anything. i take issue with not allowing girls' to play with girls' things and boys' to play with boys' things, which is what it sounds like some people here think is wrong. if you ask me, depriving a child of being who he/she is, is just as bad as forcing them to be something he/she is not. Why can't kids just be who they want to be? you don't need to feminize boys or masculinize girls to create a "genderless" society. I don't think it's even possible to socialize children to be genderless.


quote:
You're mistaken in what you think feminism is about

Everyone (including feminists themselves) seems to have a different conception of what its about. I associate the extremist side with the word feminism because I associate "an equitable society where choice and opportunity are extended to all people, regardless of sex, gender, orientation, religion (or lack thereof), culture, ethnicity, etc" with the the word egalitarianism. These things have to do with everyone, not only women. equating egalitarianism with feminism would make egalitarianism exclusionary, and make it contradict itself by definition. girls have caught up to boys in math (which is good), but boys have fallen badly behind in reading (which is bad). A feminist will never address that -- an egalitarian would.

In the past it seemed to be about equal opportunity for women, which I am completely for. Now, it seems to be about man-hating, and changing women into poor caracatures of men. Somehow I don't think we've won when The Man is a woman. Oppression, class/status, and heirarchy haven't changed; the players have. I can't know this from experience (as will be pointed out often), but i've read that often women are as big if not a bigger obstacle to other women climbing the corporate ladder now.

If its the players' choice to shed things associated with their gender, that's freedom for you. But i would find it a distressingly lonely world if femininity were to disappear from the world because a generation or two was deprived anything feminine. yin needs yang and vice versa. when all you have is yin, the world is unbalanced. If anything a patriarchical world could use more influence by femininity (as opposed to more influence by women without gender or imitating males).

Maybe I'm the only one who sees it, but maybe not. Perhaps living a life as something other and hating who you may be attracted to doesn't appeal to most girls. I actually wanted to suggest that as a reason why people aren't attracted to feminism as much any more in the Demise of Feminism thread, but it was locked before I got there.

anyway, I digressed. I applaud the "feminists" who have kept the spirit of egalitarianism alive. don't confine children on either side of the gender barriers. let them be who they are.

I've wasted WAY too much time not studying studying for my thermodynamics exam, but when I'm done exams, i'd like to post a little thing I did out of curiosity a couple of years ago to gain some insight as to why there are few female MPs despite decades of feminism in a progressive country (in a new thread). it's not conclusive, but I found it very interesting.


From: Guelph | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
writer
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posted 10 December 2004 09:55 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Gryphon, you might have missed this, but the feminism forum on babble is a place for people to discuss issues from a pro-feminist point of view.

From your two posts, you do not seem to have such a point of view.

Please feel free to post anti-feminist thoughts, feelings and theories in any other forum of babble. But if you keep posting them in the feminism section, you are breaking the policy you signed up to respect.


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Gryphon
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posted 11 December 2004 03:09 AM      Profile for Gryphon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
all I said in my last post was
-let kids be themselves
-equality for all
-men and women need each other
if any of that is anti-
quote:
feminist
, then you're right that I don't know what feminism is about.

I had such high opinions of this website being a free forum of ideas and discussion, and better yet, a place where you can discuss these ideas with people from our own country. It's a shame that you only have the freedom to say what some people would like to hear (and if you have the right genitalia). there's a lot of hostility towards my sex in here, and we obviously aren't wanted here. so I'll voluntarily stop coming to this forum, and maybe start a thread or two on Babble Banter. People of any sex will be welcome not that I have the power to guarantee that -- but they will be in spirit anyway.
so long


From: Guelph | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Gryphon
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posted 11 December 2004 03:13 AM      Profile for Gryphon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Gryphon:
[QB]

Everyone (including feminists themselves) seems to have a different conception of what its about. I associate the extremist side with the word feminism because I associate "an equitable society where choice and opportunity are extended to all people, regardless of sex, gender, orientation, religion (or lack thereof), culture, ethnicity, etc" with the the word egalitarianism. These things have to do with everyone, not only women. equating egalitarianism with feminism would make egalitarianism exclusionary, and make it contradict itself by definition. girls have caught up to boys in math (which is good), but boys have fallen badly behind in reading (which is bad). A feminist will never address that -- an egalitarian would.

In the past it seemed to be about equal opportunity for women, which I am completely for. Now, it seems to be about man-hating, and changing women into poor caracatures of men. Somehow I don't think we've won when The Man is a woman. Oppression, class/status, and heirarchy haven't changed; the players have. I can't know this from experience (as will be pointed out often), but i've read that often women are as big if not a bigger obstacle to other women climbing the corporate ladder now.

If its the players' choice to shed things associated with their gender, that's freedom for you. But i would find it a distressingly lonely world if femininity were to disappear from the world because a generation or two was deprived anything feminine. yin needs yang and vice versa. when all you have is yin, the world is unbalanced. If anything a patriarchical world could use more influence by femininity (as opposed to more influence by women without gender or imitating males).

Maybe I'm the only one who sees it, but maybe not. Perhaps living a life as something other and hating who you may be attracted to doesn't appeal to most girls. I actually wanted to suggest that as a reason why people aren't attracted to feminism as much any more in the Demise of Feminism thread, but it was locked before I got there.

anyway, I digressed. I applaud the "feminists" who have kept the spirit of egalitarianism alive. don't confine children on either side of the gender barriers. let them be who they are.


From: Guelph | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Gryphon
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posted 11 December 2004 03:15 AM      Profile for Gryphon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
whoops sorry about the repost. I wanted to delete the part about me posting something interesting here. i thought it would change the message that was there instead of add a new one.
From: Guelph | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 19 January 2005 09:06 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by writer:
Gryphon, you might have missed this, but the feminism forum on babble is a place for people to discuss issues from a pro-feminist point of view.

From your two posts, you do not seem to have such a point of view.

Please feel free to post anti-feminist thoughts, feelings and theories in any other forum of babble. But if you keep posting them in the feminism section, you are breaking the policy you signed up to respect.


The feminism forum is described in the list of all fora as one where issues are discussed from a pro-feminist viewpoint. Leaving aside debate on what that might mean exactly (if two feminists disagree, is one necessarily anti-feminist?), this is a descriptor, not an actual rule.

The babble policy statement to which a member does Click "I agree" on joining does not contain this proviso, so a poster has not in fact agreed to or signed onto this condition.

[ 19 January 2005: Message edited by: Budd Campbell ]


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1873

posted 20 January 2005 11:46 AM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's a policy statement, not a legal agreement, so a member does not need to sign anything. By becoming a member, it is understood that you agree to the site's policy statement. That is made clear. The consequences of not following the policy statement are also clear.

Complaining that one's freedom of expression is being restricted by being told that one may express anti-feminist sentiments in any babble forum but this one, is not a valid complaint. At best, it is a whiny, childish and petulant demand to be able to say anything one wants, anywhere one wants.

When my three year old makes unreasonable demands and throws a tantrum, I ignore her until she understands that such behavior will not be rewarded by my attention.

However, some babblers are less mature and more annoying than my three year old, and are more difficult to ignore.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bacchus
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4722

posted 20 January 2005 12:34 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
only girls play with dolls.

And whats a GI Joe, if not a doll? (or Captain action which is what I had as a kid before I got a GI Joe)


From: n/a | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7019

posted 20 January 2005 12:35 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rebecca West:
It's a policy statement, not a legal agreement, so a member does not need to sign anything. By becoming a member, it is understood that you agree to the site's policy statement. That is made clear. The consequences of not following the policy statement are also clear.


Thank you very much Rebecca for clarifying the situation.

I think we are referring to the same babble policy statement, to which a member signing up is expected to either agree or "select the cancel button":

Babble Policy Statement For New Members

The first two paragraphs are:

rabble.ca is a public, progressive news and information source. As part of rabble, this message board (babble) was created to ensure that readers/participants could explore any issues of interest and concern. While all points of view are welcome here, repeated attempts to provoke conflict, bait or taunt will not be tolerated. Offenders generally receive warnings before being suspended. Continued abuse could result in eventual or immediate suspension of posting privileges. Posters using multiple identities can be banned outright. Continued participation on these boards is at the sole discretion of the moderator(s) and staff of this site.

You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use this discussion board to post any material that is knowingly false and/or defamatory. You agree to avoid personal insults, attacks and mischievous antagonism (otherwise known as trolling). You will not post material that is inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy or otherwise violative of any law. You understand that racist, sexist, homophobic and other excluding language is not appropriate on babble.

In addition, there is the list of babble forums:

Babble Forum Listing

The feminism forum is described with the words, "Discuss feminist issues from a pro-feminist point of view".

[ 20 January 2005: Message edited by: Budd Campbell ]


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
praenomen3
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4758

posted 20 January 2005 12:48 PM      Profile for praenomen3        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Bacchus:And whats a GI Joe, if not a doll?

(Reverting to 2nd grade) "It's not a doll, it's an action figure! Dolls don't have guns and tanks!"


From: x | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Scout
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1595

posted 20 January 2005 03:00 PM      Profile for Scout     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The feminism forum is described in the list of all fora as one where issues are discussed from a pro-feminist viewpoint. Leaving aside debate on what that might mean exactly (if two feminists disagree, is one necessarily anti-feminist?), this is a descriptor, not an actual rule.

How many threads are you going to complain about this in?

If it's a descriptor of what the forum is about and you chose to ignore it then it won't do will it?

If you go into the Youth Forum and talk about being retired at 55 it will be shut down and/or moved.

If you want to talk about MuchMusic in the Middle East forum it will be shut down and/or moved.

If you talk about the Middle East in the Quebec Forum it will be shut down and/or moved.

Sensing a trend here anyone?

The only time anyone complains this much about babble policy is when a male posters is told he isn't following the purpose of the feminism forum.

So really, who does the problem lie with?

For pity sakes couldn't some of you guys just have a can of shut-up for once!


From: Toronto, ON Canada | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2

posted 20 January 2005 05:36 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That's enough out of you, Budd.
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 20 January 2005 05:39 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
And whats a GI Joe, if not a doll?

As noted above, it's an action figure (a name carefully chosen to separate Joe from the dolls). Also notice that Joe is a different scale than Barbie, to prevent inter-toy miscegenation.

Believe me, when Joe came out, the toy company execs were frightened silly to be marketing a boy-doll, and took some precautions.


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Reality. Bites.
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6718

posted 20 January 2005 05:49 PM      Profile for Reality. Bites.        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Also notice that Joe is a different scale than Barbie, to prevent inter-toy miscegenation.

Which only led, of course, to them having to sleep with other Joes. My ex really did have his do that as a kid.

P.S. When did Joe come out, anyway? I thought he was still

[ 20 January 2005: Message edited by: RealityBites ]


From: Gone for good | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 20 January 2005 05:54 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
LOL! I wonder how Joe felt kissing another Joe with all that weird "flocked" facial hair and all?

Don't ask, don't tell, Joe!


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Black Dog
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2776

posted 20 January 2005 07:18 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Now, it seems to be about man-hating, and changing women into poor caracatures of men.

You forgot to mention something about "hairy armpits" in your little caricature.

quote:
Don't ask, don't tell, Joe!
Look at all your different coloured hats!

From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 20 January 2005 07:24 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Scout:
For pity sakes couldn't some of you guys just have a can of shut-up for once!

I'm still laughing. I'm stealing that. Fair warning.

[ 20 January 2005: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7019

posted 20 January 2005 09:05 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am sorry if I upset you and Rebecca, Audra. However, all I did was quote the rules. I didn't complain or argue.

I will write to the Editor, Sharon Fraser, again to try to get this issue resolved satisfactorily.

A nice day to all on Babble!


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Wilf Day
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3276

posted 20 January 2005 09:51 PM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Budd Campbell:
I will write to the Editor, Sharon Fraser, again . . .

In B.C. you have a vital election and a vital referendum coming up -- and you're busy petitioning for the right to be a troll?


From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Hailey
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6438

posted 20 January 2005 10:29 PM      Profile for Hailey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I thought Budd was banned.
From: candyland | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
ShyViolet
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6611

posted 20 January 2005 10:31 PM      Profile for ShyViolet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
no, i think he just got a warning.
From: ~Love is like pi: natural, irrational, and very important~ | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
writer
editor emeritus
Babbler # 2513

posted 20 January 2005 11:24 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Budd, I'll save you some time. Audra rules here on babble, so her warning needs no back-up from Sharon.

Sharon is very busy with things like editing the news and such. She just might not get back to you, as she knows that Audra has been entrusted with babble since its birth. Audra knows what she's doing.

I can say this with confidence because I am the former editor in chief of rabble.ca. I am the one who insisted the site would need a discussion board. I helped hire Audra. And I co-wrote babble's policies.

As a public service, I'll spell out as plainly as possible where you are getting into trouble:

quote:

While all points of view are welcome here, repeated attempts to provoke conflict, bait or taunt will not be tolerated. Offenders generally receive warnings before being suspended. Continued abuse could result in eventual or immediate suspension of posting privileges.

A number of feminists have said a number of times that they feel you are not respecting the intent of the feminism forum, where folks are asked to post from a pro-feminist perspective, and men are asked to respect the fact that this section of babble is woman-centred by not dominating discussion.

You continue to show disrespect for this forum, and as a result you have provoked conflict and behaved in a trollish manner that's not in keeping with the intended tone of this progressive site. Remember, Audra has the final say about who a troll is. She has warned you to stop doing what you are doing.

And the next step is, if you continue to be obtuse?

Guess.

This helpful tip from the Editor Emeritus of rabble.ca is a one-time post only. I will not get into a long, drawn-out discussion about Why You Do Not Get It And How The Rest Of Us Must Accommodate You, thereby continuing to ruin an otherwise rich and interesting thread in the feminism forum about the challenges of being a feminist parent.

If you'd like to continue moaning away, why not start Yet Another Thread On The Injustice Of The Feminism Forum in rabble reactions?

Fabulous!

[ 21 January 2005: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
angrymonkey
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5769

posted 21 January 2005 02:59 AM      Profile for angrymonkey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
OK. I was really enjoying the discussion. It reminded me of just sitting around a table on a sunday afternoon, having a coffee and listening to my intelligent women friends talk. Then some guys burst in and start bitching about feminism. Then more guys show up and start cracking jokes.
Some of you guys are getting really annoying. You do realize some people like discussions and not endless debates on babbler policy or semantics.
Maybe before banning there should be a penalty box forum to stash people in for awhile.

From: the cold | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
Wilf Day
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3276

posted 21 January 2005 03:43 AM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
my son is going through that stage that many little kids go through, a fascination with all things gory and death. And he also loves "action" in movies, like swordfights and the like.

We tried to direct our son elsewhere. Bad idea. He's now a military affairs writer for Canadian Legion magazine, making more money than his big sister.

But still, a bit rubbed off. Does anyone remember when Don Mazankoski took offence at some blunt remarks by a flght attendant, and had her fired? My son was about 11 at the time. He put down his book of war stories, looked up at the rest of us and said "how can they get away with that? Don't we have free speech in this country?"


From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
praenomen3
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4758

posted 21 January 2005 09:27 AM      Profile for praenomen3        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
LOL! I wonder how Joe felt kissing another Joe with all that weird "flocked" facial hair and all?

Don't ask, don't tell, Joe!


Sort of makes you wonder about that special edition Joe with "kung-fu grip", non?


From: x | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1873

posted 21 January 2005 10:21 AM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I spend a fair bit of time observing my preschooler at play in her day care setting with other children. Her closest friends tend to be boys with non-aggressive personalities. This is largely because she and they share the same interests - cars, trucks, trains, action figures like Spider Man, etc. She also likes to play at tradionally "girlie" things like dress-up, house, dolls, and she's currently obsessed with being a "ballerina", but most of her activities are either "male" or non-gendered activities like arts and crafts, puzzles, number games, etc.

At this stage of her development (and I suspect this is true for many young children), she seems fairly balanced in her preferences, and this is probably influenced by her day care's programming (they do not direct children towards any "gendered" play, but encourage them to explore all activities) and her home environment.

There has been no "feminist indoctrination" in her upbringing, there has been no restriction in "feminine" play or "girlie" toys like baby dolls, ponies with hair you can brush and comb, etc. She has a few of those kinds of toys, but very few, as those aren't her preference. Nor has she been directed towards "masculine" play, with trucks and cars and building sets, etc. She has lots of those toys because those are her preference. Needless to say, we do have a no-weapons rule, but would if she were a boy too.

Kids are who they are, and their likes/dislikes change constantly as they grow. Parents - regardless of their political ideology or persuasion, often have a hard time allowing them to be themselves, and to not impose their own set of values too rigidly at too early an age.

Both my girls were/are raised in a pro-feminist, egalitarian environment, but who they are is largely a product of, well, who they are. My eldest is a "girlie-girl", my youngest, it remains to be seen. The best lessons taught by feminism is that people, regardless of gender, need to have the right to choose who they want to be. And that's a message that all parents could proudly pass on to their children.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
anne cameron
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8045

posted 28 January 2005 11:55 PM      Profile for anne cameron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm a grandma, several times over, and my approach to bullying, fighting, intimidation has been to put down an inflexible rule "not in Grandma's house". I don't care who is "right" and who is "wrong" or what "she" did or didn't do...not in Grandma's house. I don't try to get them to talk about the problem, I don't try to get them to think how the other kid feels, or think how you would feel if...the rule is flat out NO FIGHTING.

My grandaughters play with cars and trucks, my grandsons have had teddies, Paddingtons, and even dollies..they all play with soccer balls, basketballs, tennis balls and Grandma is teaching them all to catch softballs. Right now Joan, aged four, is very girly-girly, very much a Drama Queen, very flirtatious, and , unfortunately, her mother's family encourages such stuff...but it doesn't work on Grandma...and so, with me, she is dropping the act..Emily, soon to be three, isn't interested in girly-girly, she's the acrobat, the one who insists "be NICE!" She is also the incredibly intense child, everything to Em is a really big deal, when she's happy she's over the moon and when she's sad she absolutely has GOT to sit on my lap and cuddle. I don't have a single word of original advice for young moms. My grandma, Sarah Graham, was the wisest woman I ever knew and when I was worried about how I would ever manage to properly mother my firstborn , my grandma told me "children thrive on their mother's mistakes. You can't spoil them by loving them.". I have found that to be true. Love them. Listen to them (they will teach you SO much), and don't beat up on yourself. Some of the absolutely best times we have is when we take the dogs for a walk... we splash in puddles, we throw pebbles, we collect sticks and we talk..and talk...and talk..about everything. Enjoy them.


From: tahsis, british columbia | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
pioneer
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8037

posted 31 January 2005 07:49 AM      Profile for pioneer        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
dont teach your kids to be man haters(feminists)you dont need to seek revenge anymore on men!you have us on the ropes!maybe the ladies here are better suited not considering motherhood in an already over populated world!god bless!
From: ontario | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 31 January 2005 07:59 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What, pioneer? You want me, a certified man-hating feminist, to stop seeking revenge? Hell, I've hardly started. Revenge: give me more! I'm still not satisfied!
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
belva
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8098

posted 02 February 2005 03:03 PM      Profile for belva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm brand new to this group & fascinated by what I'm finding here. It will take me hours to read & process some of these great discussions. However, on this topic, I have to comment.
I was raised as the first born & only daughter of a strong, beautiful woman. My parents were divorced & my mother worked a "man's job" while my grandmother kept house for us. I inherited my mother's & grandparents liberal political views. [One set of my great-great grandparents helped fugitive slaves escape from the south. My mother thinks Franklin Roosevelt is a god!]

I came of age in the 1960's. I married a man I thought shared my values--he didn't. Our marriage lasted 14 years during which time I bore 3 children, two daughters & a son. My ex & I had a version of "shared custody" after our divorce. I raised my children with good sense & never forced my views on them. I always encouraged discussion about things. Now one of my daughters & my son are married. All 3 of my children have or are earning graduate degrees. One works in medicine, one in education, one in social work. Yet of the 3, I consider only my son to be a "feminist." My daughters view women's roles in a manner that I can only describe as "reactionary"--both of my daughters actually voted for the idiot in the White House. My son is, at best, a moderate in his political & social views.

Do I regret my choices? Never! Would I have raised my children differently? No! Yet perhaps the toughest part of being a feminist parent is allowing your children to make their own choices.

I approach my 59th birthday this year. I'm a grandmother to 3 charming little persons whom I will teach, as best I can, my feminist viewpoint. I made a mid-life career change & practice law, doing what I can to help women in a society that I belive is covertly, & often overtly, sexist.

I'd love to hear from any others here of my age who have some experiences to share.

Belva


From: bliss | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2

posted 02 February 2005 03:14 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Welcome, Belva!
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
belva
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8098

posted 02 February 2005 07:13 PM      Profile for belva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Welcome, Belva![/QB]

Thank you! It's very nice to be here! What a great place with great discussions! I'm going to pass the word to some friends.


From: bliss | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged

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