Gender and Equality

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by S.J. Faerlind, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    This conversation started in the “Is no always a no?” thread and Mububban quite rightly pointed out that it is more appropriately moved to its own thread in debates. The issue up for debate is:

    Does so-called “girlie” behaviour or interest in doing “girlie” things demean people and make them less equal to those who are “manly”.
    For purposes of the debate we’ll stick to commonly accepted stereotypes for “girlie” and “manly” stuff.

    Here’s the original conversation:
    That statement undoubtedly has some truth to it and I think that's really sad. Whether they realize it or not, so many people seem to believe that anything "feminine" is worthy of disdain:

    The underlying message I get from this: if you do or think of things that are "girlie" you don't deserve to think of yourself as equal to boys/men.

    The underlying messages I get from this: 1. Only women who behave like men are worthy of love/respect. 2. Girls can be less than boys.

    The underlying message I get from this: If you like “girlie” stuff, that’s not good and girls should be discouraged from pursuing those interests. Things that are traditionally considered to be boy-things (like superheroes) are better/superior. I might also go on to infer that boys are better than girls by extension.

    Whether those messages were delivered intentionally or not, imagine being a young child growing up and hearing them all the time. It wouldn't exactly give me confidence in myself if I'd been born a girl who enjoyed dressing up in princess costumes to play tea party with my dolls. Granted, not all girls like to do that kind of stuff, but there’s nothing wrong with the ones who do. Also: God forbid if you were born a boy and you liked so called “girlie” stuff. Those messages would have me believing that I was defective or something. Though I don't think this is anywhere near as large a problem now as it was in previous generations (especially here in North America), there is still an undercurrent of it around.

    The suggestion that women can't be equal to men unless they act/dress/talk or have the same interests as men do is to imply that they have to become (or pretend to become) someone they are not. That's a dangerous thing to teach a child in my opinion. Discouraging anyone from being the way that they are doesn't do anything for their self esteem or convince them that they are equal to everyone else. It also perpetuates the problem when the next generation learns that attitude from their parents. This kind of problem doesn't only apply to traditional gender equality; it applies to LGBT individuals as well.

    I think we need to teach our kids that it's just fine to be who they are, whether they be boys or girls. As a species, we're remarkably intolerant of each other's differences and that's no big surprise with attitudes like this out there. If we can't even accept ourselves, how can we feel that anyone else is acceptable either?

    I can already guess the question that’s coming next : So SJ, you’ll allow your daughter to go out dressed as a “whore” then when she’s old enough?

    I personally measure all things against the moral concept that if an action or decision is going to hurt somebody, it’s wrong. Dressing for the purpose of soliciting sexual favours from random men is a risky activity that can result in significant harm to self. I think I made my views on that pretty clear in the other thread:
    As a parent, it’s my job to protect my children from themselves when I must. I didn’ t let them play with sharp things as babies so I sure won’t be allowing my daughter to be standing on any street corners wearing next to nothing while she’s under my care either. There are too many men in the world who have views that would make that an unsafe activity. If however she wants to wear pink frilly clothes, buy dozens of shoes with the money she earns from a part-time job, play live zombie paintball, shave her head, or dye her hair black, purple and green to express herself: go for it. None of those things are going to hurt her or anyone else.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  2. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    That's not what I said, and it most certainly isn't what I inferred by those statements.

    "Girlie" pursuits like cheerleading and Girl Scouts, and a preoccupation with appearance are most definitely demeaning to girls, and are things girls do to themselves. A person whose on the sidelines jumping up and down in a skirt, cheering on a bunch of boys playing football, should not be taken seriously and is not equal to the boys participating on the field. Cheerleading, beauty contests, modeling, stripping for money, having sex for money, etc... are some of the things girls/women shouldn't be doing if they want or deserve respect.

    It has nothing to do with girls behaving like boys... everything to do with taking ownership of the equality that's been offered to them, and not accepting a support role to boys/men.

    I don't want my daughter, or any female for that matter, to be on the sidelines in a submissive position to males.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  3. kingoftheweb

    kingoftheweb New Member

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    personaly i dont think people should classify things as "Girlie" or "Manly" when i was younger (about 11 years ago) me and my stepsister would play with barbies (yes barbies) and did i think it was "Girlie" no i didnt so i dont think it should matter if its classified as "Girlie" or "Manly" if you want to do it do it and it doesnt matter what other people say
     
  4. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    Aww S.J did you have to start a thread like this. Now I'll spend all my freetime in heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere xD
     
  5. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    Why is typical girl stuff looked down upon as not as good as the typical guy stuff. Well because girls are looked down upon, it's as simple as that. There are chickflicks, girlstoys, girls clothings, there are girl magazines, and basically anything you put the word girl or woman infront, sort of makes it into a little less serious thing or something that isnt as good as the rest of the stuff. And for some reason people are terrified at mixing. Mostly its not that bad for a girl to play with boy toys, since its accepted and everyone knows that the boy toys are the best (sarcasm). But god forbid that a boy should play with a girls toy, cause that would make him into a gay, a wimp, a sissy, a nerd etc etc. Why? Probably cause girls arent viewed to be equal to men.

    Have anyone ever thought of the words you describe men and women with. And that usually the terms that describe the women are degrading to use? They are emotional, weak etc.

    And don't get me starting on the slutshaming. Or this rant will never end.

    But in all of this, where women arent the mens equal, I can many times think, that I pity the men more. Cause they don't have the choice that women have. They don't get to wear dresses if they want to, be emotional, play with barbies etc. (generalization) But girls can do the opposite without being trashed too much.

    And there's this lovely book, dunno if its available in english, I think its originally danish. But the title is "Give your child a 100 possibilities instead of 2" It's a good illustration of how parents might wanna think.

    And laaaaaaaast but not least in this book of a rant. Why this talk about daughters dressing up as whores? Would you say "I teach my boy not to dress as a (man)whore?" no. There's nothing wrong with a girls sexuality.

    I mean sure, most parents don't want their kids to run wild and all that. But it always focuses on the daughter not getting sexually active early, having multiple parters etc, what about the boy? And why restrain them at all, if everyone raised their kids to be good human beings, have respect for others, and their selves and their bodies, They will do what feels best for themselves, even in bed and with sex. No matter how they dress..
     
  6. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    You can’t help how I interpret your meanings and I absolutely agree with that. However, by your own logic you claim to believe that you are responsible for the effects your words may have had upon me:
    Cause:
    Effect:
    I think that I’m glad that I can think for myself and choose whether or not to accept that interpretation as something I should believe in.
    What’s wrong with taking a support role if that’s where you want to be? Just because someone doesn’t want to be front and centre, doesn’t mean their contribution isn’t valuable. Stay-at-home parents are a great example. It’s no small feat to look after kids and a household. A successful society is built up of many different individuals playing many different roles and if you pull the supporting roles out of that picture, the whole thing falls apart. What role a person chooses to play should be independent of gender anyway.
    Why? Because they’ve chosen to be in a supporting role?

    I don’t believe anyone has to earn respect or equality. Each person has their own intrinsic value that is independent of their actions. I may not respect or condone someone’s actions if they cause harm to themselves or to someone else, but I would never disrespect them as a person because of them. Everybody makes mistakes and I am far from perfect so who am I to judge someone else’s actions? I would also point out that if there was no market for prostitutes and strippers, these wouldn’t be career choices for desperate women anyway. There’s that cause and effect thing again.
     
  7. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Equal. But not the same :)

    There is a lot about underlying messages in your original post, SJ. I think that you are, in part, mistaken about about the underlying messages of those things you said. You see, certain things come natural to men. Playing with toy cars. And weapons. And acting all superhero-esque. It's a bit like (and I am not expert here) dressing up, reenacting social situations and, to a lesser extend, ponies are for women. I am not calling superiority to either, however. Regardless, this is where the problem arises.

    Most of us have grown up doing what boys or girls do, almost instinctively. As such, it seems to be the right thing to have done. And the right thing to do at the appropriate age. To imagine having grown up the alternative is pretty hard. Then again, on face value, the two must be considered equal, if only for the fact that only a hypocrite could call either superior, when not having experienced growing up with the other.

    I don't care. Basically, every person is equal (to me). Problems arise, though, when people start assuming the sexes (or individuals) are, indeed, the same. Because they are not. It always saddens me to see people demand being treated the same, or assume people are, and therefore treat all people the same.

    Regarding the upbringing of children, though... I'd say they probably know better than we. I think they even know better than their parents. Parenthood is a good measure of responsibility with a big wallop of understanding the person you created isn't an extension of yourself. A lot of parents tend to forget that ^^
     
  8. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    I just don't see how boys having a penis makes them play with toys anymore than girls having a vagina makes them play with barbies or ponies.
    Sure kids like to re-enact and they learn by doing and acting and playing out what the grownups do. But the dads usually don't go around swinging swords in the home, and neither does the mothers ride around on ponies in the kitchen.

    I'm sure there's no such thing as a car gene or a sparkly glitter gene. It's all in how society raises the kids, what media displays, what parents teach them and how they act at home. That's what does it.

    I mean, put a pink ball and a blue ball infront of a small child, that doesnt know the difference. They wont go boy = blue, girl = pink. Any less than they will go Girl = pony, boy = car.
     
  9. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Research suggests it's not the genitalia - but hormones. Not only by own production, but mostly by exposure to testosterone in the womb during certain periods of development. Girls exposed to elevated levels of testosterone in utero have a tendency to have stronger interest in toys traditionally associated with boys. Reversely, boys with low exposure to testoserone in the womb have a stronger preference for girls toys, so to say. In fact, low testosterone exposure before birth is also associated with homosexuality.

    We know genitalia don't have anything to do with it, based on the compelling case of David Reimer


    Well, I do agree there is at least some apparent cultural influence. However, I am unfamiliar with colour preferences in neonatal or naive, unexposed children. That might be worth looking into.
     
  10. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    I still don't believe that the hormones have an effect on whether or not we play with swords or ponies. It just doesnt make sense. I believe its all in how we are brought up. I mean, back in the days horses were things for men, while today its things for women. for example. Showing that it's not biological, but socially constructed.
     
  11. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    I don't think research begs to make sense in any kind of way. You are free to believe what you want, of course. The research is, however, rather compelling.

    Of course, society has much to do with certain things. There is a lot of mimicry between children and their parents (and other adults, ofc). However, it seems that boys have an innate interest in technical/mechanical toys and competitive behaviour, whilst girls seem to have much more interest in social behaviour and toys designed around that.

    The thing about horses/ponies is interesting, though. I think there is a lot to say about the shift of the role of horses (and their smaller counterparts) coinciding with the introduction of the internal combustion engine. Horses stopped being the pinacle of going fast or being strong, therefore losing appeal to boys. Why girls do feel attracted to horses and the like is not entirely clear to me (probably because I'm a boy). But I am sure you will be able to enlighten us all on that issue ;)
     
  12. kingoftheweb

    kingoftheweb New Member

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    iv actually read up on this stuff and it is socity and social interaction that affects children, hormones have somethings to do with it. for example amish people the women cook and clean because thats what they were taught to do. the differance between a boy and a girl is the same they are taught to be a girl or a boy
    (sorry if this makes no sence)
     
  13. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    Well I havent read any research that have said about the biological preferences when it comes to things as that, have any link to it so I can read? Always interested in stuff like that.

    However, swords arent mechanical. and should therefore not be of boys preference. I can agree on that male and female brains logic might be somewhat different. But its not that big of a difference really, its very, very small. And there might be general preferences, but its hard to actually make out whether or not its socially constructed, isnt it? Cause when the kids are old enough to actually play with stuff like cars, and actually understand it. They have also had some years to be affected by society.

    And I actually have no clue as to why girls are attracted to horses, cause I've never been a horse girl. I used to play with swords and lego. And car tracks ;) Wonder if I have a man's brain....?
    Nowadays I would sorta want to be able to ride horses though, but mostly cause I think it would be cool because of my medieval interest. I would totally dress up and ride away into the sunset :)

    And I'd also like to say that there are probably more difference within the genders than between the genders.
     
  14. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    If i understand correctly; you're saying the gender roles are mostly socially constructed? Not sure where your part about "Hormones have something to do with it" comes in though, would you care to elaborate?
     
  15. kingoftheweb

    kingoftheweb New Member

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    hormones make us who we are pretty much like i said hormones have somethings to do with it because its the differance in hormones that desides boy or girl (there other things that deside that too but were talking about hormones) so say you are a girl the hormones and other things desided you to be a girl so then you get taught how to be a girl.
     
  16. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    I am by no means a gender specialist. But http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951011/ seems to be a good start, by a Cambridge sciency type.

    There is an element of competition to be recognised in swords, and the combative nature it is involved with ;)

    Well, I didn't say any rules were set in stone, if that's what you mean. Life (and statistics) is much more subtle than that, of course....
     
  17. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    My point exactly!

    *laughs* I am sorry Tur but I don't accept that you are qualified to judge the validity of my interpretation of those posts as they relate to me. I am an individual and because of that, what was said will affect me differently than it will affect you. That doesn't mean that I don't want to hear your interpretation of those posts as they relate to you however. Tell us what those words mean to you and provide us with another perspective. That might change my perspective on them. :)


    Children know who they are better than their parents do. I'd definitely agree with that.
    I don't agree that they can foresee or comprehend certain dangers until they mature though. As a parent it's my responsibility to know what my children are ready to handle and what they aren't and save them from serious harm if necessary. If you've ever managed to grab an excited five year old before she could race unthinkingly across a busy parking lot, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. :p
    Saving them doesn't mean I stifle them or pigeon-hole them into being someone they aren't, though sometimes the line between allowing them freedom to be an individual and helping them avoid nasty consequences is grey indeed. An example: My son decided to grow his hair long and he started a new school this year. He's only 9 and since all kids that age are remarkably androgynous-looking, people go by clues like hair length and clothing to determine the sex of the child. With long hair he's easily mistaken for a girl. The relatives badgered me into forcing him to get his hair cut this summer so he wouldn't get teased at school and honestly, I considered it. In the end we had a conversation about the possible consequences of leaving his hair long and I left the decision up to him. He still has long hair and yeah it does cause him some grief occasionally. I'll admit that's hard for me to watch, but in the end I think we're both feeling like we made the right decision.
    I believe that all parents want the best for their children. I also respect that any parent's efforts to guide and protect their child were made with the best of intentions. I'm sure that Sparrow and Mububban will agree: it would have been REALLY nice to have an instruction manual fall out with the placenta..... XD
     
  18. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    Getting more and more common with boys with long hair and vice versa. And I for one think its a good thing that people dont always at first glance know if its a boy or girl. I'm glad your son still wants to keep the hair even though the occasional grief.


    People don't usually know it themselves, but we respond differently to kids, depending on the gender. If its a girl we usually go "oh she's so cute, princes.." If its a boy we go "He looks so tough, cool, he's a fighter" etc. Same with the typical kids getting hurt.. Girls more often gets comforted by the parent, while the boy is encouraged to just brush it off and get up on his feet again.
     
  19. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    The message is never really about the recipient. The message is about the sender. What the recipient does with that is entirely up to - in this case - her. But. Don't expect that interpretation to be right ;)

    But since you ask...

    Sparrow: My frame of reference has a hard time coping with the idea that female child play can lead to a person who is, on average, on par with what I have become with the childhood I had. I think that's the central theme.

    Mubs: I am glad that my girl can raise interest to those matters which made my youth worthwhile. My interpretation would be that he is projecting.


    Yeah. That's called parenting.

    Yeah. Well, it all makes me glad I am not a parent :)
     
  20. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    I disagree. In my opinion it's about both: the message the sender meant to convey and the message the recipient received. That's especially relevant when a parent is the sender and the recipient is a child. I picked an extreme example (as I often do) to illustrate a point. My point is: be careful what you say and how you say it because the message can have meanings that you didn't intend and sometimes those can be damaging.

    I would agree with you on this, but I don't think Sparrow would given his whole argument about cause and effect and its relationship to responsibility in the other thread. Hopefully he'll chime in here and clarify that for us. :)

    From your responses below, can we determine which interpretation of those posts is "right": yours or mine?

    The two interpretations couldn't be more different because they are coloured by our own unique experiences, opinions and (forgive me Em!) hormones...lol. I don't know about you Tur, but I can only conclude that your interpretation makes sense to you and that mine makes sense to me. There is no right or wrong interpretation... there is only the effect that the words of others have on us as individuals.
    For the record: I make no claim that that my arguments or opinions will affect anyone one way or the other or that anyone has to agree with them. Consider them, ignore them, adopt them or challenge them: it's totally up to you. I'll be doing the same with yours and I suspect we'll all be better off for considering the topic rather than watching reruns on TV... but that's only my opinion. ;)