Gender Roles- Do you think there is a double standard for boys?

posted 3 years ago in Parenting
Post # 2
Member
1582 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

 

the_newlymintedmrs-s17: Very good question! I would argue that the hesitation to encourage boys to break gender roles is because of two things: firstly, the history of Feminism, and secondly, the hierarchical nature of gender roles. Feminism traditionally focused on women (obviously), which means that there’s now a tradition of women breaking gender roles both in the media and in the real world. Masculinity and how it affects men has really only become a point of discussion recently with the development of broader gender studies as a whole. Because of this history, it’s not crazy for your FIL to think of a girl hunting, though it may still seem strange to him to think of a boy playing pretty pink princess.

Typical theories of gender roles are also highly hierarchical, with men much, much socially higher than women. If you think of it this way, a woman “acting” like a man–so hunting, etc–can be considered to be raising her status, or trying to, to that of a man. We have a lot of underlying ideologies about “progress” in Western cultures, which means that it makes sense to think of a woman “progressing” her status by, say, breaking typical gendered roles for females. However, as a culture we generally see REGRESSION–so the opposite of progress–as really, terribly bad. Therefore the idea of a man REGRESSING along the social hierarchy by acting like a woman is not only foreign to us, it’s pretty damn scary for some people.

I read an awesome quote yesterday, and I’m trying to remember how it went, but it was something like: “Men fear Feminism because they think it means that women will do what men have done to them for the last hundred years.” I’m butchering it horribly and I’ll have to try to find the original, but basically that sums up the hierarchical nature of gender ideologies.

Post # 4
Member
1582 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

 

the_newlymintedmrs-s17: I completely agree that we hold boys to a different standard, and I also understand how hard it is to get your head around it. I consider myself a fairly-forward thinking feminist (which means to me that I also try very hard to think about how masculinity works on men) but there’s still some moments where I catch myself putting some nasty judgement against someone as awesome as my FI for not “manning up,” which is horrible. Every time I do that, I try to imagine what it would be like if a guy told me to “woman up,” in terms of becoming more feminine, and my head and heart just hurt.

I do think things will start to change, though, with forward- and critically-thinking parents like yourself 🙂 Taking the time to examine your own beliefs is the first step–and it’s a massive one–towards making personal and social change, so you’re definitely on the right track!

Post # 5
Member
1779 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

MrsRevolutionize:  Just wanted to chime in that I love the quote, butchered or not.

the_newlymintedmrs-s17:  This thread made me think of that poor child from North Carolina who liked My Little Pony and had a backpack of his favorite character, Rainbow Dash. The school told him to stop carrying it because it made him a target for bullying. No reprimanding of the actual bullies just gender stereotypes being reinforced. 🙁

Post # 7
Member
3249 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Very simply put, a boy espousing any traditionally feminine attributes is seen as gay, and, we still see being gay as a bad thing.  That is, we see the potential to be gay as a bad thing, even though, if a boy actually comes out as gay, it makes all of those things alright, all of a sudden.  So, since our natural assumption is that a person is straight, the problem is, I think, more that being feminine makes you seen as less of a straight  man.

Post # 8
Member
1779 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

the_newlymintedmrs-s17:  Do you think women, which this board is, predominantly, are more accepting of breaking the gender stereotype because we understand how much it sucks? I know that’s not written the most eloquently but I’m on the phone with a client. 🙂

Post # 9
Member
7281 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

To quote the allmighty madonna (haha)

“Girls can wear jeans<br />And cut their hair short<br />Wear shirts and boots<br />’Cause it’s OK to be a boy<br />But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading<br />’Cause you think that being a girl is degrading”

There is definitely a stronger stigma against boys behaving like or enjoying things that are perceived as “feminine” than there is of girls behaving like or enjoying things that are perceived as being “masculine.” I encouraged DS to play with baby dolls, nurture his Care Bears, explore artistic as well as athletic pursuits, etc. I may have gotten the side eye, but I really didn’t care. I’m also one who doesn’t “do” super gendered clothes or room decor for wee ones. They should be allowed to develop their own identity rather than having one imposed upon them. I think we do boys and girls a disservice when we try to shove them into the mold we have pre-determined for them.

Post # 9
Member
3222 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

I don’t know if it’s a double standard, but it certainly is another way that femininity is devalued. Like how a boy being called a “girl” is a huge insult.

Post # 11
Member
8518 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2014

I definitely do.

If a girl does “boy things” then she’s just treated like one of the guys, or they see her being “stronger” or some BS like that. But if a boy does “girly” things then he’s considered less of a boy. Nobody bats an eye at a girl playing with her brothers action figures, but everyone screams gay if a boy plays with his sisters dolls. 

Post # 14
Member
1015 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

It’s considered the height of insult to call a man a woman.  To call someone a “pussy” is to insult them.  Now let’s put that into perspective.  They are talking about the female genetalia.  This is a part of the human body that can bring life into this world, and during labor, can withstand more pain than any man could handle, and can exert tremendous amount of strength in contractions/pushing.  In sum, its a part of  the body that can do amazing things, withstand lots of pain, and is very strong (never mind the pleasure it can provide).  And yet that’s a part of the body that used as an insult to connote weakness (because women = weak).  Now, lets compare this to the male genetalia.  When it gets cold, it runs and hides.  So you tell me who’s weak??

Sadly, even in 2014, boy = good, girl = bad.

Post # 15
Member
9137 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

the_newlymintedmrs-s17:  I love your response!  Boys used to be called girls in ancient times (all babies were “girls” back then) and pink was reserved for boys because it was considered a masculine color while blue was a feminine color.

As far as a hunting themed nursery, why not a woodland or forest themed nursery, if you’re into it?  No dead animals, no camo, and no guns.

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