Post # 31
the_newlymintedmrs-s17: I don’t get this either and if we have boys, no toys of their choosing will be off limits based on gender biases. Doesn’t bother me at all!
I remember when my male cousin was younger (around 5) he was invited to a party where girls had to go as fairies and boys as elves. He wanted to go as a fairy so my aunty bought him a fairy costume and he LOVED it. None of the kids cared either! This is how it should be!
Post # 32
JackiBean: This is really interesting to hear how boys are when surrounded by their own gender and the pressure is “off” so to speak to fit a certain role… I wonder if it’s similar in all-girls school? Is there less “mean girl” moments? I work with middle schoolers and the amount of silly bullying for someone not wearing the right clothing or someone “being gay” is just ridiculous for 13-year-olds.
One thing keep reigning true with all the comments and that’s that male traits are more valued that female traits. And I agree. But how do we start to value feminine traits? Does this mean we value the “girly girl” as much as we value the “tomboy”? Do we do that now? And if we accepted more feminine characteristics are we then setting women back or would we make it more acceptable for men to value feminine traits?
Post # 33
Duncan: I disagree. First of all, while I hear men referred to as “pussys” or “girls” as an insult on a regular basis, I can’t remember ever hearing of a woman being called a man and having that be an insult. The only thing I can think of is when they say a woman “wears the pants,” but that’s not to insult her (if anything, its to put down her partner for not “manning up”). Yes, “dick” is also used as an insult, but I think that both insults mean very different things, and in the heirarchy of insults, a man would much, much rather be thought of as a dick than a pussy.
For those that have Netflix, I very much recommend the documentary Miss Representation. http://film.missrepresentation.org/
They are currenlty putting together something about masculinity in America, and I’m really excited to see it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hc45-ptHMxo (in this trailer, they explain that to be a man, you can’t be a pussy, and should be a bit of a dick, which makes my point above). Many years ago there was a great documentary called Tough Guise that’s worth the watch if you can find it.
Post # 34
I don’t know if I agree that male traits are more valued than female traits– I think they are just different.
I do think that the issue of boys and femininity is wrapped up in sexuality. It is “normal” (now at least) for a girl to be a tomboy, or have interest in “boy things” and it generally says absolutely nothing about her sexuality. I honestly don’t know if the same is true for boys? Maybe for very little boys. But if a 15 year old boy wants to wear a dress and heels and makeup (other than like, for halloween or a prank), I don’t think there is a large possibility he is straight. And I think that is what makes people nervous about boys acting feminine… because it isn’t that they are acting feminine, it is that people worry a display of feminine traits = homosexual.
The second part of this process is… so what? If I have a boy some day and he displays a lot of feminine traits, to be honest I will probably expect that some day he’ll come out. But I don’t care because I don’t think there is anything wrong with being gay. But a lot of people (fathers especially I think) still have a problem with that, so that is where the quieting of those traits comes into play (as though disallowing a boy to display his true personality could change who he is I guess? Lol I don’t know).
Post # 35
CorgiTales: I think there can be some other traditionally feminine behaviors or interests that a boy child could display that could make parents, peers, or other adults uncomfortable that are much more inocuous than wearing women’s clothing or makeup. I was thinking more along the lines of a boy child who wants to play with a baby doll. Or maybe an older boy who is sensitive and cries more readily.
I believe the average boy learns through experience to avoid traditionally feminine behaviors and interests because they are seen as less of a man. I don’t think they just naturally have no interest in nurturing careers, or traditionally feminine hobbies. I think actually girls today have freedom to pursue a much wider range of interest without anyone questioning their sexuality whereas boys are socialized to avoid the traditionally feminine things.
Post # 36
There’s absolutely a double standard. This is a patriarchal society where men are seen as on top — women are there to be a man’s complement. I don’t believe that’s at the forefront of every man’s mind, but much of society is structured that way. Women are sex symbols in the media, and even conversationally, among the first things we say about a girl is, “She’s so pretty.” Accomplished women who are politicians or other high-achievers are often derided for not being “beautiful” (think Elena Kagan) while much of the US lusted over pretty-girl Sarah Palin.
Momentary aside in this paragraph:
If anyone’s a fan of Paul Campos, he wrote a book called “The Obesity Myth” years ago. One of the -saddest- stories he chronicled was about an elite lawyer who was at the top of her field. This woman was incredibly accomplished. Yet, she later lost some weight (going, I think, from a size 10 to a size 4) and wrote a diet book. Within this book, she mentioned how this was her “greatest achievement” and it brought her more happiness than anything else. Can you imagine a man in a similar position saying the same thing? She had brought tremendous rewards to society (if I remember right, she was a civil rights attorney), but in her own mind, the best thing she ever did was lose some weight. Incredible.
When we see movies, it’s often from the male perspective. It’s about getting the hot girl. Even when a woman is the protagonist, one of her primary motivations is pursuing the guy or getting the guy’s attention. There’s a reason that the Bechdel test exists…because so many media portrayals don’t show two women talking about something other than a man. Not even one conversation…in an entire movie!
So, women are seen as non-threatening, even when they step outside of their typical gender roles. But being a ‘man’ is very rigid. Why on Earth would you give up your priviledge and “act like a girl,” is the thinking. There’s also still that strong stereotype that girly things and environments will make a boy gay.
We all know what our culture thinks about gays versus lesbians, too. The wider cultural look at them? Lesbians…HOT. Gay men? …Two campy, girly men, of course. Personal opinions vary, of course, but there’s a double standard even there in our expectations.
Post # 37
It all comes down to this:
“Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short and wear shirts and boots because it’s okay to be a boy; for girls it’s like promotion. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, according to you, because secretly you believe that being a girl is degrading” – Ian McEwan, The Cement Garden