Gender Roles

We have to make weekly discussion board posts in my human development class and I thought this one was worth sharing:


I found this to be one of the most interesting chapters in the book.

I think the socially placed gender roles (particularly prevelant in the South) have dramatically shaped my life more that I would have liked. Unfortunately I eschewed many traditional "female" activities at the expense of my own happiness (gardening, artistic endeavors, cooking). I think that there are some clear biological differences in the sexes (some are highlighted in the tragic and unfortunate case of David Reimer - here is an interesting documentary here - but the extent that we impose these views on children overreaches by any reasonable measure. I think it is also important to remember that in aggregate there may be differences between the sexes in terms of things like aggressiveness or verbal acuity, but the individual differences with in a given sex are so extreme that their utility marginal when applied to any to any single real person.

There is an interesting case in Toronto that I came across earlier this year. I posted it on Facebook and had a healthy discussion with several friends about it.

Parents Won't Reveal Gender of 4-Month-Old

I think gender roles are similar to childhood traditions like Santa and the Easter Bunny. I have long said I doubt I will teach my children to "believe" in Santa and the Easter Bunny because I think it does more harm than good to lie to children and have them believe things that are not real. This does not however mean that I cannot teach them about the stories or that they are prevented from enjoying them. They are important in popular culture and to ignore them would be a disservice. I think that in general gender roles might need to fall into this bucket too. Children should be free to enjoy the things they enjoy without any pressure from others. Unfortunately the world is cruel and will try to get them to conform. Hopefully they can still enjoy life in the face of these things.