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Author Topic: Teaching Children  (Read 2170 times)

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Offline SidheLadyTopic starter

Teaching Children
« on: August 08, 2017, 04:54:18 PM »
So, I saw an advert this afternoon for a TV program, associated with this article

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2017/33/no-more-boys-and-girls

I am fundamentally opposed to this kind of treatment, simply because we are different, there are neurological and biological differences between the genders.

Worse than this, I think teaching it to children is wrong, because they wont teach them anything else, just...this fallacy.

I am going to try and watch the program, but I fear it will be incredibly biased and wont look at other possible reasons for these differences, such as personal choices or situations, and heralds something horrible for our children

Please note, I am completely pro-equality of opportunity, I deeply believe that everyone has the right to try and do whatever they want, but, it must be accepted that not everyone will want to do everything.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 04:57:06 PM by SidheLady »

Offline Lustful Bride

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2017, 07:59:53 PM »
Why cant they just let kids be kids? Teach them we are all different, but equal and that is a good thing. Let them decide on their own their oppinions on this.

It just feels like these children are being used as pawns for someone else's politics. I must also protest because I am against the idea of children ever being used like this, they are not to be experimented with. Let them develop on their own, they are not guinea pigs.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 08:07:29 PM by Lustful Bride »

Offline Merah

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2017, 08:22:07 PM »
If biological and neurological differences are hard-wired, treating a class of boys and girls identically for six weeks isn't going to alter the kids' development at all. So what's the issue?

Offline Lustful Bride

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2017, 08:28:31 PM »
Personally my problem is more that this is done with children. That is my own personal feeling here, but if it was done with adults in like a six week course of them seeing how things are on the other side and such I would be for it. But I just don't feel children should be put into these things. I don't want to use the word 'social experiment' but its the closest thing I can think to use. I wish I could word my thoughts better but they are primarily emotional here. :/

Offline Blythe

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2017, 08:32:24 PM »
From the article:

Quote
As a doctor he knows there are basic biological differences between the sexes, but he believes our biology can’t fully explain why men and women’s life chances - from pay, to careers are still so unequal in the UK.

Dr. Javid acknowledges that there are biological differences in the sexes; the tenor I got from the article is that he's saying there's more than just biology that accounts for disparities (like social conditioning & stereotyping, for one), and the gender-neutral teaching is to try to account for those factors to see if it makes a difference in learning environments.

Doesn't really seem like that big of a deal to me, honestly.

Offline Merah

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2017, 09:05:09 PM »
It sounds like this show is just exploring how gender is shaped in childhood. But treating all children equally should be normal, not a radical social experiment. They're just dramatizing it as such for the sake of controversy and drawing more viewers... which would seem to be working.

Offline Merah

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2017, 09:08:00 PM »
Also, if it were some kind of serious experiment, how would doing it with adults teach you anything about childhood formation of gender roles?

I know 'experimenting' with children implies that they're Nazi lab rats or something, but... well, they're not. They're just being treated equally to my understanding.

Offline Lustful Bride

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2017, 09:26:25 PM »
Also, if it were some kind of serious experiment, how would doing it with adults teach you anything about childhood formation of gender roles?

I know 'experimenting' with children implies that they're Nazi lab rats or something, but... well, they're not. They're just being treated equally to my understanding.

I don't know. I'm just going to stop myself here before I continue making a fool of myself. I get way too emotional about things, especially involving kids that I forget to temper it with calm thoughts.

Offline Iniquitous

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Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2017, 09:30:41 PM »
I honestly do not see this as a bad thing.  As a society, we have said girls must wear pink and frill and lacy and flowers.  Boys must wear blue and sports related themes and tools and trains.  Why?   Boys must play with toy cars and military men and toy tools and such.  Girls must play with Easy Bake Ovens and baby dolls and barbie dolls and play kitchens.  Why?   Why do we, as a society, dictate what our children should dress like and like as toys based upon their physical gender?

Why do we say a woman is “bossy” and give it a negative tint when in a boy it is called being assertive and a leader? Why do we expect women to apologize for -everything- but not men?   Why are women in STEM fields underrepresented by an estimated 15% from their male counterparts?

What would happen if, while they are children, we stopped imposing stereotypes on them and let them be who they want to be?  I dare say it won’t be anything negative!

You can’t pull adults off the street to do this with. By the time we are adults, preconceived stereotypes are already set.  Usually in stone.  If we want to change the way women are treated, paid, encouraged then we have to start when they are young.  Break down the stereotypes.

Online Oniya

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2017, 09:39:35 PM »
Frankly, the 'experiment' looks highly flawed to me.  But to eliminate the flaws would introduce other issues (like the fact that the test subjects are below the age of informed consent).  They treat the kids one way in the classroom for 6 hours, and then what?  They get sent home in the evening to be treated the way their parents have always treated them for 10 hours. (Assuming 8 hours for sleep.)  It doesn't matter if Teacher says boys can play with dolls or do dress-up if Daddy blows a gasket when he sees his son clomping around in Mommy's shoes.

I'd like to see those stereotypes reduced, but the change needs to include the very parents who grew up with those stereotypes.

Offline Blythe

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2017, 09:46:16 PM »
They treat the kids one way in the classroom for 6 hours, and then what?  They get sent home in the evening

Article linked in the OP does seem to address this, albeit in a roundabout indirect fashion.

Quote from: From the article, towards the end
Upset by the results, Dr Javid sets out a series of interventions both in class and at home to tackle these differences.

Kind of curious what the 'home' changes would be, though--that one seems an awful lot trickier to do.

Offline Serephino

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2017, 10:21:38 PM »
I definitely think stereotypes for genders should be done away with and kids treated equally.  It annoys the crap out of me when I see products marketed to women that are pink.  Because of genetics I possess a vagina, but I don't like pink or frilly things with lace.  I don't like wearing dresses.  The whole shoe obsession a lot of women seem to have just boggles my mind.  I'm like... I'm not really sure.  It seems most days that I have one foot in the girl box and the other in the boy box.  That is just me.  So no, genitals do not dictate what the individual does or does not like. 

Offline Fury Aphrodisia

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Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2017, 11:17:02 PM »
I understand the concern about "doing this to children". I also find it odd that someone said "why not just let kids be kids?" Seems to me that's exactly what this "experiment" intends. Treat them all the same. Personally, I think Iniquitous was correct when it was mentioned that using adults for this, or even teenagers, would destroy the point. But let's think about potential results for a moment.

If the "experiment" succeeds, we'll have data that suggests further psychological study (which has been done since the advent of psychology and has led to many breakthroughs including ways to recognize the effects of abuse on children and I will absolutely not back down from expressing that I think no matter what your personal problem is with this procedure, we absolutely needed and that does away with any notions of discomfort on our end) will be necessary to determine if there is something we can do to prevent hardship.

If we have a failure, then the children all played with blocks for six weeks and move on with their lives.

They're not strapping electrodes to the children, they're not pumping them full of drugs, terrifying them, etc. They're just (*gasp*) treating them all the same. Let me ask you, as a parent of a child, isn't that what we want for our children? I want my boys to grow up understanding that they are worth a partner picking up the tab for a date, allowed to wear clothing that makes them feel good about themselves whatever that might be, allowed to make any and all decisions about their own body that do not inflict a decision on someone else (ie. can't decide "I'm going to punch that person now." That would defeat the purpose by forcing a decision to be hit on the other person). And I sure as hell want them to observe the same about the people around them. One of the greatest things I make my son repeat to me constantly, "Who makes decisions about (whomever)'s body?" The answer is always "them."

To extrapolate that, let's go with a gamble of numbers. My oldest son, a four-year-old starts school in a month. He is (mostly) white. He constantly talks about how he likes boys okay, but he just gushes about how he loves girls. He's a massive flirt. I'm willing to bet he will have an attraction to females of some sort at some point in his life. So let us begin there.

Under that assumption, let's pretend he goes to school with a bunch of kids that are never taught before the mold sets that there is a similarity between females and males (let's just start with a binary example). Those children, despite how I teach my son, will use the phrase "You can't _________, you're a girl." He hears this. There is doubt in his mind. The school says you can't hit girls, but boys will be boys. The school says "and over here, we have some dolls if any of you girls are interested." Very innocent turn of phrase often said without thinking, but it puts a thought in the mind of a child that there is a difference. Why wouldn't the boys be interested? Why is there something separate for girls?

They're using third year, which I believe is... seven? Eight? Years old. Before ten, in any case (Sorry, North American and not used to British levels). If they go through six weeks  now of subtle language shifts, un-separated activities designed to be shared by all (and in a very traditional society, perhaps a welcome change from the norm), it's the same as going through a geology unit in school. I remember going through one. It hasn't deeply impacted my life, but it made me think about rocks a little more for a while, and even now I realize I've retained some piece of information or another.

They're not hurting the children. I'd sign my boy up in a heartbeat. This is the sort of non-invasive psychological questing that leads to progression in society and how we treat each other. Not only am I not against it, but I'm actually for it.


Edit: Also, there is research that suggests that the previously-believed neurological differences in male and female brains come about later in life and are heavily influenced by environment, not biology. The last I heard, there were actually an array of brain "types" and none were strictly found in male or females. The only real difference seems to be the physical plumbing, which won't be effected by this study. They're studying equal treatment, not intercourse. THAT I'd have a problem with. This? This... should be typical.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 11:20:16 PM by Fury Aphrodisia »

Online Oniya

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2017, 11:25:16 PM »
I definitely think stereotypes for genders should be done away with and kids treated equally.  It annoys the crap out of me when I see products marketed to women that are pink.  Because of genetics I possess a vagina, but I don't like pink or frilly things with lace.  I don't like wearing dresses.  The whole shoe obsession a lot of women seem to have just boggles my mind.  I'm like... I'm not really sure.  It seems most days that I have one foot in the girl box and the other in the boy box.  That is just me.  So no, genitals do not dictate what the individual does or does not like. 


I'm with you there, Sere.  I have nothing pink except for a pair of socks that got in with the colors by mistake.  One pair of shoes (black Nikes go with everything).  Lace - only if I make it myself, and even then it doesn't end up 'frilly'.  I was interested in a dollhouse once, but that was because it was a detailed wooden kit that you literally built like a real house.  And ended up getting stuck with a hand-me-down prefab job that one of my sisters had outgrown.

I don't think that the experiment is likely to be harmful - I just don't see it as rigorous enough to be conclusive.  Fury, you say that you'd sign your kid up for it in a heartbeat.  I wouldn't have had any issue if Little Oni's elementary school had done something like this.  But you probably would already be likely to teach your kid that these gender stereotypes aren't valid (just like me).  The people that are huffing around saying men and women should stay in their own little boxes aren't likely to go out of their way to put their kids in this kind of program, and would influence the results by reinforcing the stereotypes at home.

Offline Fury Aphrodisia

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Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2017, 11:40:01 PM »
This is true. I'm convinced it wouldn't harm the children, but I'm not convinced it's going to do much good where it wouldn't have already. That said, at least the children will have the experience of a gender-neutral setting for overall achievement to influence thoughts in the future.

When I was ... twelve or thirteen, my class did a social experiment where we broke the two classes of grade sevens into halves and tossed one half of each class in together in one room and the other sets in the other. I was in group B. In group B, we were told we were going to imagine for a while that we were an insular tribe trading with another tribe we didn't often interact with. Our goal was to take our two popsicle sticks and try to negotiate for eight more from various members of the other tribe, who were given three each. Our group was meant to be more primitive in language, and we spoke in designated noises rather than a full language and were instructed not to react to anything the other group said that wasn't strictly the same. We were told to be creative.

When we met with the other group, they started asking us all sorts of questions that had nothing to do with trading. They asked us how our mothers were and if our families were decently happy. We, like the little cavepeople we were supposed to be, descended on them like locusts, pressed them aggressively for their popsicle sticks and when they largely gave up and simply gave them to us in fistfuls, we were so proud.

Turns out, they were instructed to act as a "civilized" tribe and ask after the matriarchs and families of each other tribe member, to value conversation over material and so forth. Basically it was an exercise on the importance of communication effectively and understanding the goals of others in order to mutually benefit. To this day, however, that one, half-hour exercise sticks in my mind and has indeed shaped my love of descriptive writing, to an extent. It's certainly driven me to hone my skill.

Basically the point I'm making here is that while it might not do a lot of good in shaping the beliefs, it might do just enough to let people know there is another way, which they can then reach for when they get stuck at something.

Offline SidheLadyTopic starter

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2017, 09:20:49 AM »
I spent much of the evening looking into different facets of this, and the nuerologically differences are absolutely fascinating.

However, I have issue with treating children as "gender neutral". What if the boys WANT to play with the cars and the blocks, what if the girls WANT to play with the dolls and the art supplies? And what defines a toy as a gender either way? Making it pink or blue?

However, my thought is that this will be politcally and idologially driven rather than scientifically driven, but it does seem to ignore biological and genetic factors on the brain, rather than a scientific one, or a societal betterment one.

Teach kids equality, be respectful and take advantage of differences to help strenghen the group, keep them happy and healthy seems a much better idea than trying to teach them nuetrality, it might take better in the long run as well
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 09:23:42 AM by SidheLady »

Offline Serephino

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2017, 09:23:01 AM »
I once owned a pink mp3 player.  The only reason was because the pink one was $3 cheaper than the very same model of any other color.  I figured I could deal with pink if it saved me some money.  But I agree, the study wouldn't do much unless the kids were treated the same at home.  I actually wish an effective study like this could be done.  I'm curious, and I agree it wouldn't harm the children involved.   

Offline Fury Aphrodisia

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Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2017, 10:32:25 AM »
Part of letting them be "gender neutral" isn't keeping them from playing what they want. It's simply not barring or implying that some toys are for only one set of children. They're not keeping the kids from playing with anything, that's not what this is about.

In the past, there were certain activities it was socially acceptable to tell boys and girls they shouldn't do. Pushing a boy to play with a truck instead of a doll. Pushing a girl to play with crafts instead of blocks. Gender neutral doesn't mean these toys are taken away, it's just simply not what this means. Your objection seems to be predicated on the concept that they won't be allowed to play at all, which is ludicrous. Letting kids play with what they want is literally the point of all this.

Biological and genetic factors on the brain are not gender driven, and even if they were, that should mean that allowing children to play in a gender neutral environment would reinforce that by allowing them to play with what they want rather than what they're pushed towards.

Growing up, I was pushed towards frills, dolls, pink, boy bands, fashion magazines... My father once told me I'd never be taken seriously as a human being if I didn't start looking the part I was meant to play (in this case, he meant wearing a skirt). Because of this, I rebelled and refused all trappings of femaledom. I am a cis female: I am born female, identify as female, both my gender and my sex are female. If I hadn't been pushed so hard towards it, I might have liked dolls or pink. As it is, to this day, I still hate pink. Hate it. Because it was forced on me and not something I was able to come to on my own. It wasn't a sign of femininity - it was a symbol of a complete lack of will.

Now, what if a girl really wants to play with a model airplane? Are you saying that it would be better for her to not be allowed than to let a boy play with dolls if he wants to? They're not going gender-LESS, they're going gender-NEUTRAL. Like neutral on a car - neither gas nor brake. Just whatever is already happening inside.

Online Oniya

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2017, 12:05:22 PM »
And what defines a toy as a gender either way? Making it pink or blue?

I've seen this guide all over the Internet.  Please put down any beverages before clicking.

On a somewhat more serious note, there's a marvelous blog called 'Pigtail Pals and Ballcap Buddies' that's done by a mom who is raising her kids in an 'Colors are for everyone/toys are for everyone' sort of way.  She points out things like how Lego used to be advertised as a toy for all kids (old enough not to try eating it).  And anyone remember the old Slinky song?  *Earworm engaged*  She also goes into more serious subjects like how to talk to your kids about body integrity and bullying.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 12:07:59 PM by Oniya »

Offline Fury Aphrodisia

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Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2017, 12:12:26 PM »
I have always loved that graphic.

LArgely, however, these are examples of what I mean when I say (or think, or hear of) "gender neutral". Not "Let's take all the toys away and make you play with a stick."

Offline SidheLadyTopic starter

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2017, 02:17:08 PM »
I've seen this guide all over the Internet.  Please put down any beverages before clicking.

LMAO....oh that's awesome.

On a somewhat more serious note, there's a marvelous blog called 'Pigtail Pals and Ballcap Buddies' that's done by a mom who is raising her kids in an 'Colors are for everyone/toys are for everyone' sort of way.  She points out things like how Lego used to be advertised as a toy for all kids (old enough not to try eating it).  And anyone remember the old Slinky song?  *Earworm engaged*  She also goes into more serious subjects like how to talk to your kids about body integrity and bullying.

If it's an advertising issue, then surely it's a responsibility of the companies promoting the items?

Also, weird point, that pink was originally the colour for boys, and blue for girls

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/when-did-girls-start-wearing-pink-1370097/ 

it's kinda interesting

Online Oniya

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2017, 04:00:11 PM »
I also find it amusing that 'girls' multispeed bikes have a lower bar (for skirts!).  If I were a guy, I'd prefer the lower bar because it would give my feet a chance to hit the ground if I came off the seat (instead of other things hitting the crossbar).

Offline AmberStarfire

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Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2017, 05:06:01 PM »
I don't see the harm in the experiment. It would be interesting to see what results they get.

I was a girl who liked trucks (and other passed-down toys from my brother, like his Millennium Falcon. I wish we still had that, it would probably be worth a fortune now). I also wore blue more than pink. Maybe things have changed but growing up, it was like pink and blue were known as somewhat girl's and boy's colours. It was kind of like a known stereotype but you wore what you wanted (and once in school, the uniform was maroon in infants/primary school, and navy blue in high school for everyone). I usually opted for shorts rather than skirts, because they were more practical when running around, playing sports or climbing. As an adult I own a combination of men's and women's shoes, and I sometimes wear men's and unisex t-shirts, even though I'm a woman. I think women find it easier to get away with wearing clothes belonging to the opposite gender, but while a lot of women would wear mens' t-shirts, not as many would wear shoes.

The point is you can listen up to a point, and then do what you want. That's how I was raised. I don't imagine too many people other than the occasional parent enforce the 'pink for girls' and 'blue for boys' stereotype. Growing up it was a choice, other than gifts and things with gender-associated colours. I imagine some parents don't ask their kids which item of clothing they want to wear, and just buy clothes for them, but many parents do.

If you look past gender, clothes are just things that fit well or not, and are styled in a way that is socially-acceptable or not. Clothing colour doesn't really make much difference.

What did occur to me when I read the article was if the kids are raised gender-neutral (which would probably require more than just during their time at school), when they go out into the world, they may not find that's how things are. Personally, I don't see a whole lot of difference between genders, but I've seen views from others that seem to differentiate the genders much more.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 05:07:30 PM by AmberStarfire »

Offline Serephino

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #23 on: August 09, 2017, 05:22:16 PM »
Unfortunately it's easier for women to wear men's clothing and what not than it is the other way around.  If a boy wants to play with a doll it's a huge deal.  I remember watching a 'What Would You Do?' episode about that very thing.  Now, it's been a while, and my memory is not that great, but the set up was this actor boy and his actor dad were in this toy shop.  The boy wants to buy a doll, and the dad gets on his case about it.  A lot of women came up to the dad and told him it shouldn't be a big deal if his son wants a doll.  But other men.. oh boy...  It's like if a guy shows any kind of feminine trait it makes him weak and less than.  He's not a real man.  It drives me up a wall.  If kids could be taught at a young age that people are individuals and don't usually fit neatly into a little box that would be super.

Offline Cookie

Re: Teaching Children
« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2017, 08:04:04 PM »
Unfortunately it's easier for women to wear men's clothing and what not than it is the other way around.  If a boy wants to play with a doll it's a huge deal.  I remember watching a 'What Would You Do?' episode about that very thing.  Now, it's been a while, and my memory is not that great, but the set up was this actor boy and his actor dad were in this toy shop.  The boy wants to buy a doll, and the dad gets on his case about it.  A lot of women came up to the dad and told him it shouldn't be a big deal if his son wants a doll.  But other men.. oh boy...  It's like if a guy shows any kind of feminine trait it makes him weak and less than.  He's not a real man.  It drives me up a wall.  If kids could be taught at a young age that people are individuals and don't usually fit neatly into a little box that would be super.


Yeah this!

I think part of it's a bit of sexism, where a man being more like a woman is just seen as bad.  Another part is this whole "we must be really masculine and puff our chests out"  mentality some people have.  In certain groups, the more a guy conforms to masculine stereotypes the better man or even person he is (often women too who think this, not just a guy thing).  Maybe I'm biased, but that all seems very wrongheaded, and kind of dumb to me.