Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gender Stereotypes Make Me Want to SCREAM!

Ok, I have to vent for a minute. I have heard so many gender stereotypes in the last month I am ready to scream. Here are 5 gender stereotypes that I never want to hear again:

1) Pink is for girls and blue is for boys: Recently, someone was telling me about a time when her little boy was mistaken for a girl. She was flabbergasted at this mistake and wondered why they thought she would dress her little girl up in blue. I will tell you all now - if I ever have a little girl, please don’t bring any pink frilly dresses to the baby shower…you would be wasting your money.

("Self-Portrait" by John Kirby)

2) Boys shouldn’t cry: A couple of nights ago I was at the laundromat, which was overtaken by small children who were running around the machines like it was a race course and randomly hitting other unsuspecting children. When one boy (maybe 3 years?) got hit back in the eye he went to his mom and started crying. She made some comment about how he should have hit him back then (great…don’t even get me started on this subject) and then she told him to stop crying like a “sissy @ss girl.” ☹ The child was obviously offended by this comment and said that he wasn’t a girl, to which the mother replied that he was sure acting like one and “only little girls cry.” I CAN’T STAND THIS.

("Self-Portrait With Cropped Hair" by Frida Kahlo)

3) Females are teachers, librarians, day care providers, nurses, etc. - if they are not staying home with the kids: My 7th graders have definitely learned and internalized the gender-stereotyped jobs, but even my 1st and 2nd graders have too. Many would laugh at the idea of a male nurse or elementary school teacher and I would have to work hard to convince them that women can be mechanics or construction workers. (If you want a children’s book that breaks down these kinds of stereotypes, check out How We Are Smart by W. Nikola-Lisa.)

("The Dinner Party" by Judy Chicago)

4) When it comes to gift-giving, women like jewelry, chocolates, flowers or a romantic dinner and men like beer, whiskey, tickets to a sports game, a day golfing, and a calendar of half-naked women: Puh-lease. My sisters and I sent my dad flowers at work for his birthday and he LOVED them! I gave him a Vivian Green CD for Christmas and he likes that too. I’m about to break this stereotype again in 2 days when my husband comes home. Check back for pictures.

(Artist: Cindy Sherman)

5) Girls should be thin with big boobs and wear tight clothes – and they spend hours at the gym fretting about what they look like. Guys don’t care at all how their bodies look: Females AND males care about what they look like and do feel self-conscious when they don’t match up with the image of what society says we should look like. I heard a conversation the other day (again with 3 year olds) about how boys have short hair and girls have long hair. When we accept such narrow views about what is beautiful (or what males and females should look like) it has detrimental effects on people’s self-image, self-esteem, how they are treated, etc.

("Your Body Is a Battleground" by Barbara Kruger)

So, my question to you ---> Am I alone here? Or what gender stereotypes do you all hate??

Put This On the {Map} is touring around the nation, showing a 34 minutes documentary that reteaches gender and sexuality:

PUT THIS ON THE {MAP} trailer from PUT THIS ON THE MAP on Vimeo.

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