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Old 01-06-2013, 10:43 PM   #91
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Re: So whats the big deal with making sure babies gender conform?

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All studies I have read point to the fact that while sex may be inherent, gender is taught. Gender roles (which include things like trucks=boy and pink=girl) are 100% socialization.

This stuff doesn't just happen on its own. We teach it. Which makes me wonder why we do?

I think its mostly a holdover from different times, but then I wonder why things like kids clothing choices have become even more gender rigid from when I was a kid. I mean hell, 100 years ago baby boys wore dresses until they were like three.

It seems like one of the underlying subtexts is homophobia (turning sons gay). I know being gay is pretty mainstream where I live and teach so perhaps this is why I do not understand the panic.
That was for practical reasons. Most babies wore dresses because diapers were pretty damn crappy (no pun intended) and pants were a nightmare on a PTing baby. It wasn't because the past was less rigid about gender roles and cues. JS...The rest of this post ITA with.

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I'm not sure how I could have taught my firstborn as an infant to be fascinated with anything with wheels or anything you can put together. That boy has been obsessed with cars, trucks, trains, and building things since he was born. At 7 months we went to the Old Baker Farm. He was mildly interested in the pumpkins and cotton. The animals he could care less about. When the tractor parade started, I thought he was going to fall out of his carrier the way he craned his neck and stretched to follow those machines with his eyes. As a toddler, he'd focus on the cars and toss aside the Little People.

DD on the other hand, pretty much started out with all boy toys since I was too cheap to run out and buy a bunch of girly stuff. Cars and trains were ok to her, but she preferred playing with the people and the stuffed animals.
OMG...I think our boys are twins. My DS was exactly like this. His first love was and still is wheels. No clue what the fascination is but anything with wheels draws him like a moth to a flame. So cars, trains, lawnmowers, desk chairs, dollys, tractors, laundry carts...you name it, he loves it. And if he gets his hands on them, he immediately turns them upside down and tries to figure out how they were put together. Nobody ever told him that turning something upside down lets you see the guts of the mechanics. He was born that way, and with two parents who are engineers is there any wonder? I am not the least bit surprised.

Our DD loves anything her DB loves so she loves cars and trains too, but not at all from the mechanical aspect. She likes them because they glide, and shine, and make noises. It is a much more superficial love (but a love nonetheless; not trying to diminish her attraction to those items). She loves her frilly girly dresses and playing with hammers, trucks, and blocks. A kid after my own tomboy heart really, but I didn't make her that way. I loved dressing up in fluffy dresses too as a kid and playing with my brother's erector set. I'm fairly certain she inherited that.

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And they do come. Aunt Sarah playfully talks about icky boys, and Nana says that purple is a girl color and Gramps says that blue is for boys and grandma wants to put a bow in her hair to make her pretty.

And all of these lines these well-meaning people draw in her sand are subtly sending her messages about how to measure self-worth. Or at least how it works beyond our four walls.

It's good and bad, right? I mean it's bad because we don't want our precious children pigeon holed. But it's good to a certain extent because I don't want the "rules" to be a shocking surprise.

I remember in first grade I insisted that the record I bring in to share with the class be a folk artist named Melanie. Little did I know that everyone else was bringing in KISS and that they would laugh at me. This kind of stuff shapes us. It's nice to be at least vaguely aware of what society expects of us, heartbreaking though it is.
Completely agree with this. I grew up in a family of boys and my family never seemed to care that I was my dad's 5th son (but only daughter). Out in society though, there was much less tolerance as I got older of being "boyish." I had a few things happen or rude words said that told me that people didn't appreciate that I didn't follow the rules assigned to my gender. Whether we like it or not, there is a certain amount of balance that we are responsible for as parents and there is a way to do that without closing doors on your child's exploration (I think my parents did an exceptional job at this BTW). But not saying anything, and pretending that people will just have to deal, could lead to heartbreaking consequences for your child.

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Old 01-06-2013, 10:50 PM   #92
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Re: So whats the big deal with making sure babies gender conform?

I just wanted to contribute this picture of a young fashionable FDR:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/multim...leID=119483704
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:57 PM   #93
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I just wanted to contribute this picture of a young fashionable FDR:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/multim...leID=119483704
I can't fathom how this was normal when it seems people were far more conservative then. So interesting though.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:29 PM   #94
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Re: So whats the big deal with making sure babies gender conform?

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I can't fathom how this was normal when it seems people were far more conservative then. So interesting though.
He also has a hell of a mullet.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:52 PM   #95
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He also has a hell of a mullet.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:39 AM   #96
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Re: So whats the big deal with making sure babies gender conform?

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I can't fathom how this was normal when it seems people were far more conservative then. So interesting though.
I remember asking my mom about this when I was a kid because we have a picture of my grandfather in a stunningly gorgeous dress at the age of 4. I can't tell you how many times I wished I owned that dress...

But she said that it was common to not wear diapers at all during PTing (there's a surprise; we do that too) and that dresses made the most sense. You were not allowed to not be dressed outside your home, but again pants were horrible (washing them was a bear; replacing them was expensive), though he did have a pair of thin linen knee pants that went with the dress. So dresses were the most sensible solution.

Now most people went bare-a$$ed if you didn't have the money for a dress or at least some pullover tunic thing made from homespun, but for some folks, taking the time to create pretty dresses showed you were handy at sewing and had the leisure time to create outfits like that. She said it was an indication of one's social class. Knowing what I know about my great-grandmother, that sounds about right.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:08 AM   #97
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Re: So whats the big deal with making sure babies gender conform?

DS is the oldest, so he doesn't get girly hand me downs. However, I've never blinked if he wanted to wear his sisters gloves or carry around their purse. He got a baby doll for his 2nd Christmas and brings me babies to wrap up for him so he can play just like his sisters do. However 90% of the time he gravitates towards what I term the boy toys... He also plays w/ the girl toys. I dress the girls in DS's old pj's... never his clothes but that's only because I would never need to use his old clothes... they have plenty of clothes on their own!
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:11 PM   #98
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Re: So whats the big deal with making sure babies gender conform?

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A lot of babies in South India wear bindis (what is traditionally a woman's make up). all babies. Some like my boys sport hangings too! And long hair. In my community, we only give a hair cut to a boy just before he turns 3. Girls-used to be never! But yeah, it isnt practical at all with school and such.

Not having a girl...I used to dress my boys in girly stuff. DS2 -the one in the last pic- asks for a bindi whenever he sees himself in the mirror. He doesnt care/understand when people exclaim if I put him in a dress "Aha, you are a girl today?" Or "UhOH, why did your mom dress you up as a girl? Go change into tshirt and trousers"

DS1 loves nail polish..and he endlessly gets grief fm others over it.

But like a poster said before DS1 was ALWAYS, always a wheels-plugs-appliances crazy boy. Whatever went whirring. The blender rocked his world for the longest time! DS2 is sedate, likes to play with stuffed animals, read/write.

FWIW, I LOVE the look of shock people have when I tell them ds2 is a boy. DS1 had such girly features, that until he got a haircut, he used to be referred to as a girl "Look at how fearlessly that girl is climbing the monkey bars" while in really boysy clothes! Got such huge kicks telling them "Noooo, he's a boy, and his name is Rushabh"
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:59 PM   #99
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Re: So whats the big deal with making sure babies gender conform?

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A lot of babies in South India wear bindis (what is traditionally a woman's make up). all babies. Some like my boys sport hangings too! And long hair. In my community, we only give a hair cut to a boy just before he turns 3. Girls-used to be never! But yeah, it isnt practical at all with school and such.
One of my boys from South India wears girl's clothes occasionally. Or he sometimes wears very fancy beautiful clothes from India. (I take those off of him before he can mess them up) and he has TONS of gold on him. He has it in his ears, on his waist, on his ankles.

He got his head shaved on his 1st birthday, but other than the very short hair right now, he's extremely beautiful. Moms always say "Why do boys always get those beautiful features?" He does often look more like a girl....except that he's forever pushing a truck or car, or dragging something with wheels.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:01 PM   #100
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Bhavana, you have some beautiful children.
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