Monday, November 19, 2012

Gender and Kids

      Have you read about the Swedish school that has almost eliminated all references to gender? Boys and girls are encouraged to play with the same toys and teachers are mindful to treat each student equally. While it does seem extreme to avoid all pronouns that refer to gender, I was intrigued by the idea of blurring sex roles for young children. While working with children for the past few years, I'm often shocked by how strong gender roles are linked to their identity. Everyone knows about pink and blue, but when a little boy says, "I don't want the yellow one, that's a girl color!" you can't help but think that this has gone too far.

      After reading Peggy Orenstein's book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, I've become more aware that gender stereotyping is a huge business for big corporations. I dare you to read this book and then proceed to buy a Disney princess makeup set for your 5-year-old neice. Go ahead, try!

     Orenstein makes some thought provoking points about what innate skills boys and girls are born with and how our reactions to them deepen the gender divide.

Read the article and weigh in!

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