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Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Sexism of Father's Day

So today is Father's Day in America and most of us are scrambling all over each other to call our fathers, send cards, or otherwise make them feel special. As true with almost any other overly-commercialized Hallmark-driven holiday, the big box stores are also scrambling all over each other to deliver the Father's Day sales in record numbers. Now don't get me wrong, I think having a day to appreciate all the fathers in your life is a great idea -- kids are usually too busy being angsty to remember their parents so it's nice to have a day dedicated to getting us off our asses and remind us to make them feel as special as they make us feel the other 364 days of the year. But, why is it that on Mother's Day and Father's Day, no one seems to have a problem with the stores telling us exactly what mom's and dad's would want as gifts and subsequently exactly what the roles of the mom's and dad's in our lives should be? During Mother's Day, I had to beat back the bouquet ads. According to the stores, mothers seemed to desire nothing more than clothes, jewelry, baking goods, and clipped flower genitalia. Meanwhile, on Father's Day, Brookstone and sports stores are having field days with their Father's Day sales -- as if the male parent couldn't get enough of golf, gadgets and other techie goodness. Is it just me or are these highly segregated gender roles just a little bit distasteful? Isn't the message being sent that mothers are still the overseers of the kitchen and can be pleased with must be kept satisfied with meaningless shiny baubles, meanwhile fathers, as the male parent, are the capable, intelligent breadwinner who want the gifts that "require brains"? That being said, Happy Father's Day to all of my readers.

37 Comments:

Blogger William said...

I hate to seem like I'm unfairly targeting you tonight, but do you like ANYTHING?!!!

Damn, I know it might be a sore subject, but be glad you HAVE a father!

"Big Box stores" are simply giving ideas to the uncreative. They're not trying to force anything on you.

Hallmark's not busting through your door, putting a gun to your head to make you buy the latest Shoebox greetings.

You're a smart woman. We know this. No, you don't need them forcing their shit on you. But it ain't that big of a deal. You know what I'd get my dad? A fucking hug.

Shit, woman...

6/19/2005 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

As I scrolled down to catch up on your blogverse, I saw the post about you and your dad.

I'm sorry about all the drama, but I' not sorry about what I said. All I'm sayin'is I hope y'all can work something out one of these days.'Cause, as rough as it might be, you have an opportunity that MANY people would love to have. Just sayin'...

6/19/2005 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Melinda Casino said...

William - I couldn't disagree more. "Big Box stores" are trying to force something on you. Rigid gender roles are intrinsic to a consumer society.

Secondly, the author of the blog can have a father and still do analysis on sexism anyways. The two are not mutually exclusive. Whether she appreciates and/or loves her dad is not what her post is about, and is completely irrelevant to the topic she has raised.

Lastly: you say it isn't that big a deal. Probably because you're male. If you're a woman living in a patriarchal society, then it is a big deal.

6/20/2005 01:53:00 AM  
Blogger phillyjay said...

I guess it's just tradition for advertisement companies going way back.There are gender roles involved, but I don't think it's really a bad thing at least today.The media tries to push us to get all kinds of things, some of which we may not really need.

I guess my parents lived up to the roles, since my father loved his new power tools and dvd player he got today.While last mothers day my mom finally got the new oven/stove top she always wanted, along with flowers :)

6/20/2005 02:24:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Father's Day and Mother's Day involve sexism by design. The rise of corporate commercialism from big box stores only reinforces through shoddy convenience the true nature of a sexist beast. I usually have this type of response on Mother's Day, where you can't walk through a department store without the middle-aged women at the cosmetics counter trying to sell you Elizabeth Taylor's last olfactory alchemy by playing on universal Mom guilt.

That being said, I totally agree with Sour Duck's comments. Finding sexism in Father's Day is possible regardless of the relationship one has with their male parental unit.

I'm totally sick of the idea that certain holidays have to be without critique in modern America. Reading your comments Will, I started to think of the people last winter who were pissed off that "Merry Christmas" was being replaced with "Happy Holidays", because the former was less inclusive than the latter. It is possible to find fault with traditional holidays; many of these approved days of joy and reflection only reinforce the capitalistic racism, sexism, and Christian hegemony that so characterize modern American living.

Valentine's Day devolves a woman's worth to the money her male suitors spend to ensure her exclusive companionship. Memorial Day emerges as a 24-hour infomercial for American military sacrifice and global Agent Orange supremacy. Christmas abandons saccharine notions of peace on Earth and goodwill towards all in favor of fanatic Toys-R-Us consumption and over-40 gladiatorial combat to purchase the last in-stock Tickle Me Elmo of the year. Are you shocked, Will, that one can notice sexism in our gender-segregated parental thank-you holidays? Isn't the sexism obvious?

6/20/2005 08:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like you, phillyjay. let's be friends.
I've said it once, and I'll say it again, JL: I'm just not on that level. I understand where you're coming from, but I'm still left with "Why?" Why take it to this level? So much ire about a day that you can take or leave. You and Sour Duck are simply on a plane of existence for which I don't have a boarding pass (How's THAT for a mixed metaphor?).

Plus, my post wasn't about the relationship. It was about Jenn's post, itself. i didn't address the relationship until my addendum because i didn't want it to sound like my initial post was meant to hurt her unjustly.

My point is, the argument in her anti-fathers day post is kind of "old hat". Oooh, holiday are made up by greeting card companies. That's like if I went on ComicView and said, "Wow, white people sure can't dance. What's up with that?" It just didn't seem to offer anything new to the anti-capitalist discussion, and the only reason i included the part about her own home situation is because that is the only lens that justified the post. Wasn't trying to be a Keyboard Psychiatrist, but the post was kind of bitter, and not rightly so, without a context. I don't even know why i even try to play with the Big Boys in the blogging game. maybe one of these days, I'll realize I'm out of my league, and simply walk away. But I know I'm about to get flamed again, so bring it...

W

6/20/2005 09:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops! Not "anti-capitalist", but "anti-sexist". I was on a rant.

And in regards to that, what's forcing people to buy these gender-biased gifts? JL, I feel like you'd call these people "weak".

I'm all about power tools for moms and dresses for dads. I still think the stores cater to the uncreative.
There's an old pimp belief on da street that "you can't get played unless you actually WANT to get played." Hope you catch my drift.

Discuss...
WB

6/20/2005 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Karlos said...

Do stores try to sell us products on Mother's- and Father's Day that fall along the lines of the traditional gender roles? Yeah. Do other (most/all?) American holidays involve sexual stereotypes? Yup.

Who's the target here, though? Who's supposed to hear comments like this, wake up, and start turning things around? Sorry, but rants without a goal in mind just seem like masturbation (not that I have anything against masturbation... lord knows I haven't had a girlfriend in a while).

Sears's decision to feature a power drill instead of an oven mit in their Father's Day ad is coming from a marketing department. Marketing departments don't have souls, they don't have morals, (they may not even have brains, given the specifications ours gives us for products sometimes); they have market research.

If power drills are the best-selling product on Father's Day, Sears will put their energy into making sure people buy their power drills from Sears instead of Home Depot on Father's Day. All this leads us to the question: why do we buy more power drills on Father's Day?

One could pose a chicken-before-the-egg argument here about marketing causing us to buy power drills for our Dads, but I think that's mostly bullshit. Most of us who are buying gifts for our Dads know them well enough to have a few of their hobbies in mind, and we buy what we think they'd like, not what a marketing department tells us they'd like. I might go to Sears instead of Home Depot for that power drill because the ad in the Sunday paper told me they had it on sale, but the ad isn't the reason I'm buying a tool instead of an oven mit; my Dad's a 7-digit cook ("Hello, Pizza Hut...").

I'm as quick as anyone to say that Americans are sheep; just look at the way they follow the Christian church (uh-oh... J, can you lend a brother that flame-retardant bat suit?). Still, I don't think marketing is the largest influence on our gift decisions; if my Dad were the gardener and my Mom were the one playing with her new cell phone like a giddy little kid, I would have reversed their respective thank-you day gifts.

I guess, as Jack Johnson says, "It was you, it was me, it was every man..." (no gender-bias intended; he probably just couldn't find a rhyme for "person") "We've all got the blood on our hands." But as long as my parents keep oppressing themselves with their gender bias, I'm going to buy what they'll like, the marketing departments will plot my purchases in a bar graph or a pie chart (with lots of bright colors, so the marketing people can make sense of it), and Sears will take out full-page ads to tell me they've got the best Father's Day deal on that drill.

-Karlos

6/20/2005 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger drublood said...

I wonder if Father's day maybe has legitimate origins in paganism. It is close to the summer solstice. The sun is "male" in mythology, and many celebrations this time of the year focus on the son and, therefore, the father. It's something I never thought about until today, when I was reading about the solstice to my kids.

6/20/2005 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Karlos said...

Good call, drublood. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a connection there. btw, is the rest of the country on as big a paganism kick as I am after reading "The Da Vinci Code?"

6/20/2005 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous shelly said...

karlos -- everytime i read one of your posts or responses to someone else i think we'd get along great. Right on with the Da Vinci Code reference. I embrace my pagan and heathenness. :)

6/20/2005 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Karlos said...

Right on, Shelly! Nice to know I'll have good company in hell. Hopefully, I'll get to see you and Will before that, though; next time I drive across the country, I'm coming to DC - even if I am dying of Ebola.

6/20/2005 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Kaede said...

I don't know about you but ranting about what a person puts on their blog when it's about THEIR feelings, THEIR issues of the day...is kind of rude. It's like you're trying to tell her that what she decides to write about is less valid or less interesting or whatever.

I happen to find it all fascinating and inspirational. I like finding out what makes people burn, what issues are on their minds and how they choose to express them. I happen to feel the same as many of my friends and acquaintances who blog, so it's almost a way of saying that my feelings and rantings are as justified as theirs, merely because they chose to write about it too.

No, not everyone has to give in to the sexist/capitalist offerings of big business, but the whole point is that they shouldn't be doing it at all. Not every woman wants makeup or clothing, and not every bloke wants the latest in power tools. In my family, it happens to be the other way around. My husband does the cooking, cleaning and the occasional DIY, and I do the rest. I happen to LOVE power tools and mourn the fact that all of my carefully collected equipment is either stuck in Switzerland (long story) or Canada. We're hoping to recify this soon, but it can't come soon enough...

I do all the assembling of the glorified flat-pack because it seems like hubby is directionally challenged...in more ways than one. Not all women do this, but not all men do either. It's all in what you're more comfortable with doing as a person. I happen to know quite a few women who shock their husbands by asking for Dremel hand tools for Christmas *laughs* and it's amazing to see just how many relieved men are out there who know they don't have to do the dirty work any more and just let their wives get on with it.

It seems to me that you're forgetting the whole idea behind blogs in general, William. They are MEANT to be controversial, they're MEANT to inspire thought and strong feelings, one way or another. If you don't like it, don't read it.

6/20/2005 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger phillyjay said...

"sexist/capitalist offerings of big business, but the whole point is that they shouldn't be doing it at all. Not every woman wants makeup or clothing, and not every bloke wants the latest in power tools."

True, but I know a ton of guys who love the power tools, and a ton of women who love the makeup and clothing.Very few will go the opposite direction, and like I was saying before that's not a bad thing.I just don't think it so bad if men and women live up to their gender roles.I think in certain situations it is normal.

6/20/2005 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

"Wasn't trying to be a Keyboard Psychiatrist, but the post was kind of bitter, and not rightly so, without a context. I don't even know why i even try to play with the Big Boys in the blogging game." - William

Will, I don't know why you try either.

Seriously, sexism exists. Period. If you wish to deny its effects everyone, that's your choice. I never understand why you feel like its somehow 'bitter' to discuss some of those ramifications.

Further, the only 'old hat' arguments made here are your constant allusions to Black race animosity and tired pimp metaphors. True, no one forces anyone to buy anything in our capitalistic society, but there is a problem when producers rely on base race and sex stereotyping to appeal to public appetites for power drills and jewelry. Father's Day need not be a crass example of modern corporate advertising through gender typecasting, for the simple fact that that typecasting insults and erases public knowledge of citizen individuality.

Honestly Will, if you spent more time interrogating the similarities between McDonald's playing faux rap music in commercials displaying happy Black people eating Big Macs and department stores promoting poker sets, power drills, martini glasses and flamboyant ties on Father's Day, maybe you'd comtribute more than useless anger over the tone of someone else's blog.

6/20/2005 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

phillyjay, k, and william, thank you very much for your comments; i appreciate you all taking the time to voice your opinions. i appreciate your honesty as much as i'm sure you appreciate mine, and i'm glad we're having this discussion.

that being said, there is a problem with stratified gender roles in this society, not because there's something inherently evil about men and power tools, but because of the fundamental philosophy (as established with the end of segregation in America) that there is no such thing as separate but equal. If there is a distinction between two groups, they are inherently unequal.

Now, what's true about race is true about sex. If you have two genders being viewed and treated differently, then you do not have an equal-gender society. Separate gender roles as with mothers and fathers may seem harmless, but it is a symptom of a deeper flaw with our society, that male parents are treated or perceived one way and female parents are treated and perceived another way. That's the same mindset that discouraged daughters, sisters and mothers from voting, getting jobs, being paid equally, or hell, aspiring to be anything more than June Cleaver.

Now, K and others, the reason why none of this is in the post, or why I offer no explicit solution is because of two things:

1) The above three paragraphs are obvious shit. So obvious I didn't feel it warranted explaining.

2) I feel getting the discussion going is solution itself.

The discussion rages on between feminists and non-feminists regarding the blame game in insitutional sexism. Do we blame the men and women who buy into the gender roles or do we buy into the media who markets to little boys and little girls that boys want G.I. Joes and girls wants My Little Ponies? Do we blame the modern day negro for wanting to push their child into athletics over academics or MTV for showing black men excelling at nothing else? Do you blame the Asian child for being the model minority or the parents who indoctrinated the child into thinking that was the right way to go?

Obviously, this is not a chicken-or-the-egg scenario, this is a pile-of-steaming-feces-in-front-of-fan scenario -- the shit goes everywhere.

I'm not so naive as to believe that this blog will solve the world's problems in a day and three paragraphs of rhetorical ranting. Hell, if there was an easy solution to insitutional sexism, don't you think the liberal activists would've gotten the ball rolling on that already? My opinion is that just by being more aware of institutional oppression, we do our part in combatting it.

Will, there is absolutely nothing wrong with appreciating your dad. As much as this and other posts seem to indicate otherwise, I do still love my father. But that has nothing to do with my ability to perceive sexism when and where it occurs. Inequality doesn't just shut off -- enjoying a holiday and realizing where it's messed up isn't mutually exclusive.

Maybe that's the problem with liberals -- we aren't afraid of complexity...

6/20/2005 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

oh, and btw... sour duck... AMEN!!!

6/20/2005 11:16:00 PM  
Anonymous tekanji said...

Geez, Jenn, what are you doing writing about things that are important to you? Don't you know having a blog is about pleasing other people? :P

Seriously, though...

phillyjay said: I just don't think it so bad if men and women live up to their gender roles.

I would just like to say this outright: there is nothing wrong with people choosing what is best for them, whether it fits in the accepted gender roles or not, what the problem is that society in many ways forces it on us.

Now, it's not the "gun to your head" type forcing in most cases, although there are some circles in where masculinity is forced on men with threats of physical harm (homophobia against men and women also gets to this point sometimes too). Most times it's more a very firm pressure that implies that if one steps outside these preordained roles then they will be branded as an outcast for the rest of their lives.

I have a bit of a personal anecdote. When I was younger, I was determined to be myself and screw what society said. To this end, I thought that I had to be the antithesis of feminine – I hated makeup, and dresses/skirts, and all that good stuff. My sister, on the other hand, bought 100% into the feminine ideals: she wouldn’t even leave the house without her makeup and hair “perfectly” done up. What I’ve found out, what we’ve both found out, is that both of us were affected by these forced gender roles. As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s fun to dress up and put on makeup. Sometimes it’s fun to wear skirts and dresses. And that it’s ok to like the way I look. She’s learned that it’s ok to leave the house with no makeup and her hair all mussed up. Now, she’s just as comfortable running around in sweaty gym clothes as she is in a beautiful dress with pumps, makeup, and all that jazz.

My sister and I are lucky; we were able to break away from the control that gender roles placed on our lives and be just us, but not all people have that luxury. And that is why I think posts like Jenn’s are important. To show people, even in some small way, that society as it is now won’t let us just be who we are. That we’re indoctrinated since birth with these images of “male” and “female” without being taught that there are other ways, that it’s ok to be different if that’s what we are.

People should be able to exist in the ways that they want to, without being judged on some arbitrary standards of “masculine” or “feminine”. I think that becoming more aware of how these standards are put into place is one step in the right direction.

6/21/2005 03:22:00 AM  
Blogger phillyjay said...

"I would just like to say this outright: there is nothing wrong with people choosing what is best for them"

That is the point I should have made more clear in my post.As long as they choose to live this way, I see nothing wrong with it.Now if they are forced to be this way then we have a problem.

Like you said above, in most cases a gun is not pointing to your head for men to be masculine and women to be feminine, complete with flower dresses and never leaving the house without makeup.

I have to admit, if I had a son who dicthed his GI Joe's for barbie, and started to act more feminine then masculine I would be uncomfortable.Same thing if I had a daughter.

The whole gender thing can get complicated when you really get into it especially trying to figure out a way to solve it.Or it can be extremely simple if you stick to the norm, or at least what is considered the norm.

6/21/2005 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

the question of choice becomes more complicated once you recognize the media's power on developing identity. if a person chooses to act completely within the roles that society pressured them into, how much of that is their choice and how much of it is society's influence telling the person that that is what they should choose to act like or be?

6/21/2005 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger phillyjay said...

Good question.One I honestly don't have an answer for.Anybody else up for it?

6/21/2005 01:48:00 PM  
Anonymous tekanji said...

Jenn said: how much of that is their choice and how much of it is society's influence telling the person that that is what they should choose to act like or be?

That's part of what I was trying to illustrate with my personal anecdote. If you asked either me or my sister back then if we felt that we chose to fit (or the opposite of fit, in my case) those roles, we would have said yes. The reality is that it took dramatic changes in both of our lives to make us see that it wasn't really our choice. That wasn't who we were; that's what society's pressures had done to us.

To me, the point of rants like Jenn's are to open our eyes to how we're streamlined so that our capacity to make a real choice is taken away.

If we can become aware of how things like ads take our real choice away, then it's the first step to creating an environment where we have a true choice. Ads need to change, education needs to change, attitudes need to change, but none of that can even begin to happen when people are ignorant of how the little things affect them.

phillyjay said: I have to admit, if I had a son who dicthed his GI Joe's for barbie, and started to act more feminine then masculine I would be uncomfortable.Same thing if I had a daughter.

But that’s also part of the point. Society tells us that men need to be “men” and women need to be “women” – but I would argue that most people are somewhere in between. You have been socialized to this, but you have to see that you, in turn, have started to socialize your son the same way. In a vacuum, instead of playing with GI Joe, your son may have chosen to play with Barbies. Or perhaps he would have chosen to play Barbie meets GI Joe and they duke it out old school. Or maybe he would have said “screw dolls, I want to play ball” or “bake some cake” or something like that.

By being “uncomfortable” you may be steering your son in the same way that society steers everyone: you may be unintentionally robbing him of his choice.

Now, I don’t know you, or your situation; I’m just taking what I’ve seen from the conversation to its logical conclusion. For all I know, you painted his baby room yellow and exposed him to all different kinds of toys, regardless of their gender designation. You may have been bringing him up to see that, despite some superficial differences, there is not much separating men from women. You may have already started socializing him to realize that the male/female binary is not absolute: there are people out there who are intersexed, or transgendered, or simply don’t like to define themselves as one gender or the other. I don’t know.

But, perhaps, if you put what I’m saying into perspective you can see why I think that it’s so important to at least be aware of these issues. Your very discomfort is not unusual and is, in fact, the very result that society has tried to force on us all: conform because otherwise there’s something wrong with you. That’s what we’re taught every day through ads, through education, through peer and parental interaction. Awareness won’t solve the problem, but it’s a necessary step in the right direction.

6/21/2005 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

tekanji said: "That's part of what I was trying to illustrate with my personal anecdote."

whoops, re-reading it, I notice you had made that point, but I apparently missed it. ^_^

6/21/2005 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger phillyjay said...

tekanji
"but I would argue that most people are somewhere in between."

How do you figure this?Personally I alwayed believed women and men are different.Not different in a way that men are better or worse then women.There are a lot of similarities yeah, but there are still a lot differences, some of which are not so superficial.

"By being “uncomfortable” you may be steering your son in the same way that society steers everyone: you may be unintentionally robbing him of his choice."

I can deal with giving my children(whenever I have them in the future) choice.That's not so hard.But just how far they can go depends on what they want to do.

"Now, I don’t know you, or your situation; I’m just taking what I’ve seen from the conversation to its logical conclusion. For all I know, you painted his baby room yellow and exposed him to all different kinds of toys, regardless of their gender designation"

Whenever I have children(which won't be for a LONG while I might add) the boys are going to get boy toys and the girls are going to get girls toys.Traditional gender role toys I know.If they want the opposite, even though I probably won't like it, I'll give it to them, up to a point.Now if the son starts wanting to wear a dress or female underwear he can do that too.....when he moves into his own place.

6/21/2005 06:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Kaede said...

Has anyone heard of Marshall McLuhan's famous quote:

"The medium IS the message" ?

I would think that that sooooooo applies here. The medium we are being bombarded by is the very thing that tells us what to do, where to go, what to eat, how to eat it, who to hang out with, what to watch.....in short, every aspect of Western life seems to be governed by the message of media. We try hard (myself and hubby) to avoid buying into the "the TV/internet/radio/newspapers/magazines are all accurate" mindset because we know full well the failings of each. Not least because they're subject to the whims of people with their own agendas.

Now, you may ask what this has to do with sexist stereotypes and propagation thereof. To me, it has a lot to do with it, because by buying into, or opting out of, these roles, you're listening to the message and letting it control you. I don't have control issues per se, but I do not like being told what to do by society or by someone claiming to be acting on behalf of said society.

My husband on the other hand, has SERIOUS control issues, therefore it's an even bigger issue for him what 'society' says is right vs. wrong. That is something he needs to work out on his own but still an indication of how messed up life is that you have those who are so affected by the conflicting messages out there that they're at one extreme or the other.

Society isn't going to change without that one person who is willing to stand up and say 'hey, this is not right'. So it happens to be Jenn. It may be one of you next. As long as it happens, and makes people THINK about themselves, their environment and how they interact (or not) with others, then I see no harm in it, as long as it's being done in a respectful manner.

6/21/2005 10:31:00 PM  
Anonymous tekanji said...

How do you figure this?Personally I alwayed believed women and men are different...there are still a lot differences, some of which are not so superficial.

I figure that because the constructs of masculinity and femininity have no grounding in the biological differences between men and women. I know this because the Western standard of "masculinity" and "femininity" is not absolute; throughout time and in different areas, the standards have been different. And when the standards are different, people conformed (or opted out of conforming) to those standards. I know this because the more options we are given, the more diverse we have become.

For instance, there is a large amount of women who go into the work force because they want to. That's because now, they can. But, socially, men cannot be homemakers and stay-at-home dads, so we've ended up in a society that pushes men into work that they may or may not want to be doing, while turning women into "Supermoms" (ie. having a 40hr/wk+ job, while still fulfilling the role of mom/homemaker).

As for which behaviours are non-superficial differences, well, science has yet to prove that they are biological (nature) rather than social (nurture). All of the studies I have found on the differences either ignored possible social influences or were unable to draw a significant behavioural correlation. Until I see some studies that not only take into account the male/female binary, but also the intersexed then I don't see how "all men are x, all women are y" could even begin to be a valid mode of thought.

None of us are the same - our individuality is more diverse than the small boxes of "masculinity" and "femininity" can hold. We will never be free to be ourselves until we no longer have the pressure to be one or the other because of the genitals we possess (which, by the way, aren't always an indicator of our gender or even our biological sex).

I can deal with giving my children(whenever I have them in the future) choice.That's not so hard.

But, if it wasn’t hard, then your next statement wouldn’t completely contradict that one:

Whenever I have children(which won't be for a LONG while I might add) the boys are going to get boy toys and the girls are going to get girls toys.Traditional gender role toys I know.If they want the opposite, even though I probably won't like it, I'll give it to them, up to a point.Now if the son starts wanting to wear a dress or female underwear he can do that too.....when he moves into his own place.

Don’t you realize that socialization begins at birth? By buying them toys according to their visible gender and making it clear that you “don’t like it” if they want to play with other toys you’re telling them that it’s not okay to be themselves.

And, what if your child isn’t male or female, but intersexed? What if it’s not just a problem of chromosomes, but that that they have both a penis and a vagina? Will you have the penis cut off and run the risk of the child developing gender dysphoria because “she” is really, gender wise, a “he”? Or, what if you have an outwardly healthy boy or girl who has that disorder? What would you do if your child was a transsexual? You’ve already said that you would punish the boy by not allowing him to dress up in girl’s clothing, what about the girl? Would you harangue her to wear floral dresses and be more pretty?

Giving your child a choice, a real choice, is hard. All of your actions have consequences, not just the ones you intend but also those you don’t. Life, like gender and sex, is not black and white. It’s not a “pink for girls” or “blue for boys” binary that is easily understood. That, I think, is why being as educated as possible on these issues is important. Stepping outside the confines of the box and looking at yourself, and your values, isn’t easy. But the best thing you can do for yourself is to get educated about gender issues because they affect us all.

6/22/2005 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger phillyjay said...

tekanji

Well,I already made my points and you made yours.We will just have to agree to disagree with this topic rather then go in circles.

MaN, I should of just stop at my first post and leave it at that.

6/22/2005 05:37:00 PM  
Anonymous tekanji said...

Thanks for the debate, phillyjay.

It may have seemed to you like we were going in circles, but I always enjoy picking at the finer points of an argument even if the basic drive remains the same on both sides.

I hope you don't just stick to leaving one post in the future; I found all of your comments to be thought provoking and I think it would be a shame not to be able to have debates in the future.

6/22/2005 08:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Shelly said...

wow, guys -- that was the most diplomatic ending to a heated debate i've ever seen! i'm seriously impressed. maybe i can learn a thing or two from you... [walks away with tail between legs] :) :)

6/23/2005 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger phillyjay said...

"wow, guys -- that was the most diplomatic ending to a heated debate i've ever seen!"

The debate was heated?

Anyway thanks for the convo tekanji.I just like to keep things simple and short with one or maybe two post since it's not my blog, which I'm still not doing.Let me stop here....... :)

6/23/2005 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

hey, i'm happy y'all are discussing. just because i happen to be paying for this soapbox doesn't mean you guys can't share it. ^_^

6/24/2005 11:30:00 AM  
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