No more boys andgirls

Clippings from news sources involving fashion freedom and other gender equality issues.

No more boys andgirls

Postby Charlie » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:27 pm

The presenter took over a class of seven year-olds, aiming to remove all differences in the way boys and girls are treated and to see if, after a term of gender-neutral treatment, he could even out the gaps in their achievement across a range of important psychological measures - from self-confidence to emotional intelligence.
Some of the things he did were to get the parents to remove tee-shirts with gender-specific slogans, get the kids to use the same toilet room (rest room) and to demonstrate to the kids that they were all of the same physical strength. He also tried to eliminate the pink is for girls and blue is for boys.
The one thing he didn't do was to get the boys to wear skirts - may be that was a step too far. At one point he said that parents sent subtle signals to the kids by how they dress them from birth.
At the end of the programme, the kids were generally happy take on the roles generally ascribed to the other sex, so he had some success.
Charlie
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09202lp/no-more-boys-and-girls-can-our-kids-go-gender-free-series-1-episode-1
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09202jz
If I want to dress like a woman, I'll wear blue jeans.
User avatar
Charlie
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 613
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 8:52 pm
Location: Somerset, England

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby crfriend » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:49 pm

Charlie wrote:At the end of the programme, the kids were generally happy take on the roles generally ascribed to the other sex, so he had some success.

Technology has largely removed the major distinctions in what men and women can do, and there are plenty of examples where men are home-makers or nurses and women are big-game hunters or heavy-equipment operators. However, one needs to recall the "ultimate purpose" of biology, and that's to propagate the species.

Now, the above having been said, and with me candidly admitting that I've taken myself out of the available gene-pool because I think that bringing an individual into the world as it stands is a grossly unethical and cruel thing to do, I'll say that I still find some of the old-school mannerisms attractive. For instance, the "macho chick" of today leaves me cold for the simple reason that I cannot connect with machismo -- in either sex. In guys it's sad and destructive; in women it's outright farce -- and in neither case is it even remotely attractive. I can live without endless cussing, tattoos, piercings, and general bad behaviour. I do not care if you can belch at 110 dB. Whatever happened to eloquence, intelligence, and capability? Physical beauty and brawn diminish with time; the foregoing do not.

There was much worry in the 1960s about whether society would be able to tell the boys from the girls -- and that persists today, at least visually; now it's sometimes hard to figure out what you're looking at. But biology wins in the end; it's the knock-on effects that are corrosive: as women have become more and more macho, the average guy felt the need to ramp up his claim on it and we've wound up with the mess we're in now where boys in school are actively discriminated against and men in general are lucky if they can stay beyond the talons of the "justice system". And in spite of all of the above, the species continues to reproduce unabated.

I think a better experiment would to to try dialling back the amount of "environmental testosterone" that's so prevalent and getting back to the basics of how relations -- and relationships -- should function, and getting rid of all the macho bullsh!t that's pervaded our culture since the 1980s.
Retrocomputing -- It's not just a job, it's an adventure!
User avatar
crfriend
Master Barista
 
Posts: 9263
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:52 pm
Location: New England (U.S.)

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby Freedomforall » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:40 pm

Well said Crfriend!
User avatar
Freedomforall
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 278
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:00 pm

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby Sinned » Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:49 am

Charlie, I saw that programme, and the first one, and thought exactly the same thing when he was going on about clothes. He didn't touch on harmonising the clothing and demonstrating that the boys could wear exactly the same as the girls and that would include the skirts. You are right that that step would have possibly been one step beyond what he was trying to demonstrate. Interesting experiment though. Good points raised about emotions and the boys' inability to find enough or the right words to describe what they were feeling with the one exception being anger. And that brings in the points Carl was making.
I believe in offering every assistance short of actual help but then mainly just want to be left to be myself in all my difference and uniqueness.
User avatar
Sinned
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 2925
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:28 pm
Location: York, England

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby crfriend » Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:03 am

Sinned wrote:Good points raised about emotions and the boys' inability to find enough or the right words to describe what they were feeling with the one exception being anger.

At issue here is that guys tend to be taught that emotion equates to weakness so they tend to suppress it. This, in turn, leads to the mentality that "If something feels strange, give it a good thumping." -- when, in fact, emotion should be paid heed to because emotions have meaning. One needs a balance if one is going to remain mentally healthy. The saddest thing is that we as a culture have brought this upon ourselves, and it's turned us into monsters.
Retrocomputing -- It's not just a job, it's an adventure!
User avatar
crfriend
Master Barista
 
Posts: 9263
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:52 pm
Location: New England (U.S.)

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby renesm1 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:11 am

Sinned wrote:Charlie, I saw that programme, and the first one, and thought exactly the same thing when he was going on about clothes. He didn't touch on harmonising the clothing and demonstrating that the boys could wear exactly the same as the girls and that would include the skirts. You are right that that step would have possibly been one step beyond what he was trying to demonstrate. Interesting experiment though. Good points raised about emotions and the boys' inability to find enough or the right words to describe what they were feeling with the one exception being anger. And that brings in the points Carl was making.


Yeah, it's funny how these experiments never deal with clothing. Why is that?
Please visit http://www.absolutegadget.com for the latest gadgets and games news and reviews
renesm1
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 522
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:16 pm

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby Stu » Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:06 pm

I am not a fan of the present fad for trying to erase sex and gender differences. There are two biological sexes and even the tiny proportion of people who have characteristics both sexes because of some genetic or other physiological abnormality can normally be accurately classified as male or female. Gender, in terms of masculinity and femininity, mostly aligns with biological sex, so males have what we regard as masculine traits and females have feminine ones. How we define masculinity and femininity is a mixture of both nature and nurture. The nature aspect is influenced by factors such as hormones and possibly even embedded and poorly-understood brain structures. These tend to affect preferences (like toy preferences in infants, which appears to have anthropological origins) and behaviour (as in competitiveness, cooperativeness etc, which are recognised as being influenced by biological sex). Nurture is largely influenced by the prevailing cultural norms and traditions.

So there are boys and there are girls - children are not "unisex" or "gender neutral". What we do need to do is be both flexible enough to be able to deal with individuals who display traits outside of the general gender expectations (like a boy who wants to play with dolls) and, at the same time, dismantle artificial barriers (like skirts being exclusively for females).
Stu
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 552
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 8:25 am
Location: Sweden

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby Sinned » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:04 pm

Stu, this was the second of a two-parter and the gist of the programme was not to homogenise the differences in sex but to bring into balance the extremes of social conditioning as regards to gender. Pink for girls and blue for boys is rather an extreme example. But it was also to bring into perspective their attitudes to gender in terms of the messages we send out. Occupations were chosen - car mechanic, ballet dancer, makeup technician and so on were chosen and the boys and girls were asked to draw pictures of the people who would do those professions. Without exception these drawings followed the typical lines as regards to sex - mechanic, man, makeup technician woman and so on. People of the opposite perceived notion were brought in - a woman mechanic for example to show the boys and girls that any occupation could be open to either sex. So the emphasis was upon notions and attitudes more than erasing differences in sex. Perhaps that's why skirts for boys never entered into the equation. Fir clothing T-shirts with messages on them were shown to emphasise that the messages on them reinforced the extremes of gender. At the end of the programme it was shown that there was an increase in confidence in the girls and a reduced level of causing trouble from the boys for examples. It left food for thought and the results of the experiment was being submitted to the Department of Education.

The only failure, if you can call it that, was changing the toilets to unisex. Whilst the boys weren't so bothered the girls seemed to be. One girl's comment was that she didn't know if the boys would lift the seat up and be clean or whether the boys would wash their hands afterwards. So maybe it wasn't the sharing so much as hygiene that was at issue. Maybe this aspect would take a little longer to settle in. I remember when at Primary school one of the games the girls used to play was to capture a boy and drag them into the girl's toilets and pull their pants/shorts down. A game that would definitely be on the naughty list now. Interestingly the reverse never happened - the girls wore dresses or skirts and we boys knew that to try to pull their knickers down would have definitely been a disciplinary issue, but fall short of being placed on the sex offenders register.
I believe in offering every assistance short of actual help but then mainly just want to be left to be myself in all my difference and uniqueness.
User avatar
Sinned
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 2925
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:28 pm
Location: York, England

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby Stu » Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:26 pm

Sinned - having not seen the programme myself, I was only able to comment on what I read about it.

To be honest, I am very suspicious of programmes such as this as they seem to me to be indulging in social engineering. The idea that there shouldn't be gender roles seems to have become hegemonic these days, but I would challenge that. Why shouldn't there be gender roles? It only becomes an issue for me if some individual wishes to step outside of the roles and is prevented or inhibited from doing so. There is a lot of research which shows that a greater proportion of males have an inclination towards object-based interests - like cars - and this appears to be nature-based. Similarly, an interest in dolls and nurturing appears to appeal to females in far greater numbers than males. Some of this research stems from observing non-human primates including chimpanzees, vervet monkeys and rhesus monkeys. Women tend to choose people-oriented occupations and again, from my own research field (linguistics) there is evidence to suggest women are cooperative in interaction and exhibit empathy more readily than males whho are more problem oriented. So, while girls can choose to train as mechanics the reality is that a far greater proportion of boys than girls will opt for that if given a free choice, and the converse is true for occupations such as nursing and primary school teaching. So long as we accommodate the dissenters, e.g. the girl who wants to be a bricklayer and the boy who wants to be a beautician, then we have achieved equality.

The pink/blue dichotomy is interesting, too. For small children, these are quite simply semiotics consciously or unconsciously applied by parents. A woman has a baby and the first question asked when others find out is whether it is a boy or a girl. When the child is meeting others, it is important for parents to signal the child's sex so that friends, neighbours, colleagues etc will not accidentally misgender the infant, which is a source of embarrassment. Similarly, clothes are bought for a small child often as gifts and some means of acknowledging the sex of the child by the choice of garment and colours is traditional. Once the child is past the toddler stage, this mostly ceases to be an issue, so you can buy a girl a blue sweater and a boy a pink one. I think the colours we choose for babies and toddlers is of little consequence.

Where there is a concern for me is the notion that such elemental garments as skirts and dresses are appropriated as being the sole preserve of one sex, the female sex and thus signifiers of femininity and, in the process, masively limiting the choices of the other 50% of the population. We have a situation in an era of supposed equality in which females have virtually unlimited clothing options while males have a very narrow range, and hardly anyone is willing to challenge that - except us!
Stu
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 552
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 8:25 am
Location: Sweden

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby Sinned » Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:13 am

Stu, while what you have said may be true what came from the programme was how rigid the gender roles, emphasised by the occupation test, were set in their minds. I think what he was trying to do was to open up the gender discussion and make them realise that there were roles outside of their fixed ideas of what is suitable for each gender. You would have to see the programme to appreciate what I am saying. BTW the programme was on again last night - maybe you can catch it up on iplayer.
I believe in offering every assistance short of actual help but then mainly just want to be left to be myself in all my difference and uniqueness.
User avatar
Sinned
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 2925
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:28 pm
Location: York, England

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby Disaffected.citizen » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:44 pm

Sinned wrote:Stu, while what you have said may be true what came from the programme was how rigid the gender roles, emphasised by the occupation test, were set in their minds. I think what he was trying to do was to open up the gender discussion and make them realise that there were roles outside of their fixed ideas of what is suitable for each gender. You would have to see the programme to appreciate what I am saying. BTW the programme was on again last night - maybe you can catch it up on iplayer.

I don't think the BBC iPlayer works for non-UK internet access point. If I'm wrong, no doubt somebody will correct me.
Disaffected.citizen
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 422
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:16 am
Location: UK

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby pelmut » Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:59 am

Stu wrote:..So there are boys and there are girls - children are not "unisex" or "gender neutral". What we do need to do is be both flexible enough to be able to deal with individuals who display traits outside of the general gender expectations (like a boy who wants to play with dolls) and, at the same time, dismantle artificial barriers (like skirts being exclusively for females).

Reality is a spectrum but sometimes there may be reasons to draw an arbitrary dividing line and think of it as binary. That is not particularly harmful as long as the underlying truth is not forgotten and the binary model is recognised as artificial. Unfortunately we have been taught the opposite for most of our lives, most people still believe sex and gender are binary because this is what they have been taught and it is being reinforced by language, religion and commerce every day.

The real damage is done when the artificial model is used to control real people and tell them that they must do this or can't do that because someone has decided that they are on a particular side of an arbitrary dividing line. Society then goes on to exact a heavy penalty for failure to conform to its false view of reality.
There is no such thing as a normal person, only someone you don't know very well yet.
pelmut
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 712
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:36 am
Location: Somerset, England

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby Stu » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:22 pm

Sinned.

I'll try to watch it. I'm not sure if I can get iPlayer to work as I am outside the UK. :(
Stu
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 552
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 8:25 am
Location: Sweden

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby Stu » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:41 pm

pelmut wrote:Reality is a spectrum but sometimes there may be reasons to draw an arbitrary dividing line and think of it as binary. That is not particularly harmful as long as the underlying truth is not forgotten and the binary model is recognised as artificial. Unfortunately we have been taught the opposite for most of our lives, most people still believe sex and gender are binary because this is what they have been taught and it is being reinforced by language, religion and commerce every day.

The real damage is done when the artificial model is used to control real people and tell them that they must do this or can't do that because someone has decided that they are on a particular side of an arbitrary dividing line. Society then goes on to exact a heavy penalty for failure to conform to its false view of reality.


Sorry, but I don't buy into the notion that the binary model is artificial. To make sense of the world, humans categorise. We have to do that and a part of our brain is set up for that purpose. Of course, categories are often imperfect so, while we may class a bird as a creature capable of flight, we can entertain the notion that there are exceptions - such as ostriches and penguins - but that doesn't completely invalidate the category. Put simply, a person is genetically male if they have a Y-chromosome and they are not if they don't. Now I am aware of the exceptions to this rule, such as de la Chappelle's Syndrome and Swyer Syndrome - and there may be others, but these are genetic disorders and the classification holds for well over 99% of human beings. Gender, as in masculinity/femininity is a matter of gradation, but the clustering normally follows the male/female dichotomy, so males are mostly masuline and females are mostly feminine.

What is needed isn't some kind of declaration that the notion of sex as a binary is artificial as that is an absurdity. While such a view may be popular among postmodernist thinkers, it is both scientifically questionable and contrary to the experiences of millions of ordinary people. Rather, what is needed is a greater toleration and acceptance of exceptions. How would that work in practice? Well, just consider a male who is particularly feminine. The first question that would arise is why we consider the particular signifiers to be exclusively feminine? That's where people like us come in and assert that there is nothing inherently feminine about a skirt, for example: it is simply a piece of cloth and its association with females is cultural rather than logical and, as such, arbitrary. In other words, we are reclaiming things which have been appropriated and which we can now insist are reclassified as non-gendered. However, where someone - in this case a male - decided to behave in a way that was overtly and intentionally feminine, such as by selecting a complete set of feminine signifiers (i.e. fully crossdressed) then, while that ceases to be a matter of interest to us here at skirtcafe, we can still extend tolerance and accept the individual. If, however, we pursue your notion of there being no binary, then we have dispensed with the categories and, by so doing, we are denying that individual the desire he has to be identified as feminine. Do we really want to do that?
Stu
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 552
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 8:25 am
Location: Sweden

Re: No more boys andgirls

Postby Caultron » Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:05 pm

Stu wrote:...What is needed isn't some kind of declaration that the notion of sex as a binary is artificial as that is an absurdity....Rather, what is needed is a greater toleration and acceptance of exceptions...

I don't think many would disagree that most individuals congregate around the endpoints. The issue is about those who don't, call them what you will, and about whether to force them to a preconceived endpoint,
Courage, conviction, nerve, verve, dash, panache, guts, nuts, balls, gall, élan, stones, whatever. Get some and get skirted.

caultron
User avatar
Caultron
Member Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 3845
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:12 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Next

Return to In the News / Advocacy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Linkdex [Bot] and 1 guest