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VersatileMoTIF
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VersatileMoTIF
posts: 163

I came across this article last year some time and almost cried. I was so impressed that I found the article again so I could use it for my psychology paper. I absolutely love the idea! Gender identification and roles lay behind so many social issues. I’m not saying that you should walk around “genderless” but I think this preschool is nipping many problems in the bud. I cringe when I hear a child say “but boys are supposed to……” or “boys dont play with dolls” or “I’m a girl, girls wear pink. Boys don’t” and other things along those lines. What do you think about this program? Here’s a part of the article here:

“At the “Egalia” preschool, staff avoid using words like “him” or “her” and address the 33 kids as “friends” rather than girls and boys.

From the color and placement of toys to the choice of books, every detail has been carefully planned to make sure the children don’t fall into gender stereotypes.

“Society expects girls to be girlie, nice and pretty and boys to be manly, rough and outgoing,” says Jenny Johnsson, a 31-year-old teacher. “Egalia gives them a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be.”

The taxpayer-funded preschool which opened last year in the liberal Sodermalm district of Stockholm for kids aged 1 to 6 is among the most radical examples of Sweden’s efforts to engineer equality between the sexes from childhood onward.

Breaking down gender roles is a core mission in the national curriculum for preschools, underpinned by the theory that even in highly egalitarian-minded Sweden, society gives boys an unfair edge.

To even things out, many preschools have hired “gender pedagogues” to help staff identify language and behavior that risk reinforcing stereotypes.

Some parents worry things have gone too far. An obsession with obliterating gender roles, they say, could make the children confused and ill-prepared to face the world outside kindergarten."

What do you think?

posted about 2 years ago
tightsandtea
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tightsandtea
posts: 1063

extremes are bad either way—I would hate to be that kid who was raised ‘genderless’ until he was like 12. the premise behind this theory is that acknowledging gender will lead to destructive male/female stereotypes—which I think is too presumptuous. girls should be allowed to play with dolls and wear pink without some paranoia that they’ll turn into prostitutes or housewives. how would these educators react to children who gravitate towards ‘stereotypical’ behavior? I wonder if they’d try to stifle the girl who consistently chooses pink—that would be equally destructive imo.

sticking a child in a bubble isn’t doing him or her any good—and kids will be cruel regardless of whether they’re in a new, trendy education program or not; societal influences come from all different directions. so ultimately I don’t think there’s much to be gained. I had a couple barbies as a kid, but I also had a microscope and books on dinosaurs and whatnot; dressing the way female children typically dress did not negatively impact my life choices, and I fully acknowledge my gender.

they should do some longitudinal observational study comparing those children as adults, to their socioeconomically matched peers—that would be interesting.

posted about 2 years ago
 
VersatileMoTIF
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VersatileMoTIF
posts: 163

Extreme? do you mean extreme as in unorthodox…?? Is it not extreme to raise your girl by giving her a list of things that she’s “supposed” to do because she’s a girl?? I guess not because that’s the norm of society endorsed by those affected by it that don’t even know what REALLY influences their mindset. I don’t think you all understand the bigger picture. I don’t think you’re considering ALL the social stigmas attached to gender roles.This isn’t extreme at all. Strip away all religious and pseudo-scientific influences. What do we REALLY know about females and males…?? This goes far beyond the “his and her” elimination; far beyond the toys they play with. Sure, there’s the nature vs. nurture argument but obviously the childrens parents arent opposed to the preschool if they are allowing the children to attend. I’m sure that the parents have just as much influence on the child as the teacher. The idea that this will “only go so far” is ridiculous. Like I said, it goes far beyond that. It’s not about “if the child chooses to wear pink” it’s more about why. Look around you, male dominance rears its ugly head in almost every aspect of life. The sad part about it is that people or so blinded by the “norm” that they don’t even see it. You all have to look past the surface of what the school is doing. You have to consider its long term effects. I’m a lesbian, black, and atheist. The ridicule I receive has patriarchy written all over it. “Women are supposed to be with men” “there’s nothing a woman can do for another woman” “god created adam and eve”. All this ridicule, if examined closely, stems from gender roles endorsed by religion and again….pseudo-scientific bull. It’s embedded in our society. I think programs like this will have a positive effect on the childrens lives, how they see themselves, their self esteem, and who they encounter as they grow.

posted about 2 years ago
 
JanelleEfe
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JanelleEfe
posts: 397

I want a manly man, not a man that was raised to let me open the doors by myself and work myself down to the bone. I am proud to be a woman, and I fully embrace my womanhood. I want a man that does the same. Raising children with that much tip toeing around gender seems a bit silly…boys are boys, girls are girls.

posted about 2 years ago
 
VersatileMoTIF
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VersatileMoTIF
posts: 163

“manly man”…?? a douche can open a door for a girl. What you just described has NOTHING to do with womanhood. You just implied there’s weakness in womenhood. I’m all woman and I can open my own doors. This is exactly why I was interested in the article. It’s not about banishing gender but GENDER ROLES by focusing on equality between male and females. This is exactly why women will probably stay inferior, in the eyes of society, to men because women endorse the patriarchal behaviors of men. But that’s another story…ugh!!

posted about 2 years ago
 
VersatileMoTIF
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VersatileMoTIF
posts: 163

@borrowed .I’m confused….I wrote you off as religious? or was I making a generalization. I never addressed you as religious. I said “strip away” which wasn’t a statement TOWARD you. Here, in American, patriarchy is still the cultural norm.It’s so deeply embedded in our culture that people don’t even recognize it. I never expressed sexist views.Where are you getting this from? I am aware that the school is in Sweden. I’m expressing the social stigmas in the culture of those in my country. There are also thousands of species of animals that choose same sex life partners (homosexual if you want to say that) but here, in America, it’s still considered taboo in general. I’m studying psychology, I’m well aware that there are biological differences between boys and girls but I also know that many “mannerisms” of boys and girls that are popular and “proven” are nothing but pseudo-scientific findings.

posted about 2 years ago
 
tightsandtea
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tightsandtea
posts: 1063

You misunderstood what I wrote, please read it again without assumptions.

Regarding pseudo-science, I consider the bulk of research in social psychology a pseudo-science. bull**** like the crap you find cited in web articles, low-rated ‘scientific’ journals, magazines like cosmo—“a new study finds that women are this way, men are this way”. utter garbage that people can’t get enough of.

I study psych too :] but that crap makes us all look bad.

posted about 2 years ago
 
AnErin
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AnErin
posts: 123

As you grow up, society wants to indoctrinate you as to how things are suppose to be and how YOU should live your entire life. The template seems to be – graduate high school, go to a 4 year college, work in an office, marry someone, move to the suburbs, have 2.5 kids, a dog, an SUV, and drink lemonade on the front yard on warm days.
The man is suppose to provide, the woman is suppose to stay at home and raise the kids.
It doesn’t matter how men look so much but the woman needs to stay a size 4.

So all this causes a lot of grief for men and women. Some try to conform to their supposed “roles” but fail.

The gender roles, the age roles, and all that never seem to take into consideration that some people want to live as they see fit to be happy.

I think it is good to teach people that they need to find their own ways and truths. If a girl wants to be girly or tomboy’ish, it is fine. If a boy wants to be girly or manly, so be it.
I think trying to totally ignore gender things is not good either, there does need to be balance. Put it out there, let the kids decide who they want to be.

posted about 2 years ago
 
jadekelly
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jadekelly
posts: 38

This is fascinating, I haven’t heard about this before. In theory it is an excellent idea, as you say, a lot of people don’t realise how ingrained enforced gender stereotypes can be. I went to an all girls grammar school, simply because it was the best school in my area, and whilst the teaching was good, it has made me vehemently against single sex schools because of the segregation.

I’ve had discussions about this with my friends from school that I’m still in touch with; we would all consider ourselves feminists but we all have different views on the subject of single sex schools. Three of my friends went on to Cambridge University and two of them in particular say that they thought our single sex education was fantastic because we had no limitations and were made to feel like we could achieve anything, which they found was the complete opposite to Cambridge where they say is a very strong patriarchy and the attitude that women will never achieve what men will.

My view is that our single sex school promoted what I would call a very aggressive and anti progressive type of feminism; not the idea that women are equal to men but that they are better than men. In my view that is completely wrong and it actually turned me against feminism for a few years until I really understood that it is about equality and not superiority, and I also think that that outdated type of feminism is why many young women today turn their back on it, which is really sad. I also just don’t like the fundamental idea of separating children based purely on their gender, it’s not healthy for a plethora of reasons (many of which I have witnessed first hand).

I do agree with the people that say children need an understanding of the biological principles that make us different, but it does need to be approached without any negative implications.

I also think that breaking down gender stereotypes is important for things such as same sex marriages; whenever I meet people who are homophobic I really try and understand why they feel that way. More often than not it boils down to it, in their view, going against the gender stereotypes that have shaped their entire world. It’s not “manly” to have “feminine” interests, for example. If you think about it, gender stereotypes have the power to instill a massive amount of completely unjustified hate in a person. Surely that speaks volumes?

A school like this I am fully behind, but I do think that it has to be orchestrated carefully because on the one hand it needs to be a pioneer in demonstrating how to function without damaging stereotypes, yet it needs to be able to teach the children how to live in what, by the time they leave school, will still be a relatively patriarchal society (although hopefully lesser). They need to make sure it won’t be such a shock to the children as it was to my friends to walk into such a different environment.

I’m really interested to talk with you further on this VersatileMoTIF, I’ve sent you a friend request.

posted about 2 years ago
 
Unsocialite
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Unsocialite
posts: 5

I admire the attempts to break typical gender roles and stereotypes. However, I believe that extremes in either direction are detrimental to the cause.
I find it perfectly acceptable for some girls to prefer wearing pink, frilly dresses and prefer a “man” to do the work around the house. I also find it acceptable (neigh, admirable) for a girl to wear overalls and change the oil in her car. What I deem unacceptable is telling someone what role they “need” to fit into. Everyone is different; for example the “everyday” woman is a myth (some women are plus size, some are muscular, some are thin, etc…).
By creating a “genderless” pre-school, it is detrimental to the children as a whole because society itself is not ready to accept the notion that gender roles are useless. When these children move from one extreme to the other, it creates a culture shock that they are too young to experience. It’s an admirable way to raise children, but it is not realistic—until society can be genderless, we cannot raise children with that idea. Sure, we can change society’s conceptions, but that is for the adults to do.

posted about 2 years ago
 
tightsandtea
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tightsandtea
posts: 1063

^ exactly what I was saying but the poster hellla misinterpreted me and thought I meant I hate gay people or something :|

posted about 2 years ago
 
VersatileMoTIF
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VersatileMoTIF
posts: 163

@AnErin & JadeKelly thanks for actually reading what I said and understanding me as well as both the negative and positive aspects of the issue. I agree with you both.

@NewAmerican I mever misunderstood you. If thats what you were trying to say, you did a terrible job relaying that message. I never said anything about you hating gays. Reread my response please.

@unsocialite Children are our future society(ies). So I dont understand your point.

To everyone, thanks for you input.

posted about 2 years ago
 
tightsandtea
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tightsandtea
posts: 1063

please, it was an exaggeration. I don’t understand the point of generating a discussion on a sensitive issue that isn’t welcome to all opinions. you wrote some angry response that entirely misconstrued even the very first line I wrote—“extreme? do you mean extreme as in unorthodox…?? Is it not extreme to raise your girl by giving her a list of things that she’s “supposed” to do because she’s a girl??”

anyway whatever :]

posted about 2 years ago
 
VersatileMoTIF
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VersatileMoTIF
posts: 163

If I didnt welcome opposing opinions, I wouldnt have posted it & asked “what do you think?”. Nor would I have thanked everyone for their opinion. I never got offended at all. This is what the forum is for. Its ok to oppose respectfully. I also think its important to really think before you respond though.

posted about 2 years ago
 
priscillaraq
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priscillaraq
posts: 899

I was raised up in old fashion traditions and I can still see how this could be a sensitive topic. I personally believe that the morals and beliefs I have grown up with will be with me forever. I get that times have changed and people can express themselves more freely. As for myself and my family, I would like to keep it as “boys will do what boys do” and "girls will be girls’’ type of thing. I have close friends that are on the same boat as this preschool, but that’s not for me. I want my kids to have the amazing, innocent childhood that I did. I also want them to grow up with the same values I did.

posted about 2 years ago
 
obsessed1302
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obsessed1302
posts: 248

I believe that girls can do anything that a boy can do and shouldn’t be afraid to try or go for it. I always encourage my daughter to do stuff that used to be and sometimes is still meant only for boys. Also boys shouldn’t be afraid to show their feelings or be a homemaker :)….for example.
I think that is a great idea what the preschool is doing. Unfortunately society plays a big part in that too and society isn’t as open-minded as I feel it should be in this year.

posted about 2 years ago
 
Terrafirma
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Terrafirma
posts: 76

Nothing to worry about!!!!!!! The progress in Sweden makes things very hopeful, because the cultural conditioning esp. here in u.s. is humiliating and wrong…… I should have been playing chess not barbies……I wanted to be a ballerina and play chess the juxtaposition shouldnt have even been strange……… glad you posted this…….. This is ssoooooo important….. implications of gender limits and boxes is deadly to development

posted almost 2 years ago
 
opfiend
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opfiend
posts: 633

I get tired of hearing kids say. “boys can’t wear earrings or dresses, boys don’t like pink, all girls love pink.” I don’t think there is a problem with letting a girl know that she is a girl and that a boy is a boy but some people take it too far. As far as guys opening doors for girls; I think it should go both ways. Girls shouldn’t expect to be treated like royalty if they don’t show their manners and common courtesy. Ladies first is stupid.

posted almost 2 years ago
 
patlaenz
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patlaenz
posts: 294

gender roles have to banish for good,thats evolution too

posted about 1 year ago
 
itsjojodee
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itsjojodee
posts: 13

I find that this school is being innovative with their education system. Already at birth we are given our gender. If we are born with a vagina parents rush out to buy tiny pink baby clothing and a crib full of princesses, and if it’s a penis we assume the “male colour” blue and are given toy cars. This school is giving children the freedom to determine their own gender. We shouldn’t be secluding children to their gender stereotype if that’s not what they feel like. We should define the title, the title doesn’t define us.

posted about 1 year ago
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