The Effect Of Gender-Stereotyping Our Kids

The Effect Of Gender-Stereotyping Our KidsA few years ago at my son’s preschool camp award ceremony, I sat silently as well-meaning counselors called each child forward. Girls: best hair, best clothes, best friend, best helper and best artist. Boys: best runner, best climber, best builder and best thrower. My son won best soccer player. In general, girls received awards for their personalities and appearance and boys for their actions and physical attributes.

‘Shape their interactions’

The gender disparity was subtle but present. And then my daughter got her certificate, showing her in a funky orange sweater, tight pants, and holding a bowling ball. Her award — best dressed.

Sometimes, I find the prospect of raising a girl to be terrifying. The forces of patriarchy conspire to render girls weak, subordinate and sexually objectified. When we respond to infants by gendering our speech, strong for boys and lilting for girls, we immediately start to shape their interactions with the world.

‘Closeted and coddled’

The teenage years with the new dangers of sex, alcohol, eating disorders and more will arrive before we know it. I can’t save her from all of this, and anyway we buy into purity culture (the notion that only a father’s constant surveillance can save our daughters) at our peril and the peril of our daughters. Our daughters need to be strong, not closeted and coddled. We have to arm them with the tools to question, resist and change our patriarchal culture.

Our culture constantly projects the message that only appearances matter, and this message is aimed squarely at our children. We can fight this only by working against the grain, resisting gendered language and emphasizing the internal over the external.

Are you also guilty of gender-stereotyping your kids? Do you agree or disagree with this write-up?

Source: David M. Perry, CNN

Image: NY Metro Parents

Iran Growing Desperate Amidst Political Instability

Iran is weak and getting weaker. Sanctions have pushed its economy into a nose-dive. The political system is fractured and fragmenting.

Abroad, its closest ally and the regime of which it is almost the sole supporter – Syria – is itself crumbling. The Persian Gulf monarchies have banded together against Iran and shored up their relations with Washington. Last week, Saudi Arabia closed its largest-ever purchase of U.S. weaponry. Meanwhile, Europe is close to approving even more intense sanctions against Tehran.

The simplest measure of Iran’s strength is its currency. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told parliament recently that the latest sanctions were “the most extensive . . . sanctions ever” and that “this is the heaviest economic onslaught on a nation in history . . . every day, all our banking and trade activities and our agreements are being monitored and blocked.” The price of food staples has soared 40 percent the past few months, Reuters reported this week.

Tehran’s reaction to the prospect of sanctions that affect its oil exports shows its desperation. In recent days, Iran’s vice president  and one of its admirals threatened to block the Straits of Hormuz. But a senior commander of the Revolutionary Guards quickly backtracked, explaining that it would be madness to do so because Iran would suffer more than any country. Blocking the straits would result in a total shutdown of Iran’s exports and imports; with 60 percent of Iran’s economy coming from oil exports, it would bring the government to a standstill.

These public disagreements are part of the Iranian political system’s disarray. The clergy are divided and losing power. Above all of them sit the Revolutionary Guards, who are turning Iran’s theocracy into a quasi-military dictatorship. None of this suggests political stability or strength.


Source: CNN

Image: Israel Matzav