Growing up Female
This is Jill's post (we're experiencing some technical difficulties):
"Before I read â€śGrowing up Femaleâ€? I expected my experience being policed by white suburban gender norms would stand in stark contrast to the experience of Chicanas as reported by ethnographic findings in Hurtadoâ€™s chapter. As I read, I was surprised by how much I could relate to some Chicana experiences with gender divisions of labor within households and the ways in heterosexuality is upheld as a cultural standard. While I am not one to support the notion of some sort of universal womenâ€™s experience, I appreciate learning how intersecting systems of power affect women in similar ways.
My parentsâ€™ household had a very rigid gendered division of labor that has since shifted now that my father is retired. Like several of the respondentâ€™s in Hurtadoâ€™s chapter, I learned from a very young age to do chores that have been traditionally delegated as â€śfemaleâ€?. Like Soledad (Hurtado 43) I would also say that I had a lot of homework to do in order to avoid cleaning! My own preference for books instead of laundry was rewarded to some extent by my parentsâ€”who would rather see me get good grades and be â€śupwardly mobileâ€? than traditionally gendered (or, ideally, I would be both).
To be sure region also shapes identity and cultural gender norms. Perhaps my experiences as a queer white woman-identified person growing up in my parentâ€™s house has a lot to do also with the Midwest and the fact that my parents have lived in this region all their lives. They are SUPER non-confrontational and very concerned with being nice. Issues of gender identity, sexual preference, sexual practice, and puberty were policed by silence. How stifling! Undoubtedly, my family-specific silencing of sexual expression is wrapped up in maintaining cultural norms of heterosexuality. Similarly, many Chicanaâ€™s families were concerned with upholding the â€ścult of virginityâ€? (61) which perpetuates culturally dominant ideologies about womanhood and female sexuality. "