My Late April 13th, DE.

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Martin says, "One might argue that it is through socialization (and the management, negotiation, and resistance of it) that children learn how to operate in gendered structures, learn the repetitive stylized performances that constitute gender, or how to do gender in interaction and how to avoid sanctions for doing wrong (457)."

Gender-neutral child rearing means offering the same opportunities to all your children, regardless of gender. While reading I became curious as to the way one, as a parent, "offers" opportunities. It seems to me that by participating in "offering" any kind of activity whether that activity is most associated with the male or female gender is participating in some kind of socialization of that child. In Free To Be You and Me, William wants a doll, and everyone seems to be against that because having a doll is a female thing. In the end it became okay for William to have said doll because his grandmother who fits into the "older and wiser" socialized stereotype justifies his wish because he will be a father someday, therefore implying that he shouldn't have a doll otherwise. His mother was largely absent in this short clip of his upbringing, which shows a hierarchy in the home because of age and gender between the father, mother, and grandmother. I'm curious as to the effects patriarchy and domestic hierarchy have on raising children in a "gender" neutral state? For instance, how are children supposed to be raised outside their "normal societal" roles if their family looks and acts like the "normal" nuclear family? And if said family tries to interest their male child in Barbies for instance, isn't that it's own kind of socializing? How can Feminists step outside this system and create a new family, instead of perpetuating the old problems?

To kind of tie this up and bring it back to Martin, I noticed that there are so many references to parenting research and advice books, and I've known many a new parent that finds out their first born is on they way and they rush out to the book store to buy a new parenting book. Who writes these? Who approves them for publishing? How could feminists use this area of book sales to spread gender-neutral parenting ideas, and feminist concepts? How might feminist principles be polluted by these books? How might the (mistakenly) interchanged definitions of sex and gender be perpetuated?

I'm sorry this is so late, I've been having major computer problems the last couple of weeks and that's really thrown a wrench in participating in a class that relies on blogging, commenting, and tweeting. Computer problems could be an accessibility issue in terms of using technology to participate in feminist debates.

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It's really interesting that you brought up the idea of using parenting books to introduce the idea of gender neutral parenting, or feminist ideals. I've never considered this as an option. If publishing companies widely began introducing gender-neutral parenting at birth (discourage/change the thinking around blue for boys and pink for girls) maybe it wouldn't be such a huge overhaul of present day "ideals" involving children's gender. Could this method of teaching/writing change the way in which parents socialize their children? I think with time this could be extremely effective: "If the experts/best-selling authors are telling us to consider this, why shouldn't we?"-type of thinking.

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