Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Values?

From: Richard Berlin <>
Date: Mon Apr 12 01:58:00 2004

> Joe, on the issue of culturally influenced gender behavior you and I
> will have to agree to disagree...there is a whole conversation there I
> would love to have but writing it all out is rather daunting to me. I
> do know that I hear of studies from time to time that do indicate a
> bias. Such as putting a pink or blue bow on the same infant's head
> and asking folks to hold it and observing their very different
> reactions depending on whether they think it is a girl or a boy, such
> as cooing to girls and throwing up and down and bouncing boys. Etc.
> etc.

I learned years ago about one particular bias--people tend to smile
much less at boy babies--and started going out of my way to smile at
boys. :-) I am quite confident that my wife and I treated our boy
baby with the same warmth and kindness that most people show to
girls. (Ditto our nephew in San Francisco, with the two mommies.)

     They're both *ragingly* boyish.

(Although mine is often initially mistaken for a girl because of
the long curly hair that he doesn't want cut or ponytailed.)

For awhile we wondered what we were doing wrong. But my
son's participatory preschool has allowed me to see a whole
slew of kids, not just my own, and to also observe what each
child's parents are bringing to the party.

After an evening lecture about gender differences that was
presented at our son's preschool, we started reading ("Raising
Boys" by Steve Biddulph, and "The Wonder of Boys" by Michael
Gurian). There we found documentation of these strange "male"
behaviors that our son wasn't learning from us. There's ample
reason not to box someone in based on gender, which is what
I think is objectionable about giving children gender-assigned
access to only certain kinds of toys or treating them in
disparate ways. But the idea that gender is primarily socially
constructed (the leading theory in the mid-eighties when
I last had access to classes in Feminist Studies) is now
on the verge of crumbling under the weight of scientific
studies which were designed to prove the theory and
consistently showed the opposite. Boys really *are* wired
differently than girls, from before birth.

-- Rich
Received on Mon Apr 12 2004 - 01:57:06 EDT

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