radical parenting

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lumpnboy
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May 1 2007 15:11
radical parenting

I wanted to raise the topic of parenting by revolutionaries in 21st century capitalism for a couple of reasons.

Firstly to see if there are people interested in discussing questions of "child rearing" in a serious way. The vast bulk of available material is inherently conservative in its relationship to questions of gender, identity, family and conformity, so much so that the works of a left-liberal like Kaz Cooke look good by comparison when they really shouldn't. "Alternative" material is, to be crude, often hippie crap. But there has been a history of thought and action in relation to children, by anarchists, communists and other radicals, that might be helpful in considering what might be worth trying now.

Secondly, as one of three people attempting to raise a child together, I don't know many parents who are interested in engaging with these issues, in theory or practice. Thus I hoped that by raising this topic I/we might be able to get in contact with others, who could at least share their thoughts and experiences and maybe have some more substantial involvement in projects of child rearing not founded on reproducing dominant sit-com fantasies.

Anyone interested?

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daniel
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May 1 2007 17:37

I don't really see why raising kids should be seen as political or something. Like, if you want, teach them radical history (Joe Hill, Makhno etc. make good stories), bring them up singing Wob songs. Plus, see if you can get them singing The International from an early age. I suffer cos I was kept on a strict diet of Wob songs and now can't get the tune or get past the first verse of The International. grin

But if I was raising kids I'd avoid "radical" kids stories ("anarchy farm", some book Subcommandante Marcos wrote, etc). Other no-nos - no pictures of Kropotkin hung above the cradle (I once heard about some Trot couple wh had their kids say good night to the picture of 'Comrade Lenin'). No black-n-red bibs. No making fairy tales such as Little Red Ridinghood and the Big Bad Wolf into Joe Proletariat and the Big Bad Bolshevik. hand

Best of luck with the raising kids thing. (*snickers evily*)

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thugarchist
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May 1 2007 18:55

a-parenting at lists.mutualaid dot org

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thugarchist
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May 1 2007 19:26

http://www.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=13540

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fnbrill
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May 1 2007 20:38

I've got two teens. I can't say there's really a "radical" parenting other than allowing them the room to discover themselves. But don't hide your beliefs, be open to them challenging you and never push your politics on them. They have their own lives and desires.

My 13 y/o boy came up a couple of weeks ago and asked if I knew that the IWW had a famous songbook. They had talked about it in school. So I got to talk about the IWW, how his great-grandpa had been a hobo and IWW organizer, what the songs were about, etc. I could see him absorbing the information.

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JoeMaguire
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May 1 2007 22:31
daniel wrote:
I don't really see why raising kids should be seen as political or something. Like, if you want, teach them radical history (Joe Hill, Makhno etc. make good stories), bring them up singing Wob songs. Plus, see if you can get them singing The International from an early age. I suffer cos I was kept on a strict diet of Wob songs and now can't get the tune or get past the first verse of The International. grin

Daniel I think you missed the point, somewhat, education like most things in society is hierarchical, giving children space to develop can resist certain trends which are pushed on us. Things like gender ideology and competitiveness, also theres the wider issue of what motivates learning, is it curiculms or developing childrens curiosity?

Good luck lumpnboy, Id be up for it, but I dont have any kids...yet wink

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georgestapleton
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May 1 2007 22:34
tsiatko wrote:
I've got two teens. I can't say there's really a "radical" parenting other than allowing them the room to discover themselves. But don't hide your beliefs, be open to them challenging you and never push your politics on them. They have their own lives and desires.

My 13 y/o boy came up a couple of weeks ago and asked if I knew that the IWW had a famous songbook. They had talked about it in school. So I got to talk about the IWW, how his great-grandpa had been a hobo and IWW organizer, what the songs were about, etc. I could see him absorbing the information.

Very very cool

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Lazy Riser
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May 1 2007 23:54
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gender ideology and competitiveness

Competing for girls rocks. Seriously. If there's no bikini jelly wrestling it ain't a revolution.

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daniel
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May 2 2007 02:59
october_lost wrote:
daniel wrote:
I don't really see why raising kids should be seen as political or something. Like, if you want, teach them radical history (Joe Hill, Makhno etc. make good stories), bring them up singing Wob songs. Plus, see if you can get them singing The International from an early age. I suffer cos I was kept on a strict diet of Wob songs and now can't get the tune or get past the first verse of The International. grin

Daniel I think you missed the point, somewhat, education like most things in society is hierarchical, giving children space to develop can resist certain trends which are pushed on us. Things like gender ideology and competitiveness, also theres the wider issue of what motivates learning, is it curiculms or developing childrens curiosity?

Sounds like some hippy rhetoric to me. practically speaking what does that mean - that parents should give their little girls toy guns as well as the boys? Maybe. but as far as I've seen little girls like playing with dolls and stuff and little boys like playing with toy guns - not always, but generally speaking. maybe that's sexist or something, but I'm just saying what I see and hear. Just because the instincts of little kids of different genders are different doesn't make some "better" than others. I think it's a load of bollocks trying to deny the differences between the genders.

"hierarchical education"? Well, as Bakunin said, when you're talking about shoes you submit to the authority of the cobbler. When you're talking about maths junior had better listen to teacher or he isn't going to get very far, is he?

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fnbrill
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May 2 2007 04:16
daniel wrote:
Sounds like some hippy rhetoric to me. practically speaking what does that mean - that parents should give their little girls toy guns as well as the boys? Maybe. but as far as I've seen little girls like playing with dolls and stuff and little boys like playing with toy guns - not always, but generally speaking. maybe that's sexist or something, but I'm just saying what I see and hear. Just because the instincts of little kids of different genders are different doesn't make some "better" than others. I think it's a load of bollocks trying to deny the differences between the genders.

For the most part I completely agree. Problems happen when your 4 y/o boy decides he's a girl and only wears dresses,etc. That's why its important for them to be free to be themselves.

Thora
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May 2 2007 09:59
daniel wrote:
[Sounds like some hippy rhetoric to me. practically speaking what does that mean - that parents should give their little girls toy guns as well as the boys? Maybe. but as far as I've seen little girls like playing with dolls and stuff and little boys like playing with toy guns - not always, but generally speaking. maybe that's sexist or something, but I'm just saying what I see and hear. Just because the instincts of little kids of different genders are different doesn't make some "better" than others. I think it's a load of bollocks trying to deny the differences between the genders.

Is there really an 'instinct' to play with certain toys? Are boys naturally more agressive and girls naturally more caring?

daniel wrote:
hierarchical education"? Well, as Bakunin said, when you're talking about shoes you submit to the authority of the cobbler. When you're talking about maths junior had better listen to teacher or he isn't going to get very far, is he?

Do you think maybe part of the function of school, aside from teaching facts and figures, is to teach conformity and obedience - to prepare children for the capitalist workplace? I would imagine most anarchists would want to teach their children to think independently and question authority. There are also other ways to learn (maybe better ways) than to sit silently and copy equations from a book. I've always thought unschooling was an interesting educational philosophy.

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Tojiah
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May 2 2007 10:42

I found this book, The Underground History of American Education quite interesting and illuminating. Available free online.

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May 2 2007 11:20
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Do you think maybe part of the function of school, aside from teaching facts and figures, is to teach conformity and obedience

Sort of. No doubt, as Pallis and Reich point out, the family and other structures we experience in childhood serve to ensure the reproduction of the prevailing order. Indeed, Reich suggested that a revolutionary organisation only need offer the young the opportunity to live independently from parental discipline to be assured of their support. However, the reactionary nature of these institutions have more to do with the middle class values proffered by the parents and teachers rather than the structures per se. I mean, the schools where I live don’t do much of job teaching conformity and obedience to working class kids with dysfunctional parents, unless by “conformity and obedience” one means doing drugs, fucking like rutting pigs, shop lifting and baiting coppers.

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May 2 2007 11:37
Lazy Riser wrote:
I mean, the schools where I live don’t do much of job teaching conformity and obedience to working class kids with dysfunctional parents, unless by “conformity and obedience” one means doing drugs, fucking like rutting pigs, shop lifting and baiting coppers.

Let's go over that, shall we?
Doing drugs: individualist escapism, does not challenge prevailing order.
Fucking like rutting pigs (or, rather "laissez-faire sexual activities", as you put it before editing): without proper protection encourages the spread of diseases which cement dependence on state apparatus of prevailing order, and causes early pregnancies supplying hostages to prevailing order.
Shoplifting: individualistic, does not challenge prevailing order.
Baiting coppers: individualistic and self-destructive, does not challenge prevailing order.

There are many ways to diffuse dissent, one of them is to foster misdirected rebellion which will burn it out without hurting the establishment.

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May 2 2007 11:53
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Let's go over that, shall we?

Yes let’s. It’s about time you were given a proper seeing too. Firstly, misbehaving challenges the prevailing order, regardless. Just because you see the results as bad doesn’t mean “they want us to do it” and are utilising some bizarre form of reverse psychology. Secondly, individualist escapism seriously rocks and anyone who thinks otherwise should just fuck off. Finally, whilst losers and inadequates will always moan that this-or-that hedonistic rebellion just plays into the hands of the middle classes, the “permissive society” is part of the grand undoing of capitalism, as per Pallis’ “The Irrational in Politics”, which I suggest one digests before calling me out on these matters. Oh and finally-finally, the wish to “hurt the establishment” is an example of precisely the middle class values I refer too. The point is to positively develop a system of production and power, I couldn’t care less whether the bourgeoisie are hurt in the process or not. That’s up to them.

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daniel
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May 2 2007 14:32
tsiatko wrote:
daniel wrote:
Sounds like some hippy rhetoric to me. practically speaking what does that mean - that parents should give their little girls toy guns as well as the boys? Maybe. but as far as I've seen little girls like playing with dolls and stuff and little boys like playing with toy guns - not always, but generally speaking. maybe that's sexist or something, but I'm just saying what I see and hear. Just because the instincts of little kids of different genders are different doesn't make some "better" than others. I think it's a load of bollocks trying to deny the differences between the genders.

For the most part I completely agree. Problems happen when your 4 y/o boy decides he's a girl and only wears dresses,etc. That's why its important for them to be free to be themselves.

Yeah, I agree. Gender roles should not be enforced, but they shouldn't be suppressed.

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daniel
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May 2 2007 14:42
Thora wrote:
Is there really an 'instinct' to play with certain toys? Are boys naturally more agressive and girls naturally more caring?

Yup.

Quote:
Do you think maybe part of the function of school, aside from teaching facts and figures, is to teach conformity and obedience - to prepare children for the capitalist workplace?

Well sure, everything can be abused, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. early education is "hierarchical" by definition. Young kids do not have the maturity to self-direct their learning. Teachers should get a feel for their interests of course, but they're still the ones who are on the one hand the adult and on the other hand the teacher.

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I would imagine most anarchists would want to teach their children to think independently and question authority.

Sure. But there's a difference between a healthily skeptical mind and a stupid knee-jerk reaction against every percieved authority. Kids should learn to be respectful. What is this world coming to? Kids are growing up thinking parents are servants to be bossed around and buy them stuff. Anti-social crime is a product of that. Self-centered little sods with no respect and no thought for others.

Quote:
There are also other ways to learn (maybe better ways) than to sit silently and copy equations from a book. I've always thought unschooling was an interesting educational philosophy.

I think unschooling is appropriate for older kids perhaps, tho I don't know too much about it.

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May 2 2007 17:05

I think you have strayed off the mark a bit. While were not talking about surpressing boys who choose to be competitive, what about the girls who want to do the same and boys who want to do the exact opposite? Without so much as questioning it, most people give girls prams, tea sets and dolls and boys trucks, cars and army regalia. This is patriarchy and gender ideology pure and simple. We should let young people develop their own methods of play.

In terms of teaching/learning, the idea is to germinate interest so the pupil will make life learning an ambition. If teaching is monotonous and focused on ticking boxes set by the Local Education Authority then there is nothing personal or indeed focused about what is being learnt. Instead state schools are always driven with the compulsion of churning out good factory fodder, so all methods of authority are imposed and individuality weeded out. Most forms of social and collective knowledge are rendered completely useless at the school gates.

And kids shouldnt be respectful, respect is earned. Co-operation is the cornerstone of our species and our existence, most of the ailments you describe are a break down of this trend under a society driven by the market and individual values. You simply cant instill respect, to do so means you have to use authoritarian means.

Thora
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May 2 2007 17:07
daniel wrote:
Thora wrote:
Is there really an 'instinct' to play with certain toys? Are boys naturally more agressive and girls naturally more caring?

Yup.

I disagree with you - there's nothing inherent about boys wanting to play war and girls wanting to play princess. We teach children appropriate gender roles from the moment they're born. Girls are expected to be gentle, quiet and calm, boys are expected to be boisterous and physical. A little boy who loves his baby doll, or pretty pink dress, is quickly taught by the reactions of adults and his peers that his behaviour isn't appropriate. The gender differences between small children are negligible.

Of course that's not to say girls should be made to play with cars and boys with dolls - but I would think that radical parenting would include raising children in an environment where they are not expected to behave in gender-appropriate ways.

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daniel
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May 2 2007 18:01
october_lost wrote:
I think you have strayed off the mark a bit. While were not talking about surpressing boys who choose to be competitive, what about the girls who want to do the same and boys who want to do the exact opposite? Without so much as questioning it, most people give girls prams, tea sets and dolls and boys trucks, cars and army regalia. This is patriarchy and gender ideology pure and simple. We should let young people develop their own methods of play.

No. I wouldn't by my little girl a toy gun cos most likely she wouldn't enjoy it. I'd buy her a doll. If she hated her doll and wanted to play with guns like the little boys - great. But most of the time that's not what's going to happen. "Patriarchy" "gender ideology" - I don't know anything about that. Tell it to Maggy Thatcher and Condaleesa Rice.

Quote:
In terms of teaching/learning, the idea is to germinate interest so the pupil will make life learning an ambition. If teaching is monotonous and focused on ticking boxes set by the Local Education Authority then there is nothing personal or indeed focused about what is being learnt. Instead state schools are always driven with the compulsion of churning out good factory fodder, so all methods of authority are imposed and individuality weeded out. Most forms of social and collective knowledge are rendered completely useless at the school gates.

But kids can't get interested in something if they don't know about it, can they? If they're just mucking around all day they aren't going to find out about many, many, many fascinating, necessary-to-know things.

Quote:
And kids shouldnt be respectful, respect is earned.

No. They should respect their parents and others as par for the course. I believe spanking is the normally prescribed alternative.

Quote:
Co-operation is the cornerstone of our species and our existence, most of the ailments you describe are a break down of this trend under a society driven by the market and individual values. You simply cant instill respect, to do so means you have to use authoritarian means.

I think there's a huge element of that, but also the fact is, kids are growing up to be self-centered, anti-social little wanks with no respect for no one. When I see kids on skateboards running some old granny off the pavement I know that isn't right. Parents are slogging their guts out so kids can have a new pair of clothes, or a playstation, or a personal TV, or all this shit. No one is respectful to their elders anymore neither.

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Joseph Kay
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May 2 2007 18:33
every generation wrote:
No one is respectful to their elders anymore neither.
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May 2 2007 21:36
tojiah wrote:
Fucking like rutting pigs (or, rather "laissez-faire sexual activities", as you put it before editing): without proper protection encourages the spread of diseases which cement dependence on state apparatus of prevailing order, and causes early pregnancies supplying hostages to prevailing order.

I thought you were into queer politics and you are telling people when and when not to, how and how not to have sex!!!!

Cop yourself on.

john
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May 2 2007 21:39

does this stuff daniel is posting count as flaming?

because it's utter shit - especially the stuff about gender roles.

Step 1 - be a total gender bigot

Step 2 - ensure that own children internalize gender roles

Step 3 - witness own children conform to the gender roles that parent/role-model has strongly pressured conformity towards and present as evidence that gender roles are 'natural'.

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May 2 2007 22:15
georgestapleton wrote:
tojiah wrote:
Fucking like rutting pigs (or, rather "laissez-faire sexual activities", as you put it before editing): without proper protection encourages the spread of diseases which cement dependence on state apparatus of prevailing order, and causes early pregnancies supplying hostages to prevailing order.

I thought you were into queer politics and you are telling people when and when not to, how and how not to have sex!!!!

Cop yourself on.

Oh, shove it! Ignore how the underclass are being bereft of decent sexual education (I know that's what's happening in the US), thus making sure that sexual liberty becomes a disease vector, why don't you! Or how premature pregnancies keep underclass women firmly in the underclass!

I hope people have as much gratifying and non-hetero-normal sex as they want (I know I'm going to!), I just think it might be prudent that they know how not to catch hepatitis, and that there are no real "safe days."

john
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May 2 2007 22:36
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premature pregnancies keep underclass women firmly in the underclass!

personally I blame Warren Buffet and the Walmart family, but if premature pregnancies seems like a viable explanation to you ...

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daniel
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May 2 2007 22:51
john wrote:
does this stuff daniel is posting count as flaming?

No I don't think so. Just because you don't agree with something doesn't mean it's flaming.

Quote:
because it's utter shit - especially the stuff about gender roles.

Indeed.

Quote:
Step 1 - be a total gender bigot

Step 1 - back that the fuck up roll eyes

Quote:
Step 2 - ensure that own children internalize gender roles

step 2 - don't be a daft hippy with no grasp on reality.

Quote:
Step 3 - witness own children conform to the gender roles that parent/role-model has strongly pressured conformity towards and present as evidence that gender roles are 'natural'.

step 3 - realise that there are genetic differences between males and females and that there is nothing wrong with that as difference does not imply better or worse. as is bleedingly obvious.

-cheers

john
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May 2 2007 22:54

ok - gender bigot was a bit harsh, but I was just interested in whether you actually meant what you said, or were simply trying to start a fight.

Seeing as you seem to be taking this seriously, are you saying that differences between genders are genetically produced, or socially, or both, or neither?

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May 2 2007 23:12

I'm not a gender bigot, no wink I'm pro women's lib but anti-feminism. I don't start fights for the hell of it. That'd be daft.

The differences between the genders are biological and social, I'd say. The fact is, women are the one's who bare children and have many genetic mothering instincts. Men are more agressive and without as many child-rearing instincts. Of course, that's just general, and the fact that we are humans means we can modify our behavior. Nowadays we can move beyond narrow gender roles. Women don't have to have kids. Neither do men. Males can work on overcoming agressiveness. Women don't have to be passive.

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May 2 2007 23:25
Quote:
Without so much as questioning it, most people give girls prams, tea sets and dolls and boys trucks, cars and army regalia. This is patriarchy and gender ideology pure and simple.

On the contrary, we are increasingly inclined to question the messages sent to children through toys. I think it’s safe to say it’s down to the child’s own preference, rather than the wishes of the parent. For what it’s worth though, males and females do tend towards different psycho-sexual configurations by biological predilection. Their toys are no doubt designed to appeal to common-place infantile fantasies, it’s hardly a secret that boys get a thrill from violent gore and combat glory that is generally (although not universally) unshared by their sisters.

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May 2 2007 23:47
Quote:
Nowadays we can move beyond narrow gender roles. Women don't have to have kids. Neither do men. Males can work on overcoming agressiveness. Women don't have to be passive.

I get where you're coming from: in general, there's obvious differences between biological males and females, right? But your view is still too essentialist for my liking - males are essentially violent, women essentially passive. So what you get is men having to "get over" their aggressiveness, rather than a realisation that behaviour is contextual. What you're missing is a framework that conceptualises changing roles . For instance, how do explain why has there been an explosion in the number of female boxers recently?

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daniel
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May 2 2007 23:57
Thora wrote:
daniel wrote:
Thora wrote:
Is there really an 'instinct' to play with certain toys? Are boys naturally more agressive and girls naturally more caring?

Yup.

I disagree with you - there's nothing inherent about boys wanting to play war and girls wanting to play princess. We teach children appropriate gender roles from the moment they're born. Girls are expected to be gentle, quiet and calm, boys are expected to be boisterous and physical. A little boy who loves his baby doll, or pretty pink dress, is quickly taught by the reactions of adults and his peers that his behaviour isn't appropriate. The gender differences between small children are negligible.

Hmm... seems far feetched to me. The fact that women are biologically suited for raising young would strongly suggest they'd be mentally suited for raising young too, wouldn't it?

Quote:
Of course that's not to say girls should be made to play with cars and boys with dolls - but I would think that radical parenting would include raising children in an environment where they are not expected to behave in gender-appropriate ways.

But what does that mean exactly?

jason wrote:
I get where you're coming from: in general, there's obvious differences between biological males and females, right? But your view is still too essentialist for my liking - males are essentially violent, women essentially passive.

I'd say we're hard wired with certain boundaries and possibilities. We can shift around all over the place within those genetic parameters though. There are violent tendencies in males, and there are passive tendencies in females. "tendencies" being the key word.

Quote:
So what you get is men having to "get over" their aggressiveness, rather than a realisation that behaviour is contextual. What you're missing is a framework that conceptualises changing roles . For instance, how do explain why has there been an explosion in the number of female boxers recently?

Good point but as i said, I'm talking about general tendencies here. There's a lot of flexibility. That's the human condition, I'd say.