radical parenting

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jason
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May 3 2007 02:02

I sorta see gender roles changing with the economy. So when the single income family became unviable, women had to get a job too to support the household. But once they get their own income, its like "why support the household. Why not do what I want". So under developed capitalism you get declining fertility rates (Australia is not reproducing its population)*. Since child bearing is less encouraged as a role, and nowadays you're sposed to be a skilled, ambitious worker rather than a house wife, the "passivity", etc, etc, seems to be less a makeup of the feminine psych than, say, it was in 1950. So in contexts where economic demands promote child rearing, where gross labor power is at premium (tribalism, feudalsim, early capitalism), we expect the child-rearers to fulfil a relatively specific role. So when you talk about "hard-wired with certain boundaries and possibilities", no doubt a "true" statement on a certain level, is this really a fruitful framework to view the situation given that boundaries and possibilities are far from explored so we don't really know how to conceptualise them? So I don't really get your point about tendencies. Given the opportunity, a lot of women wanna box competively. A lot of guys wanna play computer games and are scared of boxing gyms. The current levels, or ratios, of aggressiveness/passivity between the sexes aren't "natural" or "artificial", they're just what they are in the current context, and we don't really know what they'll be in different contexts.

* I realise this is overly reductionist and deterministic, and that there's all sorts of intertwining causes/effects involved in developed, techno-capitalism.

john
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May 3 2007 09:20

daniel - I completely disagree with you.

I see no evidence that women are pre-programmed to be passive, and men to be competitive.

In fact, this just sounds like so much of the rhetoric that has been used to justify inequalities throughout history - most obviously in the case of colonialism/imperialism

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Lazy Riser
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May 3 2007 09:42
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I see no evidence that women are pre-programmed to be passive, and men to be competitive.

I'm inclined to agree with you john. Indeed, girl’s toys encourage female competition, especially in the sexual and economic spheres. Good thing too.

Thora
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May 3 2007 09:55

.

Thora
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May 3 2007 09:55
daniel wrote:
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?

I'm not sure exactly what "mentally suited for raising young" means tbh.

I've also seen no evidence that their are general differences in temperament between boys and girls, other than that boys are encouraged/allowed to be boisterous, loud, agressive, independent - behaviour that's discouraged in girls. "Boys will be boys" not because nature made them that way, but because society trains them to be that way. If a little girl is bossy or pushy or gets into fights then she is told her behaviour is innappropriate; if a little boy is gentle and quiet and emotional then he's told to toughen up - if it was the other way round no one would bat an eyelid. Boys behave like boys and girls like girls because we expect them to. IME families who expect that girls play with dolls while boys climb trees tend to get kids that conform to those gender roles. Families that are maybe more aware of the way that process works get kids who blur the lines a little more.

daniel wrote:
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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?

On a basic level just being aware of how we shape are children, treat them differently according to gender and inadvertently limit their options.

john
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May 3 2007 09:59
Lazy Riser wrote:
I'm inclined to agree with you john.

good

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daniel
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May 3 2007 17:00
john wrote:
daniel - I completely disagree with you.

blimey.

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I see no evidence that women are pre-programmed to be passive, and men to be competitive.

i'm saying that there are certain biological trends which can tend towards passivity in females and agressiveness in males. males have more adrenaline, etc. the fact remains that humans evolved in circumstances where females stayed back at the cave looking after the kids and men risked life and limb to hunt wooly mammoths and what have you.

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In fact, this just sounds like so much of the rhetoric that has been used to justify inequalities throughout history - most obviously in the case of colonialism/imperialism

Oh really. so you see no difference between males and females. grin So when I say African-descended people have black skin and European-descended people have white skin I'm being racist? When I say some people have blue eyes and some people have green eyes I'm being eye-ist? when I say somebody with one leg can't walk as well as somebody with 2 i'm being leg-ist?

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daniel
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May 3 2007 17:06
Thora wrote:
I've also seen no evidence that their are general differences in temperament between boys and girls, other than that boys are encouraged/allowed to be boisterous, loud, agressive, independent - behaviour that's discouraged in girls. "Boys will be boys" not because nature made them that way, but because society trains them to be that way. If a little girl is bossy or pushy or gets into fights then she is told her behaviour is innappropriate; if a little boy is gentle and quiet and emotional then he's told to toughen up - if it was the other way round no one would bat an eyelid. Boys behave like boys and girls like girls because we expect them to. IME families who expect that girls play with dolls while boys climb trees tend to get kids that conform to those gender roles. Families that are maybe more aware of the way that process works get kids who blur the lines a little more.

People try to suppress gender differences but fail. Why is it that boys have more adrenaline than females, huh? Does the fact that tribes can survive when a majority of males are killed but not a majority of females play into evolution? Does the fact that women bare children and have historically been responsible for raising and protecting them not play into the way we've evolved?

Again, difference does not imply better-or-worse judgment. Just because I'm white and my friend is black doesn't mean one of us is "better" does it? Just because I'm male and my friend is female doesn't mean one of us is "better" either.

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Lazy Riser
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May 3 2007 18:17
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I've also seen no evidence that their are general differences in temperament between boys and girls, other than that boys are encouraged/allowed to be boisterous, loud, agressive, independent - behaviour that's discouraged in girls

Discouraged? I don’t think so, not judging by the entertainment my girls consume. Sassy girls are mainstream sister, get with the beat.

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May 4 2007 00:32
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males have more adrenaline, etc.

Essentialist biology. One of my favourite things.

The things you do more or less dictate levels of adrenaline and testosterone, et. If person A cooks dinner and person B plays 80 minutes of rugby league, person B will have higher levels of hormones, regardless of the sex.

What you're saying actually needs to be confirmed by observations in samples of both sexes doing similar activities. Which, historically is imbalanced between the sexes, but may be changing.

john
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May 4 2007 10:11
daniel wrote:
so you see no difference between males and females. grin So when I say African-descended people have black skin and European-descended people have white skin I'm being racist? When I say some people have blue eyes and some people have green eyes I'm being eye-ist? when I say somebody with one leg can't walk as well as somebody with 2 i'm being leg-ist?

clearly there are biological differences between men and women - my point is that they don't relate to generalisable personality traits.

people with black skin have no ingrained personality differences to those with pale skin

same goes for those with and without penises

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Lazy Riser
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May 4 2007 13:18
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people with black skin have no ingrained personality differences to those with pale skin

Not so sure about that. Personality differences have at least a partial genetic precursor, what these traits are is open to question. I’m reminded of something that Martin Wright once said that the traits that white middle class people stereotypically associate with working class people (lazy, aggressive and promiscuous) are the same as those they associate with black (more specifically West Indian) people. In an age where class mobility is contracting, it'll be interesting to see if a distinct "working class personality" emerges. Hope so.

lumpnboy
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May 4 2007 14:55

OK. Thanks to everyone who posted. I hadn't checked in for a couple of days and there it all is.

From the parenting-isn't-political to the girls-just-genetically-like-dolls to the poor-people-fuck-too-much, I have learn't everything I need about this place. Great. Really looking forward to that revolution.

I'm outta here.

Thora
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May 4 2007 21:20

It'd be very dull if we all agreed with each other all the time.

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daniel
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May 5 2007 17:46

Yeah. And it'd be terrible if ideological ideas got in the way of raising kids, wouldn't it? wink

Seriously. It's shit like that that scares off a lot of people. having some middle class wanker (I'm not saying you're one, mind) telling them that they're "enforcing gender roles" and raising their kids to "fit into patriarchy" or such bollocks.

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Tojiah
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May 5 2007 20:14
daniel wrote:
Yeah. And it'd be terrible if ideological ideas got in the way of raising kids, wouldn't it? wink

Seriously. It's shit like that that scares off a lot of people. having some middle class wanker (I'm not saying you're one, mind) telling them that they're "enforcing gender roles" and raising their kids to "fit into patriarchy" or such bollocks.

Yeah, such bollocks, too bad it's true. Ideological ideas are always there when you're raising kids, whether you acknowledge it or not. Your fetishized "working class" culture also has ideological ideas (such that there's something wrong about your kid growing up to be homosexual, or that your kid liking girl's clothing could cause that to happen to them, etc.).

Thora
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May 5 2007 22:51

Wow, I'm really sorry that the idea of not enforcing gender roles scares some people - maybe we shouldn't discuss it. I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm middle class.

john
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May 5 2007 23:04

are you, or have you ever been, a member of the middle class?

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May 5 2007 23:42

I certainly don't fetishize the working class wink I just see a tendency among young well-intentioned middle class types who have a rather inflated ego and not much humility to spread their wisdom far and wide, whether asked for or not. Not that this necessarily applies here, but...

Nobody should be thinking that ideas and such shouldn't be discussed, but if when Joe off the street decides to come to the local anarcho meeting, makes a comment about how his wife stays home with the kids, and is jumped upon by every feminist or "gender radical" or what have you - thats a problem. When guys are getting called evil and rapists and stuff by every stupid feminist with a big mouth or a pen. When women get insulted and called brain washed because they think that it's their responsibility as mothers to stay home and look after the kids and not go work and have to put them in child care. THAT'S what I'm talking about.

I'm really not trying to piss anybody off. I agree that the enforcing of strict gender roles is harmful, but I think going as far as you possibly can in the other direction isn't always a good thing. That's a knee-jerk reaction.

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May 6 2007 00:57

Fair enough. I guess I'm thinking along similar lines from a slightly different perspective. As I see it, its not about saying man as provider/woman as homemaker in the '50s as 'bad'; man and woman as income earners now as 'good'. Its just how things changed depending on real wages. Both breadwinner and homemaker are oppressed, and a transition from homemaker to wageslave isn't something to jump and shout about. There are of course more benefits in economic freedom, but there's also some things about being a home maker that are cool. My fiancee would love to stay at home, and I'm under pressure to get some decent vocational qualifications and get a job that will allow this.

So yeah, people will do what income levels allow us to do and radicals shouldn't get on their high-horse about what's right and wrong. But just understand developments and put them pack into the context of how it all fits in with material demands.

Getting back on topic in reference to the opening post: kids should just do what they want and when they get too noisy just send them to their room. I don't see what the big deal is.

Thora
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May 6 2007 11:41

FFS Daniel, what a ridiculous argument.

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May 6 2007 12:23
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Your fetishized "working class" culture also has ideological ideas (such that there's something wrong about your kid growing up to be homosexual, or that your kid liking girl's clothing could cause that to happen to them, etc.).

What crap. Middle class families are as likely, if not more so, to make life difficult for gay children. This idea that the petit-bourgeois invented “progressive” attitudes (I’ve even heard some of them take credit for socialism) is typical of their self-aggrandisement. Oh and another thing, if a boy likes wearing girls clothing then it does make them a bit gayer than your average punter. Most boys I know who like to wear girls clothing are as gay as birds, having said that, I got a raging horn when I tried on my Mrs’ knickers. I won’t go on.

yuda
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May 7 2007 06:49
john wrote:
are you, or have you ever been, a member of the middle class?

are you, or have you ever been Senator Joe McCarthy?

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May 7 2007 14:37
Lazy Riser wrote:
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Your fetishized "working class" culture also has ideological ideas (such that there's something wrong about your kid growing up to be homosexual, or that your kid liking girl's clothing could cause that to happen to them, etc.).

What crap. Middle class families are as likely, if not more so, to make life difficult for gay children. This idea that the petit-bourgeois invented “progressive” attitudes (I’ve even heard some of them take credit for socialism) is typical of their self-aggrandisement. Oh and another thing, if a boy likes wearing girls clothing then it does make them a bit gayer than your average punter. Most boys I know who like to wear girls clothing are as gay as birds, having said that, I got a raging horn when I tried on my Mrs’ knickers. I won’t go on.

Hence the scary quotes around "working class". Jesus, I liked it better when you weren't even intelligible. roll eyes

Daniel's the only one on this thread claiming that progressive ideas belong to the middle class --- he's warning us all not to scare the working class away with them!

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May 7 2007 14:45

Actually, um, NO. Because I don't think they're progressive ideas. I think they're stupid ideas. That's the point.

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Tojiah
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May 7 2007 15:02
daniel wrote:
Actually, um, NO. Because I don't think they're progressive ideas. I think they're stupid ideas. That's the point.

You thinking that they're stupid ideas is one (stupid) thing. But when you say things like this:

daniel wrote:
Seriously. It's shit like that that scares off a lot of people. having some middle class wanker (I'm not saying you're one, mind) telling them that they're "enforcing gender roles" and raising their kids to "fit into patriarchy" or such bollocks.
...
Nobody should be thinking that ideas and such shouldn't be discussed, but if when Joe off the street decides to come to the local anarcho meeting, makes a comment about how his wife stays home with the kids, and is jumped upon by every feminist or "gender radical" or what have you - thats a problem. When guys are getting called evil and rapists and stuff by every stupid feminist with a big mouth or a pen. When women get insulted and called brain washed because they think that it's their responsibility as mothers to stay home and look after the kids and not go work and have to put them in child care. THAT'S what I'm talking about.

you're moving to a whole different level, one of patronizing the working class (and misrepresenting feminists while you're at it).

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May 7 2007 17:58

No. I'm saying that if I had a family and some jumped-up student started telling me I was a sexist/patriarch/blah-blah-blah cos my wife stayed at home, I'd tell them just where they could fuck off to. That's my point, get it? No patronising whatsoever. In fact, seeing as the feminist/PC lobby seem to control the fucking media and have done so since the late 70s, I've had quite enough of being told I'm evil cos I'm a white male.

Maybe the "middle class" thing was a misjudgement - I mainly nosey know-it-all wise arses who spend their time telling people how to live and denouncing them as sexist pig dog patriarchical wotsits at every chance. i doubt anyone on libcom is like that, but I'm just putting it out there.

So, no, I'm not patronising anybody. Nice try tho! I DO think we get patronised - both by bleeding heart liberals and lefties. That's why I find Class War patronising sometimes (even tho I think they're an ace read for a laugh) - cos they seem to figure working class people "aren't theoretical." As Rosa Luxembourg (middle class declasse wanker wink ) said - that's the greatest insult to the working class. so nice try, but no...

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May 8 2007 00:28

Daniel, I think were talking about attitude and how you percieve the debate. Im thinking rearing children in a libertarian fashion is a few steps ahead of what most people can expect, in our respective countries our movement is weak and politico couples are a rarity from what I have seen. The modern libertarian schools were the outgrowth of quite a few anarchists having children, who they wanted to have free education, both in method and content. Even so we should always approach people by trying to win them over not isolating them with endless criticisms about their behaviour. I havent ever criticised parenting by others, though if asked wink in such a scenario I would have thought we should deal with the child not the parent.

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In fact, seeing as the feminist/PC lobby seem to control the fucking media and have done so since the late 70s, I've had quite enough of being told I'm evil cos I'm a white male.

hand IMHO The right control the media, its just that liberals can air their greviances because they tend to channel their frustrations at safe targets

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May 8 2007 10:28
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IMHO The right control the media

Ho ho. The right are the feminist/PC lobby. Liberals can air their "grievances" because they are the media's content as much as its administrators.

Thora
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May 8 2007 12:14

How has 'not raising children to feel they have to conform to socially constructed gender roles' become 'middle class students shouting at the white working class because their wives stay at home'???