Do we really raise our sons and daughters alike?

During pregnancy, they still called their future baby “our little genius”. But then the feminine couple realized that they had given the baby this nickname after learning that they were expecting a girl. The moment you find out the gender of your baby is “when the parents really start to bet on getting pregnant.” Dr. Celine Barnaby Supont explains, “The scenario has been refined and made more realistic.”

Often the reactions are severe, sometimes the ultrasound is stopped for a while due to strong emotions, parents fall into each other’s arms or begin to cry. You feel it lightens a lot.” The obstetrician may notice an increase in parents who don’t want to know the baby’s gender, but in general it’s still about two things: “Is the baby still moving, and is it a boy or a girl?”

And here’s how: Then we start thinking about gender and stereotypes. The answer to the question whether we raise our children the same way may be “no.” Just because we immediately identified ourselves differently depending on the gender of the child. Erin experienced it: First she was told she was going to have a boy, then a girl – and she definitely noticed a difference in her reaction. With the girl, I felt more pressure as a role model, “especially in my career.”

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frustrating studies

Studies on gender stereotypes are very depressing. Although we want to give the same upbringing to both sexes, our perceptions differ according to gender: for example, fathers are known to not interpret girls’ behavior in the same way as boys. Crying is often interpreted as fear in girls and anger in boys.

Expressing violence is more aggressive with girls, while with boys it can count on more understanding, as if it were in their nature. Thus, violence is less punishing for boys and more likely to happen again. There are countless examples, and sometimes they are downright frustrating, as when it comes to chores.

community expectations

Gender is also one of the first social categories that children feel. When children begin to understand their own gender—at the age of two or three—society’s expectations begin to take precedence over innate interests. For example, boys from the age of three have learned that caring for each other and being tender is basically a thing for girls.

By the age of six, they can already modify their behavior to better integrate. “I quote a study from my book,” explains sociologist Marie Dureux-Pilat, professor at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. “In the nursery, boys play with boys’ toys when an adult notices them, but when they think no one is watching them, they play more diversely. Children feel social norms and want to color within the pictorial lines.”

In 1949 Simone de Beauvoir was there second sex Already about gender identity – and the resulting hierarchy – as a construct, as a product of family culture and childhood socialization. In the 1970s, the idea grew that the way we think about sex is the result of conditioning. Now this is the mainstream. Equality between men and women, which also acts as a preventive against gender-biased behaviour, has been part of the Education Act since 2005.

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sudden resistance

But contrary to what our zeitgeist might suggest, gender differentiation is more pronounced today than it was in the 1970s and 1980s. The collection of toys, magazines, and books for children is more gender oriented than it was then. Society is getting better, but at the same time stereotypes are getting bigger all the time.

Those who are not afraid of uniformity try to apply differentiation. But why should a 41-year-old single mother, who believes she instills the same values ​​in each of her two children, dress her seven-year-old son in the morning–“Otherwise, he’ll just stand there naked, with his underpants in hand”– While she’s been wearing her daughter (Nylen with sequins) on her own since she was four? Because neutrality does not necessarily lead to equality.

The role of the media

Martin Court wrote in Sociologie des enfants (published by La Découverte): “This educational position often turns out to be conducive to (re)production of differences between the sexes.” Far from allowing the child to express his ‘personality’, this attitude promotes the expression of desires imposed in large part by like-minded people and the media, two major players who typically promote gender-based behavioral models”.

We want to raise our children the same way, but the concerns differ with gender. In response to compliments on the appearance of girls, on toys and magazines, on clothes with hearts or on degrading cartoons (according to an angry father his daughter watches a series in which the strength of a superhero is that clothes can change …) goodwill the father will naturally try to emphasize The inner strength of his daughter.

Breaking stereotypes is complicated

But shattering stereotypes is very complicated. journalist from New York Magazine She unwittingly demonstrated this recently when she announced in an opinion piece how she had warned her two daughters to be “rude” to the old neighbor when he told them how beautiful they looked.

“I will no longer teach them to smile and be thankful that someone noticed them. I will no longer train them to be polite, it weakens their defenses.” In the comments, another parent responded critically: “Thank you for describing the exact opposite of what we are trying to teach our two boys: ‘Be polite and kind, especially to strangers and even old people,’ such things.”

Where is the line between literature and injustice? How do you explain to young girls that they can demand respect for their bodies and minds without overwhelming them with fear or limiting their sense of adventure – a privilege for boys around the world? “I realized that in trying to bring up an equal, I could not always filter properly,” admitted another journalist, mother of a girl and a boy. “Sometimes I send very confusing signals when my daughter looks at me out of the corner of her eyes and says, ‘Bah, pink is really boring,’ pretending she prefers yellow, just like her brother. What I want is for the whole idea of ​​the princess to be thrown into the sea, but obviously the color Yellow is no better than pink.”

exaggerated man

The researchers found that fathers encourage their daughters to play football or become doctors, but not their sons to do housework or become nurses. What belongs to the female sphere is the lowest, and vice versa: the masculine is the highest benefit.

“There is an ‘asymmetry,’ as psychologists call it,” explains Marie Duru-Pilat. “Male is always better than female, however you can learn a lot of things by playing with dolls and there are some really stupid video games where everyone has to die. The same is true for professions, we tend to consider girls-only courses of lower quality. We can’t say, “Get rid of those stereotypes and go where the boys are,” that’s ridiculous. “

But it’s still more acceptable for girls to break gender norms than boys – just think about clothes, toys, etc. Even gender equality reflects male dominance: it is easier to identify with the “stronger” gender than the opposite. The sociologist notes that “fathers are by nature conservative.” “They want to integrate their children, and integration is conservative.”

This applies to siblings as well. A British study in 2000 found that boys with older siblings, and girls with older sisters, were “typically more” of single children, and therefore more so than children with siblings of the opposite sex. In other words, the sibling mix promotes a more fluid identity. But the effect of siblings on sex drive has not been extensively studied. Perhaps we can learn a lot from the consequences of intimacy, the power of models and counter-models, the desire to imitate, and the transitions that occur without the presence of parents.

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