Gender Training In 1st Grade; Blurring The Lines

I came upon this article some time ago, and found it both interesting and awe-inspiring. A 1st grade teacher gets a child her class that doesn’t fit the gender stereotypes, and to make life more comfortable for this child, Allie, and also educate the other children on the subject, she begins with “gender training”.

I find this fascinating, because it shows to me that this is not something you “catch” when you get older. It begins at birth, which many parents with gender neutral children will tell you. I remember my own childhood, being an on-off tomboy, playing best with boys, using my skip rope to play Tarzan and so much more. I have vague memories thinking I wanted to be a boy during this time. Now I’m kind of comfortable being a girl, although I’m confused about my gender.

Anyway, this teacher starts tackling all these stereotypes, that only girls can play with barbies and only boys can play with cars.

Here’s an example from the article, and I urge you to go read it, it gave me some things to think about;

We started off with a lesson about toys because it’s a simple topic I knew my students thought they had clear ideas about. The class gathered on the carpet and I read William’s Doll, which is about a boy who, against the wishes of his father, wants a doll more than anything.

After we read the story, I taped up two large pieces of paper and wrote “Boys” on one and “Girls” on the other. “Students,” I said, “what are some toys that are for boys?” Eagerly, the students began to shout out their answers: “Legos!” “Hot Wheels!” “Skateboards!” “Bikes!” The list grew quite long. “OK,” I said, “now tell me some toys that are for girls.” “Baby dolls!” “Nail polish!” “Barbies!” “Makeup!”

When we had two extensive lists, I read both lists out loud to the class and then studied them carefully.

“Hmm,” I said. “Here it says that Legos are for boys. Can girls play with Legos?”

“Yes!” most of them replied without hesitation.

“I wonder if any of the girls in our class like to play with Hot Wheels?”

“I do! I do!” blurted out some of the girls. We continued with the rest of the items on our “Boys” list, making a check mark next to each one as it was declared acceptable for girls.

Then we went on to the “Girls” list. We started with baby dolls. Because we had just read and discussed William’s Doll, the children were OK with boys playing with dolls. “It’s great practice for boys who want to be daddies when they grow up,” I mentioned.

But when we got to nail polish and makeup the children were unsure. “There are some very famous rock ’n’ roll bands,” I said, “and the men in those bands wear a lot of makeup.” Some of the children gasped.

Then Isabela raised her hand: “Sometimes my uncle wears black nail polish.” The students took a moment to think about this.

“My cousin wears nail polish, too!” said another student. Soon many students were eager to share examples of how people pushed the limits on gender. Our school engineer, Ms. Joan, drove a motorcycle. Jeremy liked to dance. I could see the gears turning in their brains as the gender lines started to blur.

Link to article here;

Brightest Love, Ditzy Rainbow

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Gender Training In 1st Grade; Blurring The Lines

  1. I like the next part, as well, about “If you like popsicles, line up here. If you like ice cream, line up here.” – stepping away from defining identity based on the arbitrary rules of the gender binary, and towards looking at what you like and don’t like. This is a great way to look at gender as well as sexual orientation. Do I like penises or vaginas is as easily answered as “do I like ice cream or popsicles,” which is to say, it depends on my mood as well as the flavor of the food!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s