Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gender Norms - New Essay on CNN

I have a new essay up on CNN on gender norms and pre-school. Here's the summary. But please read it anyway and share it, if so inclined. I feel this one, unlike the more theological pieces, has a chance at a broader readership and maybe even changing a few minds - or at least providing language to people already on the same page.

When the rocket scientist Yvonne Brill died in March, The New York Times celebrated her as the maker of a "mean beef stroganoff" and "the world's best mother." When my 4-year-old daughter, Ellie, a wildly creative and interesting girl, finished a year of preschool last week, her teachers gave her an award for being the best dressed.
Sometimes, I find the prospect of raising a girl to be terrifying. The forces of patriarchy conspire to render girls weak, subordinate and sexually objectified. When we respond to infants by gendering our speech, strong for boys and lilting for girls, we immediately start to shape their interactions with the world.

Our culture constantly projects the message that only appearances matter, and this message is aimed squarely at our children. We can fight this only by working against the grain, resisting gendered language and emphasizing the internal over the external.

Here's a list of some of the inspirations and sources for the essay.

Thanks for reading.