While on the road a few years back, I met a stridently-feminist soon-to-be mom who pulled me aside to worry aloud about how she was going to raise her child. How was she going to keep this child free from gender expectations? Here’s what I told her: Gender isn’t just about oppression. It’s also about pleasure. We get pleasure from our genders. You will get pleasure from your child’s gender, and will sometimes delight in it the same way you will delight in your child growing and learning how to count. Your child will get pleasure from his or her gender. When we have sex, it is often in gendered ways—we enjoy sex as a woman with a man, or as a woman with a woman. How much more evidence do you need that gender can be joyfully delicious? Why oppress yourself and your child with your expectation that gender is always about oppression?"You will get pleasure from your child's gender"... yup, it's true. There are a lot of other good points in the article, though some will say she strawmans the social constructivists.
Today my class on procreation and parenthood discusses whether parents should foster gender differences in their children--reinforcing girlness in girls and boyness in boys. There are lots of reasons to say No, but also some reasons to say Yes. Here's food for thought from Alice Dreger:
Labels: Alice Dreger, feminism, gender, parenthood
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