Does Gender-Neutral Play Really Equal A “War on Boys”?

Are the Swedes wrong to encourage gender equality by forcing boys to play with toys traditionally meant for girls?

With the holiday season fast approaching, the “War on Boys”, (as well as on Christmas), is heating up, spurred by a recent decision of the Swedish government to encourage “gender equality” in a number of areas, including toys. In response to government pressure and changing Swedish cultural norms, TOP-TOY Group, a licensee of the Toys “R” Us brand, has published a gender-neutral toy catalog for the Christmas season in Sweden. The publication includes images of girls playing with toy guns and pictures of boys playing with toy blow-dryers.

♦◊♦

As might be expected, the Americans, who have strong views about all matters Swedish, have taken up arms on the matter. The first major American opinion piece on the subject, “You Can Give a Boy a Doll, but You Can’t Make Him Play With It by Christina Hoff Sommers, appeared on the website of the Atlantic on December 6.

In her article, Sommers, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, whose book The War Against Boys caused its own stir some years ago, challenged what would appear on the face of it to be utopian silliness on the part of the Swedes. Sommers argues that innate differences between boys and girls, and hence the things that they like to play with, do exist.

“[Boys and girls] are different,” she argues, “and nothing short of radical and sustained behavior modification could significantly change their elemental play preferences.”

“Children, with few exceptions, are powerfully drawn to sex-stereotyped play.”

Addressing the troubling issue of how any society could enforce such a mandate, Sommers makes the point that, “to succeed, the Swedish parents, teachers and authorities are going to have to police—incessantly—boys’ powerful attraction to large-group, rough-and-tumble play and girls’ affinity for intimate theatrical play. ”

For the first two days after it appeared, the post was featured on the Atlantic’s front page and more than 2200 readers “recommended” it. It has also been on the Atlantic’s “Most Popular” list for two days.

The non-Swedish reaction to the Swede’s move has been harsh and strong, on both sides of the issue. Just google “Swedish toys” for a taste. In the meantime, Sommers’ critique has garnered support from a number of conservative American commentators, including Andrew Sullivan, John Tierney, Byron York, Eli Lake, Mark Perry, and David Frum. Sullivan, while generally supportive of Sommer’s view, had his own unique personal perspective on the matter as an openly gay man:

“By showing that gender non-conformism is not abhorrent, and even part of the childhood landscape, a little bit of freedom opens up for some children, and a little less stigma. I’m ok with that.”

“And the stigma does hurt,” remarks Sullivan. “I remember my grandmother watching my younger brother run around the house with a toy truck at Christmas, while I was withdrawn and reading. ‘Well at least you have one normal son,’ she told my mother, who was, as I recall, speechless. And a little part of my 8-year-old self-esteem shattered.”

I had a similar experience as a child. One Christmas, I asked for a doll. My horrified mother instructed my father to buy me a chemistry set instead. Since even at that early age I had more interest in the arts than the sciences, I had no clue what to do with that chemistry set, nor any interest in it. I cannot remember how it came to its demise, but to that it surely came. Undeterred, the next Christmas I asked for a kitchen set. This time my father, oddly enough, overruled my mother and bought me a kitchen set. I could not have been more delighted.

♦◊♦

The issues of gender are long-standing and extraordinarily complex. These days they have been made even more so by changing definitions of what it means to be a man, or a woman. The roles of both men and women in heterosexual relationships are changing in ways that blur the lines between “masculine” and “feminine”. At the same time the very definition of marriage is changing rapidly as same sex unions are legalized.

Then, there is the ever increasing issue of gay parenting.

What it means to be male or female is now up for grabs. That’s a bit chaotic, but in that chaos we need to listen to both and all sides of the debate about how best to rear our children. In the end we all have their best interests at heart, as well as the best interests of our society.

In the meantime, I say that if the Swedes don’t stop with this sort of silliness, they’re going to jeopardize their OECD Better Life rankings . Those show the Swedes are ahead of us Americans in education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction and work/life balance. But all this nonsense. What is wrong with those people?

Read more on Dads & Families.

—Photo libertygrace0/Flickr

Sponsored Content

NOW TRENDING ON GMP TV

Super Villain or Not, Parenting Paranoia Ensues
The Garbage Man Explains Happiness
How To Not Suck At Dating

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Dennis J. Barbour

Dennis Barbour is Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of The Boys Initiative, a nonprofit organization. An attorney with over 30 years’ experience in the nonprofit health field, he has served as a CEO and adviser to national and international organizations composed of physicians and other health care providers, patients, researchers, academicians and caregivers. His current professional focus is on minority male youth and health-related interventions for adolescent and young adult males.

Barbour has successfully served as a CEO, transition CEO and healthcare adviser to a number of health and medical organizations seeking revitalization and expansion, including those in the fields of primary care, dermatology, reproductive health, preventive medicine, HIV/AIDS, addiction, geriatric and end of life care. In recent years his work has focused on disease co-morbidities and how they relate to the need for interdisciplinary medical collaboration and physician/health care provider credentialing.

Barbour attended Georgetown University and the Washington College of Law, where he graduated with a JD. He is a member of the DC Bar and is a certified association executive. He can be reached at [email protected]

Comments

  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    I suppose it depends on what you mean by “freedom”. Or “choice”.

  2. The publication includes images of girls playing with toy guns and pictures of boys playing with toy blow-dryers.

    I haven’t seen such a disparity in arms since the fall of the Iron Curtain.

    War On Boys? There he is with a pair of Curling Tongs Vs Her with a Walther PPK. What can he do to win – give her a bad hair day?

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    If you gave my five-year-old granddaughter a GI Joe and a dump truck, she’s have Joe marry one of her princesses and use the dump truck to carry the wedding party.
    I think we need a federal program, dammit.

  4. This is ridiculous. When will people learn to live and let live? Unless it is hurting somebody, there is no justifiable reason to act like this. Such actions are as immature than the children that they are trying to protect.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    Silent. Are you nuts? The only live and let live is about sex. Nothing else escapes the inspection and criticism of The Anointed, and likely a government program.
    Remember. Only sex is live and let live. Anything else, personal choice is too dangerous.

  6. “Forcing” boys to play with gender-neutral toys? What, under penalty of torture? At gunpoint?
    This is as stupid as shooting a teenager in the head because she wants to go to school.

    • “Forcing boys to play with gender-neutral toys? What, under penalty of torture? At gunpoint?”

      Well, Joanne, I would call it forced too because we’re talking about freedom of choice here. Boys should be allowed to play with whatever toy they want. If they want to play with Gi-joes, cars, etc they shouldn’t be deprived of that choice. Additionally, if they want, and I emphasize “If they want” profusely, to play with a doll, easy-bake oven, then let them do it too. Again, they made the CHOICE to do it. Same thing with girls.

      If nothing but an agenda is involved, when choice is eliminated, that’s when everything goes into thinly veiled manipulation territory.

  7. This is yet another version of the nature vs. nurture debate. In this case, however, it has run amok.

    Whereas I can understand how in this more “enlightened” day and age many of us feel boys should be allowed to play with dolls and girls to play with trucks if they so desire it, having a government agency impose rules and regulations implies someone–and I don’t know who—deems what nature has created as “wrong.”

    And I fear the political agenda has targeted boys NOT girls. The experiment we’re engaging in—the blurring of the gender lines to the point of extinction of any differences—will have unintended consequences that will prove very difficult to reverse 15-20 years from now. I can just see a generation of young women complaining they cannot find real men to marry. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you have until you have lost it…

    • Kristian, what you just described was exactly my thoughts towards the ulterior motives of this “Gender-Neutral” enforcement.

      I wouldn’t have any problem IF these boys were allowed the choice. But they weren’t. Government pressure enforced it so I find nothing genuine about this move. In addition to sensing that their approach to sexism is to subtly make it all about girls and their feelings of oppression. They want boys to play with dolls because their choice of toys is misogynistic and a blight on the feelings of girls. Not about offering them options and letting THEM make the decision.

      • You need to read further than the lead in (there is an entire article after it). Government pressure lead to SOME toys stores including SOME pictures of boys and girls playing with toys usually meant for the other gender–no one was forcing the kiddies to anything. Actually, they were just broadening the selection for them.

        What’s more, this wasn’t official mandate, this is how one toy store interpreted the Swedish policy on gender equality, which, funnily enough, doesn’t mention anything about forcing boys to play with dolls.

        • Paula – you mean there is no mass conspiracy against boys and girls to make them all androgynous Lego players?

          • Astonishing isn’t it?

          • My five-year-old daughter just asked for the Lego dump truck. It’s not gender prohibitive–it’s cost prohibitive. But I thanked her for proving Sommers and her ilk wrong, which is pretty easy to do for a five year old.

            • Not buying it says:

              Duffer
              Do you understand how the science of numbers reaches a conclusion or a fact in any study that shows predisposition towards anything by any group, entity, …etc, .

              You’re daughter asking for a Lego truck doesn’t mean it applies to the majority of girls her age, neither does my son if he asked for a doll to play with applies to the majority of boys, Sir.

              Are you searching for the truth or are you searching for things that agrees with what you like to be the truth??
              If it is so be it nothing including the truth starring you in the face would make you admit the obvious, since at one time the earth was flat to.

  8. courage the cowardly dohg says:

    My sister is the mother of two young adult men. From the time they were born she diligently and consistently discouraged gun play of any sort. She did not buy them guns, would not let them play with boys that played with guns and if they picked up a stick and pretended it was a gun she would gently reprimand them and remind them that “we don’t want to pretend to hurt anything or anybody”. I can proudly say one is a United States Marine and the other is a firearms instructor of a local police department. My sister is apoplectic. She probably shouldn’t have let me babysit them. Man where those games of cops and robbers and army men fun.

  9. Not buying it says:

    What my boy likes is what my boy likes, if the government wants to indoctrinate my son into any ideology that I don’t agree with as a parent I fight it tooth & nail plus I definitely tell & show my son way these politically correct ideologies are wrong by many examples, specifically to avoid believing in hate filled anti male ideologies for example.

  10. Paula Calleja says:

    Sex and gender are not the same thing and the terms should not be interchanged.

    Our concept of gender is interfered with from the moment we are born. People interact differently with babies they perceive as being boys than those they perceive as being girls. Girls are held in nurtured positions, such as cradled, and told they are such things as pretty and good. Boys are held in positions of power, such as standing, and told they are such things as big and strong. Blue for boys, pink for girls? Well only since WWII, before that is was the soft feminine blue for girls and the strong powerful pink for boys. Before the 20th Century all infants wore white.

    Once a child is able to identify what sex they are they will begin to model their behaviours on those they see as being the same sex (usually by being told or recognising physical similarities). Unfortunately, parents don’t always have as big an influence as they would like to think—consider all the images the children might see on TV. Those models are already well established in their socially-guided gender behaviours.

    It is not possible to scientifically prove gender is natural. To do this it would have to be shown that a gender characteristic is consistent across all cultures and you would have to extract or societal influences. It may be surprising, but this has not been done. What is available is overwhelming evidence to the contrary, which is for some reason ignored in place of people’s lay perceptions of the world around them. These perceptions rarely consider the infinite number of influences which dictate how we perceive gender. Most people who claim that gender is natural are often discredited by their peers and other professionals and appear to have inaccurate interpretations of data, if they do indeed even bother to base their ideas on anything other than their own studies, or studies from more than one source (see “Living Dolls” by Natasha Walter).
    Thankfully, Christina Hoff Sommers is not the authority on the issue. In “Delusions of Gender” Cordelia Fine draws on studies which showed that when boys think they are being observed they will choose to mostly play with traditional boys’ toys. When they feel they are not being observed they will choose to play with traditional girls’ toys as often as they will choose the tradition boys’ toys. The study also showed that the perceptions of the father will have the biggest influence over what choices the boy makes. Fine’s book also outlines the fact that even adults will change their behaviour and performance (such as limiting their academic performance) depending on what they think is expected of them.
    This is not a war against boys, it is a war against oppressive notions on how we should behave according to if we are boy or girl and gay or straight. These notions cause terrible conflict with, and treatment of, people who feel any inclination towards different behaviour.

    Gender is a spectrum; very few people exist at the extremes so why do we think it is normal for children to?

    • “It is not possible to scientifically prove gender is natural. To do this it would have to be shown that a gender characteristic is consistent across all cultures and you would have to extract or societal influences. It may be surprising, but this has not been done.”

      If it has not been proven gender is all inclusively in the genes, then it has also not been proven that gender is entirely a social construct either. Which puts it in the realm of theory.

      I don’t see anything wrong with boys having a choice (and to have those choices embraced by parents). But, I’m not sure that this catalog is going to be the end point. We are talking about a society in which schools are now passing rules that boys must urinate sitting down and a bill was introduced giving a “man tax”.

      If gender is a social construct it would stand to reason that the gender of prospective mates would fall within this construct. This line of thinking could be used to legitimize those who want to “train” men out of homosexuality.

      Choice is a great thing. Expanding choices is a great thing. But, if you think it’s going to stop there you’re probably wrong. This is about the presumption that boys are broken dysfunctional girls and female superiority.

      • If it has not been proven gender is all inclusively in the genes, then it has also not been proven that gender is entirely a social construct either. Which puts it in the realm of theory.

        If it’s only theoretical, why are so many willing to experiment on humans and even demand the right to do so?

        Are well all being treated as lab rats for the convenience of some people with a theory?

        Using basic scientific methodology there does need to be a control group – so where are they and can I elect out of the Quasi Human Vivisection group and just be happy with my genitals and the people around me?

      • ‘This is about the presumption that boys are broken dysfunctional girls and female superiority.’

        No it isn’t, read the policy. It is about trying to free male and female from gender stereotypes.

        Some people have indeed interpreted this policy in extremist way, just like with any ideology, but this is not reflective of the entire society.

    • Not buying it says:

      @Paula Calleja

      ” it’s not possible to prove that gender is natural ”

      Reality, supported by science begs to differ, miss.
      Google “the story of David Reimer ” or better yet since Christine Sommer’s is not an authority on gender/genetics, how about hearing it from the experts in the fundamentals of evolutionary genetic & gender psychology, unless you would like to believe only what agrees with your ideology only!! In that case the earth is flat because it is when you look at it.

      • Firstly, I appreciate people having different views on the matter, I don’t appreciate being spoken to in such a patronising way, especially on a website which is trying to encourage ‘good men’, not the those (men or women, which ever you are) who try to belittle people (in such ways as calling them ‘miss’) in order to silence them.

        I provided references of some the sources which inform my ideas. Did you do as you advised me have a look at them before you went on the attack? I’m guessing because they are both novel-length academic works that you didn’t, given I only posted a couple of days ago.

        What ‘reality and science’ are you talking about? Again, I draw your attention to the fact that I actually made reference to academic evidence which supports my ideas. Feel free to give me actual names of these ‘experts’ and I will investigate myself, but don’t expect a reply for a while because I don’t have a tendency of forming lay opinions on complex issues and prefer to be well informed.

        Read closely before you comment, I did mention studies which claim to prove gender is natural and I mentioned what has happened to those studies since. Of course there are people who claim gender is natural, my point was that the evidence of the immense influence of society on our concepts of gender is overwhelming.

        The story of David Reimer is tragic, but you actually over simplify the situation–one story does not prove a theory. What’s more Reimer’s concepts of gender would have been influenced in the same way as those around him, what he identified was that he was actually of a different sex. I repeat from my original comment, sex and gender are not the same thing, they are related but not the same.

        What’s more if you are going to look at Reimer’s story you need to look at countless stories of naturally inter-sex people who choose or do not choose to identify with a specific gender, straight men who choose to dress as women, or any other innumerable situations which would need to be investigated to prove gender is natural.

        There could be elements to gender which are natural, I believe that those who have tried have had flawed studies and I believe that societal influence on gender concepts is so strong that any natural element is negligible.

        You’ll notice that I never said I won’t believe idea that disagrees with my own, on the contrary, if that argument is academically credible I will. The concept that gender is natural and that men and women a supposed to be a certain way is actually the idea from the dark ages, therefore, you are more likely to be the one believing the world is flat.

        As a side note, I welcome the opportunity to discover more on this topic, so if anyone has any recommendation of legitimate studies claiming gender is natural, I really would like to read them if I haven’t already. I’m not interested in lay opinions from people who can’t back up their ideas.

        • Not buying it says:

          @Paula Calleja

          Since anything I might say might be misconstrued to a personal attack instead of the issue, I will try to make it short Sir/madam/miss/miss’s (or whatever you’re).
          I am unable to paste it on my phone but you can see it if you Google & find a list of YouTube clips called ” equality & the gender paradox ” originated in Norway. No offense intended but the nurture vs nature when it comes to gender is stifled by political correctness even in academia due to social theories & ideologies that has more to do with beliefs then science & you might be right “flat earth,..)comment comment was unnecessary.

          • @Notbuyingit

            Calling a woman “miss” as if she was a little girl to be told off is completely patronising and wasn’t misinterpreted by @Paula Calleja. You have tried to patronise and belittle someone in order to get your point across and then acted as if they misinterpreted you when they called you up on it.

            FYI Youtupe doesn’t count as peer reviewed literature.

            • Not buying it says:

              @Emily

              First, Paula can speak for herself, second, there was no disrespect intended or a malicious intent period & being addressed as miss or miss’s does not necessarily mean patronizing, it depends on tone for most people, for some one like you with a complex of gender inferiority it can be only patronising third & last it’s none of your business.

            • @Notbuying it

              I accept that there was no ill intent to call me ‘miss’, however, this is how it seemed to me and apparently others, so accepting some responsibility in your part wouldn’t go astray.

              You are commenting on a public forum so it’s everyone’s business and it is their right to comment.

              I actually agree with Emily on this. The problem with documentaries in general, and Youtube in particular, is that we take them as authoritative because of the genre they fall in. Mostly, though, they are not based on peer-reviewed academic literature – it often comes down to who is able to get funding.

              It is crucial that peer-reviewed literature is where we obtain the main source of information for things like this. It is the ‘peer-reviewed’ part which is important. It means an academic can’t make broad claims and have them accepted as truth, but rather a collective of informed and expert can make note on the plausibility of an argument.

            • Mostly, though, they are not based on peer-reviewed academic literature – it often comes down to who is able to get funding.

              Uhhmmm ..so that makes it about money – and that leads to media manipulation media buys and just plain old politics.

              So in science – there are no funding fights, manipulated by media and politics with biases being used to have supposed peers decide what gets funded and what research is strangled at birth?

              Wow – how did you get to utopia and when is the next flight?

            • Not buying it says:

              @Paula Calleja

              With all due respect Paula the academic peer review you’re alluding to has been done & on going in the scientific research circles that have been doing the research on evolutionary gender psychology, all I pointed out to you is the predominant & agreed upon by the largest number of experts in that specific field, furthermore you & I know for I fact that as much as a lot of information on the internet in general & YouTube specifically can be trash nevertheless at the same time not every information, link, essays, …etc, is junk, Paula , so I believe just because you don’t agree with the predominant scientific stats & line of research & it’s disingenuous to paint that as something a fringe or a single academic voice had claimed on your part, as a matter of fact most of the opposition comes from social engineering theories of the left.

            • Well we will have to agree to disagree because I don’t believe that the majority of academic literature disagree with me at all — and it is most certainly not fringe or a single academic voice, In fact I gave a couple of examples in my original post, I can supply many more. I believe it is you who is misrepresenting the facts — especially as these supposed “facts ‘ and ‘experts’ you allude to remain nameless.

              At any rate you’re not going to agree with me and I’m not gong to agree with you.

            • Not buying it says:

              @Paula Calleja

              First of all , every Scientist /researcher , in the clip did get his name & the institution he works in mentioned there with the dates included, there is no need to misrepresent anything Paula, the difference between my point & point is quite clear for anyone open-minded enough & not blinded by faith & a belief in an ideological based argument & social theory, its not much different then religion , it’s futile.
              Evolutionary gender psychology seems to show a strong predisposition towards gender roles with very few variations that even then have basis along the same lines, on the other hand all you offered is ideological social theorists & social engineering analysis based on very weak social science.

            • @Not buying it (re: comment below)
              The references I gave were not based on weak social science, which you would know had you read them – but you give yourself away because, had you read them, you would know that they actually spend a lot of time discounting the research and theories of the leading theorists of natural gender and raising questions about the legitimacy of so much of this research that so many take as law.

              The Norwegian documentary you suggested was interesting, but it was, just like all documentaries, extremely biased and I found several flaws in his theories in the first five minutes of the first part of the documentary. That’s not to say that what he claims has no academic basis or truth, but as I have said for what feels like the millionth time, you can’t compare a documentary with peer-reviewed literature – documentaries are a starting point. What’s more I don’t think that he takes enough of a holistic approach when considering the factors that influence his society.

              ‘the difference between my point & point is quite clear for anyone open-minded enough & not blinded by faith & a belief in an ideological based argument & social theory, its not much different then religion , it’s futile’

              I’m kind of tired speaking with you because (and it is evident from your comments to other people on this page as well) you seem to have a lot of difficulty expressing your opinion without either insulting, being condescending or making assumptions. You also accused me of not being open to any ideas other than my own, which was completely inaccurate as I explicitly stated I was interested in hearing from both sides of the fence. Just because I consider your grasp on the situation, and the references you provided, to be lacking the kind of legitimacy I look for, doesn’t mean I am going to discredit everyone who has a different point of view (I actually looked at the source you gave and your little passive aggressive comments about people who disagree with you makes you accusations totally hypocritical). What’s more my opinions have nothing to do with faith (???where on earth did you pull that from?!). The more you assume to know (and blatantly invent) about what influences the way I think just makes me further doubt your ability to think critically. And I will just give you back some of your own advice – just because people don’t agree with you doesn’t mean that are ‘blinded’ by anything, perhaps just tired of a circular argument that continues to go nowhere.

  11. The commentators are so far missing the Swedes’ purposes. One is to allow children to be able to make non-traditional choices in a value-neutral environment. Another purpose is not , as the comments seem to assume, to force girls to choose boys toys or boys to choose girls toys. It is simply to give permission for both sexes to act on their own natural impulses. Not unlike same-sex marriage, the point is to allow kids and adults to experience peace and joy in their natural space, even if it does not comport with the norms of the larger population. Gay kids cannot possibly make straight kids “turn gay” and straight kids cannot possibly make gay kids “turn straight”. Sweden is just trying to provide the most open emotional field to all of its children and adults who want to live in their natural sexual norm. It’s not a threat to those who do not want to live within that sexual norm.
    The only people who could be harmed by this approach would be the narrow minded, who could be driven to depression and frustration because of their sense of threat, borne of their failure to understand others within their community who are different from them. Thankfully, that is not as much of an aberrant behavior in Sweden as it is in the States. Viva Sweden!

    • I think the lead in to the article is what threw people, I also think this is where a lot of them stopped reading and they certainly didn’t go on to read Sweden’s policy on gender equality

      Viva Sweden indeed!

  12. First of all – if you haven’t read the entire article or, as seems to be the case with some of the commenters, more than the first sentence, please don’t leave a comment. Secondly – this has nothing to do with ‘forcing’ any child to do anything. It is merely suggesting that there is nothing wrong with a child playing with a toy that is traditionally thought to be for the other gender. So that maybe in a few years time a boy won’t be thought of as abnormal for not wanting a truck or wanting a doll instead of a chemistry set. As a girl growing up I played with dolls and guns (played Cagney & Lacey or Charlie’s Angels, cos they were the only role models we had)

    • I love the idea that people don’t read beyond the first paragraph – and should not leave comments you find unwelcome. How Un Swedish of you. Maybe there are other lessons to be learned such as the Swedish Constitutional Right to Anonymity and Free Speech – balanced against such things as Hate Speech on many grounds including sex/gender.

      It’s odd how a natural progression of law and social behaviour ends up with a wish to show that Sterotypes tool for the assessment of other people, and even a bad place to make judgement calls from or decide who should and should not be heard.

      Odd how admiring some can be and yet fail to emulate! “Ord misslyckas mig”, som man säger i Sverige. P^)

  13. Richard Aubrey says:

    We already know there is “nothing wrong” with boys playing with non-traditonal toys. It’s been happening for generations.
    It is getting official and social attention now because boys are not turning out as the Anointed wish they were.
    Girls, on the other hand, do not require such remodeling.

  14. Wonder if this will close the gap- almost 2.5/1 between male & female suicides in Sweden?

  15. Richard Aubrey says:

    First: “to allow”. Really. Who wasn’t allowing. Bogus construct.

    Second, “forcing” or not “forcing”. For an example, look at the US. A woman, not an official, not elected, commissioned, or anything but married to an important person–POTUS–expressed an interest in childhood nutrition. Nothing about “forcing”, but school boards and nutritionists, some because they were busybody nannystaters, some because they feared same, some because they wanted to look good to The Important People, got involvd and kids were “forced” to either eat unpalatable meals at school or bring their own–once or twice subject to adult criticism. Not a single law was passed.
    Not that this was a once-off.
    So don’t bother talking about either “allowing” (the bogus construct) or not “forcing”.

  16. I get pleasure from, result in I discovered exactly
    what I used to be looking for. You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  17. As an educator in the field of human sexuality; a parent who has raised a child into adulthood with all the hallmarks of ‘ success’ ; and as a man who has himself, explore the notions of gender; sex; gender identity and gender expression I have to fully support Paula!

    Gender and Sex are seperate and distinct – yes, they influence one another – yet from a biological and sociological perspective they are seperate.
    Gender identity and Gender Expression are also seperate and distinct.
    All fo them exist along a spectrum, from hyper masculine to hyper feminine and everyting in between.

    The problem is that, for many of us, we use the terms as if they mean the same thing and are interchangeable.
    We think ( incorrectly by the way…) that our gender is dicated by our genitalia – which is why we seek to reniforce the gendering of a child based on it’s presenting gentialia…and echoing that genderizing by giving the child access, to what we determine is gender affirming clothes, toys, activities and such.

    What I mean by that is simply this….
    ” all boy’s have penises and all girls have vulvas ; all boys wear blue and darker colours and love to play with guns, have rough and tumble play and all boys will grow up to be men, who will want to be with women ” – this is not the case for ALL boys nor ALL girls.

    It never has been. It never will be.

    Yes, it is the case for SOME boys and SOME girls. Yet it is not the reality for ALL boys or girls.

    In fact, the story of men and women, aka boys and girls, being very different from each other is a relatively new one, in our human family. Up until the later stages of the Enlightenment, it was medically accepted fact, that men and women were almost exactly the same. Women were viewed as inferior biological expressions of men.
    Now, we know that from a biological point of view, the differences between men and women, is very little.
    The rest is due to socalization and the specturm that exists – and where as men or women find ourselves on that specturm – and that whereever you are on that spectrum is OK.

    What the Swedes are doing, is creating space and place for this conversation to happen. To create awareness that you are the expert on you. On your gender, your gender identity and gender expression.
    That you, ought to have access to anything and everything that makes you feel good about expressing that..
    That toys, unlike humans, have no gender. Never had. Never will

Speak Your Mind

*