Gender Communication Summer 2009

A space to critically engage gender and communication topics

Blog Activity 6: The Family Gender Factory May 30, 2009

Filed under: blog activity — daniellemstern @ 10:02 pm
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[The following activity comes from p. 199 of the textbook (Gamble & Gamble, 2003).]

A critical socializing agent in our growth as women or men is our family. Take some time to think about the ways in which your family members contributed in helping you formulate your personal definitions of masculinity and femininity then respond to the questions below and share a summary with the rest of us:

In what ways did they (your family) encourage you or discourage you from exhibiting traditional male and female characteristics? What pressures do you believe your parents felt when socializing you to enact a gendered role. For example, did they feel it was important to monitor your dress? Did they set limits on your personal freedom? Were the discipline styles of your mother and father similar or different? IMPORTANT: Do you think a parent or caregiver would have disciplined you differently if you were a member of the opposite sex (you can compare to your parents’ treatment of your siblings here if relevant)?

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63 Responses to “Blog Activity 6: The Family Gender Factory”

  1. melaniebahr Says:

    Prior to even finishing reading the blog activity the first thing that I thought of was how my mother used to dress me. From about age one to as long as she could make me, I was dressed head to toe in this clothing line called Kelly’s Kids. It is this high end children’s fashion that is way over priced very matchy matchy and makes every little boy or girl look like a perfect angle. So everyday I had the dress with the matching blouse underneath and a matching bow and matching lace sock. My hair was always perfect, my clothes were always ironed, and I always was prim and proper. I knew that I never was to play rough or get dirty. Little girls weren’t pretty with dirt on their clothes and bruises on their arms. So I did most of my playing inside. I played house, school, with barbies, and colored. All activities that represent a young child’s feminine gender roles.

    At age three I began to take dance and tennis lessons (both of these are considered very proper and well respected activities). I never had a choice of what sports I wanted to be involved in but if I would have I probably would have chosen those anyways. They fit in with my lifestyle and how I was brought up.

    Throughout my childhood my primary parental interaction was with my mother. She was my role model from who I learned my feminine qualities. I spent everyday with her until I was 12 and she went back to work. I looked up to her as an example for years and years. Due to that I think that I have become very similar to my mother, and I think that is a very good thing. I think she did a great job raising me and teaching me all that I need to know. My father I think would have been more involved in my life had a been a boy. He really wanted a son and does well interacting with little boys instead of little girls. He is more of a rough-houser and that behavior was not tolerated around me according to my mother.

    Generally I think that sons tend to be closer to their fathers and daughters tend to have a better relationship with their mothers. They look up to the one that raises them that matches their sex and to whom they can relate.

    • jenwaybright Says:

      I can totally see you with your little outfits. 🙂

      • kirstenpowell Says:

        That is hilarious because my mother did the same with me! I had a bow and shoes to match every outfit. It was kind of ridiculous! I think a lot of times mothers but a big emphasis on little girls appearance. I love my mom but this could be why girls have self esteem problems because they cannot keep up the appearances their mothers taught them. Its funny looking back at though!

    • sam1503 Says:

      My mother did the same thing. I was always in dressed with bows in my hair when I was little. I ended up hating it and rebeled against wearing dresses for the majority of my childhood years. In fact I just now am starting to wear dresses again.

    • mattymac Says:

      It is interesting how you mention the activities you were involved in growing up had a “proper” quality which we typically associate as a feminine characteristic. Dance is definitely considered more feminine in our culture and while tennis is a sport and sports are considered to be more masculine, women in tennis tend to be more easily accepted than in other sports (RE: Venus and Serena Williams). It probably has to do with the fact that they can still wear tennis skirts and play the game =)

      I thought about the activities I participated in when I was younger and if they had a gender stereotype associated with them. I was involved in gymnastics for three years when I was younger (between the ages of 5 and 8), which is stereotyped typically to be a feminine activity. It was actually for that reason that I, as well as all the other guys I knew who were involved in it, ended up giving it up. By my third year, I was the only guy and I did not like it, so I pursued more “masculine” activities like T-ball and Little League.

  2. jenwaybright Says:

    Growing up in my family, I was the only girl within a five year age range in terms of cousins or grandkids. I played with boys and spent all my time running around, getting dirty, being one of the boys. My mom never once stopped me and would give me the same orders my brother and cousins got when we came in dirty-“Straight to the bathroom, wash in between your toes and ears and bring the dirty clothes to the laundry room.” I think she was okay with me being a rough and tumble tomboy since she grew up with brothers very close in age proximity to her and had similar childhood experiences. I don’t think there was much pressure on my Mom’s part to force me to be a little girl and play with dolls; no one ever really complained to her, that I know of, when I came in looking like PigPen from Charlie Brown. She never really put limits on my freedom; my little brother and I were like Frick and Frack and roamed around our yard together like two wild children. Whatever Kyle got to do, I did to, down to playing baseball with him instead of softball because that’s what I wanted to do. I still liked to do girl things like put on makeup or wear my mom’s shoes around and she never said no.

    My Granny always tried to get me to be that prim little girl though; it was understandable, I was her first granddaughter and her only granddaughter for quite some time. She would fuss over me getting her cute little outfits she’d have for me when I’d go visit her and gave me a toy room full of Barbies and dollhouses. I’m pretty sure she realized she wasn’t going to break my Tomboy spirit when she tried to put me in a dress at age 5 and I grabbed my cousin’s shorts, shirt and hat and ran out of the house screaming at the top of my lungs that the dress was hurting me. (Why she still loves me is beyond me!) I think she felt the need to doll me all up since I was breaking 90 percent of the socialization norms for gender and she was very “old-school” in terms of what I should have been doing.

    My mom and aunt were my feminine role models, I think that’s where I get the crazy mixture of what I am today from. My mom was very much like me as a child and carried it into adulthood. My aunt is still very girly and all abotu fashion and makeup; things that I have incorporated into my life later. Mom had a great sense of comfortable fashion, nothing at the forefront of fashion though and wore makeup when she went out, but she also wasn’t afraid to come get dirty with my brother and me. She was a stay at home mom with us until my parents separated, so I have spent my whole life with her as the main parental influence. I am now very close to her and aside from looking like a younger version of her, I am also told that I act very similar to her. I feel as though this is due to the amount of time she was in my life as a child and has continued to be in my life. (We talk on the phone about once a day when I’m away at school or every other day) She is as close to me as she is my brother, but our discipline styles were very different. My mom always used the “guilt-trip” type of discipline on me because she knew that was the way to make me feel remorse. With my brother she would use time-outs and taking things away. I’m sure that had I been a boy I probably would have been disciplined in the same sort of fashion as my brother.

  3. melissam4 Says:

    Being raised by my parents, I pretty much wore girl appropriate clothinig but nothing to prim and proper. I usually played outside and got a little dirty so it was ok that i wore unmatching play clothes. I played with Barbies and girly toys. My parents did make sure i was given feminine objects and when it came time to dress up, my mother usually took charge. I remeber staying with my grandma for a few months when i was little and she had me and my sister go out and buy church dresses with pretty little white shoes and hats. We wore those outfits every Sunday for church and that was probably the most prim and proper ive ever been on a weekly basis. My dads role was that of a typical dad with his daughters. I dressed like a girl, but i was never aloud to wear “big girl” clothes like haulter tops or spaghetti straps, not even the little girl versions. This highly influenced what i wore as a teen and those restrictions still influence my choice of clothing today. If i’m going out with the girls, I go a little out there but not overly out there. I still feel i should be covered appropriatly and if im around my dad, then i take extra care im wearing something decent before i go see him. No tube tops and short skirts around him. My mother doesnt care much, she’ll tell me i look cute, but my dads another story. He won’t say outright how he feels about my outfit but he’ll say something like “whats up with those pants?” (meaning they’re too tight). I’ll respond with “What?!?” and he’ll say “You know whats wrong with them.” If he only saw what i wore on my nights out….not even really that bad but for him…OH MY! I’m sure if i were a boy, he’d have taken me hunting, fishing, and camping all the time and i would therefore probably turn out just like him, wearing hunting mans clothes with farmers tans from my long days fishing.

    • Jessie Wright Says:

      My mother recently got remarried, but I grew up without a father. I will never forget about a month after they were married, I came downstairs in a halter-top…nothing too revealing, and he said to me “don’t you think you need to cover up.” I just looked at him. I thought he meant it was cold or something. When I said no it’s hot out. He informed me “girls my age, not working ‘the streets’ should not wear shirts like that.” I wore the outfit anyways. My views on my clothes were never challenged before he came into my life.

    • melaniebahr Says:

      I think dads are just generally more protective about what we wear as we get older because they know how “boys” think. It may come off as annoying or them trying to control us, but they are really just trying to make the best for us.

      • mransone Says:

        My father would always questions as well. When I told him that is the style he usually gave in and let me wear whatever.

    • jenwaybright Says:

      I remember going to my Granny and Poppy’s house to get ready for a concert since they lived really close to the metro station I was going from and I had on jeans and a halter top and he was just like “Uhmmm…do you have a matching sweater?!” I think that growing up with just my mom made the difference too.

    • sam1503 Says:

      My dad is the same way! I couldn’t wear certain outfits around him or he would not let me out of the house, and normally would find some reason to ground me for it. I know that he meant well, but sometimes he took this to the extreme.

      I noticed to when i was younger and my brother was a teenages, that when my dad, brother, and I would be out, my dad would sometimes make a comment like “look at her” or “she’s goodlooking” to my brother about a girl who was wearing some of the things that he would not let me wear. I used to think that this was hypocritical, but now I know that it was because he did not want men to say those things about me because I was his little girl.

      • lckupke Says:

        It was the same for me growing up. My dad would always ask me if my outfit was appropriate and then he would have my mom approve or disapprove of it. I think he was being more protective of his little girl and, like melanie said, protecting me from other boys.

      • mattymac Says:

        It seems that when it comes to fashion, men simply comment on it and have harsher criticisms for women’s clothing than for men’s.

        My mother was the one who dressed me going up, making sure I tucked in my pants, wore a belt buckle, make sure all my colors matched, make sure my shoes matched and were tied, etc. The responsibility of dressing me and teaching me to have a “fashion sense” came from my mother. My father’s only role in what I wore related to athletic activities (such as “Make sure you wear your jock strap” and “Are you going to be comfortable in that?”) and in comments about what I was wearing (“You’re looking sharp” and “I like that shirt, pants, etc.”). When it came to formal wear, he was the one who taught me how to wear a tuxedo and how to wear a tie, but for the most part, he was not heavily involved in my fashion.

        I often hear of wives who shop for their husbands, lay out their clothes for them, and tell them what looks good on them and what does not. What does this say about fashion and men? Are women better at choosing clothing than men, or can men develop a strong sense of fashion just as women can? Why is it that so many men are dependent on women for their fashion? There are many times I have to get the girlfriend’s approval before buying an item. Usually if she does not like something, I will not get it, even if I do like it.

        Perhaps it has to do with wanting to please women and be considered attractive by other women. Therefore, we listen to what women want us to wear and what they find fashionable and attractive for us to wear.

  4. kirstenpowell Says:

    As a young girl my mother used to daily brush and braid my hair every night after she washed it for me in the bath teaching me the importance for girls to keep up an appearance. She taught me how important it was for little girls to have pretty hair, pretty manners, and to just simply have good grooming skills. It is funny to look back on the pictures of me with my hair in rollers sitting on the bathroom floor while my mom put on her makeup. When I compare the grooming techniques my mother taught me compared to those that she taught my brother it is comical. She is lucky if he even washes and brushes his hair on a daily basis.

    When it came to monitoring how I dressed I felt that the rules that were put on me were extremly unfair. My parents wanted me to look presentable, they did however carry over those feelings to my brother. Regardless of gender my parents did concern themselves with the way that both of their children dress.

    There have been many times that I have looked back and compared the ways that my parents disciplined and controlled me in comparison to my brother. They were always much more strict on me than him. There is a seven year age difference so there was a gap between the parenting techniques used. I was never allowed to play video games or watch certain tv shows like Power Rangers or Rugrats. My little brother was allowed to do all of the above. This used to really bother me. Now I see his obsession with video games and tv and find it humorus because I can care less about all of those things.

    My parents also pushed me way harder in school than they did my brother. They sent me to a private elementary school and attempted to do the same with my brother, but later pulled him out because my dad said that it was a waste of money because my brother could care less. There is a great difference in the way I was treated due to the fact that I am a girl. My parents expected more from me than they did my brother. In the long run I benfited from their strict rules. While my brother is constantly being suspended from school and may not pass the seventh grade.

    • sbarmstrong Says:

      Kirsten,
      It is interesting that you bring up academics because my parents also pushed me a much harder to do well in school than my brother. As most siblings follow a “older/younger stereotype” (such as the oldest sibling is more responsible and tend to be more academically driven and motivated, while the younger sibling tends to be more a rebel) my brother and I shattered that concept and are proven exact opposites. My brother never really did well in school, so the expectations were very different from my parents. I felt it was unfair when my brother was praised for a “C” and I was scolded for one. Though, as it became unacceptable for my parents, it also became unacceptable for me and motivated me to work harder, which probably has something to do with my academic drive today.

      Do you think if your birth order changed your parents expectations for you or your brother would be different?

      • Jessie Wright Says:

        My family and I were discussing the differences in the way I was raised to my older siblings. It is funny, because with with my oldest sister my mom was the same way. She would make sure she looked perfect everyday for school with matching hair clips and all. She attended every field trip and really pushed for good grades. Years later, when I was her age it was completely different. I dressed myself in the morning. My mother use to say I was lucky if I had on the same pair of shoes. She never wanted to go on field trips, and just wanted me to pass. She never pushed anything on me. I think being the baby really loosened up my mom’s views on parenting. By her fourth child, she really could have cared less about what I looked like in kindergarten. I think as the number of children increases the amount of stress put on the younger children decreases.

      • emily9988 Says:

        I have a friend who is a straight A student at William and Mary while her brother makes mediocre grades at VT. She always obeys her parents when he has actually gotten in trouble with the law a few times. He has the freedom to do whatever he wants, while she still has an 11:00 pm curfew whenever she comes home, among other ridiculous limitations. Her brother is one year older than her. Why is it that she seems to be punished for being a good student and good daughter while her troublesome brother is allowed to do whatever he wants? This scenario I think definitely breaks the “older/younger” stereotype, and makes me wonder if age really has anything to do with it.

      • mransone Says:

        My parents really never pushed my brothers and me in school. They would always say its up to us to make our grades. All of us usually made good grades, which could be a reason they didn’t push. I wish they had pushed more though, but I would have been mad if they pushed me and not my brothers.

      • kirstenpowell Says:

        In my case I definetly feel that birth order played a huge role. My parents have said that after 7 years that they were just plain tired. I got the more strict parents but I also got their younger years. When I questioned them why the difference in treatment and they said they did not have the strength to continuously fight him over the little things, he is much more stubborn than I was. That fact can definetly relate to gender.

      • Lauren Says:

        It was a little different for me. I am the younger one out of me and my sister, but my parents always expected more out of me. You would think that since I am the baby of the family they would go easier of me, but that’s definitely not the case. Even now in college, me and my sister both attend CNU, but my parents expect me to get good grades, but not my sister so they do not get as upset when my sister has worse grades then me. My sister is the same gender as me and only 15 months older than me, so I really do not know why my parents expect more out of me.

  5. Jessie Wright Says:

    I was raised by my mother. My parents divorced when I was four years old and I never really knew my father. Personally, I think my traditional male characteristics were skewed at a young age. I never imaged a dad being in charge. I assumed all men were mean drunks and left their families until I reached first grade. Until then, no one had told me differently. I was raised with my cousins and their father had done the same thing, so I thought at one point the male will always leave. My gender roles are altered compared to the traditional roles. I was always taught to be independent and never have anyone do anything for you. My mom wanted me to learn how to do things by myself. My family always divided the chores and cooking. I knew my mom did the more difficult tasks, but we were all pretty equal. Since my brother was the oldest, he actually did a lot of the cooking for us. My personal freedom was definitely limited. You would think with one mom I would have more free time, but no way. Everything we have ever done is as a family. Amazingly, we were not disciplined that often. I had three older siblings, so when I started to act up them kept me in line. It was more of the guilt of misbehaving that kept us behaving well. It was clear that when one of us would mess up it would put more stress on our mom, and no one likes a cranky mom.

    I completely think if I had grown up with both parents things would be differently. Even non, I feel some of my friends can act up more than I can. Since my mom is not at a significantly higher level than me, I feel I need to treat her with the same respect she has given me. My friends sometimes yell, lash out at their parents, and rebel. I cannot imagine doing those types of things in fear of disappointing my mom. My family was always a team effort. When someone was down or needed help we ALL had to help. I think my family has a great deal of respect for one other and I cannot imagine being raised any other way.

    • sbarmstrong Says:

      I also refrained from misbehaving or acting out in fear or disappointing my parents. What do you think makes the difference between a child not wanting to disappoint versus a child who doesn’t care?

    • melaniebahr Says:

      Yeah, you definitely see kids that don’t respect what they have gotten from their parents. It’s like their whole life they just expected certain things they got, not realized that they were privileged and not everyone is that lucky. I think you see the lashing out and yelling with spoiled kids. When they were kids if they got everything they wanted then they expect that the rest of their lives. When then don’t get what they want they can’t understand why and will do almost anything to get it even if it means disrespecting their parents who have given them everything they have ever needed.

    • jenwaybright Says:

      What is funny is that at work yesterday we were talking about how my coworkers teenage daughters slam doors and yell at them and I was completely appalled! I never would have either done that or gotten away with that behavior in my house; my mom struck fear into my heart and we have never had a mother-daughter fight on that caliber.

    • cahendy Says:

      How else do you think you would have been diffrent? I read your response to somebodies else post about your moms new husband telling you to cover up when you had a halter-top on and you didn’t change because you disagreed with him. Do you think if you grew up with a dad who was conservative like that you would have been more conservative (not like a halter-top is even bad haha) or do you think you would have rebelled and dressed the same way or maybe even more reealing?

      • Jessie Wright Says:

        Um…. that’s some very good questions. ha-ha. I have no idea. I may have been told to ‘cover up’ more. Since I have never had a male figure in my life telling me what to do I think I was just startled. Usually if a guy says something like that to me, I bark back. I just have never had an adult male figure that was ‘a dad.’ I am use to getting the heat all from my mom.

  6. sbarmstrong Says:

    I was definitely a tomboy growing up. At an early age my mother tried to dress me as feminine as possible in dresses and bonnets…which was followed by me ripping them off. I believe she gave up a long time ago in that aspect. At that age, dresses and nice clothes meant nothing to me, resulting in me resisting them with a mad passion. I wanted practical clothes that I could play in and get dirty. My parents pretty much let me wear what I wanted as they knew I would anyway. My brother and I were only 3 years apart so whatever he did, I wanted to be a part of. My days as a child were spent playing outside in the woods, watching Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers and building forts, all with my brother. I hated Barbies and baby dolls (something my mother also gave up on….my poor mom!). Moreover, I was definitely a daddy’s girl. We would go fishing, hiking and canoeing, all things I loved and still do love today.

    As I grew up much like my brother, as I got older I could definitely see different expectations of freedom my parents granted my brother in comparison to me. It took much longer for my parents to grant me freedom than they did my brother (which doesn’t make sense because I was a lot more responsible than him even though he was three years older). My dad limited me the most in my attempts at freedom. I don’t believe he was trying to be unfair as much as he was trying to “protect his little girl and hold on a bit longer.” Therefore, I do feel like I would have been disciplined differently if I were male, because I believe parents worry less about their son’s safety and ability to take care of himself than their daughter’s.

    Though my parents were more protective of me, I was able to get out of trouble a lot easier than my brother. I really did not get into a lot of trouble as a kid, especially compared to my brother who was definitely the rebel. The first time I got a speeding ticket, I talked my way out of being grounded (something I was very proud of haha). My parents tried to discipline my brother and I the same way, but we were so different it would have never worked.

  7. emily9988 Says:

    The first thing I though of was definitely my mom dressing me as a little girl. She definitely took advantage of me being her dress up doll in my early years. I have embarrassing pictures of me in the pinkest, fluffiest, frilliest things I could find. Something very relevant that happened to me in first grade was my haircut. My mom decided to cut my hair and gave me a REALLY short hair cut, about the length of my 9 year old brother’s hair. I got teased for it and called a “boy with girl shoes” once at a restaurant. Because of this, my mom would dress me up in dresses and frilly pink clothes as often as she could so that there was no mistake- I was a girl. Isn’t it funny how we associate girls with long hair and boys with short? From a young age I learned that short hair could be for girls too, because if it wasn’t, then something must have been wrong with me.

    As I grew older, my mom introduced me to a lot of feminine things that would relate to me emotionally. Whether it be cheesy chick flicks, romance novels, or journals, I had them. She constantly would show me through these things how older women should live, but she strictly emphasized the idea of marriage and children. To this day she still asks me about my future wedding and children…when I’m not even dating anyone. She’s already planning vacations for the grand-kids! In one way, my mom conditioned me to see a woman’s role as strictly married with children, but I know that not every single woman in this world will be married with children.

    • tgbaldwin32 Says:

      Its seems like your mom spent a great deal of time trying to drive the feminine mindset into you mind, but do you think you still would have turned out like you are now if you were not as pressured as it seems like you were? Let’s say instead of all of the girly things all the time, say you were given things that were more gender neutral or dressed differently. Do you believe that you would be the same person as you are today?

      • emily9988 Says:

        I don’t think I would have changed at all. Sure, my mom was a huge influence on who I am, but I’m a strong believer that I would turn out to be who I am no matter the consequences. If my mom gave me more gender neutral things, I might have had different experiences growing up, but I wouldn’t be lacking any of the values that I hold today.

  8. Lauren Says:

    The only sibling I have in my family is my sister who is only 15 months apart from and is the same gender so my mother always would dress us in the same dresses for holidays like we were twins. My mom would also always put me and my sister into dance classes, like, ballet and jazz, I guess more female gender activities. Though, as I got older I grew out of that girly stage while my sister didn’t and I started to relate more to my dad. I dropped out of all my dance classes and began playing basketball, softball, and tennis. I knew I never really liked my dance classes and I would always see my dad watching sports so I became more interested in that which my parents encouraged because it’s something that I wanted to do. I guess neither of my parents minded because they had my sister to relate to my mother and do more feminine things and they had me that related more to my father and did more masculine things. Also my parents always told me and my sister that we could do whatever we wanted no matter what gender.

    I believe the only pressures my parents had when socializing me to enact a gendered role is that they still wanted me to be lady like even though I was always rougher and tougher than girls. My mom would always tell me when I was being too loud or when I needed to calm down, but other than that my parents were fine with me being more of a tomboy. My parents had a little different discipline styles because my mother would do most of the punishing and grounding, but my father never wanted to punish me and my sister. We were his two little girls and he never wanted to make us upset.

    I think that if I was a boy my father might have treated me differently, but I do not think my mother would. If I was a boy I think my father would discipline me more because the only reason he did not punish me was because I am a girl and he saw me as more delicate. If I was a boy I don’t think he would go as easy on me since boys are seen as being tougher than girls. Fathers always seem to have a soft spot for their daughter(s) and my father is no different.

    • catherineporter07 Says:

      It seems like your experience was pretty similar to my own. My parents concern was much more about manners and learning how to interact with others in a “lady-like” fashion, and less about the activites I chose to engage in and the clothing I wore.

  9. mransone Says:

    I have three older brothers and as soon as my parents found out they were having a girl they bought everything pink in sight. As soon as I was born they out a bow in my hair and a pink dress on me. My mother always dressed me in smock dress with a matching bow. I was given lots of dolls and Barbies to play with. I never really wanted to play with anything my brothers did because they were so much older than me. If I had wanted to I think my parents would have been fine with it, but my mother always tells me how glad she is to have a girly girl. I was really never pressured to act in a certain way, I always have been very girly. I never wanted to do anything that my brothers did, because they were gross boys. I had all the same rules my brothers did, but I probably got away with more. We all had the same restrictions, they might be a little more protective because I am a girl, but they let us make our own decisions for the most part. My father was the stricter of the two. They usually punished us together, but my mother let a little more slide. I think if I were a boy I would have been punished more, because I am the baby and the only girl my parents let me get away with more. So I feel if I had been a boy I would not have gotten away with as much.

    • vrobbins Says:

      Do you think you would be punished as much if you were the youngest boy of the family? Maybe age difference is a key factor. I guess I think about families who have grown children and decide really late to have another baby. I’m sure they are a lot more lenient on the new baby as he/she matures.

    • cahendy Says:

      This is funny because I have an older sister and when I was born my parents did not have much money and my dad was going to seminary so I have a lot of baby pictures of me with pink blankets and pink toys because they just did not have the money to buy all new stuff. Luckily they splurged and bought me a couple of boy outfits so I was not wearing dresses all the time haha. Luckily the pink stopped being the only color around me at some point growing up and I turned out to be more masculine than I am feminine. How much do you think your mom dressing you in dresses and srrounding you with pink contributed to your choices in dress once you were old enough to choose? You said your mother would have been fine wth you not being a girly girl but she is glad you are, do you think there was pressure on you to be a girly girl?

    • chloea Says:

      I’m the youngest between my brother and I as well. At first I got away with more, but as we both got older, we had to share the blame. If we were fighting and took it to my mother, no matter who was right, we’d have to do a chore together. I distinctly recall us scrubbing the kitchen floor together. I guess that was my mother’s way of making us work things out ourselves.

  10. vrobbins Says:

    Growing up, my mom taught me most of life’s lessons. Since I’ve gotten older, my dad has been teaching me a lot. We are a lot closer today than when I was a child. My mom always encouraged me to be self-sufficient. She would show me this through her own actions as well as including me on projects around the house. For example, I remember one time when I was younger; I had just gotten a new desk for school. My dad was doing something, I think cutting the grass. My mom went to the garage and came back upstairs will a power drill and tool box. I remember her saying that we are fully capable of putting this together ourselves. Also, when we wanted to re-arrange furniture in our house, she would do it herself. Now that I have my own place, I re-arrange my own furniture (even if it’s too heavy for me). She does rely on my Dad a lot, but she always puts forth her best effort before asking. I feel like women are socialized to be more passive and I wasn’t taught to be that way.

    I’m not so sure my parents ever felt pressure when socializing me. Although, I don’t really know because I’ve never talked about it before with them. Not to brag, but I was a very good child all the way through high school. I never really acted out and I had been taught to be independent since I could first understand the gibberish my parents were speaking. Whenever I was confronted with things in school that would contradict what my parents were teaching me, I had a strong foundation and knew that what I had been taught was right and I took that path. My parents gave me a lot of freedom growing up, so I think they probably felt more pressure to behave in ways that I would be likely to copy, rather than tell me to be a certain way and then go and behave in a way that was opposite of what they were telling me.

    My mother and father’s disciplinary styles differed greatly. My mom was the disciplinary force growing up because my dad was getting his Master’s degree. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with him. The time that I did spend with him was a privilege so I never did anything to get punished for. I think my parents stopped punishing me before I even finished elementary school because the guilt that I felt for doing something wrong was so huge and me feel like I really disappointed my parents was enough to set me straight. (Little Tidbit: I would put myself in timeout sometimes when I was little because I knew what I did was wrong. My mom would come into my room asking what I was doing. I would respond, “I was bad. I’m in timeout!” Ha!) I don’t think my parents would have treated me differently if I were a boy. I don’t feel like they treated me any differently than they would a son, in terms of how they taught me their morals and values. If I were a boy and responded the same way I did, they would more than likely respond the same way. My parents, I believe are very gender neutral when it comes to treating children a certain way. I think this is such a good mentality. I hope that I can do the same one day when I’m raising children.

  11. ginasurrette Says:

    My parents aloud me many options. They wanted me to experience as many opportunities as I could since I was very young. they encouraged me to try out new things and express my opinions. as far as clothing goes I was definitely feminine. my personal choice of clothing was very girlish and I loved to dress up. I enjoyed wearing my mothers high heels as well as playing with my older sisters make up. when my mother wore lipstick I wanted to wear lipstick. I was always given the opportunity to play in whatever sport I wanted at any given time. My parents were not controlling with my style, unless of course I chose something that was outlandish to them.

    since my dad worked a lot, sports is the area that he could bond with me. he enjoyed when I played softball and basketball because he could help me excel in those areas. my mother on the other hand enjoyed when I became a dancer at a young age because she would apply my recital make up and curl my hair. I loved make up so much that I started to wear mascara at the early age of 11 after I convinced myself it made me look older and more attractive. Since then I hold maintaining personal high gene to a high standard and enjoy looking my best. I believe that if it weren’t for the productive freedoms that my parents gave me I would not be exactly who I want to be.

    My sister also has had a big influence on how I act. I always found her laughing, smiling, and making jokes so I wanted to be just like her. she also was a great role model as a passionate, conservative young women. She believed in staying true to your self and that is exactly how I have grown up to behave.

  12. katelyntemple Says:

    Jen brought up her Granny was the one who tried to make her be a “prim little girl.” My Grandmother was the same way. She bought me ridiculous dresses and wanted me to ‘act as little girls should.’ She thought I should be passive, quiet and very happy. My parents never had these expectations for me.

    I wonder if this is an indication of decreasing gender stereotypes. Older generations place more influence on children acting in accordance to their gender it seems.

    • mmpike Says:

      That’s interesting to me, my grandmother was quite the opposite. I think its because she did’t like how she had been conformed to gender stereotypes in the past. I think she must have been a feminist because she is so proud of her independent, sports loving granddaughters. Even when we were roughing it with the boys when we were five.

      I think you’re probably right that older generations have quite an influence, but on an individual basis, I think preferences for gender stereotypes depends on how it affected them. Maybe?

      • mattymac Says:

        My girlfriend often talks about how her grandmother would always give her a pretty, frilly dress for her birthday and Christmas presents growing up. She would also stress to her about being a “lady” and being “presentable”, etc.

        Her parents did not encourage such femininity for her as much as her grandmother did. I agree with the comment that it reflects older generations taking a more traditional view than newer generations.

  13. katelyntemple Says:

    In response to sbarmstrong’s post:

    I was thinking about this when I wrote my journal entry about family power. I think it all has to do with how children view power in the family. I feel like how who act up and do not care dont see their parents as powerful. For those who do not want to dissapoint their parents, I think they tend to accept their parents as having legitimate authority. I view my mother as having legitimate power, so always did as she said and did not want to dissapoint her. I never viewed my father in this way in regards to power, so really didn’t care as much.

  14. katelyntemple Says:

    I do not feel as if my family forced me to be super feminine, but they definitely surrounded me with items that influenced female characteristics. I grew up playing Barbie’s (though I only enjoyed cutting their hair), had a play kitchen, and took dance lessons. As most of the other girls said, my Mother also dressed me in a way that was the norm for girls my age. Looking back at photos, I wouldn’t say I was always dressed in frilly, girly dresses, but I always had the cute clothes. Items such as Barbie’s and the play kitchen and focus on appearance definitely encouraged feminine characteristics.

    My guess would be my parents felt pressure from their parents when socializing me to have a female role. As I already said in response to another post, it seems as if the clothing matters more to older generations. My Grandparents always wanted me to be a ‘good little girl.’ I played outside and my two best friends were boys, but I still wore girly clothes. I never looked like a slob or wore clothing that wasn’t accepted as traditional girl apparel. I feel as if my dress was monitored, but not in a way that was not practical. If I wanted to wear jeans and a tee-shirt I would, I do not think I was ever told that wasn’t girly enough.

    I really do not feel like my parents set limits on my personal freedom or that I was limited because I am female. I never was forced to do certain activities or told others were not allowed. Like many girls, I started out with dance and gymnastics. I ended up quitting after breaking my arm while trying to do monkey bars in the rain (smart, I know…) After that I decided I wanted to take horseback riding lessons. I ride English, or more specifically hunter/jumpers, which is very common for girls to do. However, it involved getting pretty dirty, and as I advanced we saw the dangers. My parents knew that was what I wanted to do so let me. I’ve even had a serious surgery as a result of a riding accident, and this did not cause them to try to hold me back. This makes me feel that though I am a female, they do not think I am weaker or need more protection, since they have not limited me in this way. However, I feel as if things would have been different if I picked a male dominant sport. If I told my parents my dream was to be a football player, chances are they would have prevented me from even starting the sport. This shows that even if parents do not limit personal freedom, there are still expectations as a result of gender.

    I honestly do not remember discipline styles of my parents very well… But they were divorced before I was one, so my guess is they were pretty different. I really do not think I would have been disciplined differently or treated differently if I had been a boy. My parents taught me to be independent and to always work as hard as possible. I really do not think I was raised in the stereotypical manner girls are thought to be raised by. There was no emphasis on gender specific roles. I did not learn that the woman cleaned and cooked while the man worked. I do not think things would have been different if I had been a boy. I feel like I have had a great deal of independence so doubt I would have been given more as a boy. Also, my parents had high expectations of me; I think they also would if I had been the opposite sex. Naturally, many things would be different if I was a boy, but for the most part I think how I was treated and expected to behave would have been rather similar. And so it is known, I am an only child… so can’t compare to siblings!

  15. scnuhoy87 Says:

    When I look back on how I was brought up I know that my parents took the traditional approach to raising a boy. I was dressed mostly in athletic clothes and old clothes because I was only going to go outside and mess them up. I was enrolled in baseball and basketball before I was 5 years old. I was never brought anywhere near a ballot studio or came close to acting in a play, the activities that I took place in where either sports related or I was on a four wheeler or motorcycle root en around in the mud, and even raced competitively on my motorcycle growing up. This pretty much set the development for that when I was in high school and lettered in baseball and basketball and I was driving around in a 1997 Cherokee country with a 6 inch lift and 33 mud tires.

    I would have to say that both of my parents were great influence on me though, my father was the one taught me all about mechanics and racing because that is what he did growing up and my mom taught me about how to act in public, how to be respectful to people and even how to treat girls. Both my parents inflicted into me that in life it is important to be respectful of others and to work hard for everything because if you don’t work hard for something then you will have less appreciation for that. I was told for example if you do not appreciate the person you are in a relationship with, then when that person leaves you because of the lack of respect that it will only hurt yourself because that person will find someone that appreciates them where as you may have just lost the only person that appreciates you.

    When it comes down to if my parents set limits on my personal freedom, I would definitely have to say that they did not. My parents let it be known to me that I free to participate in whatever activity I wanted to pursue, and even down to the point that I was allowed to go out and party throughout high school. They did however make it clear for my own safety that if I was going to go out and drink and party that I would either call them for a ride or just spend the night where I was, they didn’t do this so that it would trick me and I would get punished later on but rather they acknowledged that as a growing teenager, like back in their day, I was going to go out and hang out with my friends and as long as I was smart about it we had an understanding. I guess I really didn’t challenge them too much when it came to disciplining me, because I always followed their rules guidelines, I always made the A honor role through high school so my grades were never in jeopardy and that also allowed me to play sports, and I always followed their guidelines when I went out with my friends.

    In the situation that I was born a girl and if my parents would have disciplined me differently is a good question. I do not believe that they would have changed their parenting except for I would probably been enrolled in different activities growing up, but other than that I believe they would have been fair parents and not change their disciplining styles just based on my sex. I would compare this question my younger sister, but in so many ways we are completely different so we will never know how they would have handled her in the situations that I went through. Unlike me my sister even when given the chance never wanted to just go out with her friends, and never was given the do not drink and drive speech because her and her friends do not drink (which is a good thing). She always would have rather just stayed at home and watch tv and do homework, where as I wanted nothing more than to go out and party with my friends. my sister is quite and I’m loud, she shy and I’m outgoing, I’m smart but she’s smarter, haha. But both of us have a great relationship with our parents and we are respectful of other people because of the way that they raised us. I would hands down challenge anyone that I have the best parents in this world, and that’s not based on money because we don’t have it but based on how they are understanding and give equal opportunity for my sister and I to do what makes us happy.

  16. cahendy Says:

    I do not feel like my family encouraged me to be really masculine but I think it just kind of happened. My whole family and extended family are all very athletic and into sports, my dad played rugby in college and was very good so I think it was inevitable that I was going to get into sports. I actually think that once I started playing sports my peers started having a big impact on me becoming more masculine.

    My mom monitored my dress growing up but only because being a little boy if she did not I would have gone to school with something on backwards or even forgetting to put something on (such as underwear which I did frequently). Eventually I was able to dress myself and I guess my parents just never had a problem with what I wore. They made sure I never watched to much tv or played to many video games but I spent most of my time playing outside growing up so they did not have to monitor my personal freedom to much. My mom and dad always tell me that I was kind of like the ultimate little boy, I was always dirty and always getting into trouble. They disciplined me in the same way, when I was younger they would spank me, then as I got older they would take away things such as my phone, my car, or my free time.

    I grew up the middle child with a sister on either side and I always saw them being treated differently. I always hated that I got in more trouble than they did but I am at least smart enough now to see that they never did things to get in trouble like I did. If i were a girl I may have been treated different but if I had the same trouble making personality then I feel like I would have been punished the same way.

    One reason I think that my family did not intentionally encourage me to be to masculine was because the main thing they got me into was sports, but they also got my sisters into sports, so it was not just because I was a boy but because that is what my parents enjoyed.

    • flipmyflops06 Says:

      It seems like we were influenced more by society than our families to be more masculine or feminine. Rugby was probably considered a male sport when your dad was in college. Maybe this had an influence on why he chose rugby and in turn why you were influenced to play. Gender specific activities seem to remain gender specific through the years. As someone pointed out on a previous blog, the sports articles featured mostly men.

  17. tgbaldwin32 Says:

    When I was young everything I did was monitored by my parents. Both of my parents spent a great deal of time trying to impose male characteristics on me, never once was there anything considered girly placed in my hands. I was always dressed in durable clothes that could handle me and my friends running around all day in the woods and inadvertently running into trees. Every day was the same thing pair of jeans, sneakers/boots, and a shirt with some boy theme one it, I distinctly remember one with ninja turtles.

    My parents had very different discipline styles. My mother would use a more psychological warfare approach while my father would use a more traditional blunt force trauma approach. When used in tandem with each other they were devastating, I learned at a very young age don’t tick off my parents.

    I am an only child so I can’t use siblings to use as a reference point to answer the question if I was female would I have been disciplined differently. I can only speculate but I do not think that there would be that much of a change in their discipline styles, this is because I remember my mother saying how this was hoe it was done for her this is how it will be done for me.

    • mbest88 Says:

      I had never really though about it before this assignment, but it is interesting how boys aren’t normally allowed to play with anything girly. There are a whole bunch of tomboys out there and little girls who play with their brother’s toys, but in general boys really aren’t allowed to play with girls stuff. I babysit for a boy and a girl. The little girl is allowed to play with the boy’s trucks and building blocks, but the boy is not allowed to go anywhere near the little girl’s dolls and dress up clothes. I actually remember the mom specifically telling me to make sure that he did not play with any of the girl’s stuff. It was probably just so he wouldn’t mess with it, but still.

  18. flipmyflops06 Says:

    I agree with the post above me because I don’t believe my family encouraged me to be strongly feminine, but some feminine qualities appeared on their own. I was allowed to chose what activities I wanted to participate in. As a little girl I chose to do what all of my friends were doing and got into dance, ballet, tap, and gymnastics, but eventually I chose to only continue gymnastics. I once showed interest in cheerleading and my mom talked me out of it by saying that it got incredibly cold outside and you had to wear thin clothing. She was once a cheerleader and loved it, but didn’t think I would want to continue once the weather got colder. This is an ultra feminine sport so it shows she did not neccessarily steer me towards feminine activities.

    Also, when it came to what I would wear, my mom let me choose what I wanted to wear as long as it was somewhat reasonable. I usually chose dresses and on one particular day it was especially cold outside and my parents warned me wearing a dress may be too cold. I did it anyways and quickly learned that dressing feminine was not always practical as my parents already seemed to know.

    Both of my parents have an outside job and on top of this they both do housework. My mom and dad split the jobs as best they can. For example, grocery shopping and dinner duty is alternated every week between my father and mother. Laundry and grass cutting is done by either parent depending on how busy each of them are. Through this, I have learned that specific gender-roles don’t really exist and that both partners should share work equally not depending on sex.

    I will say my mom did most of the child care. She was more patient with my brother and I so she did more work in this area than my father because my brother and I tended to prefer her to help us. Nurturing and childcare has traditionally been a gender-role of females so I have learned the feminine characteristic of being more nurturing from my family.

    My brother, Mason, and I have always been treated equally when being disciplined. Mason and I received the same punishment of time-out for the same bad behavior when we were younger. When we became teenagers our parents trusted us enough to not have a lot of restrictions. When we did mess up, we usually discussed what the proper punishment would be. If I was a boy, I don’t think how I was disciplined by my parents would change because of how they treat Mason. Our parents base the freedom they give my brother and I on their trust in us.

  19. mmpike Says:

    So I just wrote out my whole response, but then something happened and its gone, so forgive me if this is kind of short.

    Like all the other girls said, I was dressed always dressed in pretty little dresses and bows for Sunday Church, and of course for Easter I had a nice big bonnet (which I hated). My mom had waited a long time for girl so I think she really enjoyed dressing me all nice all the time.

    Aside from the wardrobe aspect, I think I was a very confused little girl. One day I was a hardcore tom-boy, while the next I was walking around my plastic high heel shoes from the grocery store. I grew up around boys, (two older brothers) and they would make fun of me for being a girl, so I would try to be like them, which I actually enjoyed playing sports and things. But then I really looked up to my Mom who was never very athletic, but a strong, feminine woman.

    The Gender aspect is kind of blurred in my mind because my Dad taught me how to do a lot of things, including how to play sports, fix toilets and other random things, mow the lawn, as well as how to plant flowers and cook. He taught me how to do all the things that he knows how to do, even though they are not traditionally the masculine role (the cooking and gardening)

    When I think about my mother, I remember more about how she taught me to be a woman and not just how to do things. From hear I learned the heart and soul of a strong woman. She taught me how to Pray , how to depend on God, how to love everyone, how to be hospitable, how to be a peace-maker and of course, to balance my checkbook. Most of what I learned from are mother-daughter type bonding things. Except the checkbook. That on seems odd to me, because looking back my dad is the financial wizard. But she taught me more about finances then my dad did. In addition, my mom cooks more often then my dad does, but my dad taught me most of my cooking skills. I’m not really sure what the connection is, but it interests me.

    My extended family encouraged its daughters to be independent and strong woman. Of the four granddaughters, all played sports, and really encouraged to do so. I remember my grandmother being very proud of us for how active we were. I think she wishes she had the same experiences. My grandfather encouraged us as well. The most traditional gendering came from my brothers and guy cousins. They always pushed us four way to play with them, and challenged our abilities.

  20. catherineporter07 Says:

    Growing up, I would say the influence of my parents spread me pretty far in both traditional feminine and masculine traits, but generally it seems that I tended to lean toward the masculine.

    For nice occasions, my mother would dress me head to toe in pretty little girl clothes, but for school and playing outside, I wore clothes that you probably couldn’t distinguish whether they were for boys are girls. My mother emphasized manners such as “keeping your legs closed”, how to hold your silver wear properly, and frequently invited me to engage in activities such as sewing and craft making.
    My dad on the other hand, signed me up for every sports team he could think of – soccer, basketball, swimming, dance – the list goes on. He was a strict outdoors man – took us camping, hiking, fishing, even taught me how to pick up a snake when I was five years old.

    I think to a certain extent, perhaps my mom felt the pressures of society to ensure that her daughter knew how to properly interact with others, and that I was viewed as a nice young girl. However, I don’t remember her being overly concerned with my appearance, as much as she was with ensuring I knew how to communicate effectively and respectfully with other people.

    For my father, it seemed he was not concerned with the fufillment of a gender role. From the time I was little til this day, he’s very encouraging of whatever it is I want to pursue.

    When it came to discipline, my father was the one who typically was in charge of it. Because I don’t have very clear memories of my mother ever disciplining us, it is difficult for me to envision what the differences are. I suppose though you could argue that the influence of only seeing my father in the authoritative position when it came to discipline has influenced by perception of the roles men and women play in a family.

    As a grew older, my parents never really commented on my clothing. Although, because of the way they warned me, I knew had I chosen to wear revealing clothing, they would have insisted I change.

    It is hard for me to imagine if they would treat me much differently had I been a male. I have a brother, but because he is learning disabled, they are cautious when allowing him to do certain things. Perhaps I would have a better comparison if my brother hadn’t had these learning restraints.

    • mbest88 Says:

      Your dad sounds a lot like mine. He loved that I was a tomboy and was always trying to sign me up for as many sports as possible. Your mom sounds a little like mine too. She would force me to dress up in girls clothes for special occasions and I hated it.

  21. mbest88 Says:

    When I was growing up I was the biggest tomboy ever. I didn’t grow out of it until about 5th grade. For the most part my parents went along with it. I refused to wear anything that was even slightly girly. A lot of the time I wore boys clothes. I didn’t want to play with dolls, I wanted to play with trucks. I was way involved in sports. When I was in preschool or maybe a year older I convinced my mom to let me cut my hair short. She wouldn’t let me cut it any higher than my ears, but I had the lady cut it right up to my ears. Sometimes people would even think I was a boy. I remember my mom telling me a story of one of my friends asking his mom why I was wearing a girls bathing suit cause he thought I was a boy. Even though my parents supported what I wanted they did set lines that they didn’t let me cross. I think in the back of my mom’s mind she always hoped I would just grow out of it. I did, and now I would call myself fairly girly. I don’t really think it have any affect on the way I see gender differences today. The only thing I think it really did was open me up to different things. When I was stiil in my boy phase I started playing drums, and still do today, which is probably something I wouldn’t have done if I grew up super girly. My mom and dad pretty much had the same opinion on the limits that they set for me. I think my dad enjoyed me growing up as a tomboy becuase he liked playing with all my toys and coaching my sports teams. I don’t think my parents would have treated my much differently if I was a boy, but if I was a boy who acted like a girl they probably wouldn’t have approved. I bet my dad would have been extremely against it, and forced me to like and wear boy things. It is kinda interesting thinking about how a girl being a tomboy is normally socially accepted but a boy being girly isn’t.

  22. chloea Says:

    I am my parents’ only daughter and the first granddaughter on my mom’s side of the family. My clothes probably played the biggest role in encouraging my femininity. It not uncommon for my mother to stay up late Saturday night making a dress for me to wear to church the following morning. I came to love dresses that I could twirl in. I also had the matching bows: some purchased, some homemade. My mother always fixed my hair. She would braid it at night when it was wet and take it out in the morning so it would be curly. I also had long hair like my mother. One of my parents would dry my hair for me. It was normally my dad though. I can remember sitting in the bathroom while he brushed and blow dried it. While my mother was busy making my dresses, my grandmother was making pajamas for her two grandchildren (my older brother and I). We had pajamas made out of matching material, but mine was a night gown and his consisted of pants and a shirt. I also participated in a ballet and tap dance class for a couple years. Mom and Dad brought me dolls, dollhouses, and barbies to play with while they bought my brother legos, GI Joes, and playmobile castles. They also bought me a little play kitchen.

    My brother and I were disciplined the same way, so I don’t think that would have changed had I been a boy. At the same time, I was the more responsible one and had more freedom at age comparison. I’ve never actually had a curfew. My parents just asked that I let them know where I am and give them an estimate on when I’d be home. In high school the law made my curfew (midnight). In general, my parents are more concerned about me walking around campus at night than they are about my brother, but I do have the same amount of freedom.

    • chloea Says:

      On the other hand, I think I developed feminine characteristics on my own as well. I hated mud, dirt, paint, and ink in contact with my skin. To this day, I’m not a hug fan of it, but it’s not that big of a deal, you just don’t find me walking around barefoot. In kindergarden I wouldn’t even put my foot in a pan of white paint to stamp on a piece of paper to make a ghost. This was definitely not instilled in me by my parents. My mom’s actually an artist, so that kind of thing wouldn’t have been important to her like it was to me.

  23. lckupke Says:

    When I arrived home from the hospital after being born, a pink room was waiting for me. It’s an understatement to say my parents encouraged me to have traditional female qualities. By age two I was enrolled in my first ballet class, and those dance lessons continued through high school. Other feminine activities my parents enrolled me in include modeling, etiquette classes, gymnastics, and cheerleading. As a child, for every birthday and major holiday I was given Barbies and various other dolls.

    They succumbed to social pressures of socializing me as a female. Like I already mentioned, they enrolled me in etiquette classes and taught me to “act like a lady.” They definitely monitored my wardrobe. Often when I was about to leave the house, my dad would meet me at the front door and ask, “is that outfit ok with your mother?”

    My parents agreed before my brother and I were born that my dad would be responsible for disciplining their child if they had a boy, and my mom would discipline if they had a girl. In that sense, their discipline styles were different based on the gender they were responsible for. My brother was physically disciplined more with spanking, while I was punished less physically and usually forced to wash my mouth out (I was a brat and always talked back). Because my parents divided the discipline and directed it to the child of their associated gender, I think I would have definitely been disciplined differently if I was a boy. I would have been physically disciplined more by my dad instead of my mom.

    • kmacklin1107 Says:

      My parents definitely did the whole act like a lady thing to my sister and I. My sister and I used to have burping contests out in public, and my parents would tell us that that was not a very lady like thing to do.

      I do think its cool that your parents put you through so many classes just to make sure you were ready for life, in some ways I think that this will help you to be ready for any situation, and to feel comfortable, while others of us will have to guess at times.

  24. sam1503 Says:

    My family did not encourage me to be incredibly feminine like some of the other’s families that have been previously mentioned. My mother did make me wear frilly dresses when I was younger, and liked to dress me to look like a doll ( and yes I have pictures to prove it). She also bought me toys that reinforced a feminine gender like barbies, polly pockets, and babydolls. My mom got me interested in dance so I took dance lessons when I was younger, which in my opinion is a girlier sport. However, my dad also got me into playing sports and getting dirty outside with my brother. Because my mom pushed me to be more feminine at a younger age, I started to rebel when I started to grow up. Like I commented earlier, I refused to wear dresses until recently. For some reason, I always associated wearing dressed with the pictures from the past of me dressed up like a doll. I still liked to look nice and put together, but was not overly feminine like my mother would have liked. I ended up quiting dance lessons after awhile to focus on sports, which disappointed my mom, but was something she learned to love. I also think that I migrated to things that my brother did because me and my brother have been close from a very young age and always did everything together.

    Like I said earlier, my dad did monitor my dress. He never wanted me wearing things that showed too much skin and made me change when he felt like I did. He made sure to compliment me when I did look nice and what he would call “proper”. This didn’t make me rebel and pack clothes to change somewhere elsem but it did make me frustrated. There was also the double standard of what my brother and I could do and the freedoms we had. My brother was always allowed to do more because “he is a boy and i’m a girl”.

    Judging by the way my brother was treated I do think that if I was a boy I would have been treated differently. I would have gotten to do more at a younger age then what I was able to. My dress would also not have been monitored the way that it was. The way I was raised would have also been different, with the activites i would have done. I do not however think that me and my brother would have been as close as we are though. He felt as if he needed to protect me from everything because i was a girl. If I were a boy he would not have felt that need, and we may not have been as close.

  25. kmacklin1107 Says:

    My family definitely had a big impact on how I was brought up and on who I am today. Growing up I was the younger sister of two. My parents dressed my sister in clothes that were suitable for not only our age, but also our gender. In every picture that we have together my sister and I are wearing a dress for the holidays. According to my aunt, who made the dresses for us, these dresses had to have a “spin factor”. If there was not enough flair when we spun around she had to go back and make it so that the dress would go out more.

    My sister and I also got involved with dance and at the same time we got involved with softball and t-ball. My dad took us to do things that many dads would do with sons, like fishing. They helped us to become very independent young women who knew what we wanted, and we are well rounded enough to be able to dable in a little bit of everything.

    Other than fancy occasions my parents never forced my sister or I to be incredibly feminine. We were allowed to dress ourselves and wear what we pleased, as long as what we were wearing was age appropriate.

    My dad was definitely more strict when it came to dating than my mother was. When my sister or I brought a guy home my dad would question him, and then if he liked the guy he would joke around about showing him a shot gun (my father doesn’t even own a gun!). If my sister or I were really serious about a guy then we would bring the guy around to meet the family. One of my uncles is in SCA and has a lot of medieval equipment. When the guy comes over my uncle shows him all of the weapons and armor that he has. This is my uncles way of saying do not mess with my niece, I have weapons and I know how to use them.

    Overall I would have to say that my sister and I have been treated fairly throughout life. We would receive the same punishments if we did something wrong, but mostly we learned from what the other one did. While my family is in my life, they also give me enough freedom to make mistakes and get myself out of messes. I am thankful for the family I have, and how they have helped me to become the person that I am today.

  26. mattymac Says:

    While doing the journal entry and the reading response, I realized one role that my father played in our family’s power distribution. I also realized that it was one role that my parents stressed to me as an important one for a man to exhibit. It is the role of the moral compass, or the disciplinarian.

    Gamble and Gamble (2003) talk about how in an experiment, children expected their mothers to exhibit “praising communication” while they expected their fathers to exhibit “punishing communication” (Arnston and Turner as cited on p. 202). I began to think about how my father and mother disciplined me, and I realized that my father was more the disciplinarian than my mother. When I was younger, he was the one that spanked me or chastised me more. As I grew older, he was the one that talked to me about the consequences of bad choices, instructing me a right versus wrong way to living. I also realized that it was my father, more than any other family member who would pray before meals.

    By seeing my father enacting these behaviors, I have been encouraged to do the same, since I identify with my father and he has taught me many of the masculine characteristics and roles I feel obligated to adopt.

    I believe if I were of the opposite sex, I would have been disciplined differently. It is interesting that several of you mention how your parents were easier on the sons in your families compared to the daughters. While I was not as harshly disciplined as my older brother and sister (I think it is because I carry the role of being the “baby” of the family, and thus received less punishments), I noticed, and my brother always talks about it at family reunions and get-togethers, but he was the one that received the harshest punishments from my parents. While I was not punished as critically, I feel as though punishment and living by a moral code was more stressed through the actions and roles of my father.

    It appears, though, that this is a common role for fathers to have: “Both men and women concur that men should exert more power, and the husband’s views count more and usually prevail in households” (Anderson & Leslie and Thompson & Walker as cited in Gamble & Gamble, 2003, p. 207). Also, Gamble and Gamble (2003) discuss a recent study that revealed how teenagers who do not get along with their fathers are more likely to engage in delinquent behavior (e.g., alcohol, drugs, smoking) than teenagers in typical two-parent AND singe-parent families (Molotsky as cited on p. 205). Lastly, Gamble and Gamble (2003) discuss how fathers and mothers differ in their commands to their children–how “fathers use more direct commands and threats with their children than mothers do”–thus, demonstrating the emphasis of power and authority as male characteristics to be adopted by men who will eventually become fathers.

    Lastly, I’ll end with the quote that opened up the chapter that I think perfectly summarizes why men may feel to be the disciplinarians and punishers in the families and why it is through them, that many of us learn the moral code of what is right and what is wrong…

    “All fathers are intimidating. They’re intimidating because they are fathers. Once a man has children, for the rest of his life, his attitude is, ‘To hell with the world, I can make my own people. I’ll eat whenever I want, I’ll wear whatever I want, and I’ll create whoever I want’”
    –Jerry Seinfeld as cited in Gamble & Gamble, 2003, p. 192

    Reference: Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

  27. McNally Says:

    Well first off to set the scene i grew up in a huge family. I was 1 of 6 siblings. Five boys and one girl. My family sent us to a christian school when we were younger so dress was never really an issue. Although their are gender specific clothes, my sister wore dresses and us boys wore shirts and ties. Now yes, as is becoming ever more popular today, my father would never let us wear pink shirts or other things similar to that. But all in all dress was not really an issue growing up.
    However the activites we chose to do would not have necessarily been the activities of choice if we had a say in it. I was always involved in the choir when i was in school. Talk about getting made fun of. When you are a young boy in elementry school, you are supposed to be playing sports and causing trouble. The girls are the ones who are involved in choir and being nice to everyone. As i grew up i began to enjoy choir and now I wouldnt take it back ever cause I love to sing. But this is just an example of a gender specific activity in the eyes of a young boy but not necessarily the parents.
    My dad was a little more strict then my mom when it came to discipline. He was always the one to have the final say and when we knew the answer would be no we would usually just run to my mom and ask her cause it was easier to persuade her. My father was strict about our appearance. We were never allowed to have long hair, never allowed earings, and especially no dyed hair or tattoos, at least for us boys. I always felt my sister got away with more things because she was a girl. For instance she was always allowed to have more friends over, but us boys were allowed to go to friends houses more often then her. She was also allowed to dye her hair, which i guess is a girly thing to do and thats why my dad allowed her too and us boys not to do.


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