New Girlish childhoods?

i’m copying a bit from Facebook which got NO response AT ALL.  Having spent a great deal of my time in convent schools in the D.C. Area, I’m certainly prepared to face the fact that I did’t have a normal childhood, but I have a hard time recognzing the ones described below as one neighborhood kids went through.  ‘Be feminine and marriageable’ was the imperative govering us all, to most girls’ misfortune, I think.


Girlish Childhoods:
I’ve been looking at David Amodio’s work on gender development. I don’t recognize his picture of childhood and I’m wondering whether others do. Here is one major theme: in preK and K, little girls insist on frilly pink dresses. But then they start on a tomboy phase:
“Studies of elementary school children have observed similar rates of prevalence, with approximately one-third to one-half of girls labeling themselves as tomboys (Dinella & Martin, 2003; Jannone et al., forthcoming). Indeed, girls in elementary school show increasing interest in masculine activities and behaviors –they like to play more sports, wear pants, talk and act like boys, and play with male-typed toys (Bailey, Bechtold, & Berenbaum, 2002; Paechter & Clark, 2007; Sandberg & Meyer-Bahlburg, 1994). Some research suggests that girls also develop an active aversion to feminine activities and interests (Carr, 1998), and they may actively shun pink objects and female-typed activities (McHale, Shanahan, Updegraff, Crouter, & Booth, 2004). As tomboys, they report an adamant refusal to wear skirts or dresses (Paechter & Clark, 2007). Hence, these normative shifts suggest major changes in the gender identity and attitudes of many girls in a relatively short period of time.”

I was mostly educated in convent schools in D.C., 6 years of which were single-sex. So maybe I missed a lot. But then my son went to mostly mixed sex schools in Princeton. Amodio says that older children become more tolerant about gender expectations and will even in teen years not be bothered by a boy wearing fingernail polish. That was a huge surprise to me, who had been bombarded with concerns about whether my mildly gender atypical son would survive. I got so sick of frowning salesmen and intolerant teachers.

There is no comparable division for boys between a pink phase and a tomboy phase.

Does all this make sense to you?  Seem right?


A problem with those Zika warnings

Hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, hardly anyone had heard of the Zika virus or the condition to which it is now suspected to be linked. Microcephaly is a rare congenital condition where infants are born with undersized craniums. Though Zika’s exact relationship, if any, to this lifelong condition has yet to be determined, WHO has declared Zika a global emergency, and government officials in Brazil,  Colombia, Ecuador and El Salvador are “advising women to avoid getting pregnant, for fear that the fast-spreading Zika virus may cause severe brain defects in unborn children.” Officials outside affected countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are advising women to “avoid traveling“ to those areas.

Notice anything odd about these warnings? No? Let’s continue:

As many commentators have pointed out, it seems mind boggling that countries without contraception, and where abortion is illegal even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, are now recommending that women stop having babies for at least two years, or until medical researchers have a better understanding of Zika’s impact on developing fetuses. Human rights advocates and health workers have rightly pushed back against those recommendations. “Even if women attempt to follow the recommendations through abstinence,” writes Charlotte Alter for Time, “sexual violence is so pervasive throughout the region that many women may get pregnant against their will.”

Here is the problem: All of these warnings to women about getting pregnant have managed to avoid a particular word. That word is “men.”

– See more at: