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Truth in gender stereotypes?


YPestis

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Fundies love to talk about gender roles and we spend time refuting them. However, do you believe that certain gender stereotypes do exist?

I'll take an easy one. Pregnancy. It's one area that men and women are very different. Hahaha!

Seriously though, I think this is an area where fundies have a good point about. Caring for a newborn really requires a fulltime person, and it's easier for most couples to pick the mother because of the breastfeeding issue and because she may already be on leave for pregnancy/complications/post-delivery recovery. I'm not so sure about all those other reasons for having moms at home (more detail oriented, multi-tasker, more attuned to babies etc). However, once you start down the path of SAHM, it's easier to maintain that than switch with the father after the child is weaned.

Housework. I feel this is an area where the stereotype may have some truth. While exceptions abound, I've seen more slobbish guys than girls. Plus, girls seem better at keeping a clean house even when living alone. When a guy lives by himself, I've seen many that admit they don't wash their clothes until they run out of underwear, and some who admit to rewearing dirty ones. Ew! I just don't see any girls who go to such desperate lengths (although how gross for girls to rewear dirty underwear??). I've seen guys who show little concern about dirty dishes, vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing. Girls can be like that too, but it just seems more common to see guys with that attitude.

Are guys predisposed to care less about the dirt and grime around them? Or are girls trained to care more about keeping a nice home? I have to think that some of it is nature. Maybe boys are just predisposed to not care about cleaning as much as girls. Thoughts?

Studying. I think we've all seen studies that show girls are racing ahead of boys in education. Girls attend college at higher rates. They tend to have better grades and less behavior issues at school. I think some of that is genetic, as boys naturally are less suited to the sit-down schooling that constitutes traditional education. That said, I think this issue is more complex than boys having "ants in their pants".

From what I've seen, the boys who are falling behind tend to be from lower socioeconomic families. Boys from the top 20% of household income hold their own very well. Now, I do believe boys have a harder time time in school. I think some of these issues with boys is nature. Boys are more restless and have a harder time adjusting to a traditional educational setting, hence they appear to have more behavior issues at school. They mature slower yet they attend school at the same time as girls. If I remember the stats correctly, boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and learning disabilities (although how much is due to boys' natural restless state, I don't know).

Despite all this, the extra nurturing that wealthier families can provide for their sons compensates for those issues, and their boys catches up quickly. The falling behind we see in boys seem to predominant with lower income homes. I don't think there's a vast conspiracy against boys in schools. However, I think some boys need extra attention and nurturing to attain the same achievements as their sisters.

I can think of a few other gender stereotypes that may have truths in it. What about my fellow FJingerites? Any gender stereotypes that you care to share?

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Fundies love to talk about gender roles and we spend time refuting them. However, do you believe that certain gender stereotypes do exist?

I'll take an easy one. Pregnancy. It's one area that men and women are very different. Hahaha!

Seriously though, I think this is an area where fundies have a good point about. Caring for a newborn really requires a fulltime person, and it's easier for most couples to pick the mother because of the breastfeeding issue and because she may already be on leave for pregnancy/complications/post-delivery recovery. I'm not so sure about all those other reasons for having moms at home (more detail oriented, multi-tasker, more attuned to babies etc). However, once you start down the path of SAHM, it's easier to maintain that than switch with the father after the child is weaned.

Caring for a newborn does require a fulltime person. But it doesn't have to be the mother. In the US, it is more often the mother because we haven't yet embraced the concept of paternity leave. Our society still mocks (in films, on television) the idea of men caring for babies, declaring them clumsy and unable to figure out a diaper.

Housework. I feel this is an area where the stereotype may have some truth. While exceptions abound, I've seen more slobbish guys than girls. Plus, girls seem better at keeping a clean house even when living alone. When a guy lives by himself, I've seen many that admit they don't wash their clothes until they run out of underwear, and some who admit to rewearing dirty ones. Ew! I just don't see any girls who go to such desperate lengths (although how gross for girls to rewear dirty underwear??). I've seen guys who show little concern about dirty dishes, vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing. Girls can be like that too, but it just seems more common to see guys with that attitude.

I disagree 100%. I don't believe for a second that girls are any cleaner genetically then men. I've had a lot of roommates, male and female, and I can not say for one second that either gender is more likely to be dirty. I've had neat freak roommates and then some of the most horrifyingly dirty roommates. One of the worst was a female.

If you think, for some reason, women are cleaner than men, why would that be? Could it possibly be that they are told, from an early age, that their gender is supposed to be neat and orderly or grimy and dirty?

Are guys predisposed to care less about the dirt and grime around them? Or are girls trained to care more about keeping a nice home? I have to think that some of it is nature. Maybe boys are just predisposed to not care about cleaning as much as girls. Thoughts?

It's not nature.

Studying. I think we've all seen studies that show girls are racing ahead of boys in education. Girls attend college at higher rates. They tend to have better grades and less behavior issues at school. I think some of that is genetic, as boys naturally are less suited to the sit-down schooling that constitutes traditional education. That said, I think this issue is more complex than boys having "ants in their pants".

Are they? Or are they held to different expectations?

From what I've seen, the boys who are falling behind tend to be from lower socioeconomic families. Boys from the top 20% of household income hold their own very well. Now, I do believe boys have a harder time time in school.

Do you have a source?

I think some of these issues with boys is nature. Boys are more restless and have a harder time adjusting to a traditional educational setting, hence they appear to have more behavior issues at school. They mature slower yet they attend school at the same time as girls. If I remember the stats correctly, boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and learning disabilities (although how much is due to boys' natural restless state, I don't know).

Source?

Despite all this, the extra nurturing that wealthier families can provide for their sons compensates for those issues, and their boys catches up quickly. The falling behind we see in boys seem to predominant with lower income homes. I don't think there's a vast conspiracy against boys in schools. However, I think some boys need extra attention and nurturing to attain the same achievements as their sisters.

Source?

I can think of a few other gender stereotypes that may have truths in it. What about my fellow FJingerites? Any gender stereotypes that you care to share?
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I disagree with OP about pretty much everything. I think you're confusing social conditioning and confirmation bias for innate nature.

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I disagree with OP about pretty much everything. I think you're confusing social conditioning and confirmation bias for innate nature.

You can say that again. In fact, I'll say it again for you!

I disagree with OP about pretty much everything. I think you're confusing social conditioning and confirmation bias for innate nature.
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I think that some people naturally fit gender stereotypes, but of course, others dont.

Obviously, only women have the ability to give birth and breastfeed (except for the few cases of transgender men choosing to keep the uterus and get pregnant with it)

Personally, I know loads of men who keep their houses perfectly clean, cook, do housework, and would never dream of wearing their clothes more than once before washing them. I also know women who have completely filthy houses, go days without a shower, wear the same outfit for days on end (seriously, my sister is one of these people) and I have seen ladies toilets which are absolutely disgusting-we have a whole extra bodily fluid to leave messes with. Ive seen used tampons thrown on the floor, toilets unflushed that are full of bloody tissue, and theres pee on the seats because people dont realise that vaginas are best for sitting down on the toilet.

Boys are held to different standards than girls, because of the whole "boys will be boys" thing. Ive also heard gender stereotypes about academic things go both ways-that girls are best in schools because they sit down and learn, but theres also people saying boys are smarter and women arent capable of doing anything other than popping out babies and making sandwiches.

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Well I also disagree with most of your points but in the hopes that you are really looking for some honest answers I'll give it a shot.

Pregnancy- At this point in time a pregnancy can only be carried to term by someone who has a uterus. So right now you must genetically have the "female" parts to carry a child. Who knows if science will change this in the future?

Housework- I grew up with a stay at home mom who taught me to clean. Hubby grew up with a stay at home mom who taught him to clean. Neither of us enjoys cleaning and our house can best be described as having the lived in look. Nothing funky is growing in our fridge, shower or sinks but no one in their right mind would think that a neat freak lived here. At work I keep my office tidy so I can find things but there might be the stray scraps of paper from the hole punch on the floor. Maybe a dropped paperclip that I haven't picked up yet, etc. A male coworker is obsessive about vacuuming up anything on the floor and taking out his trash once his can is half full. Does this prove that men like a neater environment at work? Or does it just prove that blanket statements are a poor way to make any point.

School- I would love to see some studies or sources for what you put in this paragraph. Could it be that more boys are diagnosed with ADHD because more boys than girls HAVE ADHD? While a, some, most female(s) might develop emotional maturity faster than a, some, most boy(s) I am unaware of any study done to find out if that is because of the way they are genetically or the way they are being raised. It comes down to the whole nature vs nurture. It hasn't been that long since boys acting up and not paying attention in class was chalked up to nothing more than "boys will be boys"

If you ever watch Mythbusters on the Discovery channel they did an episode on gender stereotyping. Some results mostly followed the stereotype, some were mostly opposite but none of their tests showed an overwhelming debunking or support of any stereotype because every person is different!

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I disagree with OP about pretty much everything. I think you're confusing social conditioning and confirmation bias for innate nature.

Agreed.

For what it's worth, LanguageLog over at UPenn has taken the time to debunk a whole lot of the pop science around the whole "boy brain/girl brain" thing that's being used in some circles to agitate for single-sex schooling and the "crisis of boys" stuff. The fact that it seems to be pop science largely in the US is also pretty telling.

Anyway there's plenty of "garbage houses" that are owned by women living alone.

The breastfeeding thing has a point but that's a straight sex difference. Once a kid is no longer breastfeeding on demand directly from the breast only it's not really any more difficult for Dad to take over, and surely there is enough time to bond after that (or Dad can make sure to spend tons of time hugging the baby when it's not feeding, even during the period where it has to feed from Mom regularly).

As with anything, even when they make elaborate bell curves about the average values for this and that between the sexes, the overlap is far more than the difference, so you can't make predictions about individuals.

My thought is always just lump everyone together and let them self-sort into whatever groups they choose to.

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However, once you start down the path of SAHM, it's easier to maintain that than switch with the father after the child is weaned.

For real? Because it's "easier"? At the point when I was born, my mother had a law degree and my father had a high school diploma. After she finished her maternity leave, dad came home full time and she went back to work. She expressed milk because, frankly, it was easier for her to earn a wage that we all could live on than it was for my father. Not to mention the fact that she was an ambitious hard worker and wanted to use her education. I cannot imagine a word where my parents said "hum de dum, lots of other solutions might exist for the problem of who should work, but let's just stick with what we're doing because, you know, easier."

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actually men can breastfeed. There is one tribe (can't remember if it is Africa) where men do at least 50% of the child rearing and they breastfeed the children.

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actually men can breastfeed. There is one tribe (can't remember if it is Africa) where men do at least 50% of the child rearing and they breastfeed the children.

Are you sure that they're actually breastfeeding?

I've read about an African tribe where men did a majority of the childrearing and infants did suckle at the men's breast for comfort, but I've never heard of a tribe where there's male breastfeeding going on with actual milk production.

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I feel stupider for having just read the OP. Thanks a lot!

I like Ypestis(Spelling?) but I think maybe she is referring to social conditioning not any hard truths about gender stereotypes. All my life, I've been very embarrassed by my sloppiness. My house is clean enough that mold doesn't grow on the walls LOL but I tend to be a cluttered type of person. All my life I have felt weird because I fit so few gender stereotypes.

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I like Ypestis(Spelling?) but I think maybe she is referring to social conditioning not any hard truths about gender stereotypes. All my life, I've been very embarrassed by my sloppiness. My house is clean enough that mold doesn't grow on the walls LOL but I tend to be a cluttered type of person. Fitting so few stereotypes has actually made me feel weird most of my life

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I like Ypestis(Spelling?) but I think maybe she is referring to social conditioning not any hard truths about gender stereotypes.

Are guys predisposed to care less about the dirt and grime around them? Or are girls trained to care more about keeping a nice home? I have to think that some of it is nature.

Now, I do believe boys have a harder time time in school. I think some of these issues with boys is nature.
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So a gay male couple adopting a baby will be inherently worse at parenting than a straight couple? Really???

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Read it again. The babies are suckling but not feeding. The article even says no milk is being produced.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... ate&sc=rss

From the end of the linked article:

In short, men may not have full-fledged breasts but they certainly can lactate, under extreme circumstances.

Re: the other stereotypes in the OP--

The Partner has much lower tolerance for clutter than I do. I distinguish between hygiene-related tasks (doing dishes and laundry) and decluttering ones (putting laundry away once it's dry, shelving books, filing papers). If it's a hygiene task, I care about it, but if it's a decluttering one, I don't. The Partner will ignore my paper explosion as best he can, tidy it himself, or ask me if I could please put my stuff away. This is a difference in upbringing. His parents are tidy people. Mine are people who come in the door, toss their stuff wherever, and start working on something else.

Studying-- The Partner and I went to the same high school, took largely the same classes, and had exactly the same G.P.A. at graduation. We're both nerds, procrastinators, and perfectionists, and we both want to make significant contributions to our respective fields, though our fields are different.

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I personally think boys are inherently different from girls. I don't necessarily think it is related to the gender stereotypes listed by the OP, though. When my first son was born after 2 girls, there were remarkable differences in his mannerisms and things pretty much as soon as he became aware and was out of the newborn stage. I was actually pretty shocked by how different he was from the girls!

He does have trouble in school, but so does one of my daughters. They both have dyslexia. My son works his ass off doing his work to the best of his ability and sounding out every word in a book to be able to read. My girls half-ass their ways through everything. OTOH, my oldest has been identified as highly gifted and I think the youngest may give her a run for her money, but he's not in school yet. He is a sponge and learns without being taught. Shocks the tar out of me on a daily basis what that kid picks up by osmosis. To top it all off, he is VERY antisocial (we had a discussion the other day about not joining baseball because he doesn't want to talk to people, but he will concede to tae kwon do since he will mostly only have to talk to the sensei, even though he is still concerned about someone giving him a nosebleed. lol) He does not participate in story time at the library. He does not talk to anyone outside of our household and his grandparents. That being noted, he is the most philosophical little kid I have ever met! I just told the headship the other day, wouldn't it be funny if his angry little clone won the Nobel Peace Prize for figuring out world peace?

My older son, however, is very nuturing. He is very kind to younger children. He is helpful around the house. He cleans his room without being asked. When he plays with friends, he cleans their rooms, too. He is careful with his toys. He still loves bugs, dinosaurs, trucks, trains, cars, and playing in mud. My girls are slobs. Their room constantly looks like a tornado went through. They refuse to pick things up. They complain about helping out around the house. I am a scatterbrained housekeeper, but they definitely do not help the matter.

My husband is an involved dad. He will cook extravagant meals. After I had my older son and had 3 kids age 3, 1, and newborn, he quit his job and became a SAHD and I picked up a second job. I work from home so I was still there, but he was in charge of running the house for 4 months until I was able to balance 3 kids and work. Then, I quit my second job and he got a new job. He also is OCD about washing his hands. I was my hands when they're dirty or when I come home from the germy store. He washes them every 15 minutes.

I think there is something to a natural difference between guys vs. girls, but I don't think it's anything close to what the Duggars consider gender stereotypes to be, if that makes sense?

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What are the sources for this bullshit the OP posted?

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I am the OP so I will try to clarify this as people seem very upset by what I'm saying. I apologize if I don't address specific inquiries as this thread has grown quickly.

My OP was just some items thrown out there that I feel may have some truths in their gender stereotypes and asking if there is a nature component to it as well.

Pregnancy. I'm not trying to say if women staying home is better parent, but is there truth that it's easier for women to stay home due to issues other than what fundies specify, which are still rooted in gender stereotypes.

I always thought women have an easier time caring for the child because they can breastfeed (if they decide to), as it's much harder to pump at work for most women. I also thought women were more likely to need to take time off for pregnancy due to late stage pregnancy, bed rest and/or complications in post-delivery recovery.

Do I think people are just flippant about the decision to stay home? Of course not. I don't think a couple is thinking, 'Gee, since Sally is taking time off anyway, and she has to breastfeed, let her stay home'. However, I think that's a factor that contributes to the lopsided female population who end up at home.

If two parents are "equal" in terms of income and other work issues, and decide to have one parent stay home with the newborn, then I think breastfeeding, bedrest, post-delivery recover issues will contribute to that discussion. Hence, I think there's biological driven decision to stay home.

It doesn't make a person a bad parent to try it some other way. Anyone who've ever read my posts know I'm an ardent defender of the working parent. My own mother never stayed home with me and I feel I am a better person for the role model she is. However, I cannot deny that there is a sociological and biological reason for women who choose to stay home. There's convenience of nursing, income, job flexibility and just the general recovery from the stress of a traumatic childbirth.

I feel that once a couple sets into that routine, it's more likely that they will stay there. It takes a lot more effort for a couple to upend a working model, even for the sake of equal parenting. I feel if a couple choose to have the mother stay home initially because the women had some pregnancy issues, and/or is breast feeding, it is one more hurdle for them to cross if they decide to switch roles later on. It's doable, but that extra hurdle probably contributes to the traditional setup we have because more women stayed home after delivery in the first place. This has no bearing on whether a parent is good or bad.

Housekeeping. This was a suggestion based on my own observation. I wanted to start a discussion about whether people thought there was any truth to that. As I stated, there are always clean guys and dirty girls. I wanted to know if there was a slight predisposition for girls to keep a cleaner home or not. I didn't expect this to be an academic debate so I have no data to support my cause, just personal experiences. If others want to refute with data, that's what this thread is for. Otherwise, I'm happy to just have people bring their own experiences on what they feel is the state of housekeeping among the genders.

Studying As one of the posters wanted me to quote some sources. I can't find the source where it talked about lower income boys falling further behind while the top 20% household boys are maintaining ground, but I've managed to dig up this New York Times article which touches on it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/09/educa ... d=all&_r=0

The gender differences are not uniform. In the highest-income families, men 24 and under attend college as much as, or slightly more than, their sisters, according to the American Council on Education, whose report on these issues is scheduled for release this week.

Young men from low-income families, which are disproportionately black and Hispanic, are the most underrepresented on campus, though in middle-income families too, more daughters than sons attend college

....

From the time they are young, boys are far more likely than girls to be suspended or expelled, or have a learning disability or emotional problem diagnosed. As teenagers, they are more likely to drop out of high school, commit suicide or be incarcerated. Such difficulties can have echoes even in college men.

"They have a sense of lassitude, a lack of focus," said William Pollack, director of the Centers for Men and Young Men at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

....

The lower the family income, the greater the disparity between men and women attending college, said Ms. King of the American Council on Education's Center for Policy Analysis.

Thomas diPrete, a Columbia University sociology professor, has found that while boys whose parents had only a high school education used to be more likely to get a college education than their sisters, that has flipped.

....

Researchers say such differences make sense, given boys' experience in their earlier school years. And some experts argue that what is being seen as a boy problem is actually maleness itself, with the noisy, energetic antsiness and high jinks of young boys now redefined as a behavior problem by teachers who do not know how to handle them.

The article itself focuses on college recruitment of males, but it does discuss some of the reasons researchers think may be behind male academic achievement.

I apologize if I offended anyone, but I wanted to open a discussion of what we observe could be gender differences. I do believe men and women are different, but I wanted to know if people thought how much of it was societal conditioning and how much was genetic. The classic nurture vs nature debate.

And if anyone feels dumber after reading my post, I apologize in advance as that has never been my intention. The last thing I want to do is contribute to the dumbing down of America. :? :shock:

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I would say most of it is nurture, not nature.

Especially the cleaning thing. I know plenty of men who clean, who know how to clean, and who just don't maintain a standard as high as women are expected to. Men don't feel like failures when the house is a disaster area, in general. Society doesn't expect men to be as obsessive about it as it does women. Honestly, housecleaning is fucking depressing for me - you spend the time to clean it, and it looks awesome when you're done... and then it gets messed up.

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Individuals are different to other individuals, it is due to personality not gender or sex. Having XX chromosomes does not have an impact on how tidy or nurturing a person is.

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