Documentary on Swedish kids growing up without rigid gender roles


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/07/28/documentary-on-swedish-kids-gr.html


#2

I now identify as a spork. Because I like to spoon but I also like to poke things.


#3

Don’t read the comments.

DON’T READ THE COMMENTS.


#4

Too Late! Why did I not listen?!


#5

Really neat documentary :slight_smile: still watching it but pausing it occasionally since i’m at work lol. And duly noted and will avoid the YT comment section as usual.

For me i see myself as a mostly-straight male. I tend to like women more but i have crushed on various gendered people, gay male, gay female, trans, etc. I also behave mostly straight but i don’t really identify myself as a “typical male”… i don’t really relate to the concept much to be honest. I see myself as myself, and i view this upbringing as a really positive movement. I sort of envy these kids being raised to not conform to any particular gender role or identity, and while that might bring up its own unique problems in the future i think it’s a worthwhile endeavor. People should be free to be themselves, isn’t that what every parent wants for their children?


#6

I think all children should be their own, neutral gender until the age of 4 or so. “Baby” as a gender. Because there’s really not any difference that isn’t socially imposed. After that, they can pick one.
Edit: or none. or both.


#7

But…YouTube comments are always so informative and enlightening. I always feel they enrich the experience of watching a video, rather than make me weep for mankind.

Or did I get that backwards. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I meant that the other way around.


#8

this is FDR, this is how he was dressed until he was six or seven years-old. this was considered not only normal, but gender neutral at the time

Projecting rigid genders on youth simply doesn’t matter. As for post-puberty, it doesn’t matter either, but by then the person can project what they want.


#9

I swear on my grandmother’s dead housecat, we are not reinforcing gender stereotypes. Our daughter is absolutely enthralled by:
The color pink
Dresses
Princesses
Hair
Makeup
Shoes
Unicorns
And much, much more.

It was 100% her. And if she liked trucks, muscle cars, grease and mud, I’d be totally in favor still. No questions asked. Kids do what they do. Being a decent parent is equal measure getting out of the way.


#11

I have pics of my grandfather in a similar pink dress. (Pink was masculine back then)


#12

I have a friend who has 3 kids, 2 boys and a girl. She can be pretty tough but is the girliest girl ever, loves pink, princesses, etc. Is your kid a daddy’s girl as well? I know my friends kid is lol. Anyway i think that friends, family, and yourselves can unconsciously part in indirectly playing up traditional roles. However don’t take that as a criticism toward you or your parenting, i believe that the society we grow up in informs to a degree how we desire to fit in. This documentary is pretty fascinating to me because the gendering issues is something i’ve thought about for quite some time and it’s interesting to see a country that has taken steps to treat boys and girls as equals. It’s probably something not a lot of people would be behind but to me it makes sense.

Still if a boy wants to grow up to be a typical guy, or a girl wants to be girly i think that’s great. As long as they are comfortable with themselves and happy with who they are and don’t give grief to those that are different :slight_smile: I worry about those that grow up feeling like there’s something wrong with them because they don’t feel like they fit in with how others say you need to be as a typical boy or girl.


#13

You sound like a great parent. However, I think you are underestimating the influence of the culture around us. A love of wearing makeup certainly isn’t innate or biologically programmed. She may not have picked that up from you or your spouse or your grandmother’s dead housecat, but she picked it up from somewhere. I’m not saying that’s bad. If it makes her happy, that’s great. But absolutely everything in your list is a result of culture, and not biology.


#14

To be fair everything present in the video is the result of environment as well. If anything I agree with Dr. Eberhard that there is a difference between being neutral and being anti-gender. I want to see these kids in another 5, 10, 15 years - especially once puberty and hormones take affect. I mean my son at 3 would state very seriously he was a robot and made me change his oil. Hopefully the family is just as accepting in 10 or 15 years if both children go up and decide to be cisgendered hetero men.

I don’t entirely see society being indoctrinated with the base concepts of male/female, at least how the new school scene is presented in the video. From a purely biological aspect the knowledge of gender is important on several levels, reproduction and safety being the two biggest I can think of.


#15

Actually, some of the comments are interesting. In particular, the comments from Swedes who say that the video is not representative of standard Swedish schools and that the “hen” pronoun is rarely used except in TV when reporters need to conceal the identity of a person shed a different light on the story.


#16

This exactly.

As much as I would have preferred a “tomboy” sort of daughter, I’ve got a pretty pretty princess. So, I’m learning how to properly do hair, and I’ve become an absolute whiz at nails (you want shimmer glitter or little stickers with that polish?).

But, because she’s an individual, she’s also absolutely fascinated with completely random things like insects (because “they’re cute”) and archery. She can’t get enough of machines. She hates star wars with a passion, but loves spongebob (which kills me). She also went through a “truck phase” when she was ~3years. Now at 6, it’s an oversized rubber duck (that has to go to bed with her). And (luckily for me, but much to my wife’s chagrin) farts are still absolutely hilarious.

So, she pretty much picks and chooses what she likes, but she is also well aware of what society is telling her is a “boy thing” or a “girl thing”. She picks up that she’s supposed to love dresses, and is 100% behind that one, but also kind of gets that she’s supposed to be scared of beetles etc… (which apparently weirds out some of the other kids at school/summer camp when she wants to hold random insects). We’re just hopefully supporting her enough that she’s comfortable being “the weird girl that loves insects”. (although I think she sadly may mature past the point where she thinks intestinal gas is the funniest thing on the planet).

Kids will let you know what they think they are when they feel it. Not being absolutely candid is not a strength of most children.


#17

Interesting responses. When I look at her, it’s pure love. I really don’t care what she likes, or the origins. I am in favor. When I talk to her, I think of her fine mind developing. All I care about is her safety and health, her happiness and well-being, knowing one day she will have to leave. But I try not to think about that. So, my job is not to get in her way. She did say to me the other day, “girls don’t do X.” And I responded, “Sure they do, if they want to.”. I don’t know where it came from. I even forgot what X is, but I remember that brief exchange. Yes, there are lots of influences.


#18

My experience of puberty as a transwoman was a time of repeated suicide attempts, and I know plenty of other transpeople who had similar experiences. It is a good idea to not let your kids go through puberty if they show signs of being trans, and those signs will still be there without ridid gender roles. The traditionally male or female activities stuff is something we need to be moving away from using as a diagnostic tool.


#19

My biggest regret is not figuring out I was trans at a younger age / being treated then. I will forever wonder what I would have been like if I could’ve avoided male puberty.

The most frustrating piece is that I turned out to be a woman who just happened to be interested in things gendered for men, and have mental conditions that are only recognized in men / underdiagnosed among women.


#20

This. I would have transitioned at a much younger age if it weren’t for this. I had too many people (not therapists, but other trans people mostly) tell me I wasn’t trans because I wasn’t extremely feminine. Not in appearance, but in behavior and interests. Then I read Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaw, and realized how much of what we perceive as being related to gender has absolutely nothing to do with gender. That book saved my life, because I realized it was totally ok that I identified as female even though I didn’t want to wear dresses and makeup 24/7 (I’m exaggerating, and I do sometimes like to wear dresses and makeup, I’m just not obsessed with it), go shopping for clothes for fun (I hate clothes shopping), and I’m actually good at math (I had more than one transwoman tell me I couldn’t possibly be a woman because women aren’t good at math).


#21

Gender doesn’t have anything to with biology, reproduction or safety, it’s socially constructed way of seeing people and expecting them to behave in certain ways.