One of the worthy things about the manuscript “Learning to be gendered” by P. Eckert and S. McConnell is that the authors have provided a thought-provoking piece to the readers via examining the customs where infants are allotted gender characters and learn to act accordingly when grow. The superfluous gendering of objects and child spread sexism and stereotypes that can influence an infant’s view of itself for its whole life, and often this gendering can be very challenging to forget. The prime argument of the paper is that the genders are needlessly allotted roles from the very first moment when their sex is exposed to their close relatives. Illogical things are assigned to the genders from birth and conception, for instance, blue caps for the baby boys and pink caps for the girls in hospitals. These arbitrary things are not making sense in terms of gender because bright pink was preferred for males while blue for females in the late 19th century. Concisely speaking, the main message of the article is that society demonstrates people which gender she or he should be. The gender role created by these societies is influenced by several factors like peer and family. In this essay, we craft our responses to the author’s arguments via using the “Agreeing and disagreeing simultaneously” template.
The fundamental purpose of the article’s arguments is to spread awareness among people that they are labeling boys and girls in our daily lives without even knowing. As authors mentioned that our conversations with babies are highly dependent on gender as we use a more stern tone with boys but tend to be gentler with girls. The authors of the article develop a good point, “Being grown-ups, leaving babyhood, means very different things for boys than it does for girls. And the fact that growing up involves gender differentiation is encoded in the words of assessment with which progress is monitored- kids do not behave as good or bad people, but as good boys or good girls, and they develop into big boys and big girls. In other words, they do not have the option of growing into just people, but into boys or girls” (p. 742). This argument states a dichotomy between boys and girls and claims that the infants have no choice what gender they grow into because they already have stereotyped by the way we treat, baby clothes, baby names and so on. The arguments of the authors express a formal, enlightening and a slightly concerned tone. They create ethos via integrating plenty of reliable sources to backing their core argument but the majority of references come from the sociology and psychology field which is creating biasness in their argument.
Following “agreeing and disagreeing simultaneously” template, there are plenty of areas where I am agreeing with the authors like illogical tagging to the objects and infants but also disagreeing at the same time because gender roles help us what to do, how to act and what to wear among plenty of other things. Penelope and Sally convinced me that from the day our parents find our sexual identity they immediately assigned a pronoun along with our “do” and “be” list for the rest of our lives. The first question people ask the Doctors remains to be “is it a girl or a boy?” I wholeheartedly agree with the authors’ claim that we are not born, we are made. When it comes to gender norms, another idea of the manuscript I find more interesting is that we, as babies, rely on the adult’s decisions which I consider is the leading problem we have as a society.
I observed that the Penelope and Sally said it best when they said that “colors are so integral to our way of thinking about gender that gender attributions have bled into our view of the colors, so that people tend to believe that pink is a more ‘delicate’ color than blue (and not just any blue, but baby blue)” (738). How we can decide that blue for boys and pink for girls? When and why colors was integrating into gendering objects and infants? Another source I have attained is also from They Say I Say book which is an essay named “Lean In: What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?” by S. Sandberg. This manuscript, I found to be inspirational. Instead of concentrating on our early lifespan and education to be gendered, it challenges what life is like after we have learned gender and the consequences we must face because of that. It is an essay that describes that women and the balancing act they often find themselves living between having a happy and full family life and a passionate career.
This essay deals with the “Learning to be gendered” article which argues that the gender identity of an infant is shaped by the behavior and roles imposed by adults which restrict the girls in plenty of ways they can grow. Authors use different kinds of experiments and psychological observations to support his argument but their empirical support only limited to sociology and psychology which making their claims subjective and biased. However, the article is contributing to the existing debate and brings up several challenges, for example, there is no logic behind assigning gender or color to the babies as they do not have any favorite color at that point of time in their lives. Why there is always a tool case for the girls but cannot be a just tool case? The increment of the words like “for boys” or “for girls” infers that the gender can be too senseless to use for the common objects, and that is why a more generalization is required in this regard. Even though I agree with authors as there are plenty of objects that are gendered by the people but cannot accept their overall conclusion because they do not sufficiently explain the ways to cope up with this problem of gendering infants and objects.
Newman, Louise. “Questions about Gender: Children with Atypical Gender Development.” Disorders of Sex Development (2011): 31-39. Web.
Penelope Eckert and Sally McConnell-Ginet. “Learning to Be Gendered.” They Say I Say. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. 3rd Ed. New York City: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 2015. 736-743. Print.
Sheryl Sandberg. “Lean In: What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?” They Say I Say. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. 3rd Ed. New York City: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 2015. 642-658. Print.
Stephen Mays. “What about Gender Roles in Same-Sex Relationships?” They Say I Say. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. 3rd Ed. New York City: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 2015. 718-719. Print.