Repeat after me: gender is not a construct

First, the genderless child. And now, the genderless preschool. Via Yahoo News in Stockhom, Sweden:

At the “Egalia” preschool, staff avoid using words like “him” or “her” and address the 33 kids as “friends” rather than girls and boys.

From the color and placement of toys to the choice of books, every detail has been carefully planned to make sure the children don’t fall into gender stereotypes.

“Society expects girls to be girlie, nice and pretty and boys to be manly, rough and outgoing,” says Jenny Johnsson, a 31-year-old teacher. “Egalia gives them a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be.”

The taxpayer-funded preschool which opened last year in the liberal Sodermalm district of Stockholm for kids aged 1 to 6 is among the most radical examples of Sweden’s efforts to engineer equality between the sexes from childhood onward.

That sounds strangely similar to genderless baby Storm’s mother:

Stocker and Witterick say the decision gives Storm the freedom to choose who he or she wants to be. “What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious,” adds Stocker, a teacher at an alternative school.

Funny, isn’t it, how they don’t see that they are making a choice–a very big one–for these kids? “Genderlessness” is as much of a construct as gender. Some have just decided that it’s a better one. More:

Director Lotta Rajalin notes that Egalia places a special emphasis on fostering an environment tolerant of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. From a bookcase, she pulls out a story about two male giraffes who are sad to be childless — until they come across an abandoned crocodile egg.

Nearly all the children’s books deal with homosexual couples, single parents or adopted children. There are no “Snow White,” “Cinderella” or other classic fairy tales seen as cementing stereotypes.

Rajalin, 52, says the staff also try to help the children discover new ideas when they play.

“A concrete example could be when they’re playing ‘house’ and the role of the mom already is taken and they start to squabble,” she says. “Then we suggest two moms or three moms and so on.”

Ignore societal norms to focus on the less-than-one-percent. Confusing, isn’t it, when kids start asking why they have opposite-sex parents.

More:  Backyard Conservative asks if one crocodile is equal to two giraffes.

It is, but only after eating both.

UPDATE: linked by Pundette as a “Recommended Read.” Thanks!

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6 Responses

  1. […] Repeat after me: gender is not a construct.  […]

  2. […] several contributors, I get to kill a buncha birds with one stone (but in a good way, of course):  PJMom, Quite Rightly, and Zilla of the Resistance, among […]

  3. @Edge–you’re absolutely right. It does diminish the concept of friendship. Maybe they should stick to “comrade”…

    @JACG–excellent point. Marriage rates in Europe as a whole have declined sharply, especially among the less religious nanny-state countries.

    @Manny, I’m with ya. Thing is, “traditional” gender play is innate. Show me a family of four boys not allowed to have play guns, and I’ll show you a family of four boys who use anything as a prop gun. They’ve never been shown how to use guns. They’ve never seen much tv play with guns. They just want to play cowboy. Go figure, eh?

  4. I agree. They are destroying these poor kids. It is absolutely amazing. Where will this end? I am already disheartened over the NYS same sex marriage law. These people are trying to destroy gender.

  5. “staff avoid using words like “him” or “her” and address the 33 kids as “friends” rather than girls and boys.”
    That diminishes the concept of friendship.

  6. It really is a brave new world isn’t it?

    Being Swedish who is first generation American – this comes as no surprise. People generally don’t marry in Sweden anymore either. They just live………..however they want…………societial norms don’t really exist over there anymore.

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