More on Gender-neutral Upbringing

More from the same article:

One of the group’s teachers, Izabell Sandberg, 26, noticed a shift in a 2-year-old girl whose parents dropped her off wearing tights and pale-pink dresses. The girl focused intently on staying clean. If another child took her toys, she would whimper.

I was this quiet, mousy girl who loved pale-pink frills and tights. And I was always bugged and criticized by teachers for being that way. That didn’t make me any happier. All I wanted was to be left in peace but, gosh, the efforts they made to “improve” me. It still bothers me even to think about it. The message a child gets is “something is wrong with you. You fail to satisfy expectations.” I believe that is a lot more harmful than any pair of tights.

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Gender-neutral Preschools

Gender-neutral preschools in Sweden.

I’m neither in favor nor against because I don’t see the point either way. See, I was schooled in this way. Girls were praised for being loud, assertive, active leaders. And boys were praised for being quiet, mousy, obedient, and unobtrusive. The schooling was so successful that when I became a student in Canada, I was stunned to see male students who sat in the first row, answered questions and participated in class. I still struggle not to interrupt male doctors the second they start speaking. I know it is ridiculous and counterproductive because it does make sense to hear out what the diagnosis is before smartassing all over the place but this is a learned behavior that is hard to unlearn.

And what are the results of this kind of schooling? Our rape stats are through the roof. Sexual harassment of the most vicious kind is off the charts. Women have all the most miserable, low-paid jobs. Female representation in politics and big business is non-existent. An enormous percentage of fathers disappears and pays no child support. And feminism is a dirty word.

So all this superficial dickering with makeup and toy trucks is a waste of time. I’m very assertive and loud today but not because I was denied my dream pink ruffled princess dress that I coveted throughout my childhood. Anya, the girl I went to school with who did get such a dress and drove me to fits of childhood jealousy, is a lot louder and more assertive than I am. It’s far more complex than playing princesses and yelling out of a window.

Body Autonomy

If at 18 Klara creates a PowerPoint to persuade me to allow her to change her hairstyle, I’ll know I have done something really wrong as a parent. Come to think of it, I’ll feel the same even if she’s 5 when it happens.

P.S. I’m completely in support of anti-gun protests and I also denounce racism and sexism. And homophobia. I denounce that too, just in case.

Playing Kitchen

At the kids’ gym Klara is playing kitchen and loudly narrating her actions: “I put ketchup and relish on my hamburger and put it in the microwave. I heat it up! I put sugar on it! I eating my food!”

All of the mommies give me horrified looks. We don’t feed Klara microwaved hamburgers and we have no ketchup in the house but I feel annoyed by this food-related self-righteousness. There is absolutely nothing wrong with an occasional hamburger or ketchup. Nobody in that gym looked like they survive on steamed broccoli, to put it very mildly. It bores me when people fake completely unrealistic self-righteousness about food.

Komsomolets

Wow, I never thought I’d see a young Komsomol-type fellow any more, but here is one. Gosh, it does bring back memories. These Komsomol leaders, always so earnest and intense.

“What do you mean you couldn’t come to the subbotnik*, Comrade Bulochkina? Do you know how many starving Guatemalan children you slaughtered by that selfish, unthinking act? Here are some pictures of dead Guatemalans you murdered in cold blood this Saturday. Prepare to speak to the assembly on Tuesday night and explain to your comrades what turned you into a callous assassin of little, innocent, suffering Guatemalan babies.”

And all this was always delivered with an air of complete seriousness and without a shadow of irony.

But those komsomolets were children and grandchildren of the folks who survived stalinism. So I guess that’s as valid an excuse as any.

*An unpaid working Saturday where you had to donate your labor to some completely invented and ridiculous cause. The real reason was, of course, to tear you away from your family and to prevent you from having unsupervised time on a weekend.

End Caps

End caps are basically goldmines because they’re built to attract eyes. They’re loaded with the products that are most likely to prompt an impulse buy—or products from manufacturers with money. Yes, companies essentially pay supermarkets to display products in these end caps, and the tactic makes sense. Item sales often see 33 percent increases when they’re featured in an end cap.

This is so weird. I never buy anything from end caps, don’t even look at them because it feels like there must be something wrong with them if they are expelled from the actual aisle. Why would I want these marginalized, singled out pariahs, I always think.

I think about these things a lot because I go to grocery stores like other people go to church. Google some images for Soviet grocery stores if you don’t get it.