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Patrick Brogan

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If it would destroy a 10 year old boy to be called a girl, what are we teaching him about girls?

See the related talk at about 5 mins in to understand this one.

I am seriously bothered by the logic here. The implication is that the boy must be insulted because he must have such a low opinion of girls. This concept is a common piece of "wisdom" I have begun to notice a lot more now.

A 15 year old girl is going to a dance, she likes a boy there. The pressure is on to look good. In front of all her friends, someone makes a quip, "Are you really dressed like that? You look like a boy!" She cries. The teachers see this and become horrified. "If it destroys her to be called a boy, what have we been teaching her about boys?" They immediately draw up sensitivity training for the girls.

The insult is the enforcement of roles. It says "youre out of order." It assumes the object of the insult to be exempt from the pressure. Girls are exempt from being judged by their sports performance, boys are exempt from being judged by their looks (although this has begun to blur). "Cry like a baby" does not express contempt for babies, but acceptance of their vulnerability.

The funny thing is boys insult girls by calling them boys, and girls insult boys by calling them girls. This happens all the time. As a disabillity carer i was told by a woman that i was a woman for doing a woman's job. I was embarrassed, but not because I have contempt for women, it was because someone indicated my job was fine for women, but not for me.

Men and women insult both sexes by calling them the opposite and enforcing gender roles, now I support the of ending that kind of restriction. I do think with the acceptance of women in mens roles but not vice versa, that the insult carries less potency for women. But call me out if you disagree.

So I'll wrap it up. Agree or disagree below.

The original insult against the boy is not based on contempt for girls, but the intention to enforce gender pressures on that boy that are not enforced on girls.

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  • Apr 8 2012: Maybe this all derives from the past gender roles, where women 'belonged' in the kitchen and men were 'supposed' to be the soul wage earner of the house hold which in turn gave men a position of power. These norms have been broken in today's society and there is less emphasis put on gender roles but there are some remnants of tradition. (Being ambiguous now...) To an extent being called a girl would mean that you were taking a position of lesser power and being called this would be an insult to your authority.
    on another note there was a huge emphasis on the contrast between gender and still is. Such rhymes as 'boys are made of slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails' which girls have been brought up to dislike. Oppositely 'girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice' . I think gender stereotyping/labeling and self for filling prophesy also has a role to play in this. Excuse the film stereotype but dads want a baby boy who's going to become the high school star quarterback. When parents call their daughters 'their little princess'. It asks the question of upbringing, and how a vast gender stereotyping has caused two different cultures. do boys want to be their parents princess or their daughters be the quarter back?
    The insult is basically saying 'you're not what you've been brought up as' and that's a big thing for some one of that age.

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