What if Gender didn’t matter?

imgresWe had a conversation last night that began with thinking about gender as a construct.  A construct in the philosophy of science is an ideal object, where the existence of the thing may be said to depend upon a subject’s mind. This, as opposed to a real object, where existence does not seem to depend on the existence of a mind

We can certainly discuss the gender differences when it comes to nature vs nurture.  Years ago Josh had acquired an arsenal of toy guns for this yellow pellet shooting game he played with his friends.  What was amazing to me is that over the course of the summer every single man regardless of age that walked into that house would walk directly over to the basket of guns, grab one and play with it.  Not one woman did.  Is that nature or nurture?

Yet if we raised our children with zero gender bias.  Meaning that if young boys played with dolls in the kitchen or young girls gravitated towards baseball mitts that nobody would give it a second thought or make a comment.  That as they grew up we let them just be whoever they chose to be.  Some men might choose to be the ones to stay at home or that some women might become fully entrenched in engineering because they were just left to their own desires.

Nobody is born one gender or the other, says the philosopher Judith Butler. “We act and walk and speak and talk in ways that consolidate an impression of being a man or being a woman.”

What if over time all of our prejudices, our biases, our expectations for men and women would just fade into the woodwork.  We would just applaud people for wherever their path took them.  Essentially it would just come down to people saying I am being me.

That would a great start to 2015.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I’m in on this as it is the only way. It’s the way of the world as it should be.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It’s the way the world should be. Absolutely

      1. awaldstein

        I’m a firm believer that in many things the way to change the future is to live it now.For a true mix of gender, race, preferences this is an easy one to simply do it.

  2. Alex Wolf

    Joanne, I am completely in on this. A piece I wrote on getting girls into STEM via STEAM ed just came out in the Providence Journal today. http://bit.ly/girlsSTEAMIt addresses getting the A for Art and Design into STEM which is good for all kids, and dialing back the princestousness fed to girls and giving them more builder toys when very young. Basically recalibrating girl’s play experiences back to gender neutral. Interested in any thoughts you may have on the piece.

    1. Gotham Gal

      thanks alex.will read.

  3. lisa hickey

    I love imagining a world without gender constructs! For example, imagine a world where:A photo of 3 boys cradling baby dolls in their arms wouldn’t be a startling sight.Paternity leave was as mandatory as maternity leave.We understood violence and why it is an accepted rite of masculinity.When a woman spoke and a man spoke, there would be no difference in how authoritative they sounded.Men were allowed to be victims too.Women (or men too for that matter) would never be judged for their looks.Clothing, make up, hair styles were simply expressions of individuality and not gender signifiers.The idea that men and women can’t be friends would be seen as ridiculous as is really is.People would say “I love you” without fear that it might be taken romantically or sexually.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I love this list.