Tag Archives: parenting advice

What are the future consequences of gender-neutral child rearing (or lack thereof)?

Karin Martin analyzes the advice given to parents on childrearing through books, web sites, and magazines. She notes that many of these sources advocate gender-neutral child rearing—by which she means “these advisors say that parents should not only permit but encourage children to move beyond gender stereotypes for their own good and/or the good of society”—only minimally or not at all, and eleven of them specifically provide negative commentary on this practice (Martin 468). I think the ramifications of gendered child rearing can be seen when the children in question become parents themselves. Lisa Belkin describes one couple who divide some of their tasks “along traditional gender lines. The point, [the parents] say, is not to spit at tradition for the heck of it but rather to think things through instead of defaulting to gender” (Belkin 10). Yet, the parents must have acquired their preference for gendered tasks somehow, and this can become problematic when, for example, a husband’s lower standard for cleanliness reflects poorly on his wife. I think in order to have truly equal parenting and domestic partnership, changes need to be made in how we raise our children, with more emphasis on gender-neutral parenting.

Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” 2008.

Martin, Karin A. “William Wants A Doll. Can He Have One? Feminists, Child Care Advisors, and Gender-Neutral Child Rearing.” Gender & Society 19.4 (2005): 456-79.