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Saturday, 8 September 2012

Feminism and Children

By: Liberate Zealot

Part II of Feminism and Children : Feminism and Children MasterPost

As I've mentioned in the past, my daily feminism in the physical world (meat space) is primarily involved in working with children and helping them become conscientious and aware people.

There's combating the seeds of rape culture.
Fighting gender roles and stereotypes.
Raising awareness about the diversity of humanity and ensuring respect and empathy.

And with it being the start of the year I've been going all over buying new activities and planning lessons that reflect these goals.  I've been very excited about some awesome finds, and considering how Kyriarchal many mainstream stores and toys are I wanted to share the good, diverse toys and activities I've found.

Lakeshore Learning is a store for Pre-K and elementary school teachers.  They have a lot of toys for younger children that, unlike toy stores like Toys R Us and the toy departments of Target and Walmart, isn't    gendered. Instead they're sorted by the skills/type of play they support.
Specifically I adore their Block Play People.  The dolls are based on more realistic body types than many other play dolls.  The have sets of families with various ethnicities (White, Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian) that are multi-generational.  They have a doll set of dolls with differing abilities and Community dolls that reflect different jobs held by people of various ethnicities and genders (some of which directly go against stereotypes).  While they don't have any queer/gender variant options you can mix and match the families or create your own stories through imaginative play with the dolls.

For babies and toddlers there are the Diversity Baby Bottom Dolls which are intended to help with potty training and made by a company that works on creating green bathroom supplies for children under three.

The Multicultural Toy Box might not be active any more, but there is some great information in their archives if you have the time to search.  Information of toys and books about people of color, with differing abilities and various religions.  The writer also reviewed and analyzed various programs and offers advice on child rearing.

2 to 26, a currently inactive literacy/education blog, has a collection of Book Lists geared towards women, people of color, queer people, and people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

2 comments:

  1. This is exactly what I wanted to read after a radical feminist friend assured me that my nephews were going to grow up to either become oppressors or unicorns. (Unicorns not being real.)

    I know they're not going to turn out to be perfect, nobody is, but for her to label them them future oppressors ... so depressing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I firmly believe that it does take active education to challenge their introduction to Kyriarchal society. Kyriarchy is so pervasive that kids can't help but learn and reflect parts of it, often without understanding what they're doing.
      In my experience most younger children are very open to being taught about their language and attitude and how it can hurt others. Though you might have to walk them through the empathy aspect of it.

      I've managed to completely eradicate any anti-gay language and the use of gay slurs. The majority of gender policing and idea of gender stereotypes goes away, though that does require constant reinforcement on my part.
      I've also managed to make them more thoughtful about classism, fat hating/body policing, and the more subtle forms of racism.

      Again, reinforcement and actual education are needed on these fronts. But a lot is possible.
      -L.Z.

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