I have two daughters and three sons. I love them all. I speak to them differently because they need to be spoken to differently for them to be understood, and for me to provide appropriate instruction. Contrary to this article's thesis, the kids actually lead with this. As is typical, the girls are more sensitive, and tend to seek approval and understanding. The boys are more rough, need to be spoken to much more bluntly, and view me (their father) as an intellectual companion / wrestling partner, depending on their age. I imagine most parents find themselves in similar situations, and we respond according to the needs of their children. It may not be PC, but in my experience, those needs are often correlated to the chromosomes of the people involved.
If this is true, then society is doing something that is clearly against nature.
The other side to this is -- okay, boys and girls are different, but why? Society's influence is an extremely powerful force. Your own influence is huge. How could you possibly be sure whether the differences you see in your children are the result of your upbringing (and the influence of others) or not?
How would you be able to tell the difference, given that most people treat babies differently based on gender before you can really interact with them in any meaningful way? (It already starts with people buying different types of clothes!)
Finally, it should be obvious that any kind of stereotyping is bad and should be minimized, because it's an obstacle to people pursuing what they're really passionate about. Those obstacles certainly lead to waste and a net negative for our society.
You cannot prevent such feedback without an extremely strong force. More importantly, it could be dangerous in the extreme, messing with procreation like that.
If you don't have experimental data, it would be going blind too.
You raised these children, your idea of "typical" is going to be reflected in their behavior. They want your affection and attention, and from an early age they've noticed that you react in different ways to their attempts. Combine that with the well defined stereotypes in media, and you get a disparity in how they want to be treated.
I'm not trying to chastise you for this, actively working against it would be difficult and possibly worse for the child. And there are some differences caused by hormones. You are the driving force in their behavior though.
Unless you feel particularly despondent (which is outmoded by the way), society has more hand in raising your kids than you, not to mention genetics.
The article doesn't make that point, but kids with communication needs more into the other gender's distribution also exists. I would say as you do, look at your kids, treat them according to their needs. Outcomes are of course fairly unpredicatable in any case. I guess there is always the possibility that a parent's behaviour before children express their need clearly can steer the children's behaviour.
I do wonder about cultural differences. Hyperbolically, I find US masculinity as different from say its Norwegian version as I find girls from boys.
The assumption should be the other way: talk to your children the same unless proved otherwise. Do what's best for your individual child, don't hamstring them by talking to them by what you think is the best way to talk to a girl vs a boy. If your daughters are more sensitive and need external validation, great! talk to them like that. But you don't need to generalize to all or even most girls.
Reminded me of my conversation with my son when he was three years old:
“I want to be brave. Tell me how to be brave” asked my darling son today before leaving for his school. I didn’t have an answer. As my eyes welled up, I asked if he is scared of anything in particular.”No, I am brave. I am not scared of anything” came back his reply.
Kids will as part of of growing up start to emulate the parent of the same gender. The default is to seek approval and understanding of both parents, but boys will at some point start to emulate the father and girls will similar emulate their mother, while continuing seeking approval and understanding from the other parent.
If the parents follow gender roles and social expected behavior you will also get different behavior from their children of different gender.
To reply to the grandparent comment: I don't know if male and female children behave intrinsically differently, but this is going to be hard to measure in a society where everyone, including parents, are biased and subconsciously treat them differently based on their gender.
Women often say they want men to be emotionally
transparent with them. But as the vulnerability and
shame expert Brené Brown reveals in her book,
'Daring Greatly,' many grow uneasy or even recoil
if men take them up on their offer.
Indeed, a Canadian study found that college-aged
female respondents considered men more attractive
if they used shorter words and sentences and spoke
less. This finding seems to jibe with Dr. Brown’s
research, suggesting that the less men risk emoting
verbally, the more appealing they appear.
I think a lot of my problems in the dating and relationship realm come down to a failure to understand that although American women say they'd like a guy with character and opinions and who actually talks, instinctively, this culture is programmed with strong-and-silent John Wayne stereotypes.
This differs considerably from the stereotype of masculine ideal promulgated in my native cultures, at least within the intelligentsia. The notion of interesting man that I was inculcated with was clearly very different: interesting, attentive, charismatic, observant, original, worldly, conversant. A man in those cultures is not supposed to be "effete and sensitive" either—no, indeed, they are relatively patriarchal—but he is supposed to be entertaining, intelligent, present and intellectually engaged — definitely quite verbal.
I've found that doesn't play so well over here. In fact, in my anecdotal experience (and I very much realise this does not data make), most of the intelligent and conversationally active women I know seem to end up "dating down", very often with less educated, or in rarer cases comparably educated but otherwise rather introverted, laconic and unassertive guys, despite their stated preference to the contrary. They are not looking for peers like themselves, that much is a very clear pattern. From the vantage point of my native cultures, this would be rendered as "they are looking for simple and pliant pets to command", and it would be seen as humiliating and pitiful for a man to acquiesce to such a circumscribed role.
> Seems as if it's usually a mistake to not be taciturn, not be a blank screen to receive a woman's projections.
Indeed, and I hate to engage in this kind of provocative gender stereotyping, but as a factual matter, it agrees with nearly all of my dating experiences in my adult life.
And yet the common complaint from young women is that men are simple and don't relate or exhibit much emotional connection. Well, I've tried, and it tends to scare them off.
Boys and girls are exposed to different doses of hormones, those are essential to forming their personality, and, therefore, their needs are going to be distinct, and their differences are only going to become stronger the older they get.
Two generations more of this constant hammering on boys and people will have to start writing "Talking ot Boys Like They're Not Inherently Evil" to begin work on fixing the damage.
Just treating boys like boys and girls like girls is not a guarantee that their needs will be met, you need to actually deal with your kid without staring blindly on their gender and then sort them in the corresponding bucket. It's hard yes, but no-one said having kids is easy.
To better ourselves, we have to overcome those preconceived notions. That is only possible with what you call "sociological experiments" and will also likely involve some initial overcompensation.
Still, challenging whether females biology actually predetermines their purpose in life to daycare and kitchen seems to me like a goal worth exploring.
I wonder how we'll think about the differences between personalities in maybe 20 or 30 years, once we actually understand how the brain works and develops.
So far and as far as I understand a wide range of experiences seems necessary to form a worthy personality. Having strong gender rolls and other preconceived notions can limit what kind of lessons are learned.
The perfect example for that would be how superheroes are being portrayed based on their gender and barbie dolls in particular are a bad offender of subconsciously changing girls and young women into that role model of always looking perfect and aiming for that marriage as their life goal.
Edit: Someone commented on this, telling me how Black Widow, among others, don't fit that stigma. Since he deleted his comment before I could respond, the answer to that is simple.
Black Widow isn't directly portrayed as a 'typical' woman, but think about the way she acts. Does she show brute force and kicks asses everywhere she goes, or does she use cunning and her looks to make men dance around like puppets?
She may not fit the role model at the first glance, but on a deeper, more abstract level, she works as well as any at subconsciously influencing teenagers into roles based on their gender.
I remember reading about an hermaphrodite, she said that when she was a teenager she received hormones and the way she felt reading a comic book was very different depending where in the cycle she was : more emotional at the beginning, more analytical at the end of the cycle.