Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An Unconventional Family

I thought that this book was really interesting and I still don't know how I feel about their relationship. I think Sandy and Daryl were very progressive for their time and really did make a good attempt at an egalitarian marriage. What I found most interesting how they raised Emily and Jeremy. It can't imagine, even today, attempting to raise a gender-liberated doll with the excessive amount of gender-stereotyped advertising that children are exposed to. Sandy exposing Emily to examples of women in men in untraditional career roles, like the female construction worker, trying to sensor the books, and not distinguishing between heterosexual and homosexual relationships were good ideas and would seem to be very beneficial. If I ever have children I want to raise them as gender-liberated as possible, but I don't think I would let my son go to school with barrettes in his hair because I wouldn't want my child to be made fun of. 

I also think it is sort of strange that Sandy and Daryl would promote or condone accepting nudity in their home so their children would be exposed to and I don't think it is appropriate to kiss your child's vagina to prove that you are raising them as gender-liberated. It is not about people being too focused on child sexual abuse or pornography... I don't think it's right to show children that is okay when if they were to do that to other children or grow up in a society where that is illegal but they don't know it-they could be arrested or violate someone else's person space. 

I fully believe in civil disobedience and rebelling especially against this oppressive patriarchal society, but I don't think gender liberation has anything to do with telling children that nudity and kissing private body parts are okay, when in the real world, they could get in serious trouble for that. There is a point where you have to draw the line, and while you don't like society and its structure, you have to live in it, and you're not going to change everyone's thoughts right away so I don't think its appropriate to make children think that is appropriate when in society it isn't. At least you can teach your children that everyone else thinks that is wrong, and let them critically think about how they feel about that- children are often underestimated, but they do have the ability to think about things like that and make up their own mind. That would truly be liberation. 

On a different note, I think that feminist books and cartoons which promote gender-liberation are good for children and while my sister thinks I'm nuts, my nephews really like these cartoons called "Free to Be Me..." and one episode is about William's Doll which Sandy mentions on page 106. I started showing my nephews this because my youngest nephew who is 4 years old like to play Barbies with our 4 year old girl cousin, but his older brother and the 4 year old girl cousin always teased him for playing with Barbies and I wanted to make sure they knew that it was okay for him to play with dolls if he wanted to so I showed them this cartoon. I posted it below. There are actually a lot of these good cartoons which promote equality between the sexes and even though they are from the 70s little kids still like them!



  1. Hey so I watched this clip and I thought it was really cool, except that the floating heads screaming "William wants a doll" freaked me out. Other than that I think you did the right thing showing this clip to your nephew and niece hopefully they learned something. I totally agree that this cartoon also promotes equality between the sexes it was a really cool idea. Also I found it reminiscent of school house rock, which I used to watch way back in middle school. They should have more cartoons like this so kids will understand that they are equal with one another and that they can play with dolls or play sports, whatever their heart desires.

  2. I also want to have a partnership in which both of us share the household chores and equally make compromises for with other in our careers. I do worry though, because this is easier said than done. When we love other people it can be easy for us to sacrifice our own dreams. I often wondered when reading just how egalitarian the marriage actually was? Did Bem possibly not see certain events within their marriage as unegalitarian because of her love for her husband or did she have reason not to mention it within her book