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How To Learn Sign Language

Pink and Blue: Communicating Gender to Children | Anthony Schullo | TEDxNorthCentralCollege

Translator: Marina Ivanovic
Reviewer: Nada Alshammari I want to introduce you
to my two little cousins: Alex and Alayna. Here’s Alex, all wide-eyed, probably because the Bears
actually won a game. (Laughter) And, then, here is Alayna, in her little pink outfit. Now, the outfits help, because sometimes
it’s hard to determine which one is which because they look so similar. But this is where our gender communication
to children begins. Now, imagine for a moment,
recall a time when you, or maybe someone you know, told a young boy to stop crying
or to suck it up; or encouraged a young girl
to play with barbies, instead of a toy truck. From the beginning,
we set a either or path for our children – one or another, when it comes to clothes,
toys or actions. It either is or isn’t okay to cry; either you play with hot wheels
or you play with barbies. We use gender as a way to construct
our children’s reality. Now, the work of a communication
scholar James Carey, tells us that communication
is a symbolic process whereby realities are produced, maintained
repaired, and transformed. Now, I’m not here to say that the communication we are having with our children is invaluable, nor am I even here to paint
the world yellow. What I am here to do is encourage
a breakaway from that gender dichotomy. By communicating,
what we believe is appropriate: language, clothes, attire, actions
to our children, we’re getting a symbolic message as to what it means to be a man
and a woman. Our communication produces it. Our reinforcement of that communication
maintains it. And yet, by changing the way we speak
and act, we can transform it. Communicating macho manhood to young boys, and communicating submissiveness
to young girls just won’t cut it. We, by communicating that,
are really sending strong signs to our young boys and young girls as to what it means to be a man
and a woman. Now, let’s face it: we tell children what they should do
and what they should be, but not so much what they can do, or what they can be. We use gender as something
we must fit into masculinity for men
and femininity for females, when, really, gender is so fluid, with so many different possibilities
and combinations, that anybody can fit into it. Now, I do want to show you a picture
of Alayna today. And, as you can imagine,
the pictures I showed you earlier were two pictures of the same little girl, but it’s amazing how much we rely
on our minds and communicating gender
to tell us a little bit about difference. Now, I’m here to tell you that we
really need to think about the way we communicate gender
to our children. we have the responsibility to think about the ways we talk about gender and to make sure we’re communicating it in a liberative, positive ways, so that we can have a society
that doesn’t see gender and a society that communicates gender in more positive tones
for a more diverse, just world. Thank you. (Applause)

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