Gender roles hurt all children.

Put like this, I agree, but I’d refer to it as “gender roles” or “gender expectations”, with the understanding that in this context, gender and sex are the same thing ie you are male / female so you’re meant to do a, b or c etc. and anyone who doesn’t fit into these neat little boxes of what society expects is somehow “abnormal”. Life isn’t that black and white though. Some take to these expected ideals more “naturally” than others, some don’t, and some “prefer” the colour of the grass on the other side of the fence, and none of the options chosen are either right or wrong, they’re just what appear to be right or wrong to us as individuals at the time.

The Prime Directive

Usually I reject the whole “gender hurts everyone” rhetoric because it’s clear that gender is meant to first and foremost subordinate women, and men shouldn’t get brownie points just because they can’t do everything they want. But in the case of children, I think it’s clear that gender does hurt all children, and we do need to state that up front.

Pereira observed both boys and girls regulating their behavior in potentially harmful ways in order to adhere to gender norms. For instance, even girls who enjoyed sports often avoided physical activity at school because they assumed it wouldn’t be a feminine thing to do, they worried they might look unattractive while running, or they were mocked by their male peers for not being good enough. The girls also put themselves on diets because they believed desirable women have to be skinny.

“All of the girls were within very…

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