Gender Roles

Discuss the May 2017 Book of the Month, Farmer Beau's Farm by Kathleen Geiger.

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Amagine
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Re: Gender Roles

Post by Amagine » 14 May 2017, 08:57

I would love to see a children's book with a father being a house husband or tending to the house. I think that would be a powerful image that children should see.
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Post by gaporter » 15 May 2017, 11:57

I originally brought up this point in my other post because I was thinking of how my step-nieces would react to Bamma staying busy in the house while Beau works outside. Bamma does take a large part of the story in interacting with the animals, so the book is better in this regard than many other old fashioned stories where women are nearly invisible. That being said, however, it would be nice to see some variety in gender roles in childrens' books. Nobody argues that women that work in the home are not strong, of course, but roles in society are changing and adapting and children are very perceptive to these subtle messages. Studies show that being exposed to positive, active female role models in stories is very beneficial to kids, both boys and girls.

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Post by hsimone » 18 May 2017, 09:39

gaporter wrote:I originally brought up this point in my other post because I was thinking of how my step-nieces would react to Bamma staying busy in the house while Beau works outside. Bamma does take a large part of the story in interacting with the animals, so the book is better in this regard than many other old fashioned stories where women are nearly invisible. That being said, however, it would be nice to see some variety in gender roles in childrens' books. Nobody argues that women that work in the home are not strong, of course, but roles in society are changing and adapting and children are very perceptive to these subtle messages. Studies show that being exposed to positive, active female role models in stories is very beneficial to kids, both boys and girls.
I agree. Women who stay at home can be just as strong as women who work outside the home. But, I'm not going to lie and say when I see a woman being an engineer, a scientist, or even a farmer doesn't put a smile on my face. I feel proud when I see women being represented in a variety of careers (stay at home or something outside the home). I also agree, that seeing this diversity is beneficial to both boys and girls.
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Post by Jaime Lync » 24 May 2017, 20:24

I personally prefer traditional gender roles as presented in Farmer Beau's Farm. That is not to say that I don't understand and agree that women ought to have jobs out of the home in all areas - business, medicine, carpentry, architecture, law, you name it. I just don't agree that men ought to be 'stay at home dads' without a really good excuse. If you cannot leave your home for some medical reason or you have a stay at home job-cool. A guy staying home to do the cooking and cleaning - not cool. Once again, I'm not saying that those jobs should fall to women alone - we could both work on the house chores and what's not. I'm ranting. Stop...

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Post by Ashie » 15 Jun 2017, 14:10

I don't believe that gender roles should define one's life.

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Post by kina » 16 Jun 2017, 19:16

I agree with the others, Bamma and Beau aren't a central focus so their gender roles are very subtle in the story. Though, they do remind me of my grandparents who own their own small farm. My grandmother, like Bamma, tends to the home but she also collects eggs and plants for eating from the very forested land they own, gets rid of large pests like rats and snakes, and tends to and cares for all animals on her property. Before he passed, my grandfather did about the same but didn't cook, clean or any duties traditional gender roles deem "womanly" or "feminine." I could see Bamma and Beau more equal if the author wanted to do another children's book with the same equality and acceptance theme for children, but using humans and how gender roles should be done away with instead.

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Post by L_Therese » 17 Jun 2017, 12:04

The separation of gender roles was something I noticed even when just reading the sample. It does really bother me. Even though Bamma was such a minor character, it wouldn't have been too difficult to find one place where she can be drawn outside with her husband or he can be drawn inside washing dishes with her or bringing her a glass of lemonade or something similar. Just an illustration would challenge the division of gender roles.

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Post by Robert Cheetham » 25 Jun 2017, 03:55

In most cases, the husbands work hard outside the house to sustain the family. The wife's mostly keep the house clean and prepare meals for the family. Going forward, children must see stories that portray mothers playing the roles of the husband to sustain livelihoods. Particularly in developing countries mothers work as hard as husbands do.

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Post by Papercut » 06 Jul 2017, 23:48

Kids are smarter than we think. I think that kids did notice a woman who works mostly in household chores was perceived as a "norm". That's how they call it as a mom. Anything that contradict this "rule" will be viewed as "unusual" and curiosity will fill their young minds.

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Post by Christina Rose » 18 Jul 2017, 16:11

Because of the setting, I don't feel like the gender roles really pose an issue. It's more of a family role than it is a gender role. I've been raised to understand that genders are equal, as that is the culture I've inherited from my father. However, you still find that naturally, family roles typically get filled by a particular gender. For example, when we get together for a cultural event, the men typically do the outside cooking and women cook inside. The men will typically handle the heavy lifting while bringing tables and chairs outside, and the women tend more to the indoor needs. The same goes with the cleaning. The men clean the outside, to include breaking down canopies and such, while the women clean inside. Neither gender feels unequal or taken advantage.
My point, is that even though the wife had a different role than the husband in the story, it wasn't a meek role. It wasn't a role of the weak woman who submits to her husband. It was simply her role in the family.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 19 Jul 2017, 01:54

Children notice all sorts of things, perhaps not consciously, but they are constantly putting together an impression of how the world works. They have well-established ideas of what is "masculine" and "feminine" by an extremely early age, and will copy a same-sex parent. What they see in a book isn't the only source of this information of course, but it contributes.

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Post by bookiegalke » 31 Jul 2017, 08:36

in my part of the world children are already learning gender roles due to the environment they are growing in so this book wouldn't change much of their perception
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Post by eelavahs-jay » 30 Sep 2017, 14:08

I think it's a bit of a stretch to call out gender roles in this story. It was much too subtle. I'm not sure it's enough to warrant social commentary. The animals were the main focus of the story. I'm not all that bothered by gender roles in literature to be honest. Children aren't really concerned with who's responsible for doing what tasks. What's important is that they see parents who take care of their families.

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