“The Gender Trap: Parents and the Pitfalls of Raising Boys and Girls” by Emily W. Kane— Dealing with Gender

Kane, Emily W. “The Gender Trap: Parents and the Pitfalls of Raising Boys and Girls”, NYU Press, 2012.

Dealing with Gender

Amos Lassen

The family is where children learn about gender and the roles assigned to it. As the world changes so do concepts about gender and now we see that the traditional roles assigned to male and female are changing yet gender expectations have not kept up with these changes. Emily Kane gives us new detailed accounts of how parents today “understand, enforce and resist the gendering of children” and she does so through stories of parents from a diverse collection of backgrounds. More and more today, parents try to get away from the usual constrains of gender and at the same time allow for a variety of behaviors that are responsible for what have long been considered traditional gender roles. These traditional roles have become part of how we live today and there is now tension in trying to change them and still let boys be boys and girls be girls.

Even the most egalitarian parents still influence children with the binary concepts of gender and Kane shows how parents

variously understand, navigate, and even sometimes resist the gender trap, pointing the way to a more humane world for all of our children”.

Most parents understand that children’s personality is a combination of nature and nurture and while many wish that they could help nurture their children to escape the gender trap, they are also aware of the demands of society and these parents find themselves trapped in the gender binary and its structure. There is the feeling that they remain accountable to the expectations of the larger society.

There is fear when boys are allowed to explore those areas traditionally associated with girls and vice versa. Kane shows us how it is possible to navigate the raising of children and that to do so, the world around us must be changed.

The book fascinates and educates as it explores and analyzes.

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