I'm writing in English, which is strange in itself since I really love my own language, Finnish, and since I detest the power position that the English language has in global communucation... but I'd get way too many complaints from American friends if I didn't write in a language comprehensible to them.

Jan 30, 2011

Being born liking cars?

Sorry, mothers, boys are not born liking cars. Otherwise, imagine all those little boys 200 or more years ago, liking them but not knowing what they like, a shapeless yearning... Nope, liking cars is not inborn and I will say this even if the first word of my boy happened to be 'auto'.

I've lately heard many feminist mothers (and some others too) complain (or just explain) how they worked hard on gender neutrality in toys and were thwarted in their efforts by their boy who wants cars. Or girl who wants to wear pink although the color isn't even present in their house. I still say liking cars isn't inborn!

If something is inborn about liking gender-specific toys (which I'm not certain about) it's the fascination of a certain gender role. Many boys might be excited in things that are culturally perceived as masculine (probably they don't explain it in these words to their parents, though). Not all, of course. And many girls might find overly feminine things attractive. What they see as masculine or feminine has to change, though, else boys would still just like horses and NOBODY would like cars.

And here comes the other part: if a child is attracted to things that are culturally perceived as masculine or feminine, and their parents were very vigilant in trying to raise their kids gender neutrally, what's the explanation? I think it's that there's no way you can raise your child actually gender neutrally. They don't grow in a vacuum - if you can be completely gender neutral (which I don't think is possible at all, but that's a whole different tweet) the rest of the world isn't.

I won't even try. But I think I'll go for trains in stead of cars, much more ecological. And animals, and dolls too if he wants them, and I think he'd be excited about a little kitchen. But I'll try not to complain if he only wants to play with his toy tigers and scorns the pots and pans.

Jan 8, 2011

Quotas or no quotas?

I'm a bit worried about gender quotas. If say a magazine has them, wouldn't it be possible that they would just be scrambling around to fill them instead of thinking of quality?

But if a magazine doesn't think about gender at all, will they end up not publishing any women writers just because they're much too used to their men? (Or for some other, more nefarious reason...) And will all the women writers then just end up writing in so-called women's magazines since they can't get in to any others?

This is what happened in the New Yorker. Anne Hayes noticed that in several issues (two were mentioned specifically) there were only a couple of pages written by women despite the fact that there are many writing women for them to have. In fact the magazine itself has many women editors. So Anne decided to return the latest offending issue, displeased with it, like a box of cereal that's flawed.

I think there should not be gender quotas - in a perfect world. In OUR world however, if women don't make a noise they are still overlooked. Still. And Anne's quota is so modest too, just five out of thirteen. Don't think five women writers should be hard to find at all, and quality need not suffer.

Here's Anne's letter on facebook.

Jan 3, 2011

Resolutions... wishes...

A couple of years ago I decided not to make any New Years resolutions. In stead I expressed New Years wishes. The good part is that those weren't really dependent on me. The downside is that the reason I did this is a Finnish ailment: pessimism. Why try to change since it didn't work last year? How could I do any better next year?

Well well. Last year I made resolutions anyway, even while realizing that I might not be able to fulfill them. I thought that two resolutions would be enough: I'd give birth to a baby (very safe: he was about to come out anyway) and I'd finally finish my novel, big project that has been going on for way too long. Not finished, I'm sad to say. It seems my first resolution messed with my second one. I started off fine but then got too heavy and tired and then too busy and then too tired again... you know how it is.

With a 50% success rate I might try again, however.

It seems like I've lately had trouble with faith-related issues, so I'll work on that. Decided.

Baby needs mama to give a strong foundation in the Finnish language. I'll work on that. Decided.

Novel still needs to be finished. (It can't be impossible with 250 pages down already?!) Decided.

What's the 50% success-rate for this I wonder? Slight improvement in faith-related issues, no novel but excellent use of Finnish? Or something else?