Author Topic: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...  (Read 16810 times)

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LeveeWoman

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2013, 11:53:46 PM »
Oh, and for the record, it's not a sexism thing, just a "oh, wow, your entire family of many little children is all made up of the same sex!" thing.

What? Of course it's an issue of sexism! These people are making comments and judgments based on the sex of your children.

Good grief.

I'm sorry, but just commenting on gender does not make it sexism. Now if their next comment was "I suppose you'll be getting rid of them soon and getting yourself some REAL children [meaning boys] then yes, that's sexism. But simply commenting on a disparity does not automatically equate to sexism. Inequality in numbers does not immediately mean an inequality in anything else.

YMMV.

Nemesis

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2013, 01:05:32 AM »
Good Lord. This awful issue.

I am STILL pregnant with what has been a fairly complicated pregnancy, and I had gotten comments like: "Oh it's another girl? Well you're still young enough to try for another one."

My response is a polite: "Why would I want to do that?"

Those who can't/won't take the hint will always add, "You need a boy to carry the family name" or "Your husband will want a boy" or "You'll want a boy, trust me"

And my response would be a very cold, "Why, it's interesting how you think your values and my family's values are the same".

And for those who truly cannot stop their mouths from running after the first two responses will get: "You have no idea how much this offends me, when I am STILL pregnant and praying to make it to a safe full-term delivery."

Pen^2

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2013, 01:27:24 AM »
This is a very rude thing to say to anyone. It's like asking someone, "oh, was that recent baby of yours an accident? Did the condom break?" Also it's kind of stupid: who cares what gender you want? You can't exactly choose. It's like asking someone what age they'd like to go grey at, or what telephone number they'd prefer. We all might have preferences, but we don't bother asking because it's stupid since we have absolutely no control over it. I don't know why the gender of a baby is an exception here, but it sure is silly.

The comments might come from ignorance, but they're still rude. If it's said around the children in question, definitely do not just laugh it off or bean dip. The children need to know that they are loved and not inadequate. A stern response of, "we are happy with and love our children just as they are, thank you," or anything similar, will do. I wouldn't worry about being harsh if your kids are around: the potential collateral damage just isn't worth the risk. CLD's grandfather's response is pretty perfect in this regard.

I've heard people complain of this both ways: families with all boys get asked if they'll "ever get that girl we know you've been trying for", and vice versa. I therefore don't see it as a "this gender isn't as good as that gender," but as a "you need equal numbers" (heavens know why). It's not quite the same as sexism (since it's not stating that only specific gender is intrinsically more desirable or whatever than the other), but close.

Mathematically, for those who are nerdishly inclined, this is actually called a "1-step walk". You can model it, and you get some pretty startling results: if you were to keep having children until you got equal numbers of each gender (because that's a perfectly good reason to have more kids ::)), although you might luck out early on, on average a person will need to have infinity children for it to even out. So, you know, don't try it. Unless your first is one gender and your second is the other, chances you're not ever gonna get there.

Addy

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2013, 02:04:21 AM »
Thank you for sticking up for your girls, OP.

I am the youngest in a family of 5 girls. I heard it all, but the most irritating was "oh, your poor dad."  ::)

Once we were camping and the family next to us was a family of five boys. Everybody, including my parents, joked that we should trade the youngest kids. I was so hurt and upset that I actually wanted to trade families after that.

So, again, thank you for sticking up for your girls, OP.

Danika

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2013, 03:15:11 AM »
The comments might come from ignorance, but they're still rude. If it's said around the children in question, definitely do not just laugh it off or bean dip.

POD

My priority, in your shoes, would be to spare the feelings of my children. You might not be hearing this more than one time from each rude commenter, but your kids are hearing the same message over and over again - that they're not good enough. And all but the oldest are hearing "you were a bonus child, just an extra mouth to feed on the way to getting the precious boy. You were a mistake."

Beandipping gives your children the impression that considering the rude person's feelings is more important than their feelings. And it gives your kids the impression that you're only being politically correct but that you don't mean it because your response is not outraged enough.

I've heard people complain of this both ways: families with all boys get asked if they'll "ever get that girl we know you've been trying for", and vice versa. I therefore don't see it as a "this gender isn't as good as that gender"...

True. But the children hearing this from adults don't know that. All they know is that in their family, they keep getting accused of being "trial runs" and "extras" by strangers. After they hear it enough times, (even once is too many) they will probably internalize it.

I'm generally non-confrontational but this is something I feel strongly about. At the very least, I'd reply "we don't care about gender, we just want a healthy baby" but not say it in a light or jovial tone, but rather a firm somewhat reprimanding tone. Because the questions are rude and are accusing you of being shallow, IMHO. But I think I would go with something stronger like "my children are wonderful and I don't need you to make assumptions about what you think my values should be."


gmatoy

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2013, 03:24:21 AM »
My grandpa used to say, "I couldn't love a boy more than I love my girls."

This was back in the 30s, 40s, and 50s when having four girls and no boy was a big deal.  My 75 year old mother still chokes up at how much that meant to her as a young girl in a sexist world.

What a sweet story!

Coruscation

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2013, 04:06:00 AM »
Oh, and for the record, it's not a sexism thing, just a "oh, wow, your entire family of many little children is all made up of the same sex!" thing.

What? Of course it's an issue of sexism! These people are making comments and judgments based on the sex of your children.

Good grief.

I'm sorry, but just commenting on gender does not make it sexism. Now if their next comment was "I suppose you'll be getting rid of them soon and getting yourself some REAL children [meaning boys] then yes, that's sexism. But simply commenting on a disparity does not automatically equate to sexism. Inequality in numbers does not immediately mean an inequality in anything else.

My mother is blond and my father brunette. All four of us (two boys, two girls) are blonde. Once we all filed into the house followed by my younger cousin and the woman said "Oh, you finally got a dark haired one." Some people talk just to fill the silence. So you can't win.

Winterlight

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2013, 07:52:42 AM »
The comments might come from ignorance, but they're still rude. If it's said around the children in question, definitely do not just laugh it off or bean dip.

POD

My priority, in your shoes, would be to spare the feelings of my children. You might not be hearing this more than one time from each rude commenter, but your kids are hearing the same message over and over again - that they're not good enough. And all but the oldest are hearing "you were a bonus child, just an extra mouth to feed on the way to getting the precious boy. You were a mistake."

Beandipping gives your children the impression that considering the rude person's feelings is more important than their feelings. And it gives your kids the impression that you're only being politically correct but that you don't mean it because your response is not outraged enough.

I've heard people complain of this both ways: families with all boys get asked if they'll "ever get that girl we know you've been trying for", and vice versa. I therefore don't see it as a "this gender isn't as good as that gender"...

True. But the children hearing this from adults don't know that. All they know is that in their family, they keep getting accused of being "trial runs" and "extras" by strangers. After they hear it enough times, (even once is too many) they will probably internalize it.

I'm generally non-confrontational but this is something I feel strongly about. At the very least, I'd reply "we don't care about gender, we just want a healthy baby" but not say it in a light or jovial tone, but rather a firm somewhat reprimanding tone. Because the questions are rude and are accusing you of being shallow, IMHO. But I think I would go with something stronger like "my children are wonderful and I don't need you to make assumptions about what you think my values should be."

Agreed. An adult is old enough to know better than to say this and probably won't take it seriously, but kids hearing it will, if it's said often enough.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

whatsanenigma

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2013, 08:22:04 AM »
Oh, and for the record, it's not a sexism thing, just a "oh, wow, your entire family of many little children is all made up of the same sex!" thing.

What? Of course it's an issue of sexism! These people are making comments and judgments based on the sex of your children.

Good grief.

I'm sorry, but just commenting on gender does not make it sexism. Now if their next comment was "I suppose you'll be getting rid of them soon and getting yourself some REAL children [meaning boys] then yes, that's sexism. But simply commenting on a disparity does not automatically equate to sexism. Inequality in numbers does not immediately mean an inequality in anything else.

YMMV.

I think it might depend on the individual person making the comment, as to whether or not "sexist" implications are intended.  But I wouldn't say it's that way all the time, because as another poster has said, you just can't win with some people.  I would bet that most of the same people who ask if you are still trying for a boy (if not all of the people) would be asking if you were still trying for a girl if you had all boys.

Personally, I think a fun response might be "Actually, now we're trying for a puppy".

MommyPenguin

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2013, 09:31:29 AM »
Well, I suppose any remarks about one sex being more desired are sexist, in a way, as they're focused on one sex or the other.  But what I meant was that it wasn't anti-female sexism... these same people would say the same things about a family of boys (I have a SIL with three boys, she gets this, too, although less now that her youngest is 4 and they're pretty adamant about no more). 

I really like the comment about, "I couldn't love a boy more than I love my girls."  Reminds me of Anne of Green Gables and Matthew telling Anne that he couldn't love a boy more than he loved her.  :)  That one might be fun to try, and it does have the undercurrent of, "Are you implying that I could???"

It was honestly really rough on Sunday.  We tried a new church, and each of us got it from several people (kids hanging around hearing snippets of both).  My husband chatted with the pastor for a while, and the pastor went on and on and on about it.  My husband was pretty frustrated afterwards.  I'm not sure whether he bean-dipped, had some response and it didn't work, or what.  I'll have to ask him.  I know he was complaining about it and has brought it up a few times in the context of whether we should have more kids, and he was the one who suggested I ask all of you experts.  :)

Now if I could just get people to stop saying, "Looks like you've got your hands full!" because I'm growing tired of that one.

*inviteseller

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2013, 09:38:25 AM »
When oldest DD was born, one of the first comments MIL made was "Oh another grand daughter (#4).  Too bad you couldn't have had a boy for FIL."  :o :o  First off, I was told I would never have kids, so the fact that we had a healthy baby was a joy to us, and secondly, I was not aware that I was to be making FIL happy and my uterus should have consulted him first.  FTR, my FIL was thrilled with his new granddaughter (altho he jokingly called her George). 

I think, when boors ask you any questions about your reproductive organs and what they are up to, it is ok to say "It's all good..our family is happy and healthy and gender isn't that important."  It does kill me that people, in this day and age still think we women need to produce a male for the husband.  Most fathers I know absolutely dote on their daughters and are thrilled by them!

Roe

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2013, 09:42:51 AM »
Good Lord. This awful issue.

I am STILL pregnant with what has been a fairly complicated pregnancy, and I had gotten comments like: "Oh it's another girl? Well you're still young enough to try for another one."

My response is a polite: "Why would I want to do that?"

Those who can't/won't take the hint will always add, "You need a boy to carry the family name" or "Your husband will want a boy" or "You'll want a boy, trust me"

And my response would be a very cold, "Why, it's interesting how you think your values and my family's values are the same".

And for those who truly cannot stop their mouths from running after the first two responses will get: "You have no idea how much this offends me, when I am STILL pregnant and praying to make it to a safe full-term delivery."

My 3rd son was in the hospital at birth, fighting for his life and a nurse asked, "are you going to try for a girl?"

When I wrote out thank you cards and sent gifts, she was kept off the list for that very reason.  I wish I'd had the energy to snap back at her but at the time, I was exhausted.  I don't remember how I responded.

delabela

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2013, 10:04:15 AM »
I agree with AudreyQuest.  Your kids watch you for your reaction to things - if you react to these comments with a stern or overly serious manner, then you are teaching them that these are serious and important comments, when really they are just silly unthoughtful statements made by people who likely are just (badly) trying to make conversation.  So I would say just respond with a light "my girls are awesome" kind of statement and move on.  If these people haven't yet figured out that kind of comment is not a smart one to make, you aren't going to teach them that.

JenJay

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2013, 10:24:10 AM »
My grandpa used to say, "I couldn't love a boy more than I love my girls."

This was back in the 30s, 40s, and 50s when having four girls and no boy was a big deal.  My 75 year old mother still chokes up at how much that meant to her as a young girl in a sexist world.

I was going to say I'd probably be jokey sarcastic and say "Eww, no. Every time we had a boy we traded him in for another girl." but that type of humor doesn't work on everyone. I vote for CLD's Grandpa's response instead.

Winterlight

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Re: Is this too harsh? A family of girls...
« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2013, 10:53:33 AM »
Well, I suppose any remarks about one sex being more desired are sexist, in a way, as they're focused on one sex or the other.  But what I meant was that it wasn't anti-female sexism... these same people would say the same things about a family of boys (I have a SIL with three boys, she gets this, too, although less now that her youngest is 4 and they're pretty adamant about no more). 

I really like the comment about, "I couldn't love a boy more than I love my girls."  Reminds me of Anne of Green Gables and Matthew telling Anne that he couldn't love a boy more than he loved her.  :)  That one might be fun to try, and it does have the undercurrent of, "Are you implying that I could???"

It was honestly really rough on Sunday.  We tried a new church, and each of us got it from several people (kids hanging around hearing snippets of both).  My husband chatted with the pastor for a while, and the pastor went on and on and on about it.  My husband was pretty frustrated afterwards.  I'm not sure whether he bean-dipped, had some response and it didn't work, or what.  I'll have to ask him.  I know he was complaining about it and has brought it up a few times in the context of whether we should have more kids, and he was the one who suggested I ask all of you experts.  :)

Now if I could just get people to stop saying, "Looks like you've got your hands full!" because I'm growing tired of that one.

The pastor did this? Eww. I think it would be a strike against that church for me that it has such a tone-deaf leader.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls