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How much did your parents expect you to conform to behavior expected of your gender?

What specific behaviors were emphasized?

How did they express these expectations?

Was your same-sex parent more or less emphatic about this?

Was your same-sex parent your main model of how those of your gender should behave or did you look elsewhere?

(Please indicate your own sex if it isn't apparent.)

My mother would emphasize to me the importance of acting "more ladylike", while my step father just wanted me to be "less obnoxious", which I think may have meant the same thing. Apart from decorum though, neither emphasized interests, activities, or behaviors they wanted me to adopt. My father actually emphasized being his idea of well-rounded and self-sufficient, which included both boys and girls being able to fight, fish, and farm, cook and clean, do carpentry and plumbing, and mend clothes.

With my brothers, my mother was really emphatic about them being "good gentlemen" (again, emphasizing manners) but again, nothing much beyond that as far as I could see.

(I'm staying at my mom's right now and so I'm thinking about this stuff.)

9 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    My parents had conflicting ideas of what were appropriate gender roles for girls/women, as my father was more a product of growing up in the 30's/40's and my mom grew up in the 40's/50's. My dad was pretty traditional, being a missionary-type minister, but he and my mom also wanted all of his kids to do well in school, disliked sports, thought we should all have a way to support ourselves, and thought we should all do house chores, and all camp, hike and fish. My dad could care less about clothes and how we looked. My mom was obsessed with my being a little lady, when I was a notorious tom-boy. My mom had to keep my hair short since I kept putting gum in it. I cried when my mom told me I had to wear a shirt in the summer, because I was a woman (at age 9!). I didn't think much of being a woman, and it didn't get much better, there were always so many rules. But since my brothers had many silly rules too, it didn't seem unfair, just ridiculous.

    My mother did want me to get an education, so I could support myself if my husband became disabled or died, but I was expected by both parents to marry a Christian man, have children and be a homemaker. If I did get a job for a bit, it was suppose to be a parochial teacher or nurse. My mother was a nurse. Ironically, after all of these fairly rigid gender role expectations, my mother went to work part-time when I was 10, when my brothers and sister were younger than I, and she continued to work the rest of her life, full-time when my youngest sibling was in high school. I did notice the message she was sending me, when she said she couldn't stand staying home and hated being broke. We probably were able to go to college and my parents probably have a decent retirement because she went back to work, but that wasn't the traditional message they also tried to guilt trip me with.

    When my mother went back to work when I was 10, my dad fought with my mother about it. He felt he'd failed to provide for the family, and it was true, from his point of view. He took it out on his kids, especially me at first, but later he beat my brothers a great deal as well. He also started drinking, so did my mother. The final message I got was: don't be dependent on anyone financially, whether male or female, get an education, and be careful who you marry, if you marry, there's no guarantees. I also got the message that having lots of kids could be a huge burden to people who emotionally and/or financially, can't handle the responsibility and problems associated with a large family. I don't think these were the messages my parents meant for me to get, but my brothers pretty much got the same message as well.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    I knew when I was 4-5 yrs old that I should have been born a girl, and I was aware of it my entire life. Puberty was a special kind of hell, and all I could do was wish I had been born in the right body. I never "grew out of it." Rather, I buried it, and allowed it to become a hugely detrimental influence in my life, preventing me from having relationships, from liking who I was, and from being happy for over forty years. I do not believe I ever had a "disorder." I was simply born with the wrong anatomy, and expected to be something I wasn't my entire life. Once I started Transition, all that changed, and now I feel like the person I should have been.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    That's a really good question. I hadn't thought much about it. I was very girly growing up, especially in my teen years. If anything, my mom told me I was too vain. But the main "feminine behavior" that my mother STILL harrasses me about is having kids. I have been told how selfish and unnatural I am because I don't want kids.

    It's sad, but my mom was jealous of me, and made no secret of it. I was thin, and she had always been a little chubby, moreso after she had babies. She had also felt unattractive growing up, and I was very pretty. Sometimes she told me how pretty I was, and other times she made fun of me for my hair, my make-up, my clothes, and so forth. It was kind of rough. I never knew what was going to come out of her mouth: praise or criticism.

    Then when I got older and went to college, she told me often that she "envied me my freedom." She married my dad when she was 18, and had me when she was 19. Sometimes she was nice about it. Sometimes she was mean about it. It continued even after I grew up and moved out on my own.

    Well, I don't know if I actually answered your question or just whined about my mom, lol. But it's an interesting question.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Not much, really. When my sister and i were kids, we spent all our free time running around outside in jeans and rubber boots, exploring the streams and fields in and around our small town. We climbed trees, made "stew" out of river water and wild chives and dirt, played in the mud, and got all kinds of scrapes and scratches. My parents didn't tell me or my sis to act like girls, or my brother to act like a boy. They simply expected all three of us to use our manners and behave ourselves, and as we got older we were expected to make proper decisions as well.

    Had I been interested in more traditionally male things, like helping Dad fix the car or going fishing, they would have been glad to teach me. As it stands, my interests are all "neutral" or more traditionally feminine, because that's just who I am.

    >Was your same-sex parent your main model of how those of your gender should behave or did you look elsewhere?

    I'm sure I imitated mom when I was a little girl. And she's been the example I've followed in learning to be a wife and homemaker and mother, because that's what she chose to do when my brother was born and has done since. But I've also learned a lot from my dad's example, too, and he's the one who taught me many skills I have - skiing, swimming, biking, fixing stuff, etc.

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  • 1 decade ago

    They wanted me to be a good student and play sports and not date or fraternize with the girls. They were Catholics and did not like sexuality, which they considered as a necessary evil in the world, something to hardly ever even talk about. I picked up their general fears and attitudes and remained virginal until age 23, and then only because of discovering alcohol was I able to disinhibit. They had no idea how miserable and lonely I felt as a teen, and I was unable to talk about my concerns with either of them.

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  • 1 decade ago

    My father, when he was sober, was very liberal. Very 60's. He believed women should not be a burden to men and he resented my mother who believed very much in gender roles. My parents had widely differing ideas about their children. My father wanted to ignore us as much as possible but when I did go to him - my mother wanted me to leave school early - he did support me. It was the only time he actually contributed.

    My mother, on the other hand, came from a very religious background and believed that women were put on this earth to serve man. She believed that girls would marry suitable men, have children and put their man first.

    As I never saw this working in our household and despaired at the lack of respect awarded to my mother, I consigned that idea to the dustbin.

    My brothers were treated like little kings - they still are. My mother, by the way, had no brothers and her father abandoned her mother, which might have been why she was over eager to please men. It didn't help - my father routinely had affairs.

    I like your father's ideas and I've tried to make sure my children fit into that idea of self sufficiency. Along with the idea that we are not to be a burden to society, or to others. Either by moods, tempers, violence, addictions or crime.

    My brothers were not expected to do anything - I, as the only girl, though, was expected to help my mother.

    My mother was mad with religion.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I'm female.

    My father isn't particularly concerned about the way I behave in terms of gender. Anything is okay with him as long as I obtain top marks in academics and schoolwork. But I do know that he wants me to be a bit more feminine at times.

    My mother on the other hand prefers me to dress more often in frocks, skirts and other such apparel branded "Women Only" whereas I find that it's not to my taste. I just prefer to wear pants and a T-shirt or maybe jeans. In fact, I absolutely hate wearing frocks and skirts.

    However, both my parents want me to be a capable martial artist; "capable" meaning having the ability to defend myself in a situation wherein I am trapped in a dark alley, facing a dead end, with two armed men coming at me. More than my etiquette, appearance and style, my parents prefer me to be safe.

    But I have a different view on martial arts, too. My parents just want me to learn the basics, and leave it there, but I'm not so easygoing about that. I want to become a competitive martial artist, gaining the ability to use bow, for archery, knives, swords and staffs. I am very passionate about my sport, because it is different, and because I believe that it, combined with my intellect, does actually put me on an equal footing with all males. I don't like the idea of a sexual relationship with men, but to have them as intellectual companions would be desirable for one with my personality kind.

    My parents don't allow me to have a boyfriend, however. They also didn't let me have my own mobile phone until about a year to a year and a half, and in some cases two or three years, after my friends. They are also often strict about the kind of films I am allowed to see, the kind of people that I choose to spend my time with (my friends) and even the clothes I wear

    My parents, though they want to see me grow into a feminine, gentle, rather girly young woman, have failed to make this happen as they have actually restricted many of the most casual things that women of that description tend to have in their lives. My love for martial arts, and my articulate, intellectual personality, have made me develop into a sort of tomboy, in a sense. I could relate my personality to that of the Greek goddess Athena.

    But I do agree with your father. I think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with women being independent or capable.

    Source(s): Experience and thoughts
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  • 1 decade ago

    I'm lucky, I wasn't pushed too much either way, I had quite a tomboy phase, now I like to think I'm balanced, I guess I'm fairly feminine but I smash up a lot of stereotypes and it's good I haven't been forced out of it

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They did expect nothing of that sort. Actually, my mom trying hard to tell me to surrender to feministocracy laws, but my mind just follow auto-pilot course of a cave man.

    (BTW, Juditha, Why did you block me for so long though I never block you? You know I always love you! )

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