Saturday, February 16, 2019

Metaphysical Stuff of this World

Gender Studies: Tabula Rasa?

No doubt these two little traditional nursery rhymes are no longer politically correct:
What are little girls made of?

Sugar and spice
and everything nice.
That's what little girls are made of.

What are little boys made of?

Snakes and snails
and puppy dog tails.
That's what little boys are made of.
The first time I heard these two rhymes was not in a nursery, but in the third grade. Initially, we boys felt insulted. We complained that snakes, snails, and tails were disgusting things to be made of, but our teacher reassured us that these three were well-meant.

As for girls, they weren't sure about spice, till our teacher told them that variety is the spice of life. Spice, then, can be about anything you want it to be, which seemed to satisfy the girls, but left the boys annoyed that they could contain only three ingredients, whereas girls had an endless number to select from.

Tell me again how the patriarchy works . . .



At 3:41 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Your experience of learning these gender formulae differs from what I remember. I recall being exposed to these paradigms at a younger age, and there was no analysis. We did think it was funny, however, and that humor chiefly consisted in the rhyme scheme, and our impression that the entire matter was silly. However, around the same time I do recall believing that girls were cleaner than boys. Whether or not that impression was encouraged by the paradigms, I can't recall.

At 6:50 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I probably came to other readings on my own over the years, but my initial reaction was as described.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:01 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Did you notice how the constructed "female" is associated with objectified (and evidently commodified) sensory stimulus, while the constructed "male" is associated with phallic-normative animal bodies?

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Should've been "slugs" instead of "snails" in that case. But we need that rhyme for "tails."

Jeffery Hodges

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