Re: Parents more uncomfortable with gender-nonconforming behaviors in boys, study finds
"In the current study, researchers expected to find that fathers, more so than mothers, would be less accepting of sons who are gender-nonconforming than daughters and that gender-nonconformity in general would correspond with parent discomfort. Additionally, those parents who believe their parenting style to be more feminist or socially equal would express more comfortability with a gender-nonconforming child. As such, researchers aimed to identify characteristics that compel parents to make efforts to change their child’s behavior. Again, the prediction was that parents would be more likely to change boys’ behavior than girls’.
An online survey completed by 151 mothers and 85 fathers living in Salt Lake City, Utah reported on 156 children age 3 to 13. The survey included questions relating to parenting style, parent gender atypical traits, attitude toward gender roles, and the prevalence of their own children’s gender-nonconforming behaviors.
As expected, parents report girls engage in gender-nonconforming behavior more than boys. In accordance with past research, results of the current study reveal parents are more uncomfortable with boys engaging in gender-nonconforming behavior than girls and make attempts to change the behavior more often. Contrary to other research however, this study shows mothers and fathers are equally likely to try and change their sons’ behaviors. Nevertheless, they are okay with their sons having girls as playmates and with daughters playing “boy” games.
Although initially researchers presumed parents’ warmth toward their children would be an indicator of acceptance of gender-nonconforming behavior, the study shows otherwise. Parents who report greater warmth also say they make more attempts to change their child’s behavior if it does not align with societal expectations."
Bold is done by me. I saw this on the front page from r/science, as expected the vast majority of the comments were deleted (I don't know what kind of gay rules they have over there), but I did see the typical reddit explanations: "This is because we don't have an equal enough society! Feminism doesn't care about boys! Nobody cares about boys' feelings!" While I think these are true in a superficial sense, I think these double standards reveal something far more deep about why parents behave in the way they do towards sons and daughters.
I start with the assumption that parents care about how their children turn out, at least the majority of them. Most parents want their kids to be productive, happy citizens with healthy relationships, I don't think they do things to purposely sabotage their children.
I think parents don't care about girl's lack of adherence to gendered behavior because it doesn't fundamentally matter how girls behave. If a girl is healthy and looks okay, she can and will find a decent guy. The quality of guy a girl can find if she likes to play basketball vs if she likes to go to fashion shows seems to be no different. However, from the parent's perspective, guys have objective standards they need to meet if they want to find a partner or be sexually successful. If a guy makes a lot of money, or if he's a great athlete, or if he acts like a pussy, this DOES have an effect on the quality and quantity of partners he will have. Parents deep down know this, they might not articulate it like this, and I think more superficial people would say this is an example of a female dominated society or unconscious bias against men, but to me it's just an acknowledgement that those male gendered behaviors are necessary to get a partner.