别再培养“好女孩”

编辑:给力英语新闻 更新:2017年11月28日 作者:纽约时报吉尔·菲利波维奇(By JILL FILIPOVIC)

我10岁的时候,有一次在后院的烧烤派对上,我和妹妹无意中听到爸爸与别的孩子父亲的对话。“你知道,我觉得,如果她们是男孩的话,我可能会让她们到离家更远的地方去玩,”我的有女权主义头脑的爸爸,在与那个父亲坦诚相交的一刻说了这种话。我和妹妹被激怒了,回到家后,我们向他发泄了不满——他怎么竟敢暗示:如果我们是男孩的话,他会用不同的方式对待我们?

与许多中产阶级的千禧代女儿一样,我和妹妹都是一种新的“好女孩”模式的体现:我们彬彬有礼,我们是一定会读大学的参加体育运动、还有各种课外活动的优秀学生,并被(我们的父母和我们自己)期待走上成功的职业生涯。

像我们这样的女孩子没有意识到、我们自己的父母通常也没有意识到的是,我们身边的成年人中根深蒂固、而且常常是隐形的性别偏见,往往把我们推上一个与和我们处境相同的男孩子不同(且更难、成果更少)的道路。

现在的女孩子接收到两种相互矛盾的信息:既要强而有力,又要温顺有礼。

如今无处不在的“女孩权力”信息宣称,女孩子能做任何她们想做的事。但实际上,对顺从行为的更不易觉察的奖励展示给女孩子的是,她们应该惹人喜爱、应该消极被动。过去几个月中曝光的性骚扰事件表明,这种新模式有多么危险。

骚扰和攻击的受害者不挑战虐待她们的人、或马上进行投诉,已是常规,不仅因为她们不想危及自己的职业生涯(尽管有这个问题),也因为女性已被训练成在自己的一生中默然接受权威和男性权力的人。

而另一方面,让男性受到表扬的是拥抱冒险精神和好斗情绪。女孩子被教育要学会保护自己不受伤害,女性生来脆弱的信息已成为她们思想行为的一部分;男孩子在这个世界上行动却几乎不受这种束缚,当然也就不把自己的身体看作是软弱之源、或他人欲望的对象。

当女孩子被告知要学会保护自己时,太多的男孩子正在成长为她们需要防卫的男人。

这不是大多数父母想让他们的孩子置身其中的世界。但是,关于女孩子和男孩子(以及男人和女人)应该怎样的观念根深蒂固。虽然如今的父亲大都表示,他们希望自己的女儿有才智、独立且坚强,但许多男人似乎也更想有儿子。尽管他们也许不是有意的,但父母和其他成年人对待女孩子的态度与他们对待男孩子的不一样,这往往会给女孩子造成长期的伤害。

女孩子更有可能因为温顺有礼而受到表扬,男孩子却更有可能因为努力而受到称赞。如今,当一个“好女孩”意味着安静地坐在教室里,听从教导,完成作业,取得好成绩。在这方面,女孩子大多已经取得了成功,这解释了受教育程度上的性别差距的一大部分——如果这个长达十年的模式保持不变的话,来年春天将有比年轻男性人数多的年轻女性拿着学位走出大学校门。

一般来说,与养育男孩子相比,养育女孩子更多地强调情商和语言能力。父亲们给女儿们唱歌的时候比给儿子们的多,他们与自己的女儿们说话时使用的语言更解析且富有情感,研究人员怀疑这有助于女孩子在学校取得更高的成绩。父亲们与男孩子的接触则有更多的动手动脚,更有可能是打闹的方式。在玩具商店里,女孩子仍被引到适合安静的照看者玩耍的婴儿娃娃和公主娃娃的“粉色通道”。

这种良好行为让女孩子在课堂上有优势,但会让她们以后在课堂之外付出更高的代价,尤其是在科技那样的高收入领域,这些领域提倡坚定自信、创造力和企业家精神,奖励冒险。当然,生理对成长起作用也可能影响不同性别的偏好,但我们在本质上是社会动物,在我们的家庭和社区中形成身份认同;自然存在的、有时完全是我们发明的任何差异,都在我们的养育过程中被放大了。

女孩子被教导要有感情能力,她们也要学会对他人的需求反应敏捷——这从理论上来说,不是一件坏事,只不过有可能变为恭顺。当男孩子没有在学习同样的东西时,成年女性就成了为家里和工作场所的成年男性服务的照看者。

在工作场所,被视为帮助者、而不是发号施令者,会削弱女性以及她们在人们眼里的能力。这些对不同性别的期望还有另外一种后果:拒绝承担帮助者角色的女性被认为难处,这也阻碍了她们的成功。

当然,还有太多的女性在工作中受到骚扰,这个问题在很大程度上是受男性权力和应得感的驱使,也受到对女性顺从的期望的帮助。

所以,如果父母想把他们的儿子和女儿培养成避免或捣毁这些陷阱的人的话,他们该怎样做呢?在不带有不同性别角色和不同性别期望的方式养育孩子,似乎对这些孩子有所帮助,但在瑞典以外很难做到——在“性别揭秘派对”的时代,在美国的少女时期被公主化的时代,请售货员帮助为购买产前派对礼物出主意时,售货员脱口而出的反应就是:“男孩还是女孩?”

一个开始的地方是自身。许多父母说,他们希望他们的儿子和女儿在家庭内部和家庭之外受到平等对待,但他们的行为似乎与他们的语言不相符。在四分之一以上的美国家庭中,母亲是孩子的全职照看者;这些家庭中的丈夫不太可能提拔女性同事,而且,全职妈妈的儿子长大后,他们不太可能在自己的家里做家务事。年轻男性似乎已经得到一个信息:近一半的年轻男性认为,如果男性是养家糊口的人,女性呆在家里会更好。

当孩子们看到他们身边的男性在办公室里指手画脚、在家里却只是放松,而孩子们身边的女性为他们准备带到学校的午餐、计划生日派对、安排各种预约时,孩子们会把男人领导、女人帮助的信息变成他们思想行为的一部分。根据一项研究,近25%的十几岁女孩和40%的十几岁男孩说,男性比女性能成为更好的政治领袖;只有8%的女孩和4%的男孩说,女性能成为更好的领导者。但男孩和女孩都认为女性更适合传统的女性角色,比如照看孩子。

把我们的男孩子培养为更像我们的女孩子的人——培养他们的善良和关爱之心,不只是告诉他们要尊重女性,而是要让平等主义和男性情感与感情天赋在家里得以身体力行,这也许能产生巨大的不同效果。虽然父母及其他成年人教女孩子保护自己不成为世界上的哈维·韦恩斯坦(Harvey Weinstein)的受害者,但这并不能遏止韦恩斯坦那样的行为。把我们的男孩子培养成与之不同的人能做到这一点。

父母也应该改变他们教育女孩子保护自己的方式。我们小的时候,很多人被告知,如果有人用让我们恶心的方式触摸我们的话,要告诉妈妈和爸爸;随着我们长大成人,我们开始携带胡椒喷雾和防强奸哨子等武器、以及各种吩咐出门,包括总要带够乘出租车的钱,不要在酒吧里不留意地随手放下我们的饮料,“不”的意思应该是不。

这是一种可以理解的冲动,有些建议也很不错。但是,女孩子没有学到的东西是,如何成为她们自己完美、强壮身躯的独自驾驭者——让她们对自己的身体感到快乐自如,而不是把自己的身体看成是由他人评估、渴望得到他人认可的对象;让她们对自己主动渴望的性爱有应得感,而不只是处于接受或拒绝男性追求的地位。当我们遭受虐待时,我们也没有完整表达愤怒或其他非女性情绪的许可。难怪我们试图找到礼貌的借口来躲避欺负我们的男人,而不是对这种行为报之以应得的愤怒。

此时此刻,意识到这些假设和偏见的存在,直接面对它们、而不是假装它们不存在,是向前迈进的最重要方式之一。在这方面,保守派男性的女儿们尤其处于劣势:四分之三的共和党男性说,性别歧视大都已成为过去。

这就是为什么,20年过去了,我仍感激父亲的坦率,尽管他的话不是说给我听的。首先,他大声说出自己的偏见,他认识到,尽管他有最好的出发点,但也许由于社会的影响,他还是不会用可能对待自己男孩子的方式来对待自己的女孩子;其次,他不仅为保护我们、或告诉我们要保护自己做出努力,也鼓励我们在这个世界上走得更远一点。

本文作者Jill Filipovic是时报观点作者,著有《H点:女权主义者对幸福的追求》(The H Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness)。

翻译:Cindy Hao

The Bad News on ‘Good’ Girls

At a backyard barbecue when I was about 10, my little sister and I overheard my dad talking to another father. “You know, I think if they were boys, I would probably let them play a little farther down the street,” my feminist-minded dad said, in a moment of father-bonding frankness. My sister and I were incensed, and when we got home, we let him have it — how dare he suggest he would treat us differently if we were boys?

Like many middle-class millennial daughters, my sister and I embodied a new model of the “good girl”: well-behaved, college-bound A students who played sports, had a full roster of extracurricular activities and were expected (by our parents and ourselves) to be moving toward successful careers.

What girls like us didn’t realize — what too often our own parents didn’t realize — is that the entrenched and often invisible gender biases of the adults around us would indelibly shape our paths and often set us on a different (harder, less fruitful) course than the boys in our orbit.

Girls today receive two conflicting messages: Be mighty and be good.

Now-pervasive “Girl power” messaging declares that girls can be anything they want. But in practice, the more subtle rewards for compliant behavior show girls that it pays to be sweet and passive. The sexual harassment revelations that have come to light over the past few months show just how dangerous this model can be.

Routinely, victims of harassment and assault didn’t challenge their abusers or immediately file complaints not just because they didn’t want to endanger their own careers (although there was that, too), but because women have been conditioned for acquiescence to authority and male power their whole lives.

Men, on the other hand, have been raised to embrace risk-taking and aggression. Girls are taught to protect themselves from predation, and they internalize the message that they are inherently vulnerable; boys move through the world not nearly as encumbered and certainly not seeing their own bodies as sources of weakness or objects for others’ desires.

While girls are being told to protect themselves, too many boys are growing into the men they need to be protected from.

This is not the world most parents want for their children. But ideas of how girls and boys (and men and women) should be run deep. Fathers today largely say that they want their daughters to be intelligent, independent and strong, but many men also seem to prefer sons. Although they may not mean to, parents and other adults do treat girls differently from boys — often to the long-term detriment of daughters.

Girls are more likely to be praised for being good, while boys are commended for making an effort. Being a “good girl” today means sitting quietly at school, following instructions, completing tasks and getting good grades. At that, girls have largely succeeded, which accounts for much of the gender achievement gap in education — if a decade-long pattern holds, more young women than young men will walk out the doors of their college in the spring with a degree in hand.

Girls are also generally raised to be more emotionally intelligent and verbal than boys. Dads sing to daughters more than sons, and the language they use with their girls is more analytical and emotive, something researchers suspect contributes to girls’ higher achievement in school. With boys, dads are more physical, and more likely to roughhouse. And at the toy store, girls are still tracked toward the “pink aisle” of baby and princess dolls suited for quiet, care-taking play.

This good behavior gives girls an advantage inside the classroom, but it can cost them outside of it later on, especially in high-earning fields like technology that value assertiveness and creativity and entrepreneurial roles that reward risk-taking. Biology certainly plays a role in development and may also influence gendered preferences, but we are fundamentally social creatures who form identities in relation to our families and communities; whatever natural differences do exist are magnified, and often totally invented, by how we’re nurtured.

While girls are being taught to be emotionally competent, they also learn to be responsive to the needs of others — not a bad thing in theory, except that it can cross over into subservience. When boys aren’t learning the same, it’s adult women who end up serving as caretakers for adult men, both in their homes and in their workplaces.

In the workplace, being seen as helpers rather than bosses undercuts women and their perceived competence. These gendered expectations cut the other way as well: Women who refuse to take on the helper role are seen as difficult, which also impedes their success.

And then, of course, there is the harassment too many women endure at work, a dynamic largely driven by male power and entitlement, and enabled by expectations of female obedience.

So what are parents to do if they want to raise both their sons and their daughters to avoid, or dismantle, these traps? Raising children without gendered roles and expectations seems to serve those children well, but that’s tough to do outside of Sweden — in an age of “gender reveal parties” and the princessification of American girlhood, asking a sales clerk for help buying a baby shower gift brings the automatic response, “For a boy or a girl?”

One place to start is looking within. Many parents say they want their sons and daughters to be treated as equals in and outside of the home, but their actions don’t seem to match their words. In more than a quarter of American families, the mother is the full-time caregiver for the children; the husbands in these families are less likely to promote female co-workers, and when the sons of stay-at-home moms grow up, they’re less likely to pitch in around their own homes. Young men seem to have gotten the message: Nearly half of them think it’s better if men are breadwinners and women stay home.

When children see the men around them in positions of power in the office and relaxing at home while the women are packing lunches, planning birthday parties and scheduling appointments, they internalize the message that men lead and women help. According to one study, nearly a quarter of teenage girls and 40 percent of teenage boys said men make better political leaders than women; just 8 percent of girls and 4 percent of boys said women are better leaders. But both boys and girls preferred women in traditional female roles, such as caring for children.

What could make a big difference is raising boys more like our girls — fostering kindness and caretaking, not just by telling them to respect women, but by modeling egalitarianism and male affection and emotional aptitude at home. While parents and other adults teach girls to protect themselves against the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, that doesn’t do much to stem the tide of Weinsteins. Raising our boys differently would.

Parents should also shift the ways they teach girls to protect themselves. When we’re young, many of us were told to tell Mom and Dad if anyone ever touched us in a way that felt icky; as we grow up, we are armed with pepper spray and rape whistles, with instructions to always carry cab fare, not leave our drinks unattended at a bar, that no should mean no.

This is an understandable impulse, and some of the advice is good. But what girls don’t learn is how to be the solo aviators of their own perfect, powerful bodies — to happily inhabit their own skin instead of seeing their physical selves as objects to be assessed and hopefully affirmed by others; to feel entitled to sex they actively desire themselves, instead of positioned to either accept or reject men’s advances. Nor are we allowed full expressions of rage or other unfeminine emotions when we are mistreated. No wonder we try to politely excuse ourselves from predatory men instead of responding with the ire that predation merits.

One of the most important ways to move forward at this moment is to simply be aware that these assumptions and prejudices exist, and to deal with them head-on instead of pretending they aren’t there. Here, daughters of conservative men are at a particular disadvantage: Three-quarters of Republican men say that sexism is mostly a thing of the past.

Which is why, 20 years later, I appreciate my father’s candor, even if it wasn’t meant for my ears. First, he named his own bias out loud, recognizing that despite his best intentions, he was perhaps predisposed to treat his girls differently from how he would have treated boys. And then he worked not just to protect us, or tell us to protect ourselves, but to push us to walk a little farther out in the world.

Jill Filipovic is the author of “The H Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness” and a contributing opinion writer.