Social Question

Aster's avatar

How do you feel about your boys or girls being called, "purple penguins?"?

Asked by Aster (19949points) October 11th, 2014

Someone in a school dreamed up the idea that children should not be gender specific. It’s simply not politically correct. So the kids will be called “purple penguins” and not “boys, girls or ladies and gentlemen.” They can decide how they will refer to their teacher like “the beached whale.” Is this a good idea and why or why not?

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47 Answers

ucme's avatar

Complete & utter fucking bullshit.
Stop the world, I wanna get off.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Was this thought of by an adult, or a kid?
I can see a kid coming up with it, but an adult, then I totally agree with ucme^^^

Aster's avatar

It was dreamed up by an adult. A teacher I think. I’ll google it.

ibstubro's avatar

I did not open the link because it was a link to a Faux Noows story.

I think the teacher is creative and well intended, and probably should be kept away from the kids. Probably suited to a career in government, law, or advertising.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Here is a more neutral article on it (a.k.a. not from Fox News). Nebraska school says don’t call students boys or girls to be ‘gender inclusive’

The intent is understandable. It’s about not limiting our language to just ‘male’ and ‘female’ terms, particularly when diving a class into two groups for activities. Using phrases, such as “boys and girls” subliminally teaches people that there are only two categories. The Lincoln, Nebraska school district is attempting to not do this in on school property.

The teachers are also tasked with intervening when they witness negative comments that are gender based and to use it as an educational opportunity. I don’t see anything wrong with any of this.

Unfortunately, the media is hung up on one made-up example of how to divide a classroom up by using a non-gender group name, such as Purple Penguins. The school district is not suggesting that this phrase be used to replace ‘he’, ‘she’, etc.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@ibstubro apparently you believe that if you open up anything Fox News your computer will blow up? <sigh> Perfect example of how the country is divided today.

ibstubro's avatar

No, @BeenThereSaidThat, I also avoid Huff and Puff, because I know that there is an inherent, acknowledged and intended bias.

Did you read @Pied_Pfeffer‘s post?

Aster's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer ” The school district is not suggesting that this phrase be used to replace ‘he’, ‘she’, etc.”
Are you sure about that?

ibstubro's avatar

News

Seems the superintendent of schools is fairly certain.

LOL at the fact that I won’t open a Faux Noos link makes me the schism.

ucme's avatar

I wonder if these kids also have to wear Raspberry Berets.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Aster I just read through several articles on this and feel pretty certain that I am correct. (That doesn’t mean that I am though.)

ibstubro's avatar

See my link, @Pied_Pfeffer. You are correct.

“It’s indeed regrettable that for the last week and a half we’ve had to dedicate as much staff time and resources to address an issue that is not founded in fact.”

“Never once has anyone inside our system mandated that a teacher take (the words) ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ or ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’ out of their interactions with children or interaction with adults. There’s no policy, there’s no procedure, there’s no changes being made to bathrooms in schools.”

Aster's avatar

A handout called “12 easy steps on the way to gender inclusiveness” advised teachers to avoid separating students by gender, but instead by birth dates or preferences. For example, they could ask students whether they prefer skateboards or bikes, milk or juice, dogs or cats, summer or winter.

“Always ask yourself, ‘Will this configuration create a gendered space?’” said Step 1 of the handout.

Or they could “Create classroom names and then ask all of the ‘purple
Penguins’ to meet at the rug,” the handout said.

Step 5: “When you find it necessary to reference gender, say ‘boy, girl, both or neither,” the handout said. “When asked why, use this as a teachable moment. Emphasize to students that your classroom recognizes and celebrates the gender diversity of all students.”

ibstubro's avatar

“It’s indeed regrettable that for the last week and a half we’ve had to dedicate as much staff time and resources to address an issue that is not founded in fact.”

“Never once has anyone inside our system mandated that a teacher take (the words) ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ or ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’ out of their interactions with children or interaction with adults. There’s no policy, there’s no procedure, there’s no changes being made to bathrooms in schools.”

@Aster

“_A handout called “12 easy steps on the way to gender inclusiveness” advised teachers to avoid separating students by gender, but instead by birth dates or preferences. For example, they could ask students whether they prefer skateboards or bikes, milk or juice, dogs or cats, summer or winter.”
THE HORROR!!
Let’s hope the ACLU will represent the lactose intolerant.!

Aster's avatar

I don’t think it’s horrific. It’s humorous, complex and stupid. “A handout called “12 easy steps on the way to gender inclusiveness” ADVISED teachers to avoid separating students by gender, but instead by birth dates or preferences. For example, they could ask students whether they prefer skateboards or bikes, milk or juice, dogs or cats, summer or winter.
What will a teacher say if she wants the boys to line up next to the girls’ line? “All purple penguins who like milk line up here and all purple penguins who like soda line up here.” I’m serious; just want to know what the orange mop will say to the boys and girls.

“Always ask yourself, ‘Will this configuration create a gendered space?’” said Step 1 of the handout.

Or they could “Create classroom names and then ask all of the *PURPLE
PENGUINS* to meet at the rug,” the handout said.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Aster, why would a teacher need to divide a class up by males and females?

muppetish's avatar

I can definitely understand the intention behind the measure, but I think using the marker “penguin” is incredibly silly. The children are children, not penguins. I don’t think the message about gender inclusivity will necessarily transfer to them. When I was a kid, I would have just seen it as a game—“At school we are penguins”—and little more.

However, I do think that teachers should be mindful about how they approach gendered language in the classroom. Their class is not comprised solely of boys and girls, but also of non-binary children, gender fluid children, transgender children (who may be struggling of their conception of what “boy” means and what “girl” means), and intersexual children whose gender identity and gender expression may be ambiguous and still in process as a result of their biology.

Restricting classroom discussion to only “boys and girls” and “ladies and gentleman” excludes those of us who may identify outside the binary.

Honestly, what’s so hard about just saying “okay kids!” or “okay children!” or “students in rows A and B, work on this project. Students in rows C and D work on this project.”

janbb's avatar

Love it but why“purple”?

(By the way, it sounds like a Faux News story to me.)

Aster's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer they may not do this anymore but when I was in elementary school the girls got in one line and the boys in another just to enter the school building! In junior high we had the girls versus the boys in volleyball. The boys won. We had all girls volleyball and all girls basketball games in gym. In Civil War days, the men got on one side of the room, the women on the other and they’d approach the opposite sex, one at a time, to dance. An example of this is in, “Gone With the Wind.” Of course, in church camp, we had the girls’ dorms and the boys’ dorms. In college we had the girl’s dorms and the boys’ dorms. Male fraternities and female sororities. Surely there must be more examples. The phrase, “boys versus girls!” doesn’t exist? It sounds very familiar to me. In our church in junior high only girls sang. We had the Jr Choir and the Senior Choir with no boys. And even they were separated.

muppetish's avatar

After reading the handout, I agree with every single thing on the list. Purple penguins isn’t meant to replace gender. It’s meant to foster community in the classroom without excluding transgender or non-binary students. I don’t see anything wrong with any of the requirements they have outlined and wish that the schools that I had attended had received the same training. I think it would have helped alleviate a lot of tension for my GSRM classmates and instructors.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@muppetish and @janbb It’s not about calling all of the students in the district ‘purple’ or ‘penguins’. That was just one example for dividing students up and by giving teams a non-gendered name. The ahem media is latching on and twisting it to sound ridiculous instead of checking the facts.

@Aster, I never said that ‘boys vs. girls’ has not nor does exist.

The point of this movement is to stop creating teams in a classroom where it isn’t necessary to do so. Remember when that volleyball team was divided by male vs. female and the guys won? Today, there is no difference in the volleyball rules by gender. Wouldn’t it have been more fair to mix up the teams? By the males winning, it stimulates a perceived notion that men are superior. This is what the school system is attempting to prevent.

Edit: @muppetish I just read your last post after writing this one. Thank you for reading the list and providing feedback.

muppetish's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I definitely see that now. The media tends to do that with issues like these in order to belittle and dismiss them.

This is an issue incredibly close to me. It’s difficult enough for me to foster gender inclusivity in my university classes. I am always in the position to decide whether or not to correct people about the gendered language that they assign me. If we start fostering awareness in children at a younger age, then it will save me a lot of trouble and heartache with my adult students.

Aster's avatar

” By the males winning, it stimulates a perceived notion that men are superior.”
We actually expected them to win but we didn’t think of them as superior. Maybe physically stronger, though, which was no surprise. We weren’t traumatized by that but they were strutting around smiling.
If I were a transgender kid I’d be thrilled to be called “girl” after extensive surgery and years of wanting to be a girl. I’d laugh at “penguin.”

muppetish's avatar

@Aster Not all transgender individuals will seek surgery. Most insurance companies won’t even cover it because it’s determined to be “cosmetic surgery.” Most transgender youth won’t have access to such measures even if they are out to their parents and relatively accepted by their peers.

One of the issues with gendered classrooms is that kids will not recognized a transgendered student by the gender that they identify. Transgender kids will often be bullied if they express their gender in a way that goes against their biological sex. They will often repress their feelings. The suicidal rates for transgender children is extremely high. If following a simple handout to foster gender inclusivity can help prevent transgendered youth from feeling alienated and sub-human, then why not incorporate it as part of standard classroom procedures?

ibstubro's avatar

Really, @Aster?

If I were a transgender kid I’d be thrilled to be called “girl” after extensive surgery and years of wanting to be a girl. I’d laugh at “penguin.

In Middle school?

This is about kids that are just beginning to develop sexually, and notice that there may be experiences other than their own. You’re creating your own reality, and then responding to it.

Much like Faux Noos, I might add.

Again.

Coloma's avatar

Oh jeez, more extremist lunatics. Stupid, every organism on the planet is either a male or female based on it’s reproductive role, no getting around this fact regardless of how clever and PC one wants to be. Deal with it, even Purple Penguins have penises. lol

dxs's avatar

I am so for children not being influenced by gender. Purple penguins? Perhaps not, but it’s the same idea.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Aster Here is what I take away from the volleyball example. The all-girls team (or you) weren’t surprised that the boys won, based on perceived strength. As a former volleyball player, it’s not about strength but about skill. The same is applicable to many other sports. Why shouldn’t people compete against each other based upon their skill and records versus by their gender?

majorrich's avatar

Yet they want to label boys as ADHD because they are kinesthetic where girls are more compliant. I think if I had a child of school age today, I would prefer to home-school. Purple Penguins indeed!

muppetish's avatar

@Coloma that’s simply not true. Limiting our understanding on human beings to “reproduction” doesn’t make any sense, especially considering that individuals can be and regularly are born sterile. Approximately 1/1000 1/100 (double-checked the statistic) babies born are intersexual (as in, not XX or XY and with ambiguous genitalia as a result.) All of this aside, biological sex and gender identify are not the same thin. We are not talking, necessarily, about sex in this conversation. We are discussing gender identify and gender expression.

Aster's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer “As a former volleyball player, it’s not about strength but about skill. The same is applicable to many other sports. Why shouldn’t people compete against each other based upon their skill and records versus by their gender?”
I have no problem with this view. I couldn’t figure out why Mike Tyson never took on a female in the ring. I bet many women have great boxing skills and should have boxed with Mike .
@Coloma would have looked good in the ring with him and made a great adversary. I would have tried out but was very busy raising two purple penguins.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I just got off the phone with my sister who is a 5th grade teacher in a Virginia public school. She wasn’t aware of Lincoln NE situation. When asked if she ever divides up her class into groups and if so, how she does it, she said that the selection is made by having them count off depending upon how many groups are needed. Occasionally, it is done by who works well together or by other factors. It is never done by a binary sex method.

I would like to think that most teachers don’t assign groups by boy/girl. This movement in Lincoln seems more like a safety net for bringing about awareness to those in a power position, meaning teachers.

ucme's avatar

http://youtu.be/WDswiT87oo8
^^ Its all just a blur :D

dxs's avatar

@Coloma The intent is to not box children into genders. Gender, not sex.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

This is how I feel about it. Boys and girls are different, and have different needs. It is harmful for healthy development to pretend otherwise.

Coloma's avatar

@muppetish
@dxs

I get it, and I agree, to a degree, but…I also think we are taking things to a ridiculous level these days. What can I say. Don’t shoot me. haha

longgone's avatar

This is not new. I was in first grade twenty years ago, and on my very first day of school, everyone received a badge with their name on it. The badges were either kite-shaped or star-shaped.

From then on, when our teacher wanted to separate the group, we were referred to as “kites” or “stars”. I can’t remember my group being divided gender-wise more than maybe half a dozen times…

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’ll ditto what @ucme said. Far out.

ibstubro's avatar

The “count off” method @Pied_Pfeffer describes is time honored. I can attest to at least 40 years of it’s use. You have to line the kids up against the wall, however, or when they hear how many groups there are to be, they’ll change places to be with their friends.

@longgone. GREAT ANSWER! What a great teacher you had. I think you should try to contact him with this information.

Aethelwine's avatar

The principal at the grade school that I attended for kindergarten called all of us his little Reeses peanut butter cups. We all felt special and no one felt left out. This was mid 70s.

longgone's avatar

@ibstubro Won’t be able to find her now, I fear – but yes, she did her job very well!

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