Posted in Weekly Reflections

Have you ever heard of the story about Baby X?

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Tuesday’s blackboard session with Audrey Watters took me back to my undergrad classes in Psychology. It seems like only a short time ago and yet it was more than 13 years ago. I became consciously aware of the many injustices in the world, that on a day to day basis, are rarely thought about.

Considering that I am in my 12th year of teaching, I have become so wrapped up in day to day teaching and day to day activities that these issues are rarely brought to my awareness. I appreciate this class for bringing about so much more awareness.

I respect and appreciate Audrey Watters for her work and the passion she shares with the public via the world wide web. She takes a risk and sets a great example for other woman to do the same. Considering Audrey Watters is well educated and has written 6 books and yet she still has to deal with death and rape threats and is harassed on a regular basis is hard to comprehend. If Audrey Watters can put herself out there then I can certainly try to do the same.

When I saw the video about celebrities reading mean posts on twitter, shared by Jeremy Black I feel a sense of compassion for them. I have read a few Instagram comments but many of them are so disrespectful and awful that I avoid them. Just like most celebrities try to do (I imagine) but it would be hard. A lot of the celebrities in the video laughed them off but I am pretty sure a lot of those tweets would ‘sting’ a bit!

The article Ryan Hicks posted about Barbie was another eye opener. It started off positive and then in no time, it became stereotypical of women having to ask for help. I found a recent article showing a new Barbie doll with acne, scars, average figure, tattoos, cellulite, etc. which I found interesting and I thought would be a great example to have a discussion about with a classroom of kids. It would be interesting to hear what their interpretation would be. Here are the observations of a grade 2 class comparing 2 barbie dolls.

After taking a number of Psychology and Sociology classes for my undergrad BA degree, I have always understood gender differences to stem from birth and even before the baby is born. I will always remember the story of baby X. Basically, it is about a child who was raised as both a boy and a girl to prevent gender biases and stereotypes. Here is an example from the article. It is a very interesting read;

“Ms. and Mr. Jones had to be Xtra careful. If they kept bouncing it up in the air and saying how strong and active it was, they’d be treating it more like a boy than an X. But if all they did was cuddle it and kiss it and tell it how sweet and dainty it was, they’d be treating it more like a girl than an X (Gould, 1978).”

This article really struck a chord with me back in 2000 because I still think of it today. Gender roles are part of our culture, society and everyday conversation. I like how the article really points out so many examples of how everyday conversations, questions, and controversies are focused on these roles.

The question still is, how do we go about making a positive change? It makes complete sense that if these gender roles are still very set in our society as a whole (at such a young age), it is not hard to imagine that so many people are being verbally abused in the form of threats, verbal harassment, snide remarks, etc., all over the internet to this day. Mansplaining (to get us to cower, to hesitate, to doubt ourselves and our stories and our needs, to step back, to shut up) is a problem for women in the technology industry and it really isn’t surprising that the percentage of females working for Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter is 70% male.

As Audrey Watters wrote, we can’t keep quiet or allow this abuse to go on. I hope to support a positive change in the male domination in the technology industry by doing just that. To speak up more, share videos and/or articles through twitter and other social media. Up to this point, I do speak out (verbally) and share my opinions on these matters. I find that so many people remain silent and I don’t mind being the person to speak out. I have co-workers that ask me (or hint) that I should ask a controversial question or question what we may be told to do. Often times, I will  speak up.

On the other hand, I will back down or question myself when someone becomes heated and/or belligerent during a discussion. It is not because I feel that I am wrong, but I feel flustered and cannot find the words to get my point across. Next time this happens to me, I am going to think about the term mansplaining and I hope at the end of the conversation I feel a sense of pride rather than thinking about what I should have said.

I could probably go on and on. This is the type of topic that would bring about a great discussion.

What other ways can we speak out to bring change to the male domination in the technology industry?



My name is Jennifer and I am a Grade 4/5 teacher with the Regina Public School Board. I am taking my 8th class towards my Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction. EC&I 833 Foundations of Educational Technology: History, Theory, and Practice.

11 thoughts on “Have you ever heard of the story about Baby X?

  1. Great post. I’d never heard of Lois Gould’s book before! What a great example of gender identity, as well as perhaps a tongue in cheek way of pointing out that some actions (ex: active=boy) aren’t necessarily indicative of what we as a society prescribe to the sexes.


    1. Thank you for the comment! Yes, the article definitely stood out for me after all of these years. So, when I thought of it, I wanted to include it in my response. Such a good read and a reminder of the many ways we define gender roles.


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  2. Hi Jenifer, I’m touched by your post. You are a brave woman who can speak out to be against the dark side when challenging with the male’s domination. The session has passed one week, but I’m still stuck in the deep though about this. I even feel that I’M a little bit coward in life. I like the point and totally agree with you that “The question still is, how do we go about making a positive change? “. It is really a worth thinking and discussion question


    1. Thank you for the comment, I appreciate you saying I am brave. I guess I think of it as a feeling of being “fired up,” so I often feel compelled to comment about this type of topic. The majority of people likely do not think of gender roles the way it is described in the baby X story.


  3. I really liked your post! I remember the baby x story from my undergrad as well. It’s a good re-read to remind us of some of that gender. I had a conversation with a few people a couple months ago about boys playing with dolls. And one of the males in the group pointed out that dolls teach compassion and caring and why would we not want all members of society to have those characteristics. The Lammily doll video is great. I did a ratio lesson with high school students on both barbie/Ken and GI Joe and what they would look like when we blew them up. We measured ourselves and then shrunk down our sizes to see what a “real” doll would look like. The students loved it and the more we talked they more they really weren’t liking Barbie for all the things about her that aren’t to scale.


    1. Thanks for your comment! Yes, I agree with boys playing with dolls. It should definitely be a gender neutral toy. More and more men play a significant role in child rearing so I thing it’s important. That’s a great idea for a ratio lesson. I bet that was an eye opening lesson for your students and one they likely won’t forget any time soon.


      1. Yes they all seemed to really enjoy it as a lesson. Even things like the size of her feet blown up would be like a size 4.


  4. Wow! This is really well thought out. Were you expecting to be so taken by Audrey Watters presentation? She is very passionate about her work. Her knowledge is certainly thought provoking. The Baby X story I had to read twice… was distracted the first time and it went way over my head! hahah. Second time through made me think.. “What if (insert change for gender discrepancies) were not as common??”


    1. Thank you for your comment! No, I guess I wasn’t expecting to be taken so much by the presentation but I guess it is why I loved so many of the psychology and sociology classes that I in my undergrad degree. I often felt taken back by the stories I read about and the discussions we had in class. Good question! I’m sure we would see quite a different world out there for sure!


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