Middle Sexes Video Review


Question 1

Barrie Thornes argues that like Westerners doing fieldwork incolonies in third World culture, or academic studying the urban poorwhen adults research about children ,they sit down, seeking tounderstand cross lines of differences and inequality. In other words,when social scientists go around the world studying differentcultures, they seem to be humbled about that society such that theresearcher is nervous about the particular culture they areinvestigating so they know very little about that culture thus, arenervous. It is difficult for us who research children to look at itin that same nervous way.

Question 2

Mid West America is really a difficult place for a child like Noah.There are many farmers you know hard working people that have alwaysgrown up knowing that a boy is a boy and a girl is a girl, and havestrong religious belief that Noah should not be like that because Goddid not make him that way. It is hard to make people understandNoah’s way of life

Question 3

Noah says he likes making stuff like ribbons and stuff like shirtsand skirts. Noah expresses how to tie a scarf around he says “Youput it like this then you twist it in the back pull on it like that,put it here and tie it. You are gonna keep on wrapping it arounduntil there is nothing left of it and you have got to tuck it in soit stays. Then you have a skirt.”

Question 4

There is nothing that Richard has not done for Noah. Noah has beenlike that since he was old enough to express himself. We have donemany things to try to steer him away from the way he is now. Nothinghas been encouraging. I think a child like Noah if you accept himunconditionally, you are teaching him love and support by his parentsno matter his difference from other boys. No matter if he isdifferent from the other boys all I do know is that he did notchoose to be like this.

Interviewer: Are you worried about this?

Richard: Yeah, I am worried about Noah. I did not want him to grow upyou know, be liking girls’ stuff or whatever thinking that he was agirl. Nobody wants his or her son to grow up like that. It would havebeen a sigh of relief if when his hormones kicked in he startedacting like the rest of the young men. That would be a relief to mebecause I know the main thing his life could be a lot easier.

Question 5

Thorne asserts that children’s imagination and physicality isinfluenced by the environment where they grow. Thorne studiedchildren and gender using ethnographic methods to show socialpresentation of boys and girls. Primarily, the study captured theenergetic and highly charged nature of a child’s cultural world.She observed that young women in a school set up emphasized onstyling specific versions of femininity. As such, these females wouldmold their physicality to display feminism. Thorne also observed thatpatterns of friendship, interaction, and children create meaning tothemselves and others. In her observations, girls are seen to cause anuisance by their counterparts whereby they refer to them as stains.When such ideologies occur even in play or any other activitiesinequality by gender, social class or race occurs. Moreover, otherqualities such as weight that may demoralize an individual may beinvolved. These instances can affect a child`s imagination, thusleading to low self-esteem.

Children socialization is often based on their gender andphysicality. As children develop, the tendency of interacting withtheir counterparts from the opposite gender reduces due to theperception that they are physically different. Developmental theoriesoften impose partial values and roles to young ones, which usuallyoveremphasize the constitution and unfolding of individuals as boysand girls. Children recreate gender interactions in their collectivepractices based on the activity at hand. However, most young peopletend to segregate activities and roles played depending on theirphysicality and gender. These organizational features are capable ofstrengthening inequality.

“When gender boundaries areactivated, the loose aggregation ‘boys and girls` consolidates into‘the boys` and ‘the girls` as separate and reified groups. In theprocess, categories of identity that on other occasions have minimalrelevance for interaction because of the basis of separatecollectivities… These stylized moments evoke recurring themes thatare deeply rooted in our cultural conceptions of gender, and theysuppress awareness of patterns that contradict and qualify them”(Thorne, 2013). Adultsplay an important role in setting up social spaces that childrenwatch as they characterize adults’ expectations. As such, youngones will only participate in activities that they deem appropriatebased on their cultural practices. The spaces adults create exertpressure on the children hence, influencing their characters.


Thorne, B. (2013). Gender play. New Brunswick, N.J.: RutgersUniversity Press.