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Sexual Stereotypes

- Abstract

I UNDERSTAND that Dr. Benjamin Spock’s completely revised Baby and Child Care will, among other things, warn parents about the danger of sexual stereotyping. We went through three copies of the original Spock while raising our own brood. For me one of its most memorable passages had to do with bloody diarrhea, about which the author managed to be both comforting and tentative: perhaps the manifestation would clear up by the next diaper change, but perhaps too it was already time to call the pediatrician. I find it hard to imagine a Spock so revised that he will not manage to be tentative about sexual stereotyping as well, but it may be that the prevailing climate of opinion has been too much for him. Perhaps he has read Germaine Greer, whose inclination is not to be tentative about anything, least of all sexual stereotyping. Twenty years ago Spock readers confronted with bloody diarrhea in the middle of the night couldn’t have cared less about the dangers of sexual or any other kind of stereotyping. Will it now be the other way around?

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