Hannah Butt
Prof. Bowman
ECAE 3103
Reflection Paper

Before reading this article I thought Queer theory was about gay and lesbian identity, but I was wrong Queer theory is basically a new theory about gender. The article focuses on queer theory and gender equity in early childhood education. The authors review research regarding strategies to rethink gender in children, discussing the effect that feminist post-structuralist theories have had on gender identity. While queer theory indicates that heterosexual norms influence children's gender identities, some early childhood education teachers are incorporating the queer eye theory to change the way children understand gender identities in the classroom.
My feelings about Queer theory are, people have their own ideas of how children should act or behave. If a girl wants to play with cars and dress us like a boy that would generally raise suspicion. Also, if a boy wants to dress up as in girl clothes during dramatic play. I think people put too much attention towards stereotypical norms of gender roles and not enough attention towards individuality and self-expression. I believe that young children should explore different aspects of life without society pressuring them to do it a certain way based on gender.
So far in my experience I have seen one case where a teacher would not let a child dress up in a ballerina tutu because she felt it was inappropriate. Since I was just an observer I did not interfere, but is it really inappropriate for a four year old boy to want to wear a tutu during dramatic play? The point of dramatic play is for children to pretend to be someone or something by imitating actions they have witnessed others doing and it promotes the development of social skills through interactions with others. So for this teacher not letting the child wear a tutu she is already labeling him and enforcing upon him that boys cannot wear tutu's, that its only for girls. Children should be able to play freely with without being judged. They learn how to be boys and girls by watching the behavior of others, including the caregivers.
In the article it stated, "Gender is performed through the way we talk about ourselves as girls and boys or women and men, and by specific bodily practices and expressions and their repetitions". I agree with this because gender is learning through socialization, language and through play. Also Gender discourse is more than ideas and beliefs about what it means to be a female or a male. I know society believes that there are some things that are meant for girls and some things that are meant for boys, but that's because throughout the years we have labeled how a girl should act and how a boy should. Times have changed and you can't label some people as "normal" and others as "not normal" because what is normal in this culturally influenced society? Queer theory can help teachers to understand why stereotypical behaviors in young children is so persistent by seeing behavior that is perceives as unremarkable and normal in a different way. As a future educator I believe we should not separate children by gender and let them make their own decisions on how they want to express themselves.