A Year 3 class are taught to be gender neutral in Can Our Kids Go Gender Free?
A classroom of seven-year-old children have been stripped of their gender for a new BBC experiment.
No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free? takes a look at a Year 3 class from Lanesend primary school in the Isle of Wight, and sees what happens when they become gender neutral for six weeks.
Presented by Doctor Javid Abdelmoneim, it’s shocking how children as young as seven have such polarising opinions about gender.
A handful of telling quotes from the kids include, “Men are better at being in charge”, “Boys are more successful, as they can have more harder jobs and earn more,” “Only boys can play football because they’re stronger and fitter,” and “Boys are cleverer than girls because they get into presidency more easily.”
And when it comes to opinions about girls? “Pretty, lipstick, dresses and love hearts.”
Dr Javid tests the children’s feelings about themselves, and shockingly, 50% of boys described themselves as “the best”, while just 10% of the girls chose the same thing, while one girl even described herself as “ugly”.
Upset after finding out Dr Javid sets out a series of interventions both in class and at home, to tackle these differences.
In the first episode, the results convince the kids’ teacher Mr Andre to eradicate from the classroom anything that reinforces the idea that boys and girls are fundamentally different; from the books they read, to the way he speaks to them.
The children also meet a group of professionals who challenge their ideas about what jobs men and women can do, and later take part in a game designed to test their strength and their expectations of what they can achieve.
Meanwhile, Doctor Javid observes what happens to a group of adults unknowingly playing with babies who have had their clothes swapped with the opposite gender.
And it’s incredibly telling, as the adults automatically choose soft toys for the babies they’re told are girls, and robots and cars for the ones they think are boys.
*No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free? is on BBC Two at 9pm on 16th August