Education: why stop asking kids if they have a lover?

It is a lie to say that we have never heard, or asked, this question. To our nephew, to the son of our best friend, in the little kept by our daughter. When children are old enough to talk and socialize with others, adults are quick to ask them if they have a lover or not.

In some cases, it’s perfect projection, a kind of imaginary relationship with another child placed between their legs. And while the reflex seems harmless, because it is formed with tenderness, it actually lays the foundations for hard – and later, destructive – gender stereotypes.

More and more, however, parents are trying to soothe this angry question, inspired and inspired by important feminist writings. Pihla Hintikka and Elisa Rigoulet are really the ones who work every day to deconstruct these little sentences that have more impact than you think. In their book 30 discussions for anti-sexist education (ed. Marabout), a collection of dialogues that provide keys to addressing various sexual prejudices in education when confronted with them, they appropriately evoke the theme of love that adults exhibit. to children.

For Terrafemina, they describe in more detail what is wrong with this phenomenon, and how it has contributed to the transmission and reinforcement of destructive hetero-normativity. And then, the two authors concluded with practical advice: how to respond when a third person asks our child if he or she has a lover. Maintenance.

Terrafemina: Where does this reflex come from to place the term “lover” in a relationship between two children? Why is it so common?

Pihla Hintikka and Elisa Rigoulet: This is a normal reflex that comes from adults. A projection we have of relationships between children. We planned our own relationships with them. This is from the parental norm and the couple norm. We always teach them that even in ourselves, like the idea of ​​gender, for example. The lover’s question is a sacred question that has entered the culture of the discussions we engage in with children as if we were asking them ‘do you like football?’ or ‘how is school today?’

Is friendship between little boys and little girls easier than this?

pH and RE: Obviously. This reflex meets the behavior of heterosexuality. We imposed this pattern and this model is unknown. We never talk about love between two little boys or two little girls. In this way, we forget to value the friendship between a woman and a man like the relationship of two women or two men.

Why would it hurt to ask a child if he or she has a lover?

pH and RE: It brings back adult issues to a child’s place. While she hasn’t asked for anything, she’s not old enough to understand what love is and she doesn’t know yet! It also unconsciously promotes sexist reflections as if women want to flirt and men want to flirt. It sexualize and gender affective relationships between children.

What were the effects of his life as a child, teenager, adult?

pH and RE: It builds in them and them the idea and rule of gender and hetero-normativity. And that imposes it like any sexist meditation. This is a trivialization of sexual and gendered roles. Children before the age of 7 often have not yet established their gender identity. There is no need to build this idea in them and them if they don’t talk about it. And when they talk about it, you have to explain to them that they have a choice and will not restrict their freedom.

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