Raising a Blended Family

Gendering our children?

on May 27, 2011

Have you all read the article, originally from the Toronto Star, about the parents who are keeping their child’s gender a secret???  If you haven’t, go here to read it- and then come back here to discuss it with me!!!  It’s very reminiscent of this story, which I read awhile ago as part of an intro to feminisms class in college- only that story is fiction, and this latest news story isn’t.

What do you think? Too extreme? Great way to give your child freedom to become who they are and not who mattel wants them to be?  I’m just curious to see other’s opinions might be on this subject.

For me, personally, I applaud the parents and what they are trying to accomplish, but also believe it can be accomplished in other ways.  I think it’s very brave of them to take a stand against all the gendering that goes on in today’s society, and if their particular form of doing that is leaving their child’s sex* a secret, then so be it.  Being completely honest though, I don’t think I could ever do that.  It would be too hard.

Something I am open to, and that my mother did with me, is trying to provide our future child with a balanced gender experience so that they can decide for themselves who they are and what they’re like.  For instance, in my childhood, every Christmas I got plenty of “girl” toys… dolls and the like (though never Barbies or make up), but for every “girl” toy I got I also got a “boy” toy or a “neutral” toy.  My mom would buy me things like Tonka Trucks, and Legos, and kid’s science books, and construction sets and dinosaurs.  She never gave me any idea that playing with these toys as a girl was anything out of the ordinary, and I think I grew up much less genderized or gender-conformative because of it.  Do I still like dresses and heels and shopping and other typical “girl” things? Yes, absolutely.  But I got to choose that I liked them, instead of having them chosen for me.  I got to choose to be a femme, instead of being thrown into the girly-girl roll. (Thanks mom).

When it comes down to it, I think that’s all these parents are trying to do, too.  They want to give their kid a choice in who they become.  So even if I question their method,  I think their aims should be applauded- and I wish more parents would think like them.  The end.

PS- 9DPO today, we’re gonna test again tomorrow! Wish us luck.

*I also think though that there could be all sorts of dialogue opened up here about sex and gender identity, but, frankly, it’s early in the morning and I am le tired.


3 responses to “Gendering our children?

  1. isa says:

    I read it a few days ago and have been thinking about it since. I guess my thought is that the idea is noble, but that it has the opposite effect than the parents intended on the way the world views the baby–all of the attention is focused squarely between that kid’s legs. Is it a boy? A girl? intersex? Are they hiding something? I feel like with the usual course of events you get some gendered stereotypes from total strangers, and then everyone moves on to the actual personality of the child. This way seems likely to stop that progression in its tracks while everyone tries to search for clues.

  2. zunzunbobo says:

    you want my real reaction?

    i think their dealings with their older two children, who are gender non-conforming, are totally great. they’re clearly very supportive and let their children make a lot of decisions, etc. wearing what they want, liking the things they like.

    i find their decisions about the baby totally irritating. mostly because they’re making a big secret out of their baby’s parts, and really, who cares that much? it’s smug and narcissistic. and also because their logic is “parents make so many choices for their kids, it’s annoying.” as if the decision to have a secret sex *isn’t* a decision they’ve made for the baby, and like it doesn’t too have consequences (which they also can’t fully predict). and also that the baby’s genitals are the key.

    of course parents make decisions for their kids. infants can’t do it, that’s the rub of human development. get over it. making your kid into some kind of “genderless” spectacle doesn’t seem like the best decision to me. (seriously? the today show?) they seemed like they managed to raise two boys who have complex and individual ideas about gender without being weird and secretive about their parts. what was wrong with doing that a third time?

    also: if you want to raise children with complex and unique conceptions of gender, are you required to name them like they’re marvel comics characters?

    good luck testing tomorrow!

  3. I thought that the article was interesting but their interactions with everyone must be complicated. I mean, do they let anyone babysit the child? How are they planning to handle this in medical situations, etc, when asked to fill out forms? Not telling your family and friends is one thing but farther reaching, it could be a mess. I like the idea of unisex names and giving your child freedom to find themselves. Having a trans partner, it’s very important to us to not let our children get put into a gender box.
    What I don’t like -unschooling. I think it’s hard to teach responsibility, being punctual, and doing things that you might not want to do if you let the child decide everything for themselves. As adults we have to do things we don’t want all the time.

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