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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1389593/Kathy-Witterick-David-Stocker-raising-genderless-baby.html

Apologies if this ahs already been posted, I couldn’t see that it had!  Also apologies it’s from the mail, lol!  When I first saw a thread on another forum about this I thought it was about a baby born with ambigous genitalia and they were just leaving the child until they were older to make his/her mind up as they wished but to raise a child that HAS obvious gender one way or the other in this way is awful..  I’m all for complete freedom of expression and wouldn’t willingly deny either the girls or little squish (when he’s born!) something based soley on gender stereotypes but to take it to this extreme is very outside my comfort zone!

The thing about choice too - it’s like when someone says I’m not having my child baptised as I’m leaving it for them to make their own choice, you’re still making ~A~ choice for them though by leaving them and therefore they’re still making a choice on gender for this child - albeit a completely new category!

I think it’s really unfair on the two other children as well to ask them not to tell others their gender - it’s information which is normally so freely shared that to ask them to hide it, they’re kids for goodness sake not mini adults so don’t expect them to take on keeping something like that secret when it’s normally something that they would never have had to keep secret anyway and will leave them with a wholly distorted view on gender and normality!

What are your thoughts on it?

GP LETS member #130

DD1 May 08, DD2 April 10, DS born on our 4th wedding anniversary, 07-07-11!

“YOU’LL NEVER KNOW HOW STRONG YOU ARE,... UNTIL BEING STRONG IS THE ONLY CHOICE YOU HAVE”

http://ayearofmeals.wordpress.com/ I’m blogging my meals for a year!

Yes, there has been quite a long thread on it - I started it in the parenting section - just cal;led “gender”. I think the original article was in the Canadian press, so that’s my link - but it’s the same family.

Angie

http://www.etsy.com/shop/WashedUpFamily Sea Glass Jewellery from the beautiful South Coast[/color]

http://washedupfamily.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.etsy.com/shop/NannieCool , http://nanniecool.yolasite.com Nannie Cool - for beautiful slings, playsilks, toys, nappy wraps and accessories made by Grace’s Nannie. All designs are “Approved by Grace”

http://bournemouthattachmentparents.blogspot.com/

Apologies for cross threading!  Will go and have a look for it!

GP LETS member #130

DD1 May 08, DD2 April 10, DS born on our 4th wedding anniversary, 07-07-11!

“YOU’LL NEVER KNOW HOW STRONG YOU ARE,... UNTIL BEING STRONG IS THE ONLY CHOICE YOU HAVE”

http://ayearofmeals.wordpress.com/ I’m blogging my meals for a year!

I think it is unfair too. I don’t believe you should treat a boy all boy and a girl all girl if you know what I mean but I think you should be proud of what you are no matter what sex.

This has brought up a situation that happened just after christmas. J has been for the last 4 years meeting up every monday with the same group of friends, they just happened to be girls. I was invited out to the cinema with everyone and their little one as a treat, it was officially a ‘girls’ day out but as it was J he could go. I said that would be good, didn’t think any more of it, knew better than to mention it to J until I knew for definate that it was happening and then I received a text univiting me because J was a boy and not a girl. Hitting the roof might be an under statement. I felt j was penalised for being a boy and I was too for having a son. When the issue was raised again sometime after it was mentioned that J could go and watch the football with the boys, they just didn’t get it. The boys for a start, j doesn’t even play with.

Mmm that was a moan. A good night for it I think.

Oh such a typical daily mail article

I don’t think gender is as much of a big deal as most people seem to. I don’t think it tells us that much about a child. It only tells us a lot about how society will treat them.

there has been SO much research showing that adults treat even very small babies differently according to whether they believe them to be male or female. If you get right into it, the psychological evidence for significant male female differences is pretty limited. If you adjust experiments to take out the effects of social conditioning, men and women perform remarkably similarly. Only in the pop psychology that filters down to the general public is gender seen as such an enormous deal. I think there is a lot to be said for delaying the inevitable of people starting to condition yout baby to behave according to their gender.

I think the older kids will have a healthy disregard for gender boundaries as a result. Good for them for daring to be a bit different.

I love daily mail circular thinking here. These kids might be bullied because they aren’t stereotypical girls or boys. So, rather than say, the school needs to sort it out, they say, the child needs to change. A girl (a FOUR year old! ) who does not behave as a girl needs counselling. I love the idea that asking a child at 2 to keep a secret is “alarming”. (improbable, maybe, but “alarming”?)

(oh and lolol, they are COMMUNISTS! AND unschoolers! AND the woman has “close cropped hair”. Its like they’ve just gone through some sort of daily mail hit list. Next, I expect we will have gay people trying to become teachers in an obvious attempt to lure children into a life of vegetarianism)

“I think it is unfair too. I don’t believe you should treat a boy all boy and a girl all girl if you know what I mean but I think you should be proud of what you are no matter what sex.”

this kid is being raised to be proud of who they are. the parents are just saying, their gender isn’t a hugely important thing about them We all choose different things to be important. I don’t raise my kids to be proud of being British because tbh I don’t see that as a crucial part of their identity.

Completely and utterly agree with Edith…I could have written your response.

I think the comments on the Mail website are just typical of the paper, ignorant. It is a massive corruption within society that we are so gender orientated.

I say more power to them!

While I agree that it is a pants DM article, I do think that this couple have the wrong end of the stick.

Basically, they seem to have confused sex (biological male or female) and gender (a social construct). It is the ‘gender’ stereotypes that are problematic in our society, the child’s sex is just a fact. I can see what they are trying to do and it is a great thing to try to give your child, but I just don’t think that hiding their sex will do it. I think that the things which give a child freedom from gender stereotypes are parental example and discussion when they do inevitably encounter stereotypes.

If their intent was to raise debate, they have done a bloody fantastic job!

Clarexxx

Hippy-anarchist-feminist-eco-crafty Mama of

Helena July 06
Felicity March 09
Miranda December 11

http://theanarchistmama.blogspot.co.uk

http://rosehowey.org.uk - home!

I actually think it is a great idea.  Although I wouldn’t do it.  Haven’t actually read the article but read an article about a year ago of a couple in Sweden doing the same thing.  Although parents might not gender stereotype, in everyday life children come across it all the time.  Isn’t she pretty, the nursery staff always comment on how lovely the girls clothes are, but don’t comment on boys clothes in the same way.  Girls are judged so often on how they look and not what they can do.  DD2 loves climbing, loves blue and goes through phases of saying she is a boy, I don’t blame her, I think the way people speak to girls is so much more patronising.  It starts so young .....

DD1 - Nov 04
DD2 - Aug 07

Is there a way of almagamating the two threads? People have started posting again on both, and it seems a shame for all voices not to be heard on the same thread! smile

Angie

http://www.etsy.com/shop/WashedUpFamily Sea Glass Jewellery from the beautiful South Coast[/color]

http://washedupfamily.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.etsy.com/shop/NannieCool , http://nanniecool.yolasite.com Nannie Cool - for beautiful slings, playsilks, toys, nappy wraps and accessories made by Grace’s Nannie. All designs are “Approved by Grace”

http://bournemouthattachmentparents.blogspot.com/

I’ve not posted on this yet because I go round in circles with it in my head. Basiically, I think tjheir principles are right but they’ve taken it too far to the extreme.

The way I understand it, your ‘sex’ is whether you’ve been born as xx or xy and with the associated genitalia to match. You can’t choose your sex like, say, you can’t choose to be a red head or have brown eyes. Your ‘gender’ on the other hand is used to describe the way you define yourself according to cultural and social behaviour codes and ‘norms’ .( Am I getting it so far?)

So, this couple are saying that they feel that in our society as it is, if they reveal the sex of the baby the child will automatically have gender assigned to the sex and therefore will lose his or her free will to choose before he/she even realise he has it. I actually think they have a valid point there!

I’d say 3/4 of our baby clothes are neutral enough to not give away sex and over the years with all of them as babes in arms I’ve been asked whether they’re a boy or a girl and occasionally with each I’ve lied for a laugh…the reaction my child gets seems to vary hugely depending on whether they are perceived to be male or female. When someone thinks one of my babies are female they generally tell them they are pretty, beautiful etc. They look them in the eyes and perhaps caress their face or hand. If they think they are male the comments I hear most often seems to be approval of their size. The strangers tend to engage directly much less with a ‘male’ child and if there is any touch it’s more likely to be a playful tickle than a caress. So, I think that sex does cause reactions in others that could influence gender.

  Would I raise my child ‘sexless’ though? No I really don’t think I would. I agree with these parents that if you really want to find out who someone is then you don’t simply look between their legs. The thing is, there are thousands of people all over the world now who want to look between tthis childs legs .... Surely they are highlighting the one thing they wish to minimise? We announce we’ve had a boy/girl we then go out of our way to get to know that child and support them through whatever gender exploration they go through. Right now I am off to ice pink cupcakes with even pinker icing (Mo is 3 on friday) because in the last 6 months my previously ‘genderless’ daughter has decided that she would like to be traditionally ‘girly’. I’ve no idea whether she has pcked this up from our culture or not but I trust in her strength and believe that she will probably go through several different gender identitised before she finally settles on the one she feels is right for her. A bit like dressing up I guess, trying stuff on to see how each fits? I’m happy to support each because I’m happy with each outcome providing they are .

I guess I think gender is something that should develop without too much comment or swaying from adults and this kids going to have lots of people second guessing any identity he/she shows and that could have just as much(if not more) effect on her as the odd random granny in the street.

SO, yeah, lots of contradictions there but those are some of my thoughts on it.

“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead; tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
~~~Groucho Marx~~~~~

X posted you Frowsty. I think we have similar ideas though…

“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead; tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
~~~Groucho Marx~~~~~

I think that this is rather unfair.  The parents said that they think it is obnoxious that parents make choices for their children, but they have made a very radical choice for theirs.  And not telling relatives?

Muslim mum of four, home educating, environmental hypocrite (but doing my best) hodge podging through this life…..

Well, it’s a “choice” I make for my child every day - witholding personal information about her until she is able to decide for herself whether she wishes to share it. Why is it anyone’s else’s business what is in this child’s pants?

There seems to be some kind of outrage among the friends and relations here, but I just don’t understand why they feel it is their “right” to know.

I wouldn’t go as far as this family with our next child, (mostly because I am happy for any of our friends and relations to change nappies!), but when random strangers in the street ask me the sex, I think I am just going to smile sweetly and say “it’s a baby”. Not their business!

Oh, an just as a point of clarification, the OP said that the baby had an obvious gender - not true. The baby has obvious *sex organs* - NOT an obvious gender - far more makes up gender than genitailia.

Angie

http://www.etsy.com/shop/WashedUpFamily Sea Glass Jewellery from the beautiful South Coast[/color]

http://washedupfamily.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.etsy.com/shop/NannieCool , http://nanniecool.yolasite.com Nannie Cool - for beautiful slings, playsilks, toys, nappy wraps and accessories made by Grace’s Nannie. All designs are “Approved by Grace”

http://bournemouthattachmentparents.blogspot.com/

Basically, they seem to have confused sex (biological male or female) and gender (a social construct). It is the ‘gender’ stereotypes that are problematic in our society, the child’s sex is just a fact. I can see what they are trying to do and it is a great thing to try to give your child, but I just don’t think that hiding their sex will do it. I think that the things which give a child freedom from gender stereotypes are parental example and discussion when they do inevitably encounter stereotypes.

Overall, I think I agree with Clare. I get what the parents are doing though, and I certainly sympathise, I think its a brave choice & I think good for them. Unfortunately I think it could backfire & make the childs gender more of an issue, not less. I do agree with Angie though, that a childs sex is really no-one elses business.

I do feel sometimes that parents who purposely dress their under 2 year old boy in dresses & long hair, are trying to make a point. I think putting your child in genderless clothes is one thing but obviously dressing them as the opposite sex & saying its their choice when clearly the child is too young to have really made that choice, is using them as a vehicle to make a point.

It does drive me mad though, the comments Ive heard from friends and family about how boys and girls should be raised. One friend in particular with just boys told me that my DD wont want to run around in the woods getting muddy for much longer because little girls dont enjoy that kind of thing. People say stuff like that in ear shot of my two all the time, but as long as Im there to counteract this nonsense, then hopefully my children will grow up knowing that their sex should not prevent them being the individuals they are.

A really interesting debate, thanks.

To dare is to lose ones footing temporarily, to not dare is to lose oneself.

LETS number 137

https://wildheartseducation.wordpress.com/

Hmm, well, I haven’t cut Grace’s hair yet (2.5)  so I would see no reason to cut a boy’s hair unless it was bothering them, and while it may be considered controversial, I would put a boy in a dress while they are learning to toilet themselves. I’ve had a child who wanted to use the potty independently, and wearing dresses with no pants facilitated that until she was able to take trousers down. I see no reason to hamper a boy’s progress by making him wear trousers when a dress would be easier. It’s a fairly modern invention anyway that kids should be wearing specific gender clothes so young - within the last 150 years boys would not have been “breeched” until they were six or seven - so dresses for all kids until then.

Angie

http://www.etsy.com/shop/WashedUpFamily Sea Glass Jewellery from the beautiful South Coast[/color]

http://washedupfamily.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.etsy.com/shop/NannieCool , http://nanniecool.yolasite.com Nannie Cool - for beautiful slings, playsilks, toys, nappy wraps and accessories made by Grace’s Nannie. All designs are “Approved by Grace”

http://bournemouthattachmentparents.blogspot.com/

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