Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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Ready for the Genderless Baby?

By now you may have heard about the Toronto parents who are raising a “genderless” baby, unwilling to divulge if their third child is a boy or a girl.

“We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place? …).”  From The Star

Their other two children, boys, are welcome to dress how they like (dresses are fine) can choose whether or not to cut their hair and how to wear it, paint their nails, or wear jewelry. My heart broke a little when the story covered how their oldest son is anxious that people identify him as a boy even though he selects more stereotypically girl-ish things.

If you’ve been reading Today’s Mama recently you’d know that I’ve been asking questions about gender stereotypes and society’s preoccupation with them for the past couple months. It’s in part because I’m expecting my first girl, after two boys, and also because I’m honestly interested in the way that certain things seem to be so rigidly gender-based (to the extent that I can’t find anything for my girl’s nursery that isn’t PINK.)

I understand the drive behind wanting a more gender-neutral childhood for your kids: girls should play with Legos; we should stop berating boys for expressing emotion; who cares if your son is in a pink shirt and your daughter sports navy and sneakers? Nail polish won’t make your son gay. It seems to me, somehow, that this couple’s dogmatic approach is beyond embracing neutrality and borders on fanatic–a sort of hyper-consciousness that is just as contrived as the societal mores they’re kicking against.

Because here’s the thing: your baby IS a boy or a girl.

Biology determines the sex of your child. There’s been so much talk about gender-identity, gender-hybrids, and  transgendered individuals, that it seems much more common than it actually is. The vast majority of children will identify themselves as a girl or a boy, regardless of what kinds of social experiments and gender-ideas nuanced adults have about it.

I really don’t think making a gender-less world means we’re progressing. Removing gender doesn’t remove oppression or automatically prevent prejudice. We can’t get away from biological differences, even if we really, really want to.

Then again, when I asked my 3-year-old son if the baby in my tummy was a girl or a boy, he looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “It’s a BABY.”

What do you think?

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Comments (12)

  1. Pingback: Raising Boys to Be Men « « TodaysMama TodaysMama

  2. me 05/31/2011 at 9:55 pm

    Well to anyone who acknowledges God, this is a slap in the Creator’s face!!! They better be prepared to answer for thinking they know more than a supreme being or that they know better!!
    I really can’t believe that people can be so stupid!! Kids will obviously be very messed up when raised this way!!!!!
    Hmmmmm, makes me wonder how much respect they have for their child and the child’s ability to be able to function in society. They might as well just throw “it” to the wolves!!!

    This is so sad!!!!

  3. Heather 05/31/2011 at 9:36 pm

    I think it’s absurd we give it this much thought. Really?? Why can’t women learn and be taught to appreciate their femininity? We need to value it! And yes, totally agree boys need to be more ok with expressing emotion but come on people, it’s not rocket science. You’re a boy or a girl and shouldn’t we just be guiding our children to appreciate their god given makeup?

  4. Kjersten 05/31/2011 at 9:11 pm

    This disturb’s me. I strongly dislike adults using children for any political statements (just as I hate movies with a political lean). I am generally quite liberal in my views but this crosses my comfort line.
    There are beautiful and lovely things about being a boy. Magical and wonderful things about being a girl.
    We want our children to be happy in their gender, celebrate life, be creative, and explore self expression. I feel these parents are forcing their child to hide their wonderful beauty…and such a darling child who is being effected!

  5. Anastasia B 05/31/2011 at 3:14 pm

    I think that’s just plain silly. They have legitimate concerns, but I don’t think that’s the way to handle it. Anyhow, they are the parents and they can do what they wish. I have a different way of handling this. I personally despise the gender stereotypes in our society. If I had it my way, there would be a lot less pink in my two year old’s wardrobe (but we can’t afford all new clothing and she wears hand me downs). I don’t mind her reading and watching Cars, I just got her a wooden truck to play with because she was really fascinated with cars and trains. Yet, at the same time she is very girly and loves skirts and dresses. I just hate the way everything in stores is either pink or blue, give me more choices! We generally avoid everything Disney and commercialized (Barbies, fairies, monsters, fictional characters) and prefer gender neutral wooden toys.

  6. Melissa 05/31/2011 at 1:04 pm

    The fact remains that this baby (barring any extremely unusual medical circumstances) is either a boy OR a girl. Whether your boy wants to play with dolls or your girl wants to climb trees really makes no difference. Who cares what they choose to play with or how they dress? But biologically, there ARE differences between the sexes. What about when the child starts school? Which bathroom will he or she be told to use? I mean, they don’t have an “it” bathroom! It is sad the extent that people make fun of boys that dress/act “feminine” and vice versa, but do these parents feel that such bullying will not happen to this child by not revealing whether he or she is a boy or girl? Of course it will, and probably to a much greater extent, given that the parents are bringing the media into it! I, too, want fair rights for each gender, but that does not always mean equal. There are 2 sexes in this world. They are not made the same. Unless this child chooses to go through years of artificial hormones and 1 or more operations, he or she is going to live with what he or she was born with. How you choose to live is, by all means, your decision, but what parts you are born with is not a choice. As a parent, I would think you would want to raise your child to be happy about who they are, both physically and emotionally, not teach them to hide who they are.

  7. Amanda Armstrong - Sitter Pals 05/31/2011 at 12:34 pm

    What does it say to that child that the parents do not want to be proud of who they are completely – gender included?

    I understand not going overboard in one direction or the other (pushing or completely denying gender based activities or clothing), but common sense should dictate what is appropriate for childhood development.

  8. Megan 05/27/2011 at 8:48 pm

    The parents are doing absolutely the right thing by not forcing and not allowing others to force gender stereotypes on their baby. They learned via the experience of their older transgender child who had trauma from gender dysphoria. When a baby is known to the common people (relatives, friends, neighbors, etc) as a male infant, the common people begin to treat the infant a certain way. That works out great for most kids, but for some transgender kids, it is a horrifying ordeal. Parents do not know if their newborn baby is transgender. So they are not forcing a gender on their baby. That is absolutely right.

    What is wrong is telling a reporter about this. Why should the rest of the world know about this? This makes it worse for the baby they are trying to protect. If you do not want to tell the gender of your baby, all power to you and I support you too. However, if you want to publicize this, you are only attracting more scrutiny which defeats the purpose completely.

    And to to Olga who posted here … First, there is no such thing as God. Second, the world is not coming to an end, at least not on May 21 or November 21. Third, the older generations have been brainwashed with worse things. If you do not recognize the extent of dogma, propaganda, marketing and public relations which influence your life today, you are still brainwashed. Fourth, ridiculous, not radiculas. Fifth, why don’t you tell us more about how you raise your kids, then we can judge your methods. And when we judge you, you are not going to like our judgment. I think it is in a parable in one of the God’s books that you should treat others the way you want to be treated. Let us treat people different from us with more kindness. Finally, let us wait and watch before passing judgment on this family’s technique. Perhaps their baby might turn out to be way more successful in life than you or I or any of us have ever been. You don’t want to look sheepish then, do you? So let us wait and watch for the results before jumping to conclusions about their parenting techniques.

  9. Queen Scarlett 05/25/2011 at 10:28 am

    Bravo! Have you read “Why Gender Matters” by Leonard Sax? It’s fascinating.

  10. olga kruz 05/25/2011 at 10:12 am

    This is beyond ridiculous!!!. Those Canadian parents are trying to seek attention and media and decided to do it in the most stupid way they possible could. At the end their kids are the once that’s are gonna be hear the most. My heart goes out to those kids.
    Growing up I had an older brother, and we would always play together. Dolls, cars, legos, dress ups….. you name it. None of it meant that he is a girl or I am a boy in any way. Kids are kids. You cannot look at the boy child who could have a phase in this life where he wants to play with dolls and say that he is a girl. Boys become into men who once become fathers and care for their children. If the girl has an interest in cars or legos. That does not mean that all of a sudden she is a boy. There are lots of females that are the best car racers out there. Or involved in architecture, or engineering or building. My husband is the best cook, yet that does not make him a female since cooking is for ladies.
    God and only God made us that way that we would have wisdom to anything. And it sad watching people that are trying to convert something some weard, screwed up way. Everything in a persons body, mind ans soul tells you that it radiculas, what’s going on in this world and yet people tend to talk about it as if its true and brainwash our youngest generation with this stuff.
    These kind of stories just remind me that, world is coming to an end.

  11. Erin 05/25/2011 at 9:26 am

    Well, first of all, I am not sure WHERE you are shopping… There is A LOT of pink for girls. But I live nowhere within a 5-hour radius (more, actually) of any major city of note, and had NO trouble whatsoever decorating my daughter’s nursery in a mainly genderless fashion.

    I also have to agree that it sounds like those parents are actually making the situation for their children worse, and more of a big deal. How horrible for their children to have to put up with pressure both outside the home, and in. And let’s face it, the only ones the gender-gap truly affects are females. We earn less, and still fight against subversive attitudes and religions. When we have children and work, many of us still come home and take care of the home, with little help from our partners.

    The way to solve this gap is not to try to force your child to subvert their gender, but to raise all children to be able to communicate their feelings, to be able to cook and clean, and to learn to be an equal partner in their relationships.

  12. Shannon O 05/25/2011 at 9:03 am

    When I was a little girl, my mom always cut my (and my two sister’s) hair REALLY short. I hated it when some older men would tease us and call us “little boys”. I loved to climb trees and play outside. I also loved to play with dolls. My parents didn’t encourage these things.

    I think all that these parents are doing is confusing their children. They are allowing their children to be subject to teasing and ridicule. I feel bad for them.