Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Genderless" Baby

I pointed at an article the other day and said "I like the parents already."  My readers disagreed.

If you haven't followed the link in the article to the original, please give it a read.  I'm slogging through the comments, but I'm not sure why.

I still like the idea of raising a child "genderless," but I also don't think such a thing is possible.  I think it's a recipe for crossdressing, at the very least.

The article says the older boy (5) likes pink clothes and has long hair even though neither parent wears pink nor has long hair.  The article makes the simplistic assumption that the child is going to imprint on a parent and follow that parent's lead.  Maybe that works for ducks.  We're a bit more complex.

Children are exposed to lots of people, in person and in the media.  Sexual preference manifests at a very young age.  Separation of sex and gender is not something that occurs at a very young age.  So a young boy might see girls as attractive and want to imitate them (and vice-versa) but that's strongly discouraged, especially in boys.

Given the opportunity to imitate the object of his attraction, I can see why a child might be attracted to clothes and styles of the opposite sex.

Also, we've all noticed how much nicer girl's clothing is.  It's softer, has more variety, has brighter colours.  Caveat: I'm not sure how much of that is rationalising our love of female attire and how much is real.

I'm not sure how this will play out.  The article assumes it will turn out badly ~ at one point the author writes "When asked what psychological harm, if any, could come from keeping the sex of a child secret...."  No reference to possible good.

I worry a bit about naming a child Storm (or Track and Trig?  Or Moon Unit?  Or naming a boy Sue [really.  a renowned lawyer named Sue Hicks]).  Your name is kinda forever.

I wonder if Maria Montessori had a similar experience when she started her first school.

And I still like the parents.


  1. Johnny Cash is a guilty pleasure of mine. I had absolutely no idea that there was an semi-inspiration behind that song. Thanks for the info. :) Women's clothing may offer more possibilities, but dollar for dollar, the clothing is not as well made. I'm not sure nicer applies.

    The problem I have with the situation is moral. Children should not be used as social experiments. You raise them the best you can with assumed knowledge. If it turns out the child does not conform to its birth gender, then you adjust your parenting accordingly. Their intentions are probably honorable but seem terribly misguided to me.

    I agree completely with the rest of your analysis, though.

  2. I think the saddest thing herein is the child involved. list the child's gender as it's born. Problem no.1 is the schools aren't going start family rest rooms. Wait tell the child is old enough to decide "it" self. I do agree to atempt to stop telling child what girls or boys do or don't do (by gender). I really don't think that a five year old whom likes pink dresses is a (or should be ) female. could be "it's " going to be the next great fashion designer Unfortunately there is a possible that young minds can be molded and someone could be too influence the child possible the wrong way too!


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