Raising a Genderless Child? - Page 2
Old 05-25-2011, 03:20 PM   #21 (permalink)
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i should have said something more along these lines: the more we categorize, the more self-identification that deviates from the norm is considered to be 'wrong' or 'inappropriate'. i suppose it is the connection between self-identification and self-expression in the context of social norms that i wanted to highlight.

that broader range of possibilities is exactly what i was pointing to in the criticism of categorization .
Well, then we're on the same page. Less judgement is needed. That's why I fucking love those WWF clips...hahaha Macho Man was wearing pink. Awesome.
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Old 05-25-2011, 03:37 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I really just find this backwards, sure I understand not trying to force anything on the kid but because of prejudice & identities associated with each gender, but this is extreme. To me it would seem there would be more negatives come out of this than positives.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:37 PM   #23 (permalink)
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ok, i've read the article now and feel i can comment on the situation and not just in the abstract.

the more i think about this, the more i am supportive of what the parents are doing (around gender), although i guess it depends how long they plan to continue to hold the secret. the baby is very young still, and at an age when gender is pretty much irrelevant. it sounds like their kids have the opportunity to explore all kinds of things, and i don't have a problem with them choosing not to discuss gender. if they were compelling their kids to be either masculine or feminine, it would be a different story, but all they are doing is choosing not to tell people and not to make it a public definition of who their child is. i don't see how this could possibly be considered child abuse, for starters, or really wrong on any level. they are not neutering their child, just choosing not to give information. i don't see why people have the expectation that they deserve to know this in the first place.

i have strong disagreements with the way that they are home schooling their kids and the ways that their kids seem to be largely kept apart from other kids. that's a good way to make sure that your kids are not well adjusted. my experience is that most kids are pretty accepting of difference unless an adult or another older kid tells them that difference is wrong. by essentially hiding their kids away at home they are not allowing their kids to integrate under their own terms. this is troubling, although the article doesn't go into a lot of detail about that. given what i can understand from what is written, i have more concerns about sequestering kids from interaction with others than i do about not telling the gender of an infant. if, when the child is older, the parents are forbidding the kid to discuss gender, display gender, or tell people who they are then it becomes problematic. but that doesn't seem to be what they are aiming at in any way. they just want to keep it private and let the kid develop for the first year or two independent of social pressure around male and female. i don't see anything wrong with that.
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Old 05-25-2011, 05:33 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I can relate to some of the problems you had. In grade school, I lacked a bit of motivation, too. But I don't think school itself is necessarily the problem. I had some real dickhead teachers. A few of them were total assholes, although some were great, too. Learning to deal with that is part of life.

You're a bright guy. I think you're capable of home schooling your son, assuming you had the resources (time and money).

I'm not that familiar with the Montessori method. I might google that, later.
The problem I had was boredom and I'm hesitant to blame the teachers fully because the majority of my fellow students did well or well enough. I had a 60 average all through high school. You had the dickheads who were usually older and obviously sick and tired of their job. I think there was a big shift in the mid-90's as those older teachers went into retirement. I know my sister really liked a lot of her teachers but when I was in high school, we all hated a lot of ours and did our best to cause trouble. Not exactly the ideal learning environment. What happened to me was I came to despise school - sitting there for the day, listening, reading texts, taking tests. I didn't retain enough to do well because I was in another world. Every few months, I'd be called down to the 'guidance' office, which was a joke because they never understood what my problem was and, really, neither did I. All through high school, I had two teachers who were able to bring something out of me. One was an art teacher. He was absolutely brilliant in the way he taught and let us learn on our own. That didn't happen until grade 12 and I remember thinking at the time that if more of high school had been like that, apart from being an honours student, I'd be more motivated to learn. The next year, which was to be my last, I had an art teacher who, like all of them before, was an idiot who didn't know how to teach, didn't give a shit and was rarely in class. "Here's your assignment, see ya!" was how each class was started and we were left to do some stupid triptych. I was so angry that one day I went to the vice principal's office and dropped out, three credits shy. I'd just had it and was finished with the whole thing. Now, I still wanted to go to OCAD and went to their portfolio review, which caused a bit of a stir with the teachers there over a still life I'd done a couple years before. They kept asking me, "Do you know what you've done here?" and I didn't know and told them I was self taught and just did things the only way I knew how after studying Matisse and Cezanne. I'm not in any way trying to toot my own horn, but after telling me that I was the most mature artist they'd seen that week, they told me I'd never last at the school. "You really want to go here?" they asked over and over. I told them I did - that it'd been my dream for years. Still, they knew that I'd never learned how to learn and that the basic stuff I'd be taught in the first year, would make me tear my hair out. They were right and I lasted 2 months. I was the same student as I was in high school. Bored, skipping classes, not doing any homework. So I'm really resentful of the whole thing. Lots of people make it through and thrive and go on to great careers, but there are those of us who never ever felt a connection to any part of it, never wanted to learn what we were being taught - not so much because of what it was, but because of how it was being presented. I mean, I had a teacher once actually request testing to see if I had a mental disability and when on a evaluation form, it asked for his "evaluation of student" he wrote, "NOT a student". No one saw what was going on. Not the teachers, not the guidance counselors. Maybe things are different these days. I sure hope so.

And that's also why I'd be unable to home school my son. I mean, math? I haven't changed how I feel about even the thought of it. And I hope the Montessori school will at least give him a good start.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:21 PM   #25 (permalink)
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As far as pink goes - interestingly enough it was the color associated with boys, as the stronger color due to it being tied to red, and blue was the color for baby girls due to it's dainty nature. The colors changed, but note that the attitudes toward each gender did not so much.

What bugs me about how genders are defined is that the feminine is so often seen as something as a negative in that it is seen so much as mostly the absence of masculine characteristics. So I think trying to allow a child to define the masculine and feminine parts of its personality from something of a blank canvas is not a terrible aim, but I can't see how going to insane lengths to keep the kid in something of a bubble is entirely healthy for anyone.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:20 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I had a pink bedroom until I was 11.

However, my parents weren't trying any sort of cool experiment. It's was the colour of the room when they bought the house and they were just really lazy and them took them ten years to getting around to painting it.
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:13 PM   #27 (permalink)
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i'm becoming more and more fascinated by this. this is part of heather mallick's response from the same site. i think this is awesome:

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They are raising their three children to be intellectual adventurers (trips to Mexico and Cuba, a book-filled house, a backyard with raspberries and butterflies), happily different (Storm's brothers like pink clothes and unusual hair) and, well, free. They have the next 80 years to be obedient wage slaves and vote Conservative. Which they'll probably do when they rebel against their parents' tiresome freedom.

God, my parents are gorks, you can hear them say in 2021. Yes, and they loved you well, I shall say.

I would love to live next door to Kathy, David, Jazz, Storm and Kio. I live in an all-white neighbourhood where people openly make anti-Semitic remarks, pasta is considered foreign food and alcoholism soaks up the despair. Kids here follow the local rules.

Storm's family, happily breaking the local rules, would brighten my life.
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But I say they're starting out with a sturdy independence. Their parents aren't forcing them, they're giving them a choice. I suspect they'll choose the social norm, children being Nature's joiners. But perhaps not.

Incidentally, stop mocking the name Storm. I'd have loved to have been a Storm. I wish my sister and I were Thunder and Lightning. Instead we are Hazel and Heather and I'm sure our life paths were all the duller for it. I blame my parents. I hope Storm will thank Kathy and David.
Mallick: Parents of ?genderless? baby are giving their children headstart at independence - Parentcentral.ca
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:40 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Storm was also a character on the Bold and the Beautiful, originally played by John Wayne's son. It's all coming together for me now...
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:52 AM   #29 (permalink)
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My brother in law's middle name is Storm.

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just choosing not to give information. i don't see why people have the expectation that they deserve to know this in the first place.
It's drastic and silly. Respectfully tell your parents that you don't want your boy or girl to associate him/herself with Heman and sports or Barbie and ballet so please don't waste your money on such things. If we receive anything but bi-gender clothes or toys, they're going in our bonfire.

What kind of relationship do these people have with their own family that they choose to hide the sex of their own child.

And what lengths are they going to go to to hide the child's sex? I wouldn't be able to keep my child's sex a secret if I wanted to.

Last edited by bjjs; 05-26-2011 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 05-26-2011, 02:45 AM   #30 (permalink)
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i don't think they are choosing to hide the sex as much as they are protecting the flexibility of gender. because of the close relationship between the two, one becomes necessarily hidden to protect the other. and this is not permanent. but it is out of a desire to give the child an opportunity that they feel is robbed of most kids by the expectations that come with gender norms, so that doesn't seem like something i could pass of as silly. it has a lot more at stake than barbies and hemans, that's certain.

i am going to guess that the involvement of the grandparents in this family is different than it is in yours bjjs. maybe the grandparents don't live close or have anything to do with the family on a day to day basis. maybe the parents have a fraught and difficult relationship with their parents. maybe the grandparents have not been involved in raising the kids. who knows. and this leads to some of the questions i raised about the fact that their kids seem to be sequestered, to a certain degree. that part puzzles me and has its own problems. strictly speaking about gender, i can see what the parents are trying to do, and i can support that. but i do have a lot of hesitation about the engagement of the kids outside of the family dynamic.

but all of this is deeply personal. who am i or any one of us to judge how someone else raises their kids? everyone is their own kind of weird.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:43 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Gender awareness. By age 2 or 3, a child starts to develop a sense of being a male or female.
Understanding Early Sexual Development

It's impossible for it to be permanent, but it's definitely to early. They're going to hide this for three + years?
Sillyness.


I don't see how hiding the sex is going to change the way the child is going to associate certain activities with gender roles in two or three years. Her/his hidden sex at that point will become completely unrelated to what he associated as gender roles in his own home. If they're scared about what he/she sees in the outside world and plan on raising him in a bubble, that does more harm then good. And although I agree that isn't child abuse, I could see why some people might say it is.

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Old 05-26-2011, 10:57 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Understanding Early Sexual Development

It's impossible for it to be permanent, and it's definitely to early. They're going to hide this for three + years? They would have to hide it from the child him/herself to make sure the child doesn't blow the secret for everyone. My son isn't two and he knows what his penis is.

They're hiding the sex of a child from loved ones, and he is two years away from even comprehending gender. Sillyness.


I don't see how hiding the sex is goind to change the way the child is going to associate certain activities with gender roles in two or three years. "Protecting" this child from gender roles by raising him in a bubble will do more harm then good imo.
edit - i see that you made some edits before i posted my response, but i think most of what i have written still applies. the point for me is that they are not hiding this from storm, just from the 'public' and some extended family.

i agree that raising the child in a bubble would do harm, but i probably interperet that in a different way. storm is 4 months old, or so. i don't see why making storm's gender public knowledge does anything - good or harm. that will continue to be the case for at least another year, if not more. i don't know where you got the idea of 3+ years from. all they indicated, unless i missed something, is that they are keeping it a secret until storm is ready to let people know. that could be a month, or two, or ten, or more. it certainly doesn't guarantee 3 years +. and i acknowledged in an earlier post that my view depends on how long they would keep this a secret, and to what end and means that secret is kept when storm is older.

we don't know anything about what private discussions they will have with storm. all we know is that they aren't making it public. this is important, i think, if you are going to make the claim that they are hiding it from the child. storm isn't expected to keep it a secret. they have just stated that the family is not going to tell people on storm's behalf.

how do we know the grandparents are 'loved ones' in the way that you interperet that term? and why would the gender of the child impact, in any way, that love or that relationship? maybe the family dynamic is expressly why they want to make sure that gender does not get in the way. we have no idea what that dynamic is, so i see no reason that we should be passing judgement.

i see this approach to be significant, whether we agree or not. to determine from a few scant points made in an article or two (although the second just makes reference to the first) that this is merely 'silly' seems way off base to me. we don't really know much about it at all, and i wonder if this judgement as 'silly' is simply because it is different. i applaud difference, but i still have reservations about the approach to integration.

Last edited by 'trane; 05-26-2011 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:57 PM   #33 (permalink)
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You can encourage a kid to be themselves, and to be open-minded about gender roles, without this sort of extreme contrarianism. I have a hard time believing that every decision made by those older boys was free from parental influence (does a 4 or 5 year old come up with a name like "gender explorer" on his own?).

I also grew up listening to "Free To Be.... You And Me".... and my boys love hearing those stories and songs, but I see this decision this couple is making as little more than a social experiment, out of spite towards society.... and children should not be experimented on.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:01 PM   #34 (permalink)
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would raising them as catholic also be a social experiment? or is that free from parental influence as well?
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:05 PM   #35 (permalink)
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would raising them as catholic also be a social experiment? or is that free from parental influence as well?
Not really an experiment any more. I think that has been conducted enough times that we know the outcome.

I am all for letting children choose their own religion.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:08 PM   #36 (permalink)
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ok, but how do we ever establish that something is ok without giving it a try? isn't every child raised according to parental influence? is that not what it's all about?

i'd hate to think that only established and well-tested parenting models are socially acceptable, from this day forward.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:19 PM   #37 (permalink)
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also, i'm not sure what you mean by 'extreme contrarianism'. again, i think the issue of not making public a 4 month old child's gender is not extreme. this is really the only point i've been making. it's just a piece of missing info for people that aren't immediate family. there are questions about the older kids and about what they are learning in the 'unschool' environment, but that is quite separate from making the gender of an infant public knowledge. i don't think that specfic piece subjects the kid to anything.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:35 PM   #38 (permalink)
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isn't every child raised according to parental influence? is that not what it's all about?
yes, they are.... but my impression is that these parents are suggesting that they want Storm to make all choices for him/herself, without societal influence..... which is not possible.

i think that boys are boys and girls are girls and they will do want they want to do, regardless of any societal norms or pressures, assuming they are exposed to a wide variety of activities. witterick/stocker clearly disagree and are, in my opinion, out to prove a point. but like i said, i actually believe they are encouraging the kids to be as far from those societal norms as possible, rather than letting them decide. that's just a hunch, of course, as you'd have to be with them regularly to know for certain. but i'm willing to bet that those boys were never given the choice to play with trucks or hockey sticks or anything like that.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:46 PM   #39 (permalink)
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you may be right, and i agree that the seemingly enclosed nature of their upbringing and education may be problematic in exactly that regard. i just don't see how disclosing the gender of a 4 month old infant has anything to do with that.

i definitely don't think that boys are boys and girls are girls, though. and i also don't agree that kids will act in terms of what they want to do without any societal pressures if they have a wide range of activities. social pressures on kids, especially ones that are in school, are enormous.

i also wonder what anyone would say about this if the parents were trans.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:42 PM   #40 (permalink)
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What's the point in hiding the gender from family members again?

"Intellectual" mumbo jumbo.

Gender roles aren't recognized and don't impact children until atleast 2 years old.

They don't need to "make it public". But they are "hiding" it when they won't disclose the information to relations who should be close with the child.

If these relations aren't close with the child, then really that's what this story is all about, parents who don't trust their relatives to participate slightly in the raising of their child, and it really isn't that much of a story if that's the case.

If other relatives do want a relationship with the child then these parents are being quite selfish really.

And again, this is quite pointless with a newborn. All research shows that gender roles aren't recognized or impact a child's gender association until he's 2 years old. How can you protect him from something he can't understand.

From my own experience, this child, bearing any mental delays, will be able to communicate his own sex before understanding his own gender. So really, what's the point? In the end simply knowing the sex will be irrelevant to how the child associates with gender anyways he'll associate gender with what his precious little mind takes in.

Last edited by bjjs; 05-26-2011 at 09:46 PM.
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