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Swedish parents decide not to reveal 2-year-old's gender-Thoughts??

post #1 of 199
Thread Starter 
http://www.thelocal.se/20232/20090623/

(Excerpt)

A couple of Swedish parents have stirred up debate in the country by refusing to reveal whether their two-and-a-half-year-old child is a boy or a girl.

Pop’s parents [see footnote], both 24, made a decision when their baby was born to keep Pop’s sex a secret. Aside from a select few – those who have changed the child’s diaper – nobody knows Pop’s gender; if anyone enquires, Pop’s parents simply say they don’t disclose this information.

In an interview with newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in March, the parents were quoted saying their decision was rooted in the feminist philosophy that gender is a social construction.

“We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother said. “It's cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”
post #2 of 199
I think that is so cool. I totally agree that gender is a social construct, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that androgeny is healthier than leaning to either side.

But to start with one small child... well... that child is going to have an awfully rough time of it, I suspect. I hope they plan to homeschool. We're raised to believe gender is so critical to our identity that bucking the system is going to be difficult for that child unless they are given a ton of support.

Rather than force a single small child to lead this very-needed revolution, seems like it would be better to build a small androgenous community, where all sexes are unknown, and raise the child in that new culture. Otherwise I see decades of therapy for this child (in my crystal ball!). Not because the child was raised wrong but because the world is.
post #3 of 199
I agree to a point. I guess the day to day living stuff, the fact that we are so used to talking in terms of gender, is what keeps me from following a similar path.
post #4 of 199
My initial thought was that the child might have been born with a form of hermaphroditism (sp?) and perhaps they are trying to let the child determine her/his own sex.
post #5 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post
Rather than force a single small child to lead this very-needed revolution, seems like it would be better to build a small androgenous community, where all sexes are unknown, and raise the child in that new culture. Otherwise I see decades of therapy for this child (in my crystal ball!). Not because the child was raised wrong but because the world is.
:
post #6 of 199
I remember an essay like that from some feminist theory class I took. "Baby X" or something like that. When I read it, I remember being totally inspired and thinking it was a great idea.

Now though, as a mother, and being 15 years older, I have to totally disagree. I think this is just distracting from real feminism. Androgyny is just not workable, or preferable for most people. We are biologically programmed to have a gender, and it's gratifying to satisfy our gender expectations. I don't see how hiding one child's gender really contributes to less domestic violence, or more family leave time, or equal pay for equal work, or any of the very real issues that exist and need to be addressed by feminism. But maybe they're past all that in Sweden?
post #7 of 199
I don't agree that gender is COMPLETELY socially constructed. Yes there are a LOT of issues with gender stereotypes in today's society and we try to raise our ds as gender neutrally as possible in terms of letting him make decisions about what he wants to wear/play with etc. If he ever wanted us to call him she we'd be fine with it, etc. In fact, he's wearing pink nail polish today and he also likes to wear hair clips, but in clothing he usually chooses shirts with garbage trucks or dinosaurs.

The truth is that there (is evidence out there) that there ARE in fact several biological differences in males vs. females in all sort of ways. We are not born genderless just like we are not born race-less. Such as the way male's literally see and hear the world is different than females. I don't know that it is fair to the child in this situation...it seems like it would be very confusing and I think as the child gets older he/she is going to wonder why he/she isn't allowed to know/say what gender he/she is...

This "movement" reminds of the same group of people who say things like "race doesn't matter" instead of embracing and celebrating both similarities and differences.
post #8 of 199
Eh, the article says they'll let the LO decide when to reveal gender. My guess is that it will either never matter or the year from age 3 to 4 will be filled with telling every single person on the street about his or her genitals. "I have a penis like Daddy and I'm a boy!!!" as the case may be.
post #9 of 199
I love it. We are "kinda" doing that. Although we use mostly male pronouns, occansionaly we use "singular they." Ds wears both "girls" and "boys" clothes and engages in activities stereotypical of each gender. Ds has long hair and when people call him a girl or use she I rarely correct them unless it is someone i have to be around a lot and it will come up later. Ds' full name is gender neutral, which we did on purpose as to not force ds into a perscribed gender role. Ds' nickname is "boyish" but when someone thinks he's a girl I usually just use his full name instead.

People react to children differently based on their notions of the child's sex/gender. This way for ds and for Pop they get the best of both worlds, they get to be "pretty" and "strong" They are allowed to be "dainty" and "daring" and I think that's great.. I don't speak swedish so I don't know if there is a standard gender neutral singular pronoun, if there is that would make it easier for the parents and pop growing up.

Eventually Pop will choose what they want to be calledI think eventually Pop will choose their own gender identity which may or may not "match" their biological sex, and then go from there. They will have the benefit of a young childhood free from the restraints of typical gender stereotyping and be able to move forward with the feeling that they are free to be themself no mater who that is
post #10 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
My initial thought was that the child might have been born with a form of hermaphroditism (sp?) and perhaps they are trying to let the child determine her/his own sex.
btw the appropriate word is "intersexed"
post #11 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Eh, the article says they'll let the LO decide when to reveal gender. My guess is that it will either never matter or the year from age 3 to 4 will be filled with telling every single person on the street about his or her genitals. "I have a penis like Daddy and I'm a boy!!!" as the case may be.
Yeah my friend's son was pretty gender neutral (living in a household with queer and trans folks so it was the "norm") he never said he was a boy or a girl, and when other kids would ask him he would say "i'm just *name*" But once he started at his school at 3 he decided he was a "boy" His first reason was "I have to stand in the boy's line at school" and then later he said "no I just know I am a boy"

So I think Pop will be fine and will "come out" so to speak when they are a little older.
post #12 of 199
I think this child is going to have a very hard time growing up because of his/her parent's belief system. We are born a certain gender, and USUALLY we fulfill that role accordingly. Not just because of society, but because of instinct. I understand there are some people who feel out of place in their gender,but that's not the vast majority. I would hate for my child to be referred to as an "it".
post #13 of 199
That is interesting. I think that the idea behind it is great, to let the child decide for him/herself who he/she wants to be. I worry that society won't see it that way though. I hope for the best for the family though!
post #14 of 199
For some reason I can't quite articulate, it doesn't sit right with me.

I mean, let's say the family is out at a park. Someone asks them, "Is your child a boy or a girl?" They will then refuse to answer.

Why? Why is it so bad to allow people to know the gender of your child? I just don't see it as such a huge negative.

I DO like raising kids and allowing them to explore and be who they want to be. I do NOT like it when parents say, "No, dolls are for girls. You should play with trucks," to their little boys.

But I don't think there's anything wrong with allowing people to know the gender of your children. And I find it strange that people would refuse to share that information.
post #15 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post
People react to children differently based on their notions of the child's sex/gender. This way for ds and for Pop they get the best of both worlds, they get to be "pretty" and "strong" They are allowed to be "dainty" and "daring" and I think that's great.
Ideally, yes. But I can imagine lots of people in society leaning towards treating a child of unknown gender more like a boy than like a girl. Because it's okay to call a girl strong and daring, but it's not okay to call a boy pretty or dainty (), so they'd err on the side of the masculine. Hopefully not, but I can see it happening.
post #16 of 199
I think it'll be short lived at this point, but I see absolutely no reason why this would cause any problems for a child. When gender matters to Pop, Pop will reveal, and it'll be over.
post #17 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
I think it'll be short lived at this point, but I see absolutely no reason why this would cause any problems for a child. When gender matters to Pop, Pop will reveal, and it'll be over.
What Pop reveals may not be what the physical form is though, in which case it will start all over again.
post #18 of 199
That's fine, but I don't really get it. Every child I have know has shown very specific gender differences. Maybe I was only projecting because I knew if they were a boy or a girl, but I think it's inherent. You can be made to be more 'girly' or more 'manly' I suppose, but I think all kids are born pretty much who they are. The main thing is they have a healthy self identity. I think that is better achieved by maybe avoiding commercials and marketing then keeping their sex a secret.
post #19 of 199
Hmm. Interesting.

Quote:
For some reason I can't quite articulate, it doesn't sit right with me.

I mean, let's say the family is out at a park. Someone asks them, "Is your child a boy or a girl?" They will then refuse to answer.

Why? Why is it so bad to allow people to know the gender of your child? I just don't see it as such a huge negative.
I think, maybe, their point is that it doesn't matter. So even though it's an innocent question, I guess they are trying to make people re-think why they even want to know if the child is a boy or girl? Will they talk to the child differently or treat them differently based on the answer?

I haven't read the whole article but that's what came to my mind. :
post #20 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by greeny View Post
For some reason I can't quite articulate, it doesn't sit right with me.

I mean, let's say the family is out at a park. Someone asks them, "Is your child a boy or a girl?" They will then refuse to answer.

Why? Why is it so bad to allow people to know the gender of your child? I just don't see it as such a huge negative.
Well boys and girls are treated differently by people. I dress my son somewhat gender neutrally (I don't like sports or reptiles, etc) and he had very long hair until recently. On days when he was looking a little more girl than boy he would get lots of the "oh what a beautiful little girl" comments, at the park parents would instruct their children to "let the little girl go first", strangers were more likely to engage with him in conversation, little girls were more likely to initiate play with him, etc. On days when he was wearing his star wars t-shirt (or some other "boy" thing) those things were significantly less likely to happen, especially the strangers talking to him thing. People seem to be much more likely to engage a little girl in conversation than a little boy.
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