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Parents keep child's sex secret - What do you think? - Page 2

post #21 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post



you realize that not all children go to school, right?  unschooling and homeschooling are a few choices. 

 

and you also realize that there are parents, such as myself, who strive for gender neutral parenting, as i posted above.  i don't think it's very kind to call someone's parenting choice 'ridiculous.'
 

 


 

Do you refuse to disclose your child's gender?  I really can't take back that I think that's ridiculous.  It's not meant to be unkind as much as I find the whole thing so unbelievable.

 

Presumably (hopefully?) with home and unschooling there is still some peer interaction.  

post #22 of 224

 

 

Quote:
I bet it will be interesting to see what the child chooses & naturally gravitates toward.

 

thus far my child has no interest in "boy toys" nor "girl toys"-even with lots of exposure

 

he goes towards neutral toys---play kitchen, grocery stores, blocks, medical kit, stuffed animals, crayons & paints and dolls-has both male and female (we do not view dolls as a GIRL toy-his stuffed animals have food made for them in his kitchen) 

 

he likes wheels, not cars-he is not into pink at all         things are not referred to as for boys or girls toys or pushed that this is what boys or girls do

 

I don't get how it is some how expectable to push a child into a cultural gender but if you don't there is something wrong with that?

 

 

 

Quote:
Presumably (hopefully?) with home and unschooling there is still some peer interaction.  

 

and both sexes can play and learn together-it's really easy-there are no boy lessons, no girl lessons-math is not a gender issue, reading is not a gender issue

 

peers to play together---most people have "friends" NOT based on their gendergrouphug.gif

 

if I was gay I would not be friends with EVERYONE else that was gay just because I was gay--same goes for non-gender issue people---------interests are NON-gender!

 

I had lots of NON-gay male friends growing up that loved fashion and cooking and "woman's issues"-ahhhhhhhh! 


Edited by serenbat - 5/24/11 at 7:32am
post #23 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post




 

Do you refuse to disclose your child's gender?  I really can't take back that I think that's ridiculous.  It's not meant to be unkind as much as I find the whole thing so unbelievable.

 

Presumably (hopefully?) with home and unschooling there is still some peer interaction.  


we don't know our child's gender.  we do know the sex. 

sex is biological.  gender is a social construction, and presumably what she can figure out on her own how she wants to perform it.

we do not tell strangers unless they point blank ask us.  people assume dd is a boy b/c she's not in pink and has very short hair (we don't cut it, she's just still a baldy) and we're ok with that.  once people think she's a girl the language they use changes in their interactions.. as in "oh so pretty" rather than "alert" or whatever. 

the kids she interacts with don't really see her naked so they really don't care.  she runs and plays with them, etc.  sex matters much less to children than it does their parents.. especially with the under 3 crowd.

 

post #24 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

 

thus far my child has no interest in "boy toys" nor "girl toys"-even with lots of exposure

 

he goes towards neutral toys---play kitchen, grocery stores, blocks, medical kit, stuffed animals, crayons & paints and dolls-has both male and female (we do not view dolls as a GIRL toy-his stuffed animals have food made for them in his kitchen) 

 

he likes wheels, not cars-he is not into pink at all         things are not referred to as for boys or girls toys or pushed that this is what boys or girls do

But many people (not me!!) would argue that a kitchen, dolls, etc. are 'girl' toys, not 'neutral'. I was thinking about this & had a hard time figuring out what DS leans toward. He is really not into toys, but he loves real tools, real cars/trucks... I guess those are 'boy' things... but he also loves cooking, cleaning, etc. I think he is just a well-rounded kid, with no regard to whether he 'should' or 'shouldn't' like something. Fortunately I've never had anyone say outright that he couldn't do/use/play with XYZ because he's a boy. I also haven't really noticed people treating him differently whether they think he's a boy or a girl, though we do get comments ("Oh, I thought he was a girl because of ____" -- his long hair, pink water bottle, girl's shoes, etc. or "Are you going to cut his hair?")
post #25 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeckyBird View Post

I don't really have an opinion about it, but I did think this was kind of funny:

 

“What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious,” says Stocker.

I thought this was funny, because these parents are making a choice for their children by choosing to raise them "genderless".



I agree.  

 

When I lived in Hawaii, our neighbors had a daughter that they were raising "gender neutral".  They kept saying it's because they wanted her to choose her own gender.  But, they were so controlling that every time she tried to do something "girly", they would intervene.   She was the same age as my niece, and she would get excited when she saw Emily go out to the yard to play, and she'd run over to play with Emily.... but, soon her parents would steer her towards boy toys, and away from Em's girl toys.    

post #26 of 224

So, does the family in the article avoid pronoun usage altogether? Can't use "he" or "she" in public? Siblings have to keep the baby's sex a secret? Can't talk to their friends about their brother/sister? That's an unfair burden on the children.

 

FWIW, we're homeschoolers and I agree with D_McG that being secretive about a child's sex is ridiculous. At some point, other children will want to know if they're playing with a boy or a girl, even if they happily will play with either. All of the kids I know would find a sexless child to be weird and uncomfortable to be around. I think extremist behavior, in general, is ridiculous and sometimes dangerous.

post #27 of 224

cool.  i thought we were here to support each other not offer judgey criticisms.  but maybe that is just me.  been seeing a whole lot of the latter around here lately.  and.. just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it's not a legitimate viewpoint.  thanks y'all. 

post #28 of 224
Thread Starter 

I love reading everyone's opinions.

 

Hildare, I must admit that I think it is awesome that we are not a collective, but people who are individuals and have our own opinions and don't always agree.  Not agreeing and having a different opinion doesn't make one judgey :)

 

I have always seen judgement on MDC, especially towards mainstream parenting that AP parents might not understand :)  I have seen judgemental criticism on every forum I've ever been on.  It is human nature.

 

I posted the link to this article here because I knew it would spark some interesting conversation.  And it challenges us ALL to see things from different perspectives.

 

 

post #29 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post

cool.  i thought we were here to support each other not offer judgey criticisms.  but maybe that is just me.  been seeing a whole lot of the latter around here lately.  and.. just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it's not a legitimate viewpoint.  thanks y'all. 



The OP posted about a family in a news article. She did not post about her own family. She also asked what people thought about the family in the news article. Nobody was asking for support on this thread. If posters do not want honest responses, they would not ask for thoughts.

post #30 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by MOMYS View Post

I love reading everyone's opinions.

 

Hildare, I must admit that I think it is awesome that we are not a collective, but people who are individuals and have our own opinions and don't always agree.  Not agreeing and having a different opinion doesn't make one judgey :)

 

I have always seen judgement on MDC, especially towards mainstream parenting that AP parents might not understand :)  I have seen judgemental criticism on every forum I've ever been on.  It is human nature.

 

I posted the link to this article here because I knew it would spark some interesting conversation.  And it challenges us ALL to see things from different perspectives.

 

 


calling someone's parenting ridiculous in my opinion crosses that boundary into judgey. 

and, no.  it is not 'human nature.'  it is learned behavior to faction and fight rather than support the community as a whole.  just like sexism, exploitation and sexual predation of children are learned behaviors, which is one reason we're trying to parent neutrally. 

 

post #31 of 224

There ARE biological differences between the sexes but most of them aren't reflected by what society puts into the "boy" category and the "girl" category. For instance, although boys and girls might differ in how their language and social skills develop, there's no biological basis for girls liking pink (it used to be a "boy color"!) or play kitchens more than boys. My dd's favorite color is blue and she doesn't like playing with baby dolls, and virtually every little boy I know likes to push a play stroller and get his toenails painted. 

 

We don't raise dd completely "gender neutral," but we do emphasize that there are no such things as "boy colors" and "girl colors," "boy toys" and "girl toys," "boy haircuts" and "girl haircuts." My dd likes to wear dresses and barrettes, but I don't want her ever to feel like HAS to like those things because she's a girl. We try to buy basic toys (Legos, blocks, etc.) in primary colors instead of the "girls'" versions which are inevitably pink and we avoid gendered slogans on clothing (Diva, Shopaholic, Princess, etc.), but she's gotten a few Barbies and princess as gifts, and we certainly don't ban them. I don't want to shield my dd from "girly" things, but I also don't want her to think that those things define "girlness"--so if she wants to cut her hair super short or never wear another dress again, great. In the same way, I would happily buy a boy trucks or race cars, but I would make sure that he knew that dolls, pink, long hair, dresses, etc. were also available to him if those are things he wanted.

 

I think it's extremely important for my dd to know that she can define herself in any way she chooses, but I also don't want to use her to make my own political statement, yk? Anyway, I was a Barbie addict as a kid, and I still grew up to be a crunchy, queer feminist. :lol

 

 

post #32 of 224
Thread Starter 

You are entitled to your opinion, Hildare.

 

NYCVeg, we have only boys, but our boys have always played with pretty much what a previous poster mentioned as gender neutral toys.  Some love cars, others don't.  Some like dolls, others don't.   I think in our home it has way more to do with individual personalities, than social construction.

post #33 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy212 View Post

I guess the biggest thing this would change would be what people bought for the child. Personally I don't think dresses or toy trucks are the issue. The issue is if a boy asks for a baby doll or a girl asks for a toy truck and you say no, that's not for girls/boys. I plan on letting my LO choose his toys and clothes. I think the genderless thing is odd, but to each their own



I agree with this. I dont get it at all, but its not my business if someone else is doing it. I dont vaccinate but its my children and my business what I decide for them so I feel like this is the same type of thing. But I do agree that I think its also about not forcing a child to be into all girl stuff or all boy stuff. My DD is VERY girly but thats not something I ever forced on her, it actually drives me nuts that I cant get her to wear shorts or pants and she will only wear dresses. At the same time she likes playing with her brothers toys and DS likes playing with her barbies and baby dolls too. She even dresses him up like a princess all the time and he loves it and I have no problem with that.

post #34 of 224

I am all for gender equality and tossing out gender roles, I really am... but I don't think that happens by keeping a child's sex a secret.  People don't even know the difference between sex and gender so all this does is make people really uncomfortable and possibly risk a new type of confusion in the child who's sex is a secret until they can share their gender.

 

I see no problem with not feeling the need to share the sex of one's child (in fact, I had a whole conversation once with a stranger about my son... there was never an opportunity to use female pronouns or her name.. it was mostly the other person talking... and I don't feel the need to correct someone) but I think that is completely different from purposely hiding the sex completely as a means to bring awareness to the yucky gender roles people expect even young children to start filling.

 

I have a child with the sex characteristics of females of our species.  That is a fact and hiding it doesn't really help her in any way.  She couldn't care less what she wears and is happy in shorts, dresses, and naked.  She loves to play outside in the dirt digging and catching bugs.  She thinks her kitchen is amazing and often cooks me up some treats.  She likes to swaddle her babies and put them to sleep making sure I know to be quiet.  She loves pushing cars down the hallway and having her wooden animals chase each other roaring.  Dinosaurs are her favorite.  She loves the pink heart necklace she got for her birthday and enjoys putting it on with her tutu and my heels.

 

the best way I can support her right to gender freedom is to embrace every one of those characteristics and to not allow anyone to tell her she can't do something because of an assumed idea that her sex is the same as her gender and that gender has rules assigned to it.  The best thing I can do to support her as a person is to be open and accepting should she tell me the female pronouns do not match her whether she wants to surgically change her sex or not.

 

Keeping a baby's sex a secret isn't the same as not making sure everyone knows what the sex is.  Keeping the sex of a baby a secret doesn't get people to change their ideas about gender as easily as just telling someone to stop pushing gender stereotypes on a child because those stereotypes just don't work.

 

I don't care about the sex of babies... it is fun to know, but it is the same to me as knowing eye color or which parents nose it has... Interesting and fun, but can still be changed in adulthood and doesn't say anything about the character the baby will grow into.  Hiding the sex of a baby is akin to me as hiding hair color.  I think we can do better to heal gender roles.

post #35 of 224

They should let their child be who she is meant to be. The child will know whether she is a girl or boy eventually. I had a mother who did not want anything "girl" around at all, dolls, pink, etc. We had to have super short hair. I think that repressing your child that much and keeping those things away is wrong. Let the child know what he or she is, don't try to convince her to hide it as if she is ashamed (I suspect this is a girl). And if she likes trucks, let her play with trucks, if she likes dolls, so be it. I think it is just wrong to do what they are doing. 

post #36 of 224

There's support, and then there's bowing down to the majority opinion because we fear that we will offend someone or hurt someone's feelings. I am firmly in the minority opinion on this topic, and since I assume that we are all grown-ups, I have no fear of causing offense or hurt feelings because I trust that ya'll will understand that I am voicing my opinion on this subject and not looking to attack the parenting choices of others. That being said, I think this whole "let's hide the baby's gender!"  thing is goofy, and that this child will eventually end up resenting being saddled with the burden of explanations that his/her parents already claim to be so tired of. The fact is that we, as male and female, are born with biological differences; I accept the fact that some people truly feel that they were "born in the wrong bodies", I very much believe that people are born with their sexual preference, that being gay or lesbian is not a choice, but for the most part, men are men and women are women and no amount of dressing your kid in gender-neutral clothes and coaching them to not conform to the "rules" of one particular sex is going to change that. I have a 5 year-old daughter and a 2 year-old son; when my daughter was a baby, my favorite outfit for her was a pair of Army green cargo pants and a Beatles t-shirt. I dressed her in that fashion equally as often as I dressed her in "girly" clothes,  simply because that's the way I preferred to dress her (she's a total girly-girl now, and I NOTHING to do with that) but when people called her a "handsome boy", I very quickly corrected them, because she IS, biologically, a girl. The same goes for my son, who now wears his sister's hand-me-down pajamas, girly or not,  because nobody's going to see him and it wouldn't matter if they did, they're just pajamas. By the same token, I have never, ever told one of my children that they couldn't play with a particular toy or participate in a particular activity because it was specifically for girls or specifically for boys; my daughter plays with trucks, my son clomps around in pink Disney Princess high heels, in our house, you can play or do whatever happens to blow your hair back at that particular moment. My kids are too young for me to be imprinting them with MY social views or MY beliefs about how the world should work; my job is to teach them to be tolerant, and kind, and hard working and faithful, the rest, they will have to decide for themselves as they grown and mature.

post #37 of 224



That is really a matter of your perception.  Recently I read another thread about a mom who was really concerned when she found out she was having a daughter because her perception was that her child would get a far better reception if she were male.  I mean this gently, but I think it is possible to impose our own biases, fears, etc., onto our children related to gender identity.  If you really believe your son will be better received by those who think he is a girl, I would want to examine my own feelings a little more closely.  I think there is a lot of value in raising our children, male or female, to understand and believe that they don't have to conform to any specific gender roles.  If someone were to come into our house and observe our "stuff", they would not be able to tell the gender of our child.  If they were to guess, I bet 90% would guess female and be wrong.  Still, my son is male and I want him to be proud of that just as I will want my daughter if I have one to also be proud of her gender.  If a child gets the idea that their gender is being hidden, I can imagine all the possibilities they may come up with in their minds for why, and most of them would negatively impact a child's self esteem.  The fact that my son is male isn't just a cultural construct.  It is a biological fact.  I guess I just really don't understand why there should be such a huge effort to suppress that.  Boys can play will dolls, girls can play with trucks, yes.  But to indicate to my child in any way that he would be better received by hiding the fact that he is male isn't up my alley and could lead to a whole new string of issues.  And in regards to going to school and being bullied, etc... I am assuming you mean that could happen if your child was transgendered?  The chances of that are very small and you could address that and embrace it if it came up.  To me though, imposing my ideas of total gender neutrality and secrecy onto my child is not allowing my child to form their own identity.  It is just too pushy, to me. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

he is dressed neutral and gets a far better reception from strangers since they think he is not a male

 

post #38 of 224

 

 

Quote:

That is really a matter of your perception.  Recently I read another thread about a mom who was really concerned when she found out she was having a daughter because her perception was that her child would get a far better reception if she were male.  I mean this gently, but I think it is possible to impose our own biases, fears, etc., onto our children related to gender identity.  If you really believe your son will be better received by those who think he is a girl, I would want to examine my own feelings a little more closely.  I think there is a lot of value in raising our children, male or female, to understand and believe that they don't have to conform to any specific gender roles.  If someone were to come into our house and observe our "stuff", they would not be able to tell the gender of our child.  If they were to guess, I bet 90% would guess female and be wrong.  Still, my son is male and I want him to be proud of that just as I will want my daughter if I have one to also be proud of her gender.  If a child gets the idea that their gender is being hidden, I can imagine all the possibilities they may come up with in their minds for why, and most of them would negatively impact a child's self esteem.  The fact that my son is male isn't just a cultural construct.  It is a biological fact.  I guess I just really don't understand why there should be such a huge effort to suppress that.  Boys can play will dolls, girls can play with trucks, yes.  But to indicate to my child in any way that he would be better received by hiding the fact that he is male isn't up my alley and could lead to a whole new string of issues.  And in regards to going to school and being bullied, etc... I am assuming you mean that could happen if your child was transgendered?  The chances of that are very small and you could address that and embrace it if it came up.  To me though, imposing my ideas of total gender neutrality and secrecy onto my child is not allowing my child to form their own identity.  It is just too pushy, to me. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

he is dressed neutral and gets a far better reception from strangers since they think he is not a male

 

you could not be father and more off base from the truth

 

minor examples--------When our DS's hair was short- no one even thought he was a male--------I got and now still do with long hair "he can't be a boy-he's too cute"

 

He talked early and is very advanced-----I have gotten more negative comments direct at him and us when we are in public IF it is thought he is a male!

 

We let people draw their own conclusion we DO NOT force an agenda. This in NO way means we are not proud of who he is-sex is not gender.

 

sorry, but you really do not have a clue!

post #39 of 224

As Hildare says, SEX IS NOT GENDER.

 

Sex is genitalia. There are more than two sexes. Sex, like gender, is a spectrum. Many children are intersex at birth, and then some doctor makes an arbitrary call on the sex of the child and sometimes performs surgery. This is not all that uncommon. Many children are raised as "girls", only to find out at puberty that - wait... there's a penis. Or vice versa. How small does a penis have to be in order for a little "boy" to be a little "girl". Doctors are often faced with that (often arbitrary) decision. Imagine the confusion, the pain... for everyone involved. And, not because their body necessarily causes them pain, or because there is anything inherently wrong with it, but because of social stigma. So, yeah, I caution parents who think that gender theory doesn't apply to their kids. It might.

 

  • An estimation of 1/100 people have bodies that don't conform to "male" or "female" stereotypes. So for every other person diagnosed with autism (1/500), there is someone whose natural, born body doesn't fit our societal notion of "male" or "female".
  • An estimation of 1-2/1000 people receive surgery to “normalize” genital appearance.

 

 

I believe that it's incredibly unfortunate, that with this many intersex people, not to mention all the queer/trans people who are out, that we're performing surgeries on people to have them conform to gender binary stereotypes.

 

I think that when people decide that gender-neutrality in parenting is "ridiculous", it's a direct result of society's standards for boy/girl, male/female sex/gender binaries. Not all cultures have functioned this way. Many Native American (and other indigenous) tribes honored the gender/sex spectrum as a facet to their spirituality. Our need to label our children is purely a construct of society.

 

Yes, there are the many effects of hormones that often (not always) coincide with genitalia. Sometimes our children's' genitalia can give us insight into the chemicals that might be buzzing in their bodies. BUT many men can lactate and many women can ejaculate, and many of these hormones intersect, overlap, and exist in different quantities, regardless of body shape/type.

 

A parent doesn't have to know that a child will identify as trans to make gender-neutral care the right choice for them. These parents stand by their choices based on their insight into the science and politics of sex/gender.

 

This isn't simply about blue and pink, kitchens and trucks. This is about bodies and the fact that gender/sex is a spectrum. A healthy child can have "male" and "female" genitalia. A healthy child knows that they will be loved unconditionally and without bias, regardless of their bodies, gender choices and presentations as they grow up.

 

Suicide rates, depression statistics and oppressive legislation will not change until parents stop berating each other for challenging gender and sex stereotypes.

 

Parents that insist on the necessity of choosing "he" or "she" pronouns for everyone's children are pushing their own agenda, which was handed to them by a very harmful convention.

 

Perpetuating the status quo is harmful to everyone, and deadly to many. Kudos to them for challenging it. We should be thankful for them. Our future, and that of our gender-transcendent children will be better for this kind of learning and thinking. Lucky kids.

 

Some Intersex Statistics - http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency

Genderqueer and Androgynous Pronouns - http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gender%20neutral%20pronoun


Edited by habitat - 5/24/11 at 10:14am
post #40 of 224

I forgot---------"boys don't cry" it is OK if your girl does in public           duh.gif

 

"strangers" make lovely comments to children all the time (yet some how we are "harming" him and not being proud---yea!)

 

I WILL continue to not make my child's gender be what other's see first----regardless of the narrow minded rude individuals that make such comments 

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