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Parents keep child's sex secret - What do you think? - Page 11

post #201 of 224

 

 

Quote:
 Predatory intentions.  That's different than offering someone a sincere compliment. 

 

 

I see no difference---again, age!  it's acceptable to say it to a child/infant

 

-----is it not sincere if an old person gives it in the examples I stated?

 

what makes one correct and the other not?  both stranger----age isn't it?

 

I can give countless stories from my local paper on infants/children being abused

 

to me it is not predatory---you JUMPED to that conclusion ---nothing said it was but you jumped!

 

there are plenty of people that I found very creep that think nothing of talking to my child/infant

post #202 of 224

It's probably also from me you got the anti-beautiful thing.  I sincerely do NOT appreciate people telling my child (especially since we only get the beautiful thing when people think dd is a girl) that she is beautiful.  Because when somebody hears that over and over again, also when it is tied specifically to a sex or characteristics that people project onto girl children, it is disempowering and sends the message that appearances are the only thing of value that they own.

 

'Girl' children are told that 'beautiful' is what they should be, most of what they should aspire to.  look at the princess crap all around you, and see if that is not the main message that children get from it.  beautiful is not something my child, your child, any child has any control over.  it is not an accomplishment, nor is it a talent or a character trait.  i just don't see why physical appearance is the one thing people feel that it is appropriate to comment on.  'beautiful' is a judgment call.  you are judging my child to be worthy of your aesthetic standards. 

 

it just feels icky to me.  it seems patronizing and it also deprives a child of a sense of actual accomplishment.  that's a whole other topic but i wanted to explain.  it stings much more so because for the most part, people ONLY ever say that to the 'girl' child and not to the 'boy' child.  repeated enough times, that message becomes 'you are pretty.  you don't need to/shouldn't strive for anything else because that is all that people appreciate about you.  you only get compliments when you look pretty (and thus submit to the judgement of others).' 

 

and.  you know.  it's pretty funny to me that people are acting as though it's shocking and the 'language police' don't want them to say beautiful and yet it is perfectly ok to call someone's parenting style ridiculous.  i would much prefer you censor yourself when you are directly INSULTING someone's choices rather than pretending to be insulted or prohibited from saying something because a small minority disagree with your word choice.  if you are concerned about insulting someone, then maybe you should first listen to their preferences, then acknowledge that and agree that parents do have some sort of control over the way that you interact with their children.  if you do not agree, then fine!  if i respectfully ask that you not call me or my child something, i fail to see why that is a big stinking deal?

 

post #203 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

 

 

I see no difference---again, age!  it's acceptable to say it to a child/infant

 


is it not sincere if an old person gives it in the examples I stated?

 

what makes one correct and the other not?  both stranger----age isn't it?

 

I can give countless stories from my local paper on infants/children being abused

 

to me it is not predatory---you JUMPED to that conclusion ---nothing said it was but you jumped!

 

there are plenty of people that I found very creep that think nothing of talking to my child/infant


I think it's because words like "beautiful" take on a sexual connotation at some point (I guess somewhere around puberty)... So before that point, it's considered an innocent comment -- as long as it's not said in a creepy way or something -- but after that point, it's considered more sexual. But if you set aside the appearance-based meaning of beauty, yes adults DO tell each other they are beautiful in ways that are not ill-intentioned or weird... more like an inner beauty thing... I hear this particularly from people who are really sincere, warm, open people.

But the thing is, in general we just compliment children way more than adults. I assume it's because people want to be kind and encouraging and uplifting to the most vulnerable and impressionable members of our society... and because people just don't know what to say, so try to say something kind of neutral (or at least that MOST people view as neutral/non-controversial...)
post #204 of 224

 

 

Quote:
yes adults DO tell each other they are beautiful in ways that are not ill-intentioned or weird... 

random strangers in my city do not come up to me and say this

 

 

this is a comment that I feel is reserved for non-strangers (people you know-friends,etc.) to say to a person they know---it is far different to make a comment to a child you know as to one you do not know (the jest of this thread)---how it is perceived and or welcomed in society--to me this is not about what a friend says to another 

 

 

 

 

Quote:
i would much prefer you censor yourself when you are directly INSULTING someone's choices rather than pretending to be insulted or prohibited from saying something because a small minority disagree with your word choice

same here!

post #205 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

random strangers in my city do not come up to me and say this

 

 

this is a comment that I feel is reserved for non-strangers (people you know-friends,etc.) to say to a person they know---it is far different to make a comment to a child you know as to one you do not know (the jest of this thread)---how it is perceived and or welcomed in society--to me this is not about what a friend says to another 


OK I get what you're saying, though I do think strangers say things like, "I love your ____" (haircut, earrings, tattoo, shirt, whatever)... and that's kind of a round-a-bout way of saying, "You're beautiful"... In general, no, strangers don't come right out & say it.

I guess I still don't see the big deal, why compliments are such a horrible thing. I don't think that MOST people who say things like that about a child are not trying to say "only looks matter" or contribute to gender stereotypes or send unwelcome messages to your child. Most people are just trying to break the ice a bit, or fill an awkward silence, or trying to brighten your day a little, or just communicate that you are seen, you aren't in a vacuum...
post #206 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

random strangers in my city do not come up to me and say this

 

 

this is a comment that I feel is reserved for non-strangers (people you know-friends,etc.) to say to a person they know---it is far different to make a comment to a child you know as to one you do not know (the jest of this thread)---how it is perceived and or welcomed in society--to me this is not about what a friend says to another 




OK I get what you're saying, though I do think strangers say things like, "I love your ____" (haircut, earrings, tattoo, shirt, whatever)... and that's kind of a round-a-bout way of saying, "You're beautiful"... In general, no, strangers don't come right out & say it.

I guess I still don't see the big deal, why compliments are such a horrible thing. I don't think that MOST people who say things like that about a child are not trying to say "only looks matter" or contribute to gender stereotypes or send unwelcome messages to your child. Most people are just trying to break the ice a bit, or fill an awkward silence, or trying to brighten your day a little, or just communicate that you are seen, you aren't in a vacuum...

 

When I am assuming the best of people I just figure they don't know how to talk to kids so they talk about them.  Especially true when you have young kids who tend to stare at people.
 

 

post #207 of 224

 

 

Quote:
I guess I still don't see the big deal, why compliments are such a horrible thing.

 

 

"compliments" about objects are far different (the purse, shoe, etc) -IMO

"compliments" about your appearance are different - with different meaning -IMO

post #208 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

 

 

I see no difference---again, age!  it's acceptable to say it to a child/infant

 

-----is it not sincere if an old person gives it in the examples I stated?

 

what makes one correct and the other not?  both stranger----age isn't it?

 

I can give countless stories from my local paper on infants/children being abused

 

to me it is not predatory---you JUMPED to that conclusion ---nothing said it was but you jumped!

 

there are plenty of people that I found very creep that think nothing of talking to my child/infant

 

I jumped there because of the examples you gave. An old man complimenting a pre-pubescent or teenage girl or boy. And your husband not appreciating other men telling you you're beautiful. In our culture, those are pretty loaded images: possible pedophile and letchy adulterer, respectively. That's what made me think that predatory behaviour was an underlying issue to be distinguished from me telling a co-worker she looks really pretty today.

 

But your post made me think: would I say the same thing to a stranger of any age? I would probably comment on cute babies...because really, what else do I know of them except what they look like, and you know, they ARE cute! But no gender distinction. I would probably say cute before beautiful, but in my mind, either is OK for either gender. There are grown men I would term beautiful too. But you're right, I wouldn't compliment a *strange* adult on their personal appearance in a general sense. I might say something like, "hey, I love your hairstyle!" (and might ask where they got it done), but I wouldn't tell a grown man or woman that they are generally, overall beautiful. 

 

So why would I say it to a baby but not an adult? Maybe because I'm trying more to connect with the mom? It's really more for her? In the same spirit that I try and offer stranger's compliments if I see an opportunity? Anyway, stuff to think about! I do enjoy these discussions, sometimes my own behaviours and beliefs are really challenged, and that's a good thing!
 

 

post #209 of 224

 

"compliments" about objects are far different (the purse, shoe, etc) -IMO

"compliments" about your appearance are different - with different meaning -IMO

 

You know, as I let this kind of swirl in my head, along with the rest of this thread, maybe part of it all for me is that given what all we are going through as a family, I would welcome anything positive said about my kids.

 

I've heard lots of things said to me, or said to my kids, from people that actually know us, that aren't nice.  That aren't about what they look like, or about a gender stereotype, but really are about something they are medically born with and can't help.    

 

Maybe, for me, I think about the fact that it is far and few between when I hear anything nice said, instead of something being held against, that I think that it seems like a luxury to be able to dismiss even a well intended compliment as something horrible.  

 

And, for me, I think, that living trying to speculate about all of the things that other people could say, do, intend, mean, etc., and make sure you cover all of the variables, with the idea that you have to cover all your bases "just in case"  years down the road because maybe it will or will not be ...... well..... I don't know how a person can really manage it.

 

I buy things because they are on sale, they are easy to clean, they are a color that doesn't stain easily, and likely I can pass it from one kid to the next.  Making sure that everything from toys to clothes that I buy are perfectly PC is just out of the realm of my capabilities as I strive to just make it through a day.  

 

I hope everything turns out well for these people and their children.  

 

I guess I will have to be forgiving of my self enough that the mistakes I make, in possibly trying to be nice, will be enough.  I kind of get the feeling that no matter what someone tries to do, however well intended, and done with the hope of not offending anyone in any way, will always be able to be found offensive by someone.  Especially if people try hard enough to find fault.

 

This whole discussion started out very interesting to me, and has just left me feeling incredibly sad.   

post #210 of 224
Quote:

 

This whole discussion started out very interesting to me, and has just left me feeling incredibly sad.   



I'm sorry it has made you sad.  I think that all of us have a similar motivation...to make it through a day the best we can while protecting and raising our kids the best we know how.  But everyone comes from different shaping forces so they see different priorities in the "protecting and raising" part.  I don't see anything wrong with that.

 

And I honestly don't see striving for a gender-neutral lifestyle for my kid as looking at everything through a PC filter.  Young kids are pretty androgynous already.  I see it more as honoring that androgyny and not pushing a gender identity onto my two-year old that is more appropriate for a ten-year old.  I don't do this because I have to but because I really, really want to, so its not onerous to me.  When I buy stuff for the kid I also look for stuff that will last...and yes sometimes it is frustrating that I cannot find an affordable gender neutral option at Target.  When that happens I cripe a lot to my husband look else where smile.gif.

 

 

post #211 of 224
post #212 of 224
What a beautiful letter.

I guess the biggest lesson I take away from this is not to agree to an interview discussing your parenting decisions...
post #213 of 224

I only skimmed this thread, and wanted to read it and the original article more in-depth before jumping in, but.... DS (3) didn't nap today, so I didn't get the time I wanted to read everything. Instead, we went to the grocery store. On the way out, we were right behind a mom and her kids, a little girl in a frilly pink dress and an older boy with gorgeous shoulder-length golden blond hair. His arm was in a sling, and he was wearing a soccer uniform, like he'd just come from a practice (or the ER, depending on when the sling went on...). DS pointed and said, "What's that on her arm?" I said, "Where?" He said, "That girl right there! What's on her arm?" When I asked him why he thought that was a girl, he said, "I don't know." But he did argue with me that it was NOT a boy we were talking about. We don't draw gender lines in our house, but DS has always been your stereotypical boy, other than the fleeting interest in pink sandals and gender-neutral dolls. I have no idea why he would assume  only girls have long hair. We've met plenty of men with long hair, and he's never made that mistake before.

 

My point is that even a 3-year-old is making some assumptions just based on certain physical traits. He doesn't even know it yet, but he is. That's just what people do, whether they think about it, or want to, or not. So I don't know what the woman in the article thinks she is getting out of this. Even if people don't know the baby's gender, they will still make assumptions about it and therefore inflict their views on him/her in their interactions. She would have to force the kid to look androgynous in order to keep people guessing if she really wants them to react gender-neutrally to the child, and she's obviously not going to do that. I don't understand why it can't be enough that the older brother is clearly already an example (if what she's saying is true and it's all his choice) that it doesn't matter what your chromosomes say, you can wear your hair however you want, and whatever clothes you want. Why is she trying to change what she can't (the way others see people) and focus on helping her kids grow up to be secure, open-minded, confident people?

post #214 of 224

Yay for Mama Kathy. What a wonderful conversation that her family has helped to push along. I know the world is currently run-over with people who can't cope, but that can't stop her from living the good life.

post #215 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post

the parents of storm responded to the media fury.  http://www.thestar.com/news/article/998960--genderless-baby-s-mother-responds-to-media-frenzy?bn=1   



Whatever reservations I have about the particular parenting choice they have made, I respect how they are managing the fallout from the article. The letter reflects much grace, strength and an enviable amount of tolerance, patience and good will. It's too bad for her family that she didn't write her own article in the first place.

post #216 of 224

In case this hasn't been posted yet: 

 

PBS interactive map of gender-diverse cultures:

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/two-spirits/map.html

post #217 of 224

aaaaaaah so it was Jazz who started it. what a beautiful letter. so from the heart. 

 

NYCVeg - thanks for the link. that's exactly what i was looking for.

post #218 of 224

I just don't think it's very kind to turn your child's life into a social experiment. That's my #1 problem with this.

post #219 of 224

but it doesnt sound like a social experiment. 

 

its a family decision to do something differently - that's all. 

 

for that matter isnt everything we really do a social experiment. the fact that i practise consensual parenting - isnt it a social experiment too?

 

they are trying to live their philosophy. what is wrong with that? 

post #220 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

but it doesnt sound like a social experiment. 

 

its a family decision to do something differently - that's all. 

 

for that matter isnt everything we really do a social experiment. the fact that i practise consensual parenting - isnt it a social experiment too?

 

they are trying to live their philosophy. what is wrong with that? 



This is how I see it, too. The more I learn about being human, the better I think it is to give our children room to be themselves and find themselves. That is all this family is trying to do. And, at any time, this child can decide that s/he wants to start telling people, "I'm a girl" or "I'm a boy." It's really not like this child is being forced to keep it a secret.

 

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