or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Parents keep child's sex secret - What do you think?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Parents keep child's sex secret - What do you think? - Page 4

post #61 of 224

I love it!!!!!!

 

Reminds me to reread X: A Fabulous Child's Story to my kids for bedtime. Whee!

post #62 of 224

Pretty interesting article. While being raised gender neutral and being raised sexless (at least in the eyes of the world) are different, I guess it does force the rest of the world to question their own beliefs about gender identity, and why knowing the sex is so important to them. I'm not sure who the parents are doing this for, their children, themselves and/or society, but I guess it doesn't really matter. All of those people are affected by it, regardless of motivation. 

 

I grew up in the 70s, one of two daughters who were raised gender neutral. At that time, in my family anyway, but I think in others too, gender neutral really meant "like a boy." Same as feminism really meant "working in the man's world." (Oversimplification, I know...). I am heartened to see that in the intervening decades, gender neutral is starting to include boys being able to do "girl things" and dress in "girl clothes"

 

Like other posters, I would love a follow up to this story. Say, every ten years for a few decades.  

post #63 of 224

 

 

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post





The fact that I disagree with you doesn't mean I don't have a clue.  You say your partner "hates how males are treated" in our society.  And you feel there are negative comments directed at your son also solely based on him being male.  If you really believe that (which I do not as I think an equal or great number or people would feel females are subject to much more gender negativity) then why don't you work to *change* those stereotypes and biases that you feel will have a negative impact on your son rather than hide his sex?


She and her DH are working to change those stereotypes, simply by seeing their child as a child and not as a gender or a penis. And they are asking others to do the same. They couldn't possibly do anything more powerful than that.

 

Also, societal negativity and deprivation of emotional support towards men perpetuates and instigates male violence against women and queer folx. It is important to address that this is a dangerous cycle. It's neither the chicken or the egg, but they intend to do their part in stopping male-directed violence towards their son, which I think is absolutely incredible.

 IMO- it seem that I am attacked because of my male child while often female children are not view this way- it seems that if a female child is raised to be neutral it is viewed as empowering--"she can DO anything/be what ever she wants" but a male---NO way!! it is emasculating him-must be gender?

post #64 of 224

It seems that perhaps more than anything we just need better words to describe the gender spectrum that so many of us know is there. The binary language (which must be so much harder to get around in languages like Spanish & French with their masculine & feminine) does make things more confusing for us all sometimes.

 

As for us, ds is a boy & our new little one appears to be a girl. But we really do present a wide range of experiences & views for our family. Ds LOVES trucks, boats, trains, tractors & tools, but he also really likes his kitchen, helping with housework & cooking. He watches dh do all the cooking & helps me put together the new kitchen shelves. Yesterday he told me how Grandma came over to fix the toilet. I think he is getting a very balanced view that men & women can do all sorts of different things regardless of how they identify gender-wise.

post #65 of 224

I worry about kids being made to demonstrate a point to anybody. I don't want my kids to illustrate a point; I want them to be happy in who they are.

 

I think we also need to remember development -- it's typical for kids to try on gender roles in preschool -- it's one way that children figure out their gender. So, girls may try out being really girly, and they try out being 'tomboys' or superheros. Boys try out being masculine, and they try out being domestic and 'girly'. Ds went through a phase around age 3 where he loved Dora the Explorer, pink and wanted his nails painted, all the while spending most of his time pretending to be a garbage truck driver. Such exploration is healthy and should be encouraged. I think the problems arise when parents become very uncomfortable with their child trying on 'other' roles, or alternatively, when they become uncomfortable because their children are solidly fixated on the gender that matches their sex.

 

I guess instead of striving for genderless, I'd prefer to promote gender acceptance. I haven't a clue as to whether the parents in the article are going to achieve that.

 

 

post #66 of 224
So many thoughts about this.

First, I don't think it's at all hurtful to not express a child's physical sex, but I don't know how helpful it is either. I certainly don't think it's worse than only buying your child super gendered stuff and always having a bow on your bald baby's head out of fear that someone might call her "him".

I worry, as someone else said, that gender neutral is sometimes not that neutral and more boyish, and that things that are more feminine are therefore portrayed as "other" and even not as good. I have two girls and I want them to feel free to be who they are, whoever that is, and enjoy whatever their hearts lead them to, but on the other hand if their genders do meet their physical sex, I don't want to present the idea that being feminine is worse or less neutral than boyish, either.

For instance, this gender neutral child has short hair, which is more often boyish than neutral, and what look like boy clothes to me. Is that true gender neutrality? Is true gender neutrality possible in our society? I don't know the answers but am interested in the questions. My kids sometimes have short hair, sometimes long, sometimes wear pink, sometimes wear just plain old boy clothes. They play with all sorts of toys - boy, girl, neutral, whatever. I hope they know they are loved and will always be loved whatever their hearts tell them about their sexuality and gender, but I will make sure they specifically know if how I'm raising them in our gendered world doesn't make it clear.
post #67 of 224

n/m

post #68 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat View Post

 

I have a hard time when people label anything that's uncomfortable to them as an "experiment". Every bloody choice we make could be labeled that way. I experiment with paint and hairstyles, for goodness sake. Making a well thought-out (perhaps motivated by experience or study) parenting decision is not experimentation. It's a choice. And if it's about loving your child and does not seem to cause them pain, it should be respected.

 


My impression was that the parents in the article themselves considered this an experiment, however, on re-reading, the term "experiment" was used by the professionals that the author interviewed and not in any quotations from the parents. I think there is a notion of experimentation on the part of the parents (eg. "It began as an off-hand remark. "Hey, what if we just didn't tell?"", as well as other statements...). I concede that this impression is based solely on information in the article, which is of course has been shaped into that form by the author. Whether the term "experiment" fits or not, as pp stated, the parents in this article have an agenda - which, of course, they are entitled to. I just don't have to agree that it is in the best interests of a child. 

 

 

 

post #69 of 224

I probably shouldn't say anything.  Really.  But, I am compelled ...... 

 

crunchy mommy said this back on page 1:

 

I feel like secrets could make my child feel ashamed of who he/she really is. There's no shame in being male or female and you can still question gender norms without making it all a big secret.

 

I think, thinking bigger picture, what really is the point to not identifying the sex of your child, stating that you are leaving it up to them, based on something that you think is wrong about society today?

 

You are essentially choosing to raise your child, in a way, as a reaction to society.

 

If you really wanted to test the bounds of gender association, shouldn't it be raising a child, to be aware of their sex, and it being more of a "I'm a male, and?"... or "I am a female, so?"

 

I think raising a child as an "it" to the world, to prove a point to the world, and without just a matter of fact, your sex is not the whole of your identification, but factually are a "male" or "female", really doesn't do much good in helping a child just become who they are without the weight of societal opinion thrust upon them.

 

How much more would a child learn about gender neutrality if it was actually a factually recognized male, that didn't care about wearing pink?  Or play with Barbies?  Or a factually recognized girl who liked to play with cars?

 

Frankly, this whole thing doesn't seem like something really in an overarching way to really be about the kids.

 

I have 3 boys.  That is what they are.  I dress them to suit their lifestyle.  They pick out their clothes.  They choose what toys they want to play with.  And, each of them were given a baby doll from their Mom.  They all like to play with swords.  

 

They are raised to be who they are, and it isn't about caring about what society says they should be, or like, because of their sex.

 

They are who they are, and, what?  And, that is how I raised them.  They know people who will end up mattering in their life will be people who care about them for who they are, inside.   

post #70 of 224

 

 

Quote:
shouldn't it be raising a child, to be aware of their sex, and it being more of a "I'm a male, and?"... or "I am a female, so?"

 

what about those children who grow and say NO, I am not a girl, not a boy?

don't they count? 

is "society" just to dismiss them-are they sooooooo small of a group no one really cares about them?

this just must not be happening

 

 

 

Quote:
I have 3 boys.  That is what they are.

 

glad you are so sure about your sons-hope none ever come to you and tell they are not what they are and society has caused them pain

 

 

in our personal case it is not about sex it is about treatment and narrow minded view of so many that in fact really do impact so many 

post #71 of 224

 

what about those children who grow and say NO, I am not a girl, not a boy?

don't they count? 

is "society" just to dismiss them-are they sooooooo small of a group no one really cares about them?

this just must not be happening

 

No, it isn't about saying people don't count.  Or dismissing them.  It is allowing them to decide, for themselves, good intentions of others aside, to decide how to identify themselves.

 

If there needs to be a new sex indentification category, then so be it.

 

But, male, female..... if you do fit that fact..... why then make that something that is wrong?  To prove a point to society?  To take away those rights, of the individuals, that may not fit into those factually identifying assignments, to come up with something that they feel is appropriate?

 

glad you are so sure about your sons-hope none ever come to you and tell they are not what they are and society has caused them pain

 

My youngest son just came and gave me a kiss with my headband on.  And he looked really cute.  Fact is, he, is a he.... a male.... he has a penis.  And, I don't care that he was wearing a headband, that society would say is just for girls.

 

For me, my sons are boys.  Factoid.  If they came to me, and said they felt like they were always in the wrong body, because they identified as a gendered female, I would also not have a problem. 

 

I think, that for us, society already causes my children pain because of medical conditions that they have.  I already have to teach them to be okay with who they are.  That people that matter will love them for what is on the inside.  

 

Children should never feel shamed for who they are.  And, if part of who they are is just factually a boy or girl, fine.  So be it.  Move on.  Gender identification and stereotyping about what kids should like, wear, feel, or do, just based on that, will only really hold if you don't give your child a safe place to be who they are.  No matter what.  With all the support in the world you can provide.

 

 

 

 

 

post #72 of 224

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FAmom View Post

I probably shouldn't say anything.  Really.  But, I am compelled ...... 

 

crunchy mommy said this back on page 1:

 

I feel like secrets could make my child feel ashamed of who he/she really is. There's no shame in being male or female and you can still question gender norms without making it all a big secret.

 

I think raising a child as an "it" to the world, to prove a point to the world, and without just a matter of fact, your sex is not the whole of your identification, but factually are a "male" or "female", really doesn't do much good in helping a child just become who they are without the weight of societal opinion thrust upon them.

 

How much more would a child learn about gender neutrality if it was actually a factually recognized male, that didn't care about wearing pink?  Or play with Barbies?  Or a factually recognized girl who liked to play with cars?

 

I'll say it again - Sex is not Gender.

 

Nobody's claiming that it's necessarily bad to use a gendered pronoun for your child.

 

First, your genitalia doesn't necessarily have a lot to do with who you are. That's the point here. And there's no shaming Storm about their genitalia. Let's keep in mind that Storm is, as of the publishing of this article, FOUR MONTHS OLD. Their genitalia and how it is talked about to strangers has absolutely nothing to do with anything, unless you're going clothes shopping at the Pink/Blue Girl/Boy Binary store, and can only buy one garment. orngtongue.gif

 

Storm is a baby. Storm is a baby. Storm is a baby. Why are we so attached to Storm being a "boy" or a "girl"? Why do we need this? Why is it necessary? By the time Storm is two or three, their parents will be able to talk to them about their body and what that means. And, being a child, Storm will probably want to talk about their genitalia. These are healthy conversations. The only reason that people don't know about Storm's genitalia right now, isn't because of shame - it's because their genitalia is (as it should be) irrelevant, outside of diaper changes and baths.

 

Again, nobody is raising this child as "an It". That's a pretty yucky accusation, too, and insinuates abuse. I presume they've chosen a gender-neutral pronoun for Storm, as do the many other people who identify neither as "men" or "women". Some of my best friends have chosen They/Them pronouns or Zi/Zir pronouns. Twin Oaks Intentional Community uses "Co/Cos" as a general pronoun for everyone. Just because you've yet to be exposed to gender-neutrality or androgyny doesn't mean it doesn't exist, or that it isn't a healthy way to raise a child (especially an infant).

 


Edited by habitat - 5/25/11 at 10:05am
post #73 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post




My impression was that the parents in the article themselves considered this an experiment, however, on re-reading, the term "experiment" was used by the professionals that the author interviewed and not in any quotations from the parents. I think there is a notion of experimentation on the part of the parents (eg. "It began as an off-hand remark. "Hey, what if we just didn't tell?"", as well as other statements...). I concede that this impression is based solely on information in the article, which is of course has been shaped into that form by the author. Whether the term "experiment" fits or not, as pp stated, the parents in this article have an agenda - which, of course, they are entitled to. I just don't have to agree that it is in the best interests of a child. 

 

 

 



Well, I wouldn't agree that dressing a female infant in 75%-90% pink is in her best interests, but it happens all the time and nobody's surprised, so nobody gets all upset and insulted.  I do believe that this is a matter of exposure. Nobody knows quite what to do when a child doesn't have a declared gender. It feels uncomfortable or even cold/sterile when you're new to it, as if gender identity is the core of someone and not impressing one on a child somehow takes something away from them. I know that when I was new to this, it felt less than comfy. Still, being able to create one's own gender identity, and to feel free and supported in making one's own labeling choices regardless of genitalia, is a great gift. Not every parent is comfortable with it, which I understand, but I think it's important to be open to the choice being a good fit for some families and to, at the very least, respect it as legitimate.


Edited by habitat - 5/25/11 at 10:00am
post #74 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat View Post





Well, I wouldn't agree that dressing a female infant in 75%-90% pink is in her best interests, 


Okay, I wouldn't dress a child (boy or girl) in 75-90% pink myself but it's just a colour. It's usually going to be obscured by spit, food, vomit, and feces, anyway  lol.gif

 

 

 

 

 

post #75 of 224

Very fascinating discussion.  I find myself nodding my head in agreement with habitat's posts.  Sex is not gender.  Storm being raised as a person instead of gender assigned male or female is one of the most radical things I have heard of in awhile, but I find it amazingly inspiring.  Assigning these gender roles is terrible for our society.  There are so many things wrong with it that I would need hours to list them all.  lol.

 

When I read this article yesterday, I immediately forwarded it to my feminist philosophy professor.  She says she'll be using it in her summer class.  Oh how I wish I could retake this class again over the summer.  This topic just fascinates me. 

 

Last night I even had a dream that I was raising my baby as Storm's parents are.  I did see a penis, but I wasn't going to tell anyone "It's a boy."  Instead I just told everyone the name (which unfortunately I don't remember now).  I wanted to raise my baby to be a person instead of a truck/car/train obsessed boy in blue.

post #76 of 224

Storm is a baby. Storm is a baby. Storm is a baby. Why are we so attached to Storm being a "boy" or a "girl"?

 


It is fitting that I am responding today.  My son is running around this morning, wearing red, drinking out of an orange cup, wearing my headband, and playing with his Jessie doll.  Lots of things that people might say are for girls.  

 

Having a great time.

 

He is a toddler.

 

I'm not attached to him being a boy or girl.  It is a descriptive.  Just one fact, out of many more, that are part of who he is.

 

Storm is a baby.  Agreed.  Why is anyone so attached to Storm being a boy, or a girl, or is also so equally attached to the baby not being either?

 

For me, there was the part of the story where they were in the store, and the one child wanted a boa..... and the sales person said something about not getting it because the child was a boy.  And, they walked out and didn't buy it.

 

Me, I guess in my own, sorrowfully, horrible, way, that does recognize the sex of my children as boys, would have looked at the sales person and said, "So?" and bought the boa for my son. 

 

 

 

post #77 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuburbanHippie View Post
I wanted to raise my baby to be a person instead of a truck/car/train obsessed boy in blue.


See, I guess this is the sort of thing that bothers me. The insinuation or assumption that children raised with gender are nothing but freakish products of society. As if these children, on their own, bring nothing to the table....but are instead fully molded by the people around them.

 

I raised my kids as boys. They are people. They are individuals with their own quirks, dreams, and desires. 

 

I'm assuming most of the mamas on this board were raised as female. Do you not see yourself as a person? Are you so resentful of the way your parents raised you? I'll tell you what...pink is my favorite color, and I NEVER wore it as a child.

 

Maybe I'm lucky....my children were raised without people foisting material objects and clothing upon them. I never stressed out about them wearing "wrong" clothing or playing with "wrong" toys, because 99% of what they owned was provided by me and their dad.

post #78 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post





See, I guess this is the sort of thing that bothers me. The insinuation or assumption that children raised with gender are nothing but freakish products of society. As if these children, on their own, bring nothing to the table....but are instead fully molded by the people around them.

 

I raised my kids as boys. They are people. They are individuals with their own quirks, dreams, and desires. 

 

I'm assuming most of the mamas on this board were raised as female. Do you not see yourself as a person? Are you so resentful of the way your parents raised you? I'll tell you what...pink is my favorite color, and I NEVER wore it as a child.

 

Maybe I'm lucky....my children were raised without people foisting material objects and clothing upon them. I never stressed out about them wearing "wrong" clothing or playing with "wrong" toys, because 99% of what they owned was provided by me and their dad.


SuburbanHippie raised her son with gender, as a "boy", too. I don't think she's implying that the label "boy" makes them somehow less human or renders them entirely malleable. Obviously, however a child is raised, they are human. I think she was trying to say that she was weary of raising a child that fit the dangerous societal and historical archetype of what a "boy" is, because that would detract from any informed, uncoerced, concious decisions they might freely make about their behaviors/preferences/presentations/identities. According to your post, you are also conscious of this. I don't see a disagreement.

 

Also, I am not resentful of the way my parents raised me. They raised me according to the options that they had been exposed to. I feel fortunate to have been exposed to more options, some of them preferable to the ones I was raised with. I wasn't nursed very long or fed a diet that was remotely close to pesticide-free, but my children will (to the best of my ability).  I will choose what is right for me, given the options that I have.

 


Edited by habitat - 5/25/11 at 2:01pm
post #79 of 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

 IMO- it seem that I am attacked because of my male child while often female children are not view this way- it seems that if a female child is raised to be neutral it is viewed as empowering--"she can DO anything/be what ever she wants" but a male---NO way!! it is emasculating him-must be gender?



I am sorry that you feel attacked because truly that is not my intention.  I am seriously trying to understand, but I guess I don't quite get it.  If you are not hiding the fact that your son is male, why do you seem so pleased that the way you dress and present him leads people to believe he is *not* male which you consider to be a good thing because he is better received?  That is what I don't get.  That is where I would start questioning myself and wondering why it was so important to me that people not assume my child is male.  Because, obviously, if people assume my child is not male, they are assuming my child is female... and that is where things get confusing to me.  That is where I start to worry that the secrecy and deception that I was creating related to my child's sex might negatively impact my child's self esteem and feelings about being male.  I know that isn't what you're setting out to do.

 

post #80 of 224

 

 

Quote:
I am seriously trying to understand, but I guess I don't quite get it.

 

 

as I did post - try having a two year old and a stranger thinks he is a she and IT is crying over something stupid and you are in public and the comment is made "that's OK honey"

 

now try having the SAME two year old and a stranger thinks he is a HE and an he is crying over something stupid and you are in public and the comment is made "hey, buddy, BOY'S DO NOT cry!"

 

 

you still don't get the impact?

 

same child, same situation TOTALLY different reply, girls also get offered candy a lot more often

 

and this goes on and on and on and we are only at age 3 - society has "views" and they bestow them only the youngest and keep reinforcing them until the conform to what is expected

 

 

so if my son keeps hearing negative remarks because he is a BOY and doesn't get them if he is perceived as GIRL you think this has no impact later on in life?

 

are you married, do you have a adult male in you life?----if so please ask what comments he has heard all his life and if he happens to have a sister I can bet he will recall how she was treated as opposed to him- I certainly know this was the case with my DH

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Parents keep child's sex secret - What do you think?