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Other Discussion Boards => Philosophy, Religion & Society => Topic started by: Chris Spaghetti on May 24, 2011, 08:03:10 AM

Title: Genderless parenting
Post by: Chris Spaghetti on May 24, 2011, 08:03:10 AM
Two parents in Canada (http://www.parentcentral.ca/parent/babiespregnancy/babies/article/995112--parents-keep-child-s-gender-secret) have taken an unusual route to parenting their third child by not revealing the gender.

The baby's name is 'Storm' (Which reminds me of Tim Minchin's great beat-poem) and apart from a few very close family members, nobody knows whether the baby's a boy or a girl.

The parents have both experimented with gender and don't believe in the restrictive roles that society expects that boys and girls should adhere to.

What do you think, FES? is this a good idea to let a child grow up without societal impositions on whom they 'should' be, or is it just alienating and needlessly politicising their kid?
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: ﮎingulaЯiτy on May 24, 2011, 09:39:18 AM
I think he/she is too young to really experience social restrictions. Whether or not I'm concerned is a function of how long they plan on keeping this up. Also, I think naming their kid Storm already will put a social burden on him/her.

And I think of X-men.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Jack1704 on May 24, 2011, 11:03:48 AM
I hate people like this.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: General Douchebag on May 24, 2011, 11:32:41 AM
Interesting as a thought experiment, but that kid is going to have a hell of a time in society.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: CheesusCrust on May 24, 2011, 12:32:38 PM
And I think of X-men.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 24, 2011, 12:59:46 PM
I think he/she is too young to really experience social restrictions. Whether or not I'm concerned is a function of how long they plan on keeping this up. Also, I think naming their kid Storm already will put a social burden on him/her.

And I think of X-men.

How fitting, since X-men is a parable for homosexuality. Not saying that homosexuality is a gender issue of course, but these things are loosely interconnected. Anyway, Storm is going to have a tough time with physical education and school restrooms at the very least, and simply making friends is going to be problematic in a worst case scenario. Growing up, I saw a lot of gender roles being enforced quite hardly from the pupils in my school. Girls didn't get to play soccer with the boys, some restrooms were for boys only and vice versa, despite there being no policy on this, and the genders were generally very segregated.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Saddam Hussein on May 24, 2011, 01:02:08 PM
This is ridiculous.  I'm all for transgender rights, but to suggest that societal influences on an individual determine gender roles is nonsense.  What will inevitably happen is that at he or she grows older, the child will identify with his or her "correct" gender.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 24, 2011, 01:38:25 PM
And that has nothing to do with societal influences, I'm sure.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Hazbollah on May 24, 2011, 02:08:18 PM
But if it has a dick and talks with a deeper voice, it will know it's a lad. I honestly have no idea what this is meant to achieve.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Eddy Baby on May 24, 2011, 02:22:59 PM
I guess the idea is that gender is arguably bestowed on a child in its first couple of years.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Chris Spaghetti on May 24, 2011, 02:31:28 PM
The idea from their point of view is to let the child develop its own sense of gender. If families know their a boy then they'll start to buy them male-oriented presents, blue clothes etc which then reinforces in the child's mind that society expects them to live up to male gender archetypes
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 24, 2011, 02:32:37 PM
Even though the blue clothes do absolutely fuck-all except for letting other people know it's a boy and react accordingly. I also hear that the gender-based colours were flipped up until fairly recently.(read: 100 years or so ago.) I'm not sure if this is simply an urban myth, though.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Hazbollah on May 24, 2011, 02:43:24 PM
The idea from their point of view is to let the child develop its own sense of gender. If families know their a boy then they'll start to buy them male-oriented presents, blue clothes etc which then reinforces in the child's mind that society expects them to live up to male gender archetypes
But gender is a fact of life, a matter of chance. If a child is a boy or a girl, it should be treated accordingly. Why try to change your nature?
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Chris Spaghetti on May 24, 2011, 03:11:16 PM
The idea from their point of view is to let the child develop its own sense of gender. If families know their a boy then they'll start to buy them male-oriented presents, blue clothes etc which then reinforces in the child's mind that society expects them to live up to male gender archetypes
But gender is a fact of life, a matter of chance. If a child is a boy or a girl, it should be treated accordingly. Why try to change your nature?

Because gender roles are at least as much dependant on society as nature. Why should we expect boys to want to play with bulldozer toys and girls to play with dress-up dolls, for instance? The reason we have so few women in science and engineering roles is partly due to the gender archetypes we try to make kids fit into.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Jack1704 on May 24, 2011, 03:53:34 PM
Interesting as a thought experiment, but that kid is going to have a hell of a time in society.
Agreed mate. They are projecting their feelings/desires/beliefs on to another person who will never be able to make a choice on this for quite some time and ultimately screw the main years of their life up.

Probably not going to get parent of the year award. In fact Joseph Fritzl is odds on compaed to them.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Saddam Hussein on May 24, 2011, 04:26:56 PM
And that has nothing to do with societal influences, I'm sure.

Which is why I italicized "individual".
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 24, 2011, 04:49:07 PM
I doubt they'll be able to keep the kids gender a secret long enough for it to do any damage. 
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Eddy Baby on May 24, 2011, 05:54:00 PM
Normally when I'm not sure I just cop a feel.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: parsec on May 24, 2011, 08:12:10 PM
I hate people like this.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Vindictus on May 24, 2011, 08:24:13 PM
I don't see the point in it.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wakka Wakka on May 24, 2011, 10:54:10 PM
Normally when I'm not sure I just cop a feel.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 24, 2011, 11:02:49 PM
lol, Son-Goku.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: sillyrob on May 24, 2011, 11:20:51 PM
Normally when I'm not sure I just cop a feel.
Nice, groping 1 year olds!
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Horatio on May 25, 2011, 03:34:33 AM
I wish my parents had decided to use me as part of a social experiment too.

Quote
Jazz — soft-spoken, with a slight frame and curious brown eyes — keeps his hair long, preferring to wear it in three braids, two in the front and one in the back, even though both his parents have close-cropped hair. His favourite colour is pink, although his parents don’t own a piece of pink clothing between them. He loves to paint his fingernails and wears a sparkly pink stud in one ear, despite the fact his parents wear no nail polish or jewelry.

Kio keeps his curly blond hair just below his chin. The 2-year-old loves purple, although he’s happiest in any kind of pyjama pants.

“As a result, Jazz and now Kio are almost exclusively assumed to be girls,” says Stocker, adding he and Witterick don’t out them. It’s the boys’ choice whether they want to offer a correction.

On a recent trip to High Park, Jazz, wearing pink shorts, patterned pink socks and brightly coloured elastics on his braids, runs and skips across the street.

“That’s a princess!” says a smiling crossing guard, ushering the little boy along. “And that’s a princess, too,” she says again, pointing at Kio with her big red sign.

Jazz doesn’t mind. One of his favourite books is 10,000 Dresses, the story of a boy who loves to dress up. But he doesn’t like being called a girl. Recently, he asked his mom to write a note on his application to the High Park Nature Centre because he likes the group leaders and wants them to know he’s a boy.

Jazz was old enough for school last September, but chose to stay home. “When we would go and visit programs, people — children and adults — would immediately react with Jazz over his gender,” says Witterick, adding the conversation would gravitate to his choice of pink or his hairstyle.

That’s mostly why he doesn’t want to go to school. When asked if it upsets him, he nods, but doesn’t say more.

Instead he grabs a handmade portfolio filled with his drawings and poems. In its pages is a booklet written under his pseudonym, the “Gender Explorer.” In purple and pink lettering, adorned with butterflies, it reads: “Help girls do boy things. Help boys do girl things. Let your kid be whoever they are!”
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Chris Spaghetti on May 25, 2011, 03:54:55 AM
As far as the parents are concerned the bullying and assumptions that he's a girl are purely society's fault. Why, just because he likes to dress and act in a way which is traditionally seen as 'girly,' should it be OK to make fun of and bully him?
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Eddy Baby on May 25, 2011, 04:24:49 AM
I used to be mistaken for a girl as a child, and look at me now.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 25, 2011, 07:35:56 AM
When I was a toddler, people assumed I was a girl. then my mother had my thick, curly hair cut short because she grew tired of correcting them. Also, how is a child genderless if he as a boy almost exclusively likes girly things? That is the picture the article is painting about the elder of the brothers, anyway.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Hazbollah on May 25, 2011, 09:45:16 AM
As far as the parents are concerned the bullying and assumptions that he's a girl are purely society's fault. Why, just because he likes to dress and act in a way which is traditionally seen as 'girly,' should it be OK to make fun of and bully him?
Well, the way I see it, genders have specific roles within society. This is the reason they exist the way they do. If a man acts like a woman (swooning at the sight of some daffodils or shit like that) then yes, it is fine to make fun of him because it is quite amusing. Likewise if a woman acts like a man.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Mugthulhu on May 25, 2011, 09:48:34 AM
It's not amusing if a woman acts like a man. It's just plain scary.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 25, 2011, 10:10:04 AM
I'm always swooning at the sight of daffodils.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Hazbollah on May 25, 2011, 11:03:32 AM
It's not amusing if a woman acts like a man. It's just plain scary.
True, it is quite tragic.
I'm always swooning at the sight of daffodils.
Eh. The example was bad.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 25, 2011, 11:08:26 AM
What is it about a woman "acting" like a man that scares you so much?
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Hazbollah on May 25, 2011, 11:27:34 AM
What is it about a woman "acting" like a man that scares you so much?
If that was directed at me, I don't find it scary. To be honest, people have a right to do wtf they want, but others have a right to take the mickey.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 25, 2011, 11:33:51 AM
Beardo said women who act like men are scary, I was wondering what was so scary about them.  I've known some mannish women, but they weren't scary or anything. I don't think they were acting, it's just how they were.

I also wonder what it means to "act like a man".

Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 25, 2011, 11:43:14 AM
Acting like a man is very different for different situations. Often-times, it's about showing a strong, confident side of yourself and asserting yourself as a leader. This isn't universally manly, of course, and acting like this can be healthy and productive for women as well. Many men just tend to be intimidated by strong females.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 25, 2011, 11:46:43 AM
Yes, I reckon the more conservative males prefer their women stay in the kitchen.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Mrs. Peach on May 25, 2011, 12:00:03 PM
Acting like a man is very different for different situations. Often-times, it's about showing a strong, confident side of yourself and asserting yourself as a leader. This isn't universally manly, of course, and acting like this can be healthy and productive for women as well. Many men just tend to be intimidated by strong females.

This is the reason some girls fall into the trap of pretending to be stupid.  However, some societal stereotypes appear to me to coincide with reality (excepting William Wordsworth who did swoon over daffodils.) 
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 25, 2011, 12:04:36 PM
I'd rather swoon over tomatoes.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Mrs. Peach on May 25, 2011, 12:07:27 PM
You and me both but I won't have any to swoon over till the end of June.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Chris Spaghetti on May 25, 2011, 12:30:27 PM
As far as the parents are concerned the bullying and assumptions that he's a girl are purely society's fault. Why, just because he likes to dress and act in a way which is traditionally seen as 'girly,' should it be OK to make fun of and bully him?
Well, the way I see it, genders have specific roles within society. This is the reason they exist the way they do. If a man acts like a woman (swooning at the sight of some daffodils or shit like that) then yes, it is fine to make fun of him because it is quite amusing. Likewise if a woman acts like a man.

This is exactly the sort of attitude they hope to change. Why should a woman not be accepted on, say, a building site if she's up to the job? These attitudes are keeping a good number of women away from science, engineering, construction, and top positions in offices. Once upon a time it was universally accepted that women had no role to play in politics (Hrm, if only we'd kept that view until Margaret Thatcher popped her iron clogs.)

Surely Billy Elliot taught you not to underestimate male ballet dancers?
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: CheesusCrust on May 25, 2011, 12:59:07 PM
What is it about a woman "acting" like a man that scares you so much?

(http://tour.ftvideo.com/content/genex/profiles/JeanniePaparone//_/34010A.jpg)
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 25, 2011, 01:03:24 PM
that is not acting like a man.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Chris Spaghetti on May 25, 2011, 01:08:38 PM
In fairness, male bodybuilders scare me, too:

(http://www.whatpoll.com/Posts/male%20bodybuilders%202030.jpg)
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 25, 2011, 01:20:51 PM
Bodybuilders don't scare me. When the nuclear winter hits, I know they and the absurdly obese will die first, along with the people with eating disorders. It's mean biker dudes(and chicks!) that scare me.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 25, 2011, 01:39:19 PM
I think it's kind of weird how people (myself included) react to people who don't behave the way we expect them to. 

It's perfectly acceptable for men to swoon over monster trucks, motorcycles, and guns  but not  daffodils.  Women may swoon over flowers, jewelry, clothes and shoes, but not a shiny new power drill.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 25, 2011, 01:45:16 PM
Women can swoon over a powerdrill all they want in my book. I just savour the symbolism. Also, I like the choice of words here. What I would describe men as doing over monster trucks, motorcycles and guns is not swooning, but gushing. Whenever somebody mentions swooning, I think of Victorian women having fainting spells because of their tight corsets.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 25, 2011, 03:48:38 PM
I'm glad I wasn't born in the Victorian era, I can hardly stand to wear a bra. I think I'll go burn something.

My brother just bought a Harley, if there was a squishy hole on it somewhere I'm sure he'd fuck it.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Mrs. Peach on May 25, 2011, 04:42:41 PM
Once I went swanning around and swooned over a swain.


Excuse please, I have felt exceptionally silly for over a week now.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 25, 2011, 05:48:21 PM
Is it terribly unmanly to swoon over flowers, or anything beautiful? 
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: sillyrob on May 25, 2011, 07:30:55 PM
Is it terribly unmanly to swoon over flowers, or anything beautiful? 
Yes, if you swoon over flowers and are a man, you probably like taking it in the butt.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 25, 2011, 10:43:25 PM
Is it terribly unmanly to swoon over flowers, or anything beautiful? 

Stereotypically, yes. In my opinion? No.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Eddy Baby on May 25, 2011, 11:15:27 PM
Although men are always swooning over beautiful women, and there's not much more feminine than that, the bunch of gays.


Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: frostee on May 25, 2011, 11:58:10 PM
I think this is wrong. God created men and women for a purpose, and thus not revealing the gender of a newborn goes against God's law.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 26, 2011, 01:41:41 AM
Actually, that sounds pretty similar to what some Christians I know might say about this.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: CheesusCrust on May 26, 2011, 02:06:57 AM
I would replace "swoon" with "appreciate".

I appreciate beautiful things, sunsets, flowers, women, scenery etc. Doesn't sound unmanly anymore does it?
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 26, 2011, 03:19:35 AM
If we're looking purely at stereotypes here, men are often bored by flowers and pretty scenery. Me, though, I sometimes take a moment just staring at the plains and fields outside my window and observing their simple beauty.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: CheesusCrust on May 26, 2011, 05:33:28 AM
True men appreciate beautiful things.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Parsifal on May 26, 2011, 06:07:17 AM
The fact that this is even newsworthy is symptomatic of a fundamental problem in society. I fully support these parents' decision.

It's not amusing if a woman acts like a man. It's just plain scary.

Let's examine another sentence of this form:

It's not amusing if a black guy acts like a white guy. It's just plain scary.

100 years ago, this wouldn't have raised an eyebrow. Today, it's considered taboo in most contexts. Fundamentally, it is no different to what you've said; you are creating stereotypes for how two groups of people are supposed to behave, and then drawing a conclusion based on those stereotypes and not on reality.

I am consistently amazed by how Western culture, with all of its outlaws and taboos on specific categories of discrimination, accepts gender stereotypes without question.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Mrs. Peach on May 26, 2011, 07:07:42 AM
Swooning requires fainting on a Victorian sofa and having cool lavender water rubbed on the wrists.  Let us not lose the nuances of language. 
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Eddy Baby on May 26, 2011, 07:10:11 AM
I engaged in fisticuffs with a gentleman this afternoon. I struck him in such a way that he swooned.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Mrs. Peach on May 26, 2011, 07:29:11 AM
Yeah. "I engaged in fisticuffs with a gentleman this afternoon. I struck him in such a way that he appreciated" just doesn't cut it.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 26, 2011, 07:59:48 AM
Exactly.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: CheesusCrust on May 26, 2011, 08:28:47 AM
Maybe their next kid will be named Wolverine.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 26, 2011, 10:00:04 AM
Y'all know I didn't mean swoon literally.  I was using Hazbollah's example of women "swooning over daffodils". 

Also, this thread has given me a new appreciation of Wendy.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Mrs. Peach on May 26, 2011, 10:41:46 AM
I know.  I'm just congenitally unable to keep from wandering off the subject.


Also, this thread has given me a new appreciation of Wendy.
Hazbollah is shaping up nicely as well.

 :)
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 26, 2011, 10:48:25 AM
Hrmm, I had the impression that Hazbollah wanted the womenfolk to stay in the kitchen.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Mrs. Peach on May 26, 2011, 11:38:53 AM
I think maybe he just has a nice romantic view of girl behaviour.  Either way, his nose is probably itching.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 26, 2011, 11:45:23 AM
I could swoon over a daffodil if it would make him happy! Well.. there aren't many daffodils down here, too hot.  I'll swoon over a cucumber instead.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: berny_74 on May 26, 2011, 03:02:31 PM
I could swoon over a daffodil if it would make him happy! Well.. there aren't many daffodils down here, too hot.  I'll swoon over a cucumber instead.

Okay I am really interested in how a cucumber is going to make you swoon. 

Berny
Really - Really dirty mind
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 26, 2011, 04:37:35 PM
Cucumbers are very exciting, imo.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 27, 2011, 03:01:35 AM
I'll bet they are. ;) Also, new appreciation? You didn't appreciate me before I expressed dissatisfaction with traditional gender roles? I think I need to go cry now.
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Space Cowgirl on May 27, 2011, 09:49:22 AM
No no, I appreciated you before, but now I have a new appreciation.  It's like when you forget you like someone or thing and then you see the person or thing again and remember. Something like that.

EDIT

OR.. just thought of it this way.  I appreciated you before, but now I have something new to appreciate you for. 
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on May 29, 2011, 01:24:35 PM
Aww. :-*
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Lord Wilmore on June 02, 2011, 03:15:35 AM
Sorry for the bump, but this is a relevant book which I recommend to everyone:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middlesex_%28novel%29


But let's have some fun. I personally feel that our biology must to some extent determine our behaviour. After all, nobody who accepts mainstream medical science seriously doubts this basic idea. However, it's also clear that gender roles are to some extent culturally determined. The question is, to what extent does our sex influence our gender?
Title: Re: Genderless parenting
Post by: Wendy on June 02, 2011, 03:27:57 AM
I believe it all varies from person to person. The mere presence of transsexuals to me proves pretty  consistently that sex has very little if any effect in determining the gender of some people. For myself, I believe my gender is very much influenced by the fact that I am biologically male, no matter how much my signature disagrees.