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The genderless baby

(49 Posts)
Cadpat Wed 25-May-11 04:07:59

Have you guys seen this? This Canadian couple is raising their youngest to be genderless, as in, no one except a few people know if it's a girl or boy.

Found it very interesting myself, was wondering what you guys think?

Link here

CheerfulYank Wed 25-May-11 04:19:46

I think it's stupid. And that kid is obviously a boy. And they're just trying to copy that Swedish couple who called their kid "Pop" in the media. smile

HelloOutThere Wed 25-May-11 08:44:14

Wonder what their point is? Any one who as they say "defines you by what's between your legs" isnt worth knowing anyway surely hmm

some people just try to be different I think, and end up looking silly.

fartmeistergeneral Wed 25-May-11 16:15:58

Ugh, far too much like hard work. I'd be really interested to see how long this lasts before he is 'defined' as a boy. Can you imagine how many times they would have to say 'we're not divulging the gender'. Whether or not they want to do this, the rest of the world will not indulge. I just don't see the point. Surely they can raise him to be a decent human being who doesn't judge others by their gender without all this nonsense?

MoreCrackThanHarlem Wed 25-May-11 16:26:58

Very interesting from a sociological perspective but feel it is a rather risky experiment to conduct on a child.

MotherPanda Wed 25-May-11 16:39:42

I was a bit hmm at the picture of storms older brother...

I don't think babies have a lot to do with gender to be honest (I know mine will be wearing boys and girls hand me downs) - there isnt a huge amount of differnce untill they get to toddler stage, but Jazz is a bit older and we do live in a society where gender seperates you.

Jazz looked like a girl, so i'm not sure thats genderless.

Which bathroom will they use in town? How will teachers line them up (the boy, girl, boy, girl is still a firm favourite with lots of teachers)

I think its an interesting idea, but i just feel its a bit cruel. I think its nice if the kids really do choose everything, but are they being refused generic boy clothing (action man camo stuff etc). I just feel like theyre being pushed to the girl side, then again - thats the picture speaking.

The children cant really decide what they want to do with their genders, as they're learning from their parents...

hmmmmmmm......... I don't like it.

OonaghBhuna Wed 25-May-11 17:57:46

The parents are setting their children up to be targets for bullying.I think their behaviour is actually verging on abusive. I dont really understand the point they are trying to make or whether it is an experiment, I dont really care I just think they are being cruel.

OonaghBhuna Wed 25-May-11 17:59:39

I agree Jazz does look like a girl especially with the long how on earth can that be genderless?????????? ffs they are barking

mathanxiety Wed 25-May-11 18:22:11

"Stocker, 39, and Witterick, 38, believe kids can make meaningful decisions for themselves from a very early age.

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

Obviously they don't get irony.

(Since they 'unschool' the children won't even be able to get back at the parents with a first novel.)

ChippingIn Wed 25-May-11 18:38:36

They are barking and cruel.

mathanxiety can you please explain what you mean by your final comment.

LynetteScavo Wed 25-May-11 18:53:28

"How will teachers line them up (the boy, girl, boy, girl is still a firm favourite with lots of teachers)"

DD likes to line up with the boys. To her teachers credit she is usually allowed.

ChippingIn Wed 25-May-11 19:06:30

There's no way he/she will get to school age without knowing if he/she is a boy or a girl.

Also, unless they don't allow the older kids to mix with anyone else or they have some magic potion there's no way it will stay a secret for long... kids that age are too gobby! smile

LaughingAunt Wed 25-May-11 19:08:50

My sister did tell every one what the sex of her baby was, but she refused to stero gender type. (Is that the right phrase? I'm exhausted)

Anyway, he had a unisex name, and wore unisex clothes Actually my sister let him wear any clothes. She would have let him wear pink dresses, but when she took him shopping and told him he could choose any clothes at all he chose school uniform- his school didn't have a uniform). He had a unisex hairstyle for much of his child hood; longish hair, not tied up, his choice.

As a teenager her was pretty normal, if a bit emo (although I'm not sure emo had been invented then hmm)

He is now a very blokey bloke, with a DD with a very frilly, name who always wears pink. The mother of his child is a feminist, who couldn't really care less what her baby, it's definitely him pushing the pink.

mathanxiety Wed 25-May-11 19:10:26

Having read the whole article through it's clear that at least Jazz can read and write, so maybe s/he will one day write a novel about his/her experiences growing up. I think when your life seems to be devoted to one cause (and maybe the article skewed their life to emphasise this one element of it) your children are bound to end up with at least a small chip on the shoulder. Sad to see that Jazz already spends some of his/her time pondering the concerns of his/her parents.

I think unschooling means that the children will go through the first part of their lives in a sort of social vacuum and be unable to really appreciate the extent to which they are being raised differently from others (although the contents of Jazz's folder indicate s/he is aware of at least gender issues). It may hit them all the harder when they grow older.

I know a child who is being brought up in a Steiner community who drops references to gnomes and other steinerish elements in conversation as if the facts of her world are commonly held by all and I wonder how she will adapt as her world grows larger. Her parents are very committed to the Steiner thing.

CheerfulYank Wed 25-May-11 19:52:29

It's all well and good to say "let your kids be whoever they are," but I get the feeling that if any of the brothers acted like a "stereotypical" boy, it wouldn't be allowed.

It's great to let your children be and feel what is right for them, but they are not blank slates. This case is interesting. And terribly sad.

mathanxiety Wed 25-May-11 20:02:21

I get that feeling too, CheerfulYank. They are actually living in an environment where their parents' views are not being challenged except occasionally by random individuals (the feather boa woman for instance).

suwoo Wed 25-May-11 20:10:30

That case is indeed as you describe it, yank, interesting and sad. I have been studying some of Judith Butlers work on gender being performative. I wonder what she would make of that case?

OonaghBhuna Wed 25-May-11 22:42:14

I find the focus on gender weird we should encourage our children to be proud of who and what they are, surely????? I know of some people who refused to put pink on their baby girls was ok to put blue on their baby boys.....Also I know of a family close by who dont want to gender stereotype their boy and girl so instead their 5 yr old girl looks and dresses like a boy and thier 7 year old boy has long hair and actually looks like a girl WTF I dont understand people like this.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 25-May-11 23:03:46

The David Reimer case mentioned earlier rather demonstrated that, far from being an artificial or learned social construct, gender identity can be extremely fundamental. Assuming the child is not kept in isolation, whatever experiment the parents choose to indulge in, at some point the child itself will demand to be recognised for who & what they are. Sooner rather than later, let's hope smile

OonaghBhuna Wed 25-May-11 23:37:31

yep theres always hope. Thankfully children rebel against their parents in lol

TwoIfBySea Thu 26-May-11 00:25:18


And I speak as someone who bought a (rather groovy Ikea) dolls house for her dts. Right enough it did look like an episode of CSI My House in each of the rooms after they'd finished and there were Daleks in the basement...

mathanxiety Thu 26-May-11 00:33:28

Well I'm speaking as a mother of some really girly girls who love long hair and nail polish and all things pink who have never got anything but As in maths..

MrsShrekTheThird Thu 26-May-11 00:51:09

my 7yo ds was playing with dolls at the dinner table this evening. feeding and dressing them. Whilst his pockets were full of stones, worms and earwigs. Now that's one balanced little chap. DD was playing with lego and the toy cars.
By this I mean that you can easily avoid gender stereotypes without the cruel 'experiment' (which if it were such, would be unethical and therefore not allowed) of doing "no gender". I just think it's weird and attention seeking.

Cadpat Thu 26-May-11 00:53:24

Well, I am still keen to see how this pans out. I have a 3 yo girl, who's as girly as you can imagine... loves pretty dresses, and Dora, and Tinkerbell, but also whose fave toy is her toolbox, loves playing ice hockey and soccer... contradictions, essentially, but that's just who she is.

Recently she's been having a bit of a 'I am girl' moment, as in Mummy, you and I are girls and Daddy is a boy thing. But it doesn't stop her from following her own path...

I find this whole business slightly, well, sincere, I suppose, because in doing what they're doing, they are STILL making choices for their kids, iyswim? Except they're being rather holier than thou about it all.

madwomanintheattic Thu 26-May-11 01:01:21

i hadn't realised that was the john/joan one, yank. hadn't heard his real name before. only got to the 'johns hopkins' before i twigged though.

has anyone got any follow-up to the 'pop' swedish couple? not seen anything for a while.

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