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Storm's mother responds

(39 Posts)
dittany Thu 02-Jun-11 19:47:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bumperlicioso Thu 02-Jun-11 19:53:33

I can kind of understand it. People shouldn't need Storm's sex to guide how they act towards him or her. However, from all the reading I've done on this case I think she gives her children way too much control and responsibility. It doesn't sound like she sets any boundaries, and children need boundaries, they need to be taught about the world as well as discovering it for themselves.

msrisotto Thu 02-Jun-11 19:59:34

Not mad. Idealistic perhaps.

dittany Thu 02-Jun-11 20:21:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AyeRobot Thu 02-Jun-11 20:35:19

Given that restricting Disney films is seen as cruel and pointless, I am surprised if they are surprised at the reaction they get to this.

I get it. I just don't think Western society (I don't know enough about others to make a claim) is in a place where this action is anything other than alienating for the children.

celadon Thu 02-Jun-11 22:51:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MillyR Thu 02-Jun-11 23:03:20

I just really don't understand what the point of it is.

celadon Thu 02-Jun-11 23:06:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MillyR Thu 02-Jun-11 23:13:37

Maybe I've just had it easy because I have a boy and a girl, so they've always had a range of toys to play with and a range of activities to do, without me ever having to really think too much about gender. This was the same for me growing up with a brother and sister. I suppose if you have only boys or only girls, you are conscious of breaking some kind of rule if you bring a doll or a truck or some other 'wrongly' gendered toy for them to play with. But in general, I don't think a lot of the choices that children have about gendered activities are a big deal, if your family has both boys and girls doing both anyway.

DS is 13 and was mistaken for a girl this week. My mother and I were referred to as 'sonny and mister' when queuing for something when I was about 10.

Apart from DS wanting to a dance class and feeling he can't because he is a boy, I have not seen gender make any difference in making choices. It makes a big difference in how people treat you, but people are going to know this child's gender within a couple of years anyway.

MillyR Thu 02-Jun-11 23:21:33

It is just so completely out of step with the rest of society; I think they need to tell their children that. I think they need to explain to their children that their perspective is totally different to everyone else's.

It is just so odd. I'm just thinking of one of the older siblings in a french lesson being asked (as you are) in French, have you got a brother or a sister, and the poor child having to respond in French, as their mother claims she has taught them to say:

'someone else's genitals and sense of how they relate to their gender is their private business, to be shared by them or in a context where safety and acceptance are paramount.'

That is one extreme response.

HuckingFell Thu 02-Jun-11 23:24:28

there's a good girl is a fascinating diary of a mothers first 3 years with a daughter. It is clear that babies of known gender are treated differently from the opposing gender from birth. I recommend the book whole heartedly.

I will be fascinated to read the outcome of this, but it is not really a full experiment as the close family are aware of the gender and stereotyping will slide in regardless.

I would be very surprised if the baby isn't a girl btw. Most gender stereotyping is positive towards boys often denigrating girls to emphasise masculinity as superior.

celadon Thu 02-Jun-11 23:32:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

madwomanintheattic Fri 03-Jun-11 05:55:40

millyr, they've already been through the language conundrum. they went on holiday and becasue their language skills weren't up to explaining their gender policy, they flipped a coin to decide whether to tell people s/he was a boy or a girl. sos/he was a boy for the week of the holiday. grin

not that they'll have french lessons in school anyway, being unschooled and all...

WriterofDreams Fri 03-Jun-11 10:01:27

I get what they're trying to do in a totally intellectual sense but I think it's wrong to experiment with children in this way. If anyone is interested there is a very good book by Steven Pinker called The Blank Slate, which talks a lot about the research into what influences the development of children. One of the most striking findings is that it's the child's peers, rather than his or her parents that have the most impact on almost every aspect of social development. So clearly being part of a peer group and being accepted is very very important. If parents mark a child out as different and deny them access to peer groups, through strong religious or political beliefs such as these then the child runs a very real risk of being ostracised and basically having a miserable childhood. Expecting a small child to go against the grain of something so fundamental to society is really too much.

Now if the same child made the conscious decision to follow this experiment as a teenager (if that were possible - perhaps if they moved country or something) then that would be fair enough, and very interesting, but foisting it on a child really isn't fair IMO.

LRDTheFeministDragon Fri 03-Jun-11 10:18:45

I'm sorry, I'm a bad person but I find it very very hard not to be cynical here and think they are not doing this for the purest and most altruistic motives. I don't understand why they didn't keep it very very quiet?

BooBooGlass Fri 03-Jun-11 10:21:02

They flipped a coin? That is just the most confusing thing for me. WHy flip a coin? Why not just tell the trth. And why are they making such a big deal out of this? Why the need to haul their lives and their dc through the press?

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 03-Jun-11 11:12:42

I think it's quite a good idea. Storm is only a baby and doubtless by the time s/he is at the age when they start undressing themselves in public at every opportunity (not sure how old this is but all toddlers I know seem to have gone through it) then everyone will know what sex s/he is and the story will be over.

I don't know why it's such a problem to give your child a few months of freedom in early life from being put into a pink box or a blue one.

DirtyMartini Fri 03-Jun-11 11:22:59

Agree, their motives are very opaque; I'm not saying they are necessarily suspect (I can't think of an ulterior motive apart from attention-seeking/pursuit of a book deal) but it does mystify me why they would want to make it a public issue. Who does that help?

Interesting what you said too Writer.

DirtyMartini Fri 03-Jun-11 11:26:27

Elephants: but then if the baby would be affected by being put in a "pink box or a blue one", I suppose you could argue that being put in the "different from all peers" box might not be great either (cf Writer's point).

By extension, the glare of publicity etc is surely not that great for their family as a whole? I am speculating of course, but it seems an odd thing to court.

Maybe I don't know enough about the background.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 03-Jun-11 11:28:48

I don't know, Dirty, but whenever one of my friends has a baby and I find myself asking whether it's a boy or a girl, I listen to myself and think why do I ask/care/need to know? It's a baby. Unless you believe lots of rubbish about how boys and girls are soooo different and think that nail varnish is toxic to growing boys etc then what does it matter?

AlfalfaMum Fri 03-Jun-11 11:39:28

I don't like all th gender stereotyping our kids get bombarded with either, but the irony is that by saying Storm's gender isn't important they have made made Storm's gender a massive issue. Bit counterproductive hmm

I like where they're coming from ideologically, although I dont see why they have to be so media-hungry.

silverfrog Fri 03-Jun-11 11:42:52

I wonder about htis kind of thing a lot.

I have 2 girls (background information)

dd1 has ASD, and is therefore not aware of most social conventions - obviously we work hard on the important ones, but artificial constructs - the girls are demure and sweet, boys are loud and boisterous kind - are beyond her.

dd2 is a tiny little petite thing. always has been. as a baby, at toddler groups etc, she was often described as a "perfect little doll" - she was pretty, and tiny, and mostly a very quiet baby, so I kind of get that.

as a 4 year old, she is anythign BUT quiet. she is still small, of course. and she loves wearing dresses. but that is where the "girly" bit (in the strictest stereotyping way) ends. she is loud, and loves rushing about.

but at pre-school, she is the quietest little thing - always plays with the home corner stuff/mums nd babies/really girly games. she is always referred to as "a sweet little thing", "very dainty" etc. I just can't see it, tbh - obv she is sweet and lovely wink but dainty she ain't grin - if she were a boy, she would be being described as rough and tumble etc.

so why is she so different at pre-school? is it purely because of the way she is reacted to/treated as she wears lovely dresses, never looks anything but immaculate (even with food dribbles/non-ironed etc - I am no domestic goddess!).

she has home corner toys at home, and does play with them, but not exclusively. she often wanders about "fixing" stuff with a hammer, and loves her doctor's kit (and she is emphatically "doctor dd2" not "nurse dd2" grin)

I htink it would be really interesting to see how people reacted to her if they didn't know her gender, and reacted purely on her thoughts, words and deeds, rather than pigeon holing her.

DirtyMartini Fri 03-Jun-11 11:56:04

"why do I ask/care/need to know?"

I can understand this, yeah. But on the other hand, I do find that I'm interested in knowing whether someone's had a boy or a girl. I honestly don't think it's because I regard them as different; like you say, babies are babies and I certainly agree that at that stage it doesn't matter.

I suppose that when my friends have one, I am asking at least partly because I know they will be looking ahead to their future with a growing daughter or son, and I'm interested in happily sharing in those idle musings about the family's future and being able to speculatively imagine the growing child who will be part of it.

When I meet a stranger with a baby and get chatting I don't always ask, unless the conversation gets involved enough that I need to refer to the baby with a pronoun grin. If they had a problem with this I'd be mighty surprised and a little confused. But it would still be fair enough I guess. If they then went on to be all over the media with it though, I'd be a bit dubious, as I am here.

Like I say though, I'm sure there is background I don't know as I've only read intermittently about this family, mostly on MN.

dittany Fri 03-Jun-11 11:59:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 03-Jun-11 12:04:16

Yes but when I see babies out and about I don't panic if I can't immediately identify from the pink/blue/bows/toy trucks etc what sex the baby is. It's none of my business. I don't undestand why dressing your child in a "gender neutral" (i.e. perfectly normal) way is fine, but not telling people what gender it is is wrong.

Like I said, if they were planning on doing this FOREVER or banning Storm from ever mentioning it, that would be weird, but they're not - are they? It's just while s/he is a baby.

And I thought that someone had done a story in the local paper, then followed it up nationally, then internationally etc - where are people getting the info that the parents have strived to put this story out there. More likely it's just caused so much comment that media sources have picked it up.

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