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Keeping a baby's sex secret after birth

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13581835

Here's an interesting story I found, would love to hear your views on it. Basically, I encourage you to read the story (especially the Toronto Star story- more informative I feel), but the outline is:

Couple have a third child. They aren't revealing if it is female or male, so that it can grow up who it wants to be, without any stereotypes being imposed on it. They already have two boys, who have had free choice in what they want to wear and look like etc etc.

A lot of people are against it it seems, but, personally, I give them credit for allowing their children to be who they are, without wrapping them up and telling them what they should be and what they should dress like and play with. Maybe when the children are older they (the children) will change their views on "who they are" or what they want to conform too, but that would be their decision alone I guess. I think children are controlled too much nowadays, but that's my opinion in it.
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Tbh i think that kids gonna be mightily confused. What about when he/she goes to playschool? At that age kids learn the difference between men and women, what they look like, how they behave etc, he/she isnt gonna know what to do, or what they should be!! Other kids may not want to interact as they wouldnt know how to be around them if that makes sense.

    Im all for giving kids freewill to be who they want to be etc, but they do need at least some structure in life
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whilst I'm all for children deciding what clothes they wear, etc. I think they may have gone a bit too far on this. I don't know - I just find it strange that the child's grandparents don't even know the gender.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    Whilst I'm all for children deciding what clothes they wear, etc. I think they may have gone a bit too far on this. I don't know - I just find it strange that the child's grandparents don't even know the gender.

    I must admit I found that bit a bit strange.

    I think the children will develop gender identities when they head to school later in life anyway?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Absolutely ridiculous. It reminds me of the Monty Python sketch with Eric Idle claiming he wants to be a woman for the sole reason he can have babies.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think the children will develop gender identities when they head to school later in life anyway?

    Yes. I vaguely remember a girl at school who wanted to be a boy. Her parents opinion was that it's her choice.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I cant see that this will make any diffrence to how the child develops as far as gender is concerned.
    As soon as the child becomes aware of who people are then a sense of genders will soon follow we all know the diffrence between between mum and dad etc.
    Dressing the child in nuetral clothes and only allowing neutral toys is going to be nigh on impossible.
    Gender let me tell you is in built, it is in your brain not in your clothes, toys or your parents attitudes or even the body you are born into.
    I personally believe that gender is not something you can influence with nurture one way or the other.
    The chances are this child is a perfectly normal boy or girl who will grow up to be a normal happy boy or girl, if the child decides they would rather be the opposite gender then that would be the time for these parents to step up to the mark and show how commited they are and how much love they have, sadly this rarely happens!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Louisek wrote: »
    I cant see that this will make any diffrence to how the child develops as far as gender is concerned.
    As soon as the child becomes aware of who people are then a sense of genders will soon follow we all know the diffrence between between mum and dad etc.
    Dressing the child in nuetral clothes and only allowing neutral toys is going to be nigh on impossible.
    Gender let me tell you is in built, it is in your brain not in your clothes, toys or your parents attitudes or even the body you are born into.
    I personally believe that gender is not something you can influence with nurture one way or the other.
    The chances are this child is a perfectly normal boy or girl who will grow up to be a normal happy boy or girl, if the child decides they would rather be the opposite gender then that would be the time for these parents to step up to the mark and show how commited they are and how much love they have, sadly this rarely happens!

    This
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Interesting. I'm definitely not opposed to that, as Louise said if it will matter to him/her it will anyway. I don't see a potential for him/her getting hurt. But it's interesting as an experiment so to speak.
    Louisek wrote: »
    I cant see that this will make any diffrence to how the child develops as far as gender is concerned.
    As soon as the child becomes aware of who people are then a sense of genders will soon follow we all know the diffrence between between mum and dad etc.
    Dressing the child in nuetral clothes and only allowing neutral toys is going to be nigh on impossible.
    Gender let me tell you is in built, it is in your brain not in your clothes, toys or your parents attitudes or even the body you are born into.
    I personally believe that gender is not something you can influence with nurture one way or the other.
    The chances are this child is a perfectly normal boy or girl who will grow up to be a normal happy boy or girl, if the child decides they would rather be the opposite gender then that would be the time for these parents to step up to the mark and show how commited they are and how much love they have, sadly this rarely happens!
    I don't think they want everything to be "neutral", they just want to let the baby wear and play with what he/she likes. A dress, fine. A toy gun, fine. A Barbie doll, fine. Whatever he/she takes an interest in.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I was raised a little girl, but for many years of my life I thought I was a boy. I don't think gender is on a binary. I actually identify as 'neither' now, but I try to dress as feminine as is comfortable. Some days I feel more masculine than others, but I just accept that about myself...

    I don't think the kids will end up messed up. I wouldn't keep my own child's sex a secret, but I wouldn't push upon them gendered clothes and toys and wouldn't give them toy weapons.

    There's actually a few studies on how toys for little girls encourage different behaviour to boy toys (nurturing and looking pretty, or building and fighting).

    I dunno if it goes too far, hiding from the world what sex the child is... They can always be supportive of the child's gender identity and ask other people to respect this. I don't really understand their perspective on that...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    They can always be supportive of the child's gender identity and ask other people to respect this. I don't really understand their perspective on that...

    I'm finding out that it's not really that easy to ask for other people to respect your wishes when it comes to babies. A lot of people want to buy pink dresses for the girls or car themed clothes for boys, same with toys and just how they talk and interact with the baby. And this is exactly what they tend to do despite knowing it's not really in the parents' favor.
    On a local forum I'm on there's endless threads of raging parents who don't want their children to have sweets/soda/etc but others are constantly disrespecting that no matter how often they're told. It's really not easy to change the behaviour of others.

    I've seen a debate on this exact same article on another forum and I think that in some sense I agree and at the same time I am not sure that it's what I'd find most important when it comes to children. I'm more worried about the peer pressure that starts in playschool. That's when this experiment will surely stop for these parents in the article.
    I know I can influence my child all I want but as soon as he meets other children on a daily basis and they start trading ideas about values in life I'll be more defenceless against perceived "boy/girl stuff".

    I've got a six year old stepdaughter and we often challenge her when it comes to claims of what's girl/boy stuff and the logic is normally "just because it is girly/boyish!". She's pretty pink most of the time. I really loathe this awful pale pink colour that's marketed towards young girls. *shudder*
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Don't underestimate what societal norms can do.
    I have two half-siblings who are twins, boy and girl. Before they went to the nursery they all played with the same toys, liked pretty much the same things etc. Then after a few weeks at a nursery, my sister grew an infatuation for the colour pink, stopped playing with cars and started asking for more dolls, while my brother did the opposite. The change was so sudden that I'm very sure it was because of the nursery's "society", as in "You're a (boy/girl) so go play with the other (boys/girls), there are (cars/dolls)".
    At the same time, they both still like the same cartoons, which are both "boyish" and "girlish".
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I just think this is weird and not good for the child. Hopefully they wont be able to keep it secret for long (I mean who didn't run around naked as a toddler) and the child will at least be treated normally by most people.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »
    Absolutely ridiculous. It reminds me of the Monty Python sketch with Eric Idle claiming he wants to be a woman for the sole reason he can have babies.

    The Life of Brian. He asks to be called Judith I believe.

    Anyway. I can't formulate intelligence now but anyone interested in the issue should read Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine. Bears out a lot of what Louise, Indrid and Namaste have said.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Don't underestimate what societal norms can do.
    I have two half-siblings who are twins, boy and girl. Before they went to the nursery they all played with the same toys, liked pretty much the same things etc. Then after a few weeks at a nursery, my sister grew an infatuation for the colour pink, stopped playing with cars and started asking for more dolls, while my brother did the opposite. The change was so sudden that I'm very sure it was because of the nursery's "society", as in "You're a (boy/girl) so go play with the other (boys/girls), there are (cars/dolls)".
    At the same time, they both still like the same cartoons, which are both "boyish" and "girlish".

    When I did a work placement at a nursery, it was nothing like that. The children played with whatever toys were age appropriate for them. It was never "you're a girl, so you have to play with dolls".
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    When I did a work placement at a nursery, it was nothing like that. The children played with whatever toys were age appropriate for them. It was never "you're a girl, so you have to play with dolls".

    I agree with Melain i dont think any nursery would have a policy of telling any child which of the toys they can play with, but i think the point Indrid was making is that it is really peer pressure from an early age that begins to tell us how we should act and who we should be.
    We all know that any 5 or 6 year old boy that admiited to his peers that he likes playing with a doll is likely to to get some grief as a result.
    I very soon learnt that although at home i was able to play with "girls" toys and could have pink pjs and play dress up with my sister it was a very diffrent story out side of my home, i quickly learnt that i was not "normal" in most peoples eyes.
    Thats why i firmly believe that whatever these parents do in raising their child will not make any diffrence at all to its outlook as far as gender is concerned, the child will very soon learn it either fits into one of societys box's or it does'nt.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Louisek wrote: »
    We all know that any 5 or 6 year old boy that admiited to his peers that he likes playing with a doll is likely to to get some grief as a result.

    It might have been that I lived in a very small village at this point and everybody knew everybody and everybody was friends (for the most part), but I knew a boy who at that age had basically every Barbie going, and he didn't get picked on any more than any of the other kids did.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Louisek wrote: »
    We all know that any 5 or 6 year old boy that admiited to his peers that he likes playing with a doll is likely to to get some grief as a result.

    When I was younger my friend across the road used to play with dolls and whilst he didn't get grief, his mum did from other parents for allowing it. :rolleyes: That's the attitude that filters down. Nursery schools don't have to insist on gender-appropriate toys because they are often imposed on a child elsewhere so most girls at nursery will mostly own dolls and play with the nursery dolls. That impacts on girls who might play with cars when they realise they're being left out.

    Never underestimate the subconscious power of peer / parent pressure.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    chatroulette-trolling-genderless.jpg
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think there is a difference between sex and gender. Your sex is defined by nature as to what physical attributes you have- male genitalia, female genitalia, or something different.

    Gender however is a societal construct, albeit to some extent based on natural differences (ie strong man goes to hunt, mothering woman looks after the baby). I think what the parents are doing here is to try and combat the norms society imposes on us - the ones that cause homophobia, prejudice, bigotry etc because you don't fit into a narrowly defined box - and actually allow freedom of choice.

    Having said that, whilst children may be able to make decisions from an early age, I would be concerned that they do not understand the cause and effect mechanism of decisions, and may end up resenting the decisions they have made.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I reckon he's a boy.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think there is a difference between sex and gender. Your sex is defined by nature as to what physical attributes you have- male genitalia, female genitalia, or something different.

    Gender however is a societal construct, albeit to some extent based on natural differences (ie strong man goes to hunt, mothering woman looks after the baby). I think what the parents are doing here is to try and combat the norms society imposes on us - the ones that cause homophobia, prejudice, bigotry etc because you don't fit into a narrowly defined box - and actually allow freedom of choice.

    Having said that, whilst children may be able to make decisions from an early age, I would be concerned that they do not understand the cause and effect mechanism of decisions, and may end up resenting the decisions they have made.

    To be honest i think in this context sex and gender are the same thing, but i dont think its as simple as you say.
    Being born with a penis gives you a label, your "a boy" and nine times out of ten you will grow up to be a healthy happy normal young man however as you develop and even at a very early age you may not actually feel like "a boy" because your true gender/sex is in your brain. Nothing you that anyone else can do or say wil ever change what you know is your true gender.
    I just can't see what the parents are trying to achieve its a complete waste of time that child is what it is. How is this exercise going to change peoples prejudice's and set ideas
    And for for what its worth i agree with Janeperson, its a boy.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Louisek wrote: »
    I just can't see what the parents are trying to achieve its a complete waste of time that child is what it is. How is this exercise going to change peoples prejudice's and set ideas
    Is that what the point is? Or helping the baby him/herself avoid societal norms that don't really matter except in people's minds?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Is that what the point is? Or helping the baby him/herself avoid societal norms that don't really matter except in people's minds?

    Except it's not, because as soon as the kid gets to nursery/school/whatever, and it's not his mum and dad looking after him anymore, they're going to know. What happens if s/he goes to the toilet in the "wrong" gender toilet, or goes swimming with everyone else and realises that s/he has different bits from all the other kids? People knowing his (I think it's a boy, too) sex is going to happen at some point, and if I was that kid, I would want to know what I was before I was potentially put in a situation where I would realise that I wasn't the same as I thought I was.

    I don't care what the parents want, or about the societal norms that they're trying to prevent, but that kid is going to realise at some point that s/he isn't who s/he thinks s/he is, and they're going to get picked on more for THAT than if they had been a little boy, who identified as a little boy, but preferred to play Barbies with the girls. Can you imagine it? "Hahahaha, <kid> thought he was a GIRL!"
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Why would he think he's a girl? They're trying to be neutral, not the opposite.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Why would he think he's a girl? They're trying to be neutral, not the opposite.

    Trying to be neutral could end up meaning the baby/child identifies as a girl.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    G-Raffe wrote: »
    Trying to be neutral could end up meaning the baby/child identifies as a girl.

    Precisely.

    S/he is still going to have to choose which toilet to go into and which changing room to get changed in.

    They don't even have to say, "You are a boy". They can say, "You have a penis (or whatever cutesy word you want to use for it), so you go in this bathroom/changing room".
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Except it's not, because as soon as the kid gets to nursery/school/whatever, and it's not his mum and dad looking after him anymore, they're going to know. What happens if s/he goes to the toilet in the "wrong" gender toilet, or goes swimming with everyone else and realises that s/he has different bits from all the other kids? People knowing his (I think it's a boy, too) sex is going to happen at some point, and if I was that kid, I would want to know what I was before I was potentially put in a situation where I would realise that I wasn't the same as I thought I was.

    I don't care what the parents want, or about the societal norms that they're trying to prevent, but that kid is going to realise at some point that s/he isn't who s/he thinks s/he is, and they're going to get picked on more for THAT than if they had been a little boy, who identified as a little boy, but preferred to play Barbies with the girls. Can you imagine it? "Hahahaha, <kid> thought he was a GIRL!"

    Inserts nods*

    What seems to be being lost in this discussion is that this isn't just an interest sociological experiment, but is involving a real child and there will be real consequences. The parents may believe gender is an artificial construct and they may be right, but unfortunately or not the majority of the rest of the world disagree and at some point or other this kid will need to interact with that world. And I can only see that ending in tears.

    To be honest the parents seem selfish fuckwits, more concerned with trying to force the world into their narrow ideological straitjacket than actually caring and nuturing their kids.




    * where have the smilies gone and the date on the post? Am I the only one who thinks this new forum is a retrograde step?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The date is still there, as are the smileys if you "go advanced"
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    To my mind a parents job is to make a kids life as comfortable and enjoyable as possible until they are old enough to make their own decisions in life and be whoever they want to be.

    This child could easily be a very confused toddler and I for one feel sorry for him. Forcing your beliefs onto a child is beyong contemptable!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ~
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