So it's a boy, right?

silverswordMay 26, 2011

"So its a boy, right?" a neighbour calls out as Kathy Witterick walks by, her four month old baby, Storm, strapped to her chest in a carrier.

Each week the woman asks the same question about the baby with the squishy cheeks and feathery blond hair.

Witterick smiles, opens her arms wide, comments on the sunny spring day, and keeps walking.

She's used to it. The neighbours know Witterick and her husband, David Stocker, are raising a genderless baby. But they don't pretend to understand it.

While there's nothing ambiguous about Storm's genitalia, they aren't telling anyone whether their third child is a boy or a girl.

The only people who know are Storm's brothers, Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, a close family friend and the two midwives who helped deliver the baby in a birthing pool at their Toronto home on New Year's Day.

"When the baby comes out, even the people who love you the most and know you so intimately, the first question they ask is, "Is it a girl or a boy?" says Witterick, bouncing Storm, dressed in a red-fleece jumper, on her lap at the kitchen table.

"If you really want to get to know someone, you don't ask what's between their legs," says Stocker"

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Completely wrong.

I get---in theory---what they mean about "if you want to get to know someone, you don't ask what's between their legs."

I get it.

However, that is not the society we live in. Gender doesn't have to define us but the parents are setting this child up to feel like---sorry to use this word but---a freak. Not to BE a freak but to FEEL like one.

A certain amount conforming to of social norms is necessary. IMO it's not any different than wearing clothes out in public, not picking your nose, using utensils at the table, etc.

There is a certain amount of "fitting in" we all have to do to function in society and being a "genderless" person just seems wacky and extreme. I can't stand these parents who dump their own weird issues onto their children. How come the parents don't shave their heads and become genderless themselves, if it's so important to them.

They are using their child to make a statement and that's exploitative. IMO.

Reminds me of the story a few years ago about the white supremicist couple who named their child Adolf Hitler and got all bent out of shape when a bakery wouldn't put the name on a cake.

WHY saddle your child with a name like that? Even if you think Hitler was the greatest man on earth (yuck) you KNOW that 99.9% of the world does not agree. And giving one's child that name is setting them up for a lifetime of difficulty and pain.

As I said, people do it all the time---use their children to make a statement---and I think it's utterly ridiculous.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:41AM
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I'm honestly not sure if it's a bad idea, considering that it's still a baby. If the child was entering pre-school or kindergarten it would be a different story (although I realize that there are gender indeterminate children at that age as well, who have not yet decided which, if either, gender they identify with).

It's true that so many people will immediately change the way that they speak to a boy or to a girl, and also their expectations of a boy or a girl. Boys are allowed to be louder and more rambunctious - girls are allowed to be more timid and fearful. Boys cannot have pink anything because it will "turn them gay". (Actually I think these days girls get the better deal - more people are careful to not discourage their interest in bugs or driving their toy lawnmower, for example, but I still see boys discouraged from playing with the EZ-bake oven or dolls.)

One of my pet peeves is McDonald's Happy Meals where they ask if we want a "boy" toy or a "girl" toy, rather than just asking if we want the transformer robot or the prancing pony. I keep telling DH that next time I am going to tell them that SS is gender-indeterminate and can we please have one of each.

I'm not sure what to think of the parents' decision. I'd be more concerned with the "unschooling" thing, I think. That's a great idea for little kids, like toddlers - but at what point is an older child going to decide that s/he has a burning desire to sit down and memorize multiplication facts, for example, if there are no consequences one way or the other?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 11:45AM
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I read the same book the parents read: "It", when I was in middle school.

The choice of "boy/girl toy" is fairly ridiculous. We rarely go to Mcd but yesterday the car was in the shop and MCD was right next door and frankly sitting in there with an iced tea sounded a lot better than in the shop's greasy waiting room.

DD got a happy meal. And a "girl toy". When she pulled it out she was so disappointed. I didn't even notice and still can't tell you what she got but it wasn't the one she wanted. She wanted the "boy" toy although no one had said anything or asked anything... she just kind of assumed she'd get the cool one.

So I told her to go up and ask if she can exchange, which she did. Then on the way home I heard her in the backseat, whispering to her little very masculine plastic junk that she'd take care of it and other sweet nothings.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 11:56AM
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The "unschooling" thing is bizarre.

I saw a Dateline or 20-20 about that. It featured several different families, each raising their children in unusual ways.

One of the families had two kids, maybe 6 and 4? They did the unschooling thing and completely allowed their children to make ANY choices, so long as no one was physically or verbally hurt.

The kids could have ice cream for dinner, stay up until 4 AM, sleep anywhere in the house, on the floor, on the kitchen table, whatever. I wish I could remember what else but it was SO disturbing.

While I am wholeheartedly in favor of children having choices and being allowed to make age-appropriate decisions, IMO there are things children just cannot know. Kids DON'T know what is good for them. Kids want whatever they want when they want it, regardless of whether it's in their best interest.

What child in the world wouldn't eat candy and junk food all day if allowed? What child wouldn't scoop up every single toy in Toys R Us if allowed?

I understand that the parents were trying to get their children to make the right choices by learning---IE, I eat all the ice cream, my tummy feels sick, then I don't want to eat ice cream anymore.

BUT that's not how children should learn. Some things are learned by "natural consequences" but children NEED limits, rules and boundaries.

The world is too scary for them otherwise.

Oh yeah---totally forgot, the family featured in the show had NO rules other than "you cannot hurt anyone." One of the questions raised to them was how on earth do you expect your kids to learn to follow rules in society (ie---if not in elementary school, then what about in college or in the workplace? What about simple rules like traffic laws and such?)

I'm all for families shaping the values of their children but you also cannot raise them in a bubble.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 2:58PM
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Lovehadley I SO agree with you! I think it is selfish of the parents to use the kid to make a political statement.
Selfish, selfish, selfish!

"If you really want to get to know someone, you don't ask what's between their legs," says Stocker"

That's because when you meet someone, it is quite obvious whether that person is female or male. They are just asking because they want to categorize you.

I go through this all the time but in a different way.
I'm mixed. My mother is black, my father is white. But I don't look like the "average" mixed person. I've been told I look Native American, Indian, middle eastern, Hawaiian, and every single version of Latino or Hispanic you can think of.

I'm constantly getting looks and questions about my ethnicity. I'm sure my parents thought they were doing some wonderful thing by giving me the "best of both worlds". But it has not been fun for me. Kids in school teased me, or were straight up mean to me. Others looked at me like I was a weird science experiments gone wrong. When I go into the store I'm constantly being asked what I am. No response I give is good enough. If I tell them I'm mixed, they argue with me, insisting that I'm not, or want to know my whole family history. If I say it's none of your business, then I'm a b&^tch.
It's taken me many years to accept myself for the way I am, but it is still annoying when someone tries to talk to me in Spanish and then gets mad because I don't understand them.

If the parents want to be genderless, they should do it themselves, and enjoy all the stares and questions that go along with it.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 3:43PM
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LOL Amber. I get similar reactions. I usually just agree with people. They're going to make up what is easiest for them to believe anyway.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 4:34PM
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I have a relative who had a baby that was born with no parts. He had many issues. They did a DNA test immediately to confirm he was a boy before naming him. His parts came in later. He has so many issues he only needs them to urinate he likely won't have a relationship in life that would require the use of them. But they had to know. They needed to know. No way was he going around in life not knowing. So sad. Just wanted to add.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 5:48PM
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LOL, Silversword,
I hear ya!

People just want to know. You would think things like race or gender shouldn't matter, but it still does.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 8:30AM
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I thought I posted here, but looks like I haven't...

I can totally understand the parents' desire to have their children's destinies NOT unduly driven by their genders. But by refusing to name their youngest child's gender, they've done precisely the opposite!

Instead of having the child's gender be a NON-ISSUE, they've turned it into the single biggest factor in the child's public life.

Talk about shooting yourself (and your child) in the foot...

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 1:30PM
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Be careful what you wish for;
you might not find it so enjoyable back in the 30's, 40's, & 50's as you seem to think it was when everybody had a cast-iron role in society.

Girls took home ec, not shop, & they wore dresses;
if a girl wore jeans to school, she'd have been sent home in disgrace.
If she wanted to play sports, she'd have been ostracized as a "dyke".

Boys took shop & played football;
if a boy wanted to take homemaking or play in the orchestra (well, band, schools didn't have orchestras), he would have been tortured as a "fag" by his classmates.

The very lifestyles discussed in this forum would have been blasted & the children pitied as coming from broken homes;
those mothers who have custody of their children wouldn't have child support (a divorced woman didn't dare to ask for it, as her ex-husband could use that request to show the court that she couldn't provide for the children, while he could. He'd get custody & hand the kids off to his mother to raise.)

Freedom from labels is a wonderful thing.

When I was a younger woman, I often heard people blast mixed-race couples for having children, for the same reasons that I read in this thread:

"It's selfish".
unlike childbearing for any other couple?

"It'll make a difference in the way people treat them."
Shame on people who treat a child "differently".

"If the parents want to do x/y/z, let them bear the brunt of the negative reactions."
Parents never have been able to shoulder the burdens of their children's lives.

However, time rocked on, & those bi-racial children grew up & have made our society a broader, nicer, more balanced place.

Parents who raise their child to explore all the facets of his/her personality regardless of gender for as long as possible (eventually this kid will grasp the difference) are giving that child a much broader horizon than those who demand that the child conform to the parents' or society's desire for fast & easy (& rigid & soul-killing) profiling.

I once had a boyfriend whose mother had raised 4 boys & a girl.

They all knew how to knit & crochet & sew on buttons & how to type...
& how to change a tire, change the oil in the car, & replace a faucet washer...
& how to eat with chopsticks.

At the time, this was unusual, & there was some scandalized mumbling in her neighborhood, but those kids grew up very independent & self-confidant.

Not one of the boys needed a girl or woman to take care of him, & the girl never needed a man to take care of her;
they've based their romantic relationships on attraction & common interests & shared ideals.

& they're doing well.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 1:36PM
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I do not believe in "gender driven" parenting like boy play with trucks, girls wear pink, boys don't cry, girls don't fight. That's nonsense. I played with toy trucks, and I am pretty feminine.

But I think these parents are using their child to make a statement and use him/her to get publicity. Too many parents use their kids to get money/fame/publicity even if it looks like honorable agenda. Just wait and see if they will have reality TV about their family and their genderless baby.

"In fact, in not telling the gender of my precious baby, I am saying to the world, �Please can you just let Storm discover for him/herself what s (he) wants to be?!."

Nonsense. He/she is who he/she is. By telling or not telling his/her gender, you won't change what it is. By the way most babies look of a specific gender, one does not need to ask, these people are lucky their baby does not look anything specific. Otherwise no one would even ask them.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 8:10PM
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Freedom from "labels" is one thing.

But I think people forget that there is a big difference between male and female. The oldest boy begged his mom to tell his teachers he's a boy because he didn't like the confusion.

I think they need to work more on pride/esteem with the kids to be PROUD they are boys and then make sure they feel confident wearing/playing with/etc. whatever they are comfortable with.

My DD prefers boy tennis shoes. They don't make "girl" tennis shoes with the characters she likes. I tell her that she may be teased and explain why, and she says she can handle it... but for the first year she did get teased and we had to work on her saying "Cars is not just for boys" and "show me where it says these are for boys only", etc. She's pretty good about recognizing girl stuff/boy stuff and confident in choosing the one she likes rather than the "girl" one.

I think the problem is that the parents are putting this on the children (it's OTHER people's problem) rather than explaining society and expectations and really having them stand confident and proud.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 10:45AM
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"The oldest boy begged his mom to tell his teachers he's a boy because he didn't like the confusion"

The gender of the older boys isn't a secret.

Also, I don't think any child, boy or girl, would "beg" a parent to tell the teacher what sex he/she is;
firstly, there's just no way to keep that kind of thing a secret in a school environment, & secondly, the child would just say, "Hey, kid, I'm a boy (or girl, as the case may be)!"

I did read is that one of the boys wanted to go to regular school but was bullied unmercifully by some of the other children.

time to insist on zero tolerance for bullying in the public schools or find a private school where it isn't tolerated.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 5:10PM
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The gender isn't a secret, you're right Sylvia. And maybe "begged" was the wrong word. But he definitely asked his mother to note his gender because he has anxiety over it. The parents "flip coins" to decide which gender their children will be seen as in different locations.

"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."

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 8:54PM
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"The gender isn't a secret, you're right Sylvia. And maybe "begged" was the wrong word. But he definitely asked his mother to note his gender because he has anxiety over it. The parents "flip coins" to decide which gender their children will be seen as in different locations."

This disturbs me on so many levels.

I wholeheartedly agree with Silver and Parent that it's up to US as parents to help our children break free of *traditional* gender stereotypes.

There are ways to do this without going to the extreme these parents are. I agree that it's more about teaching one's child to be proud of who he/she is and everything that goes along with that, male or female, short or tall, skinny or fat, you get the idea.

In doing this, these parents are making GENDER the biggest issue of all. It's rather ironic.

I have an association. When I was in highschool, one of my close friend's aunts was a lesbian. She had been with her partner for many years and they had adopted a baby girl together. (Well--one of them adopted the girl but they were raising her together.)

Now, these two women were the quintessential lesbians----butch haircuts, dressed like men, honestly, they both could have PASSED for men. They were just very, know.

I went to my friend's family's lakehouse one weekend and the aunt and her partner and their child, who was about 3 yrs old at this point, were also there.

This little girl pranced around the entire time in a pink leotard and sparkly hot pink tutu. She was obsessed with the outfit. I mean, the WHOLE time, that's what she wore. It was adorable.

And I thought, even at the age of seventeen, I realized this----it was really cool that her moms, both of whom had eschewed "traditional" femininity, were totally cool with her expressing WHATEVER she wanted.

I don't know. I guess to me THAT is an example of "genderless" parenting. Letting a child feel free and open to express what they want WITHOUT placing your own objections and issues upon them.

I understand *why* these parents in the article feel the way they do but I think they're going about remedying society's issues in the wrong way. They are placing the burden upon their children.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 8:22AM
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What a great story, LoveHadley!

I guess I should have clarified what I'd said earlier. I still don't really see it as a problem, if the child is still a baby, who is not old enough to speak yet. Not old enough to speak does not equate to not old enough to understand, and there are plenty of people who will apply certain "boy" adjectives (powerful, determined) or "girl" adjectives (pretty, sweet) to a baby.

My oldest niece had almost no hair until she was two years old. For whatever reason, this caused a lot of people to assume that she was a boy, and speak to her accordingly. It used to drive my SS crazy. Now she is in college (with beautiful hair; we tease my SS and say that she shaved it for two years and that's why it's so thick now). Niece was and still is more of a tomboy. Would she have been anyway? Or was it helped along to some extent by two years of compliments on how strong and athletic she was for a toddler versus how sweet and pretty she was? Who knows?

In the article, with the older kids, that is just wrong.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 8:57AM
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Sylvia, did you read the portion of the article that says the kids on the playground didn't want to play with a "boy-girl"?

Kids often are more set in their gender ways than adults are. It's not just a matter of saying "hey, I'm a boy". I think it's asking quite a lot for a kid to have that much self-esteem and awareness to expect them to shoulder the responsibility themselves.

I think kids should be able to wear what they want. But what about adults? Should the 6' linebacker be allowed to wear a tutu and tights to the park and have no one laugh mock tease?

Sure!! Is it gonna happen anytime soon? Absolutely not! So why should we put our kids out on the front lines? I'm for teaching tolerance and letting kids know there is no such thing as gender specific clothing except as designated by society at the time.

Blue used to be a girl color and pink a boy color. Babies were all dressed in dresses. It wasn't until baby clothes became a real money making industry that they designated "boy" and "girl" clothes, mostly so they couldn't be used as hand-me-downs.

I think it's important to tell our kids how society will react so that they understand. Sometimes a person has to make a choice to fit in or to stand out. ALL people have to make this choice.

I can wear my mini skirt and tube top and high boots to church and have every one comment or I can dress like everyone else and fit in. I can wear my matronly clothes to a concert if I want. Will I be more comfortable?

there is a time, and a place. So if the kid is getting teased, don't say it's the problem of everyone else, help the kid make choices that will get them what they want. What is more important? Playing with other kids at the park or wearing the pink boa? Once the choice is made, the kid is empowered.

DD with her "boy" shoes had a rough patch but she was expecting it. Now none of the kids tease her because she knew how to respond and she's stronger for it.

It's the "we're this way, YOU deal with it" mentality that gets me.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 1:28PM
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The older boy likes pink & likes long hair, & he has the courage to keep on being himself in the face of bullying & taunting.

It's the same kind of thing to which gay boys are subjected, often with tragic consequences.

As I said, time to put a stop to the bullying behavior of these little houligans.

'it was really cool that her moms, both of whom had eschewed "traditional" femininity, were totally cool with her expressing WHATEVER she wanted.'

so you'd have thought it "really cool" had the parents been the ones who wanted the child to wear a sparkly pink tutu but allowed their daughter to wear overalls & track shoes?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 2:55PM
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Does he have the courage or does he simply not know any better? At what cost?

I agree, I think everyone agrees that teasing/bullying/etc is not ok and needs to stop.

But Sylvia, I think either it's been a really long time since you've been a kid or you just don't understand.

My mother put me front and center for her politics. That means I was a little fema-nazi from the time I was born. I had STANDARDS. I had COURAGE. I was brave and had CONVICTIONS.

I was a kid. I had no clue what was going on.

It's one thing to explain to a kid how society may react so they are prepared and another to say "it's everyone elses problem". Because you're right. It is everyone else's problem. but it shouldn't be up to a kid to combat that huge societal issue.

"time to put a stop"

How? by telling our boys they can wear anything they want and if someone has a problem it's their problem? not true! It's a set up.

Fight gender issues where they start, and don't make your kid the guinea pig!

Each generation is getting more accepting. My dad's generation couldn't have long hair. Now, it's normal. A lot of men wear pink these days. there are man-purses and metro-men and things are shifting. But I think it's wrong to put it on the kids before they have a clue about what society will do as a response.

And I think it's pretty obvious the kids in this story are not comfortable either. I have a suspicion the parents lead them down the pink path more than the blue.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 3:26PM
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I think one thing is raising children as free thinkers without stereotyping and another thing is using them as a tool for advancing your own views. My DD is a free thinker and isn't into stereotypes, she wears what she wants and trully can't care less what people think, she is slightly on a weird side LOL but she is not deprived of anything because I acknowledged her gender. This is just ridicilous.

In most cases a baby is either a boy or a girl. And like i said before most babies look exactly of their gender early on, hair or no hair. No one would even bother asking. These nutcases are using the fact that their specific baby might look genderless, so they pretty much abuse that fact to advance their own craziness. My DD never looked like a boy so I had no option to play a dumb game "oh wait a minute it is just a baby". Everyone could see she is a girl. Nutcases.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 3:41PM
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Exactly PO1. Being a girl doesn't mean wearing pink. But acknowledging gender is not abusive.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 4:31PM
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"so you'd have thought it "really cool" had the parents been the ones who wanted the child to wear a sparkly pink tutu but allowed their daughter to wear overalls & track shoes?"

Absolutely! There was a family at our church when I was growing up---three daughters. The youngest girl used to wear a coat and tie to church every Sunday---she wanted to dress like her dad! I was about 12-13ish and she did this for several years, around the ages of 6-8 maybe.

I am ALL for parents allowing their children to express individuality. My DD had her bday party today and received a remote control car. She's a girl, and 9. Not a *typical* gift but she loves it and the friend that gave it to her KNEW she would love it.

This isn't about pink or blue, though, and dolls or trucks. It's about raising our children to be individuals with a healthy sense of self esteem.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 8:52PM
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Me too Love. My dd got a remote controlled car and two remote dinosaurs (one who fetches a fishbone) for her 9th this year. It's not about pink/blue dolls/trucks anymore. It sure was when we were kids though.

I just get the feeling these parents are saying "it's THEIR problem" to the kid when issues arise rather than explaining how society will view things. They're approaching it with a battering ram instead of gently. And the battering ram is their son.

I get what they're trying to do, I just disagree with the method. And that the kid has an alter-ego who writes a journal/book and is an advocate for kids getting to wear what they want/boys getting to wear "girl" stuff tells me that the kid is WAY too preoccupied with the gender/clothing issue.

What makes a boy a boy or a girl a girl? Not clothes or jobs ... so what? A penis or a vagina? Nope. Not even those make a boy or girl. Gender is chromosomal. The more we find out about it the more we know that there are so many links in the chain... someone may be XXXYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY which will make them way more masculine than the "boy" next to them who is YXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.

Soon this will be a moot point. I think it's good for kids to wear what they like, but also understand that there are going to be issues if they don't conform, simply so that they can be prepared.

Some of the Hispanic people here are very offended that I let my daughter dress in "boy" clothes/boy shoes because gender is SO major here. But DD knows she is a girl. She identifies as female. They want me to dress her up, she doesn't want to, most of the time.

We just got back from a family gathering, and DD got a costume. A full body dog costume from a popular TV show. And one of the family said they were surprised the boy cousins hadn't asked to wear it and the mom said that they wouldn't and from then on would probably never want to "play" that character because DD wore it, now it's a "girl" costume.

I found that sad. If one of the boys were wearing it, DD would have wanted to be in it so fast!! She doesn't "get" that there are boy things/girl things unless someone points it out to her. I got her a bunch of matchbox cars last year and she still plays with them (barbies, not so much)

If this kids relationship with gender were healthy, it wouldn't be an issue. IMO.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 9:39PM
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but the little boy, not his parents, chooses his own clothes for school every day.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 12:54PM
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he chooses clothes for school from what is available, in most households pink boas and tootoos are not available for boys. They want them to wear all that stuff to placate their views, so they buy that stuff.

and sylvia, it is very easy to manipulate and stir young kids certain direction to prove one's point...and really even if a boy wears pink dresses, he is still a boy. and everyone knows it. This whole story is just dumb.

Sylvia my kid is not raised in any kind of stereotypes, yet she wore dresses and she likes to wear them now.

And if declaring children's gender and buying them clothes that is more befitting their gender is abusive then why buying girly clothes for boys is not abusive? If boys have pants and toy trucks at home it is stereotypical and wrong, but if they have dresses to wear and dolls to play then it is great parenting? What nonsense.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 2:34PM
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The little boy doesn't go to school. Did everyone miss that?
He picks his clothes to go out. As does my DD. And on occasion I have to tell her:


And that's perfectly within the bounds of being a parent.

If DD wants to wear her princess outfit or her spongebob outfit out, I have to tell her no on occasion. If my dear son wanted to bring his boa to the park, I'd say that the boa is for dress up at home, and pick something a little more sturdy to bring with him. And I'd do that if he was a girl too. No one wants to pick icky park gunk out of a boa.

THAT would solve the biggest issue. The kid doesn't NEED the boa to go to the park to play with the kids.

It's fine to play dress up. and it's fine for boys to wear pink. but if my DD wanted to wear a tu-tu to school I'd put my foot down. It's not appropriate, for a boy or for a girl.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 2:45PM
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Exactly, Parent.

I get the impression from the article that these parents' attitude is almost a "reaction formation." They're going in the total opposite extreme to prove a point.

I think if their son was WANTING to wear ONLY pants and lots of blue and ONLY play with trucks, even if was one hundred percent his choice, they'd take issue with it. The same way in that if they had a daughter who was drawn to pinks and frills, baby dolls and glittery things, they'd dislike THAT.

Rather than TRULY letting the children make their own choices and form their own opinions, the parents are almost imposing the opposite onto their children.

"You are a boy so you CANNOT wear pants and play with trucks because that's "conforming" to society's expectations."

"You are a girl and it would be conforming to society's expectations if you liked pink and wore dresses."

My DD loves to wear dresses, prefers them in the summer! I buy them for her because she loves them. (I'm not talking about lace and frills, I am talking about casual, cotton, washable Lands-End type sundresses.)

Am I forcing a gender stereotype onto her becuase I buy the dresses? I don't know. I don't think so because she also has tons of shorts, pants, blues, greens, whatever. Last summer she wore green Keens because she liked that color best. Even though they were technically "in the boy" section.

This year she got purple Keens.

She plays with whatever, whenever. We have an equal amount of barbie dolls, cars, trucks, and dolls in our house. SS and DD both play with everything, mostly in imaginative, creative games.

Who freaking cares?!

Now, it IS true that I do not and would not buy dresses for SS. (Although if he REALLY wanted to wear dresses, okay, maybe we would consider it.) But then the point Silver made comes into play.

There ARE social norms and expectations. Sexist or not, males do not typically wear dresses. A boy/man who does so is going to get odd looks, maybe even snickers or insults.

Is that okay? I don't know, I guess not. But is it okay to shove one's children onto the front line?

Maybe DAD should wear dresses in public if this is such an important issue for him.

"And if declaring children's gender and buying them clothes that is more befitting their gender is abusive then why buying girly clothes for boys is not abusive? If boys have pants and toy trucks at home it is stereotypical and wrong, but if they have dresses to wear and dolls to play then it is great parenting?"

100% agree Parent.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 2:52PM
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"Although if he REALLY wanted to wear dresses, okay, maybe we would consider it."

I think when children reach certain age (getting closer to adulthood) when they truly understand implications of their appearance and defying societal norms, then by all means go wear a dress. But honestly if your son wants to wear dress at 5, I'd say no, not appropriate. The same way if he/she wants to wear makeup or dye their hair, I'd say no because I am a parent.

LOL "Maybe DAD should wear dresses in public if this is such an important issue for him." That's hilarious. So true why don't these people wear bizarre stuff themselves or hide their gender?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 3:52PM
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I dunno. I had a friend when I was in kindergarten who liked to dress up with me. He wore barrettes and nail polish. I don't let my dd wear makeup or dye her hair, but that's due to age, not gender.

" Then, there was the time a saleswoman at a second-hand shop refused to sell him a pink feather boa. "Surely you won't buy it for him, he's a boy!" said the woman. Shocked, and not wanting to upset Jazz, Witterick left the store."

Not wanting to "upset" Jazz....

It seems like the parents are non-confrontational at all the wrong times. That seems like a perfect time to have a learning moment with the shopkeeper.

"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!"

Again, for a 5 year old to have a pseudonym this complex... leads me to believe the kid is not driving this bus all by himself...

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 4:38PM
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I did not allow DD to dye her hair or do make up due to her age, not her gender. Like I said when they get a bit older and understand societal norms they can dye whatever they want. Nail polish was not allowed either, I would not allow it if DD was a boy either. I can't stand little girls wearing nail polish. I would have the same opinion of little boys with nail polish. That's called parenting. Nothing to do with gender.

"Gender" explorer, unless we are talking about transgendered people, there is nothing to explore, your gender is there. I am not interested in exploring being a male. I think this stupidity comes from lack of knowledge. i have met people who thought that gay people are confused about their gender, like a gay man really feels he is a woman. Or that people actually make a choice...Hence "gender explorer"-let's see if he wants to be a man or a woman. What a crock of sh$$t

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 9:03PM
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I let DD wear nail polish. Sometimes I take her to get manicures too. :)

I know that for some people figuring out gender is really a big deal, and they need to explore their gender. Some people aren't fortunate enough to have a clear idea of their sexuality. But even if a five year old is confused (and it doesn't sound like this boy is, it just sounds like he likes pink and the way satin feels on his skin) I doubt he'd be able to come up with something that complex.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 11:18PM
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Silver-- dd and I got pedis yesterday.
AND when we do 'girls' night and paint toes and nails, DS just doesn't understand at 3 why he can't. So I've painted his toenails before just for fun but we dont go out in public and show the world, look at what I did to ds. And of course my husband does NOT like when ive done it. I don't sit ds down and paint his toes, he usually wanders in and says 'I want my toes painted too'. And he is starting to say more and more 'boys don't paint their toes' because daddy says it when we paint his toes. I will not keep doing it until he is 13 but he is 3 and he is just partaking in the fun.
My husband is very much of the mind set, boys dont cry, boys play football, boys play outside, boys don't need band aids and I have to say, that may be the most difficult part of parenting with him and having a boy because I don't agree. Boys can cry. Everyone has to be emotional at some point. Boys don't 'have' to play football and I'm pretty sure I'm not putting my son in football because I dont like the risks and yes he will get a band aide and a kiss when he gets a scrape cause that is my baby boy and my husband is just going to have to deal with it. My son loves to play tea party with dd and she loves having the company. My son loves to go to build a bear and pick out a new bear and clothes. He loves to steal dd's build a bear clothes(dresses and Girly stuff) and dress up his bear. But he also loves batman, star wars, cars and trucks and he loves to play inside and outside... I don't mind him guiding his own playtime but I do guide his clothes. It's my responsibility as his parent to make sure my child is clean and clothed appropriately and I like dressing him in boy clothes. I like dressing my daughter in girl clothes. Its easier to have a 'tom'boy girl than a girlie boy. Its society and I'm ok admitting that. Dd wears nikes and shorts and sporty clothes but also loves dresses and skirts and cute shoes, hair bows. DS has never asked to wear a hair bow and ive never told him he couldn't. So does he KNOW that bows are for girls or is he 'not' interested in hair bows? I don't know.

Boys are boys and girls are girls and IMO that's how God made us to be. nothing more nothing less.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 12:01AM
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I think that it is healthier for skin, hair, nails and so on to not cover it with anything chemical/artificial as long as possible...But it is just me. I also personally have hard time when people make little girls look like little women, makes me think of those awful beauty pageants. I am into kids being kids.

myfampg, there are many boys and girls who weren't born the way it was intended. But you are right absolute majority of boys are boys and girls are girls because they were born this way. No amount of pink clothes or nail polish will change who people are.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 12:34AM
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I completely understand PO1 and I don't conpletely disagree with you on it. I don't buy 'adult' nail polish for dd and there are certain colors I do not allow. Right now dd's toes are blue. Lol all the girls painted their school colors for end of year. I really keep it to pale colors though because I think reds and hot pinks aren't appropriate for her age. But it's fun for us and I am ok with it. That's just one of those parenting things that some people agree or don't agree. Now I've seen friends of dd that have their nails done. Fake nails! At 10! Wow no way! I would prefer that dd not ever get fake nails because I started getting them in high school and I honestly believe my nails are forever damaged by it and I've shared that with dd in hopes that she will see what mine look like and why she doesn't want to cause hers to look that way as an adult.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 11:26AM
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Yes those are just personal preferences how one raises their kids, make up/nail polish/hair dye or not and at what age.

I never had fake nails, can't have them because I am an artist and it would definitely inhibit my ability to work. I have never met artists with fake nails. I do like how they look on other people though, looks better then my nails, that's for sure. I keep my nails short and I have very small hands so they look like 10-year-old girl's. LOL I do pedis though and paint toe nails. My DD is the same way, she does her toes (in outrageous colors like green) but never her hands. I doubt she will ever do fake nails, she is not the type. She wears make up every day to work though and I don't wear make up every day, I am too lazy...

My DD started dying her hair at about 17 and just recently abruptly stopped it all together.

I never dyed my hair. I started doing highlights once in a while just few years ago. I was always afraid that dying it would damage it forever plus I could never think of what color to dye it? Those are all just preferences, no right or wrong. Honestly I do have girly looks but I am pretty lazy to do much when it comes to hair/nails/make up. I do whatever is faster and low maintenance.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 12:28PM
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I'm the same way. I think that came after baby two. I don't wear a lot of make up because it's bothers my skin. I have to be very careful and only really fix my face up if we are going somewhere improtant but always less is best. I don't do my finger nails anymore because I cant keep it up. I stopped about 10 yrs ago getting fake nails and my nails have never been the same. I keep my nails short also because I type a lot and can't do it with nails in the way.
What kind of artist are you? Do you paint? That sounds so theraputic. Dd is going to be an artist one day. I can tell. She is so talented. Some kind of artist not sure what. She loves to draw and make designs. I'll have to keep that in mind 'artist need short nails so they aren't in the way' when she starts asking, when can I get my nails done? Lol I think nails and young girls is peer pressure. It certainly was for me.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 1:37PM
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I am somewhat apprehensive sharing too much here as to protect anonymity. Yes I paint and work in dry media, I exhibit locally and regionally, I sell too. It is not a hobby (it is more than that)so it is not therapeutic per se because it is a lot of hard demanding work and although it is obviously love of my life it is stressful especially when you need to meet deadlines of shows or galleries. I have some therapeutic type of hobbies like scrapbooking.

I think it could be OK to have long nails but I would think fake nails would get in the way. But then again depends what type of art one does I guess. I am generally somewhat neurotic type of person, I would start picking on my nails and get irritated. I wanted to do it at least once for some special occasion (take a break from art)but something tells me it wouldn't work for me.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 3:11PM
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That is very cool Po1.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 8:50PM
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