So apparently we’re letting babies decide what gender they want to be these days.
Gee, can’t wait to see how this trend turns out.
Alright, I’m overstating. But there is this couple somewhere who named their kid Storm and aren’t telling anyone – anyone – what the kid’s gender is. Storm’s grandparents don’t know. Storm’s brothers do, and they’re not allowed to tell. They’re five and two, so we’ll see how that goes. Their names are Jazz and Kio. I’m not making it up; there’s a blog about it in the New York Times, so it must be true.
It seems to me that a line needs to be drawn, here.
You want to name your kid something ridiculous, fine. You let your children decide when to get their hair cut or not, and let them choose what to wear… I’m going to have a tough time with that to some degree, but it’s your morning, so if you don’t mind that it takes two hours and 23 shirts before your kid settles on an outfit for the day, fine. But you want to keep the kid’s gender a secret from the world so that the kid can choose what to be for itself… I think you need your head examined.
I get that there are types of people who believe that gender identification can sometimes force a child into a role that the child doesn’t necessarily naturally want to embody (no awkwardness intended with that choice of words). Personally, I think we’re a little oversensitive about that stuff. But agreed: if a girl wants to play with trucks and a boy wants to play with dolls, don’t yank the toys out of their hands. Girls don’t always have to wear pink and boys don’t always have to wear blue. But to go so far as to not identify the child by his or her gender?
We don’t think this is actually going to screw the kid up?
I’m pretty sure it’s going to screw the kid up.
Let’s play this out a bit: Storm isn’t going to go to school, because Storm’s parents practice “off-schooling,” which is a variation of “home-schooling.” In other words: no classes. The kids just learn about that which they are curious, when such curiosity strikes. (I find this infuriatingly irresponsible, if charming.) But let’s assume Storm is at least allowed to play with other kids. Some kids just sort of assume Storm’s gender. Storm apparently has no idea whether Storm is a boy or a girl, so maybe Storm doesn’t resist any kind of label. But with half the kids thinking Storm is a boy and the other half thinking Storm is a girl, the kids will get confused. And so will Storm.
It doesn’t take much to get kids to mock another child. A cowlick will do just fine; a non-specific gender is a freaking gold mine. Which means Storm is going to get tortured with the whole “You don’t even know if you’re a boy or a girl!” thing. They’ll run through the physical identifiers of how to tell. This makes Storm uncomfortable with physical features. Fast-forward to college when Storm can’t develop a healthy romantic relationship with another person (regardless of whether Storm is heterosexual or homosexual) because Storm can’t really deal with what’s going on down there, because Storm’s parents made gender identification taboo, which meant they made genital identification taboo. You can’t learn how to have healthy sexual relationships without learning about your own genitals, which you can’t learn without figuring out your gender.
No Mother’s and Father’s Day cards for you two.
Or maybe it doesn’t get that far. Maybe other kids try to identify Storm’s gender before they’re school-aged. Once Storm realizes that Storm doesn’t know whether Storm is a boy or a girl, but that there’s this handy little way of figuring it out, Storm is dropping trou all over the place, trying to get someone to tell Storm which category Storm belongs in.
I’m sure that won’t cause any problems.
I guess Storm’s parents think it shouldn’t matter. Storm’s mother wants to know when people will stop categorizing other people by their gender. She lets her other two sons wear whatever they want, which often results in a lot of pink and sparkly things. She apparently thinks that’s a product of the children freely associating with whatever they want.
I think it’s a product of them being bright and shiny, which kids just tend to like. Girly clothes are more likely to be bright and shiny. So kids like girly clothes.
Come to think of it, I suppose I shouldn’t refer to her as Storm’s mother. Storm’s XX-chromosomed parent, then.
Storm’s parents are selfish idiots.
Of course your kids’ gender matters, you numbskulls. Kids need an identity. More than anything, they need a solid foundation on which to learn who they are. If you don’t even allow the kid to know whether he or she is a boy or a girl, it’s going to put everything else about the kid squarely in the “I’m Not Sure” category. And not because the world assigns appropriate behaviors to the kid and then stands up-in-arms when the kid doesn’t adhere. It’s because there are fundamental truths in life, and you just have to deal with it.
I was born a girl. I remain a girl. I’m straight, but I don’t think I’m straight because the world told me I’m a girl. When I was little, you know who every single one of my playmates were? Boys. Every one of them, until I was six. That’s all we had on our block, and my sisters were too young to play outside with us, and so I dealt with being around boys. Taught me how to stand up for myself.
Except for how I was always getting tied up and left on someone’s front stoop because being the only girl apparently meant I was the one who got tied up in Cops and Robbers/Good Guys-Bad Guys/Cowboys and Indians. (Yes, yes, I know, those were all horrifically stereotypical games.) The point is not that I was the girl so I got tied up. Here’s the point: the rope was invisible. I sat there believing the boys had tied me up with invisible rope.
It was my own damned fault I didn’t have the sense to get up off the stoop.
I can tell you unquestionably that the gender differential never entered my mind. Mostly I was just happy to have a moment of peace, with two little sisters at home and five mean, rowdy, rough boys as my friends, who pushed me, hit me, and (once) stabbed me in the arm with a pencil.
I learned how to fight back.
Storm’s parents are using Storm to make a stupid sociological statement. I hate parents who do that. I hate parents who take their little kids to political rallies and make them hold signs expressing an opinion they can’t possibly have. I hate parents who decide that their children are their own miniaturized adorable pawns to promote whatever agenda or opinion they harbor.
It’s a kid. You idiot. A child. Not a posterboard.
These parents are the types of people who will wax poetic about how lovely it is that children so soon develop the ability to express themselves and form thoughts and values. But first they use them as a media-grab to make a point. And then what happens when Storm does identify with a gender? Do the parents allow Storm to do so? Or do they insist on making Storm explain why Storm is identifying with this gender? “Well, are you making that selection based on your genitalia?”
I hope Storm figures out who Storm is… and then figures out who Storm’s parents are… and then finds new ones.