While flicking through a magazine today, an article caught my attention. A swedish couple who decided not to reveal their babies gender, aside from from a close few who have changed the babies nappy.
In an interview with newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in March, the parents were quoted saying their decision was rooted in the feminist philosophy that gender is a social construction.
“We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother said. “It's cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”
The child's parents said so long as they keep Pop’s gender a secret, he or she will be able to avoid preconceived notions of how people should be treated if male or female.
The parents sometimes dress their child in pink dresses, and then sometimes in blue dungarees. The same goes with the hair. Sometimes long and sometimes short.
As a mother of a boy, I don't push "boy toys" on him. In fact as his nickname was peanut, one of the presents I received was a baby in side a peanut. I have a mix of toys for him, a lot of them are for both boys and girls. But its not the toys or clothes that define a boy or a girl. Its just how they are. DJ's girlfriend Amalie, who is 2 days younger, plays with him most days, now when they play Amalie will pick up a toy gently, maybe put it in her mouth and studies it. DJ on the other hand, will pick up the same toy, wether it be a doll or a truck and put it straight in his mouth then bash it on the floor.
The parents of Pop, say that its society that decides a gender not their make up. That boys tend to get up and get on with it when they fall over, where as girls will cry and run to their mummies. Well I know this is not true, Amalie will fall over and pull her self up and rarely cries when she falls, where as my little man will always cry and will always want me to kiss him better.
“Ignoring children's natures simply doesn’t work,” says Susan Pinker, a psychologist and newspaper columnist from Toronto, Canada, who wrote the book The Sexual Paradox, which focuses on sex differences in the workplace.
“Child-rearing should not be about providing an opportunity to prove an ideological point, but about responding to each child’s needs as an individual,” Pinker says.
“It’s unlikely that they’ll be able to keep this a secret for long. Children are curious about their own identity, and are likely to gravitate towards others of the same sex during free play time in early childhood.”
Pinker says there are many ways that males and females differ from birth; even if gender is kept ‘secret,’ prenatal hormones developed in the second trimester of pregnancy already alter the way the child behaves and feels. She says once children can speak, males tell aggressive stories 87 per cent of the time, while females only 17 per cent. In a study, children aged two to four were given a task to work together for a reward, and boys used physical tactics 50 times more than girls, she says.
What are your thoughts on this?