Androgyny Rising: Parents Rear ’Genderless’ Baby
2011 05 25
By Lulu Sinclair | SkyNews Online
A Canadian couple have decided to bring up their four-month-old baby as a "genderless" child, according to reports.
The parents David Stocker and Kathy Witterick told the Toronto Star they want the youngster - named Storm - to decide for itself whether it is going to be a boy or a girl.
The couple have two other children - both boys - who they allow to dress as they wish, the paper claimed.
Jazz, who is five, and two-year-old Kio favour long hair and bright colours - including a pink dress and hair braids in Jazz’s case.
Kio has long, curly blond hair that hangs just below his chin.
As a result, most people think the boys are girls.
The difference with the family’s latest addition is that no-one will be told what sex the baby is.
"If sex is what is ’between the legs’ and gender is what is ’between the ears’, neither is confused for any of our children," said Ms Witterick.
"What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious."
Professor Melissa Hines, who specialises in gender development at the University of Cambridge, said the experiment would be hard to continue once the child gets older.
"It raises all sorts of interesting questions," she told Sky News Online.
"But, quite simply, we don’t know how it will work.
"In reality, it’s probably not going to be possible to do because you’d need to raise a child in isolation and that’s not going to happen.
"I think it would be very hard to continue once the child becomes older because it will realise there is a difference and it’s importance within society.
"So it will want to convey it, so it’s unlikely that the parents will be able to keep the experiment up."
Clinical psychologist Dr Brenda Todd, a senior lecturer at City University, said the experiment has been tried before in the 1970s by a feminist academic and her husband, with limited success.
"I think it’s interesting that this family want to do it - maybe we should all try to bring up our children in a genderless way - but I don’t think it will have much impact long term.
"When the child gets older, the influence of the peer group is much stronger than that of the family so, like it or not, it will become gender aware."
Dr Todd pointed to research she and a colleague did on children between the ages of nine months and 36 months.
"We found that they really did have stereotypical preferences even at that age, with the girls going for teddy bears and dolls and the boys going for balls and cars."
Article from: news.sky.com
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