Androgyny Rising: Parents Rear íGenderlessí Baby
2011-05-25 0:00

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 Jazzís 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 familyís latest addition is that no-one will be told what sex the baby is.

"If sex is what is íbetween the legsí and gender is what is íbetween the earsí, neither is confused for any of our children," said Ms Witterick.
"What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. Itís 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 donít know how it will work.
"In reality, itís probably not going to be possible to do because youíd need to raise a child in isolation and thatís 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 itís importance within society.
"So it will want to convey it, so itís 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 itís interesting that this family want to do it - maybe we should all try to bring up our children in a genderless way - but I donít 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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