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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » interesting article on gender and parenting

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Author Topic: interesting article on gender and parenting
strumpet
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http://www.thelocal.se/20232/20090623/

i haven't decided yet if i think this is an interesting experiment or utter wankery on the parents' part.
opinions?

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Heather
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Interesting. Though I think the choice of "gender" rather than "sex" in much of the language in that piece doesn't make sense. Gender is something we assign to others and/or choose for ourselves: it's a social construct. It sounds to me like the parents are saying that they are both refusing to assign their child a gender, but are also not disclosing what they know about their child's biological sex.

However, the confusing mishmash of the terms in the piece may also just be reflective of the cultural mishmash of them, too.

One thing is, by that age, it'd be pretty unlikely for a child not to have noticed their own genitals. They say Pop knows there are differences between boys and girls (which seems like an odd thing for gender-sensitive folks to even say, since there are more than two biological sexes), but I'm curious as to how they are answering the questions about things like genital differences when Pop asks about them.

I can't for the life of me remember where I saw this -- I read too much, as evidenced by the piles of books always at my sides and feet when I'm typing here -- but I do know there are some cultures and traditions where it's typical not to assign gendered names or gender to a child for extended periods of time. So, this isn't unheard of, by any stretch. Just not common.

I'm not sure why, though, discussions of genital reconstruction are even brought up in that piece. It has nada to do with what these parents have chosen to do. I also disagree with what Pinker said pretty much through the whole piece.

Personally, I'm very much in favor of parents and other adults trying to do what they can not to assign gender identity to children, and leave room for the child to express that themselves. So, while I'm curious about how they're approaching this (the piece didn't address much of that, choosing instead to have other people talk about their theories on it), I'm generally supportive of parenting choices like these.

Cool link: thanks!

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-Lauren-
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It's an interesting idea, and I really like how it has the potential to allow the child to really be and express hirself, including letting Pop choose hir own inclusive clothing and decide when ze would like to reveal hir gender. That has a lot of room to allow for individual development without lots of the social molding that takes place, and kids need way less of that.

I think it could be harmful if the parents are unsupportive of Pop's curiousity about hir body or outright lie, or keep otherwise keep the knowledge out of Pop's reach. It would be unfair and abusive for ze to go through school, out in public, etc fully unaware of, and possibly uncomfortable with, who ze is and how ze fits in with everyone else.

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orca
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quote:
I do know there are some cultures and traditions where it's typical not to assign gendered names or gender to a child for extended periods of time.
It's not entirely the same, but in Hungary there are no gendered pronouns while someone is below a certain age. My father still gets confused on his pronouns when speaking English because it just wasn't something he used growing up. I'm not entirely sure about the specifics on it (I don't know Hungarian), but I'll ask him for clarification later today.

Something from the article that irked me:
quote:
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.
Since when? In pre-school, I had two friends I played with most, one a girl the other a boy. Even up to second grade, I still played with a mix of boys and girls. It really wasn't until a bit later that things became more divided. I know that's anecdotal, but is there really any credit to what she's saying?

I'm also not crazy about the biological perspective most of the experts seem to hold on sex and gender. The idea the parents have does seem interesting. Is it really all that novel, though? I thought parents have done similar things before by unisexing their children's clothing.

[ 06-29-2009, 12:46 PM: Message edited by: orca ]

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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Heather
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I second your irk.

That also is not my own observation in nearly a decade before I did this spent teaching in ECE. Not unilaterally, anyway: I think that tends to have a lot to do with the environments they are in (and how much they encourage mixed-gender play or not: so often teachers or parents direct children to same-sex friends) and what social cues they have gotten from parents, family and other environments. But I also think some of that has to do with personality issues and what's going on with a child's own gender identity.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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