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January 23, 2012 § 6 Comments
I would love to hear some more thoughts on this idea that we didn’t get to in class.
Also, anyone read the short story called “X” by Lois Gould?
Genderless Baby Article
Sex is a difficult attribute to completely minimize and I do not know that it should be minimized. I think the goal is extremely admirable. But I do not know if it is the best way to move forward. You should not have to remove gender to remove gender roles. That is like amputating an arm to deal a broken hand. Yes, the hand is not functioning well and the rehabilitation will be painful and difficult but that hand is a part of who you are and when it is healed you will be more functional then before. Instead of raising the child without sex I think it is better to raise a child that is proud of their sex and proud of their ability to define their role within society.
While I agree that sex is a facet of identity that cannot be completely minimized, I have to say that I disagree with the analogy on the basis of functionality and construction. In the case of the broken hand that would need to be rehabilitated, there is the assumption that usage of the hang was already present in the person. The person knew, if not by societal influence than by instinct, what functions could be preformed with said appendage. In the case of biological sex and the construct of a gender identity, there is no instinctual design in gender identity. Adaptations based on external factors are the key processes in which the identity is made.
Also, by asserting that the hand in question would be more functional than before isn’t necessarily true either. The proverb of “What does not kill you will only make you stronger” wasn’t really addressing physical ailments; a broken hand will leave your hand vulnerable to future incidents.
Raising a child that is proud of his or her self is important, regardless of what facet of identity is being addressed.
I honestly like the idea and their attempt to raise a child free of gender socialization. I think it will be difficult to maintain, with the child going to school, watching television, and seeing traditional gender roles played out in daily life. Since the majority of society has embodied and teach gender roles (whether they are aware of it or not) I think it will be difficult for any one child or family to overcome, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I like the idea of letting a child choose who it wants to be, regardless of others’ opinions. I think instead of allowing the child to mold with society and be placed into one of its stereotypical boxes, the child should be an individual and should be able to have its own ideas about how who it wants to be and how it wants to live its life.
I was discussing the story with a friend over lunch and she said something that really caught my attention. She said that once the child gets older and starts going to school it will “find out” what gender it should be based on how it observes other children and adults that are of the same sex. This statement was so interesting to me. Gender roles are such a big part of society, being taught basically from birth, that many think we are born with some skill to identify which roles we ought to be apart of. What some don’t see is that these gender roles are learned by observation—from types of clothes we should wear, toys we should play with, things we should do, the list goes on. We aren’t born with the ability to recognize gender roles, they are taught to us by media, parents, etc. People have a hard time separating the biological, physical idea of sex from the socially constructed roles, behaviors, and activities of gender. Who said the two had to “line up” in some specific way?
The parents are being different and making a statement to the public. I believe this is a bold statement and something that can maybe start a trend, but with the way society is conformed when it comes to sex, it will not go to far. We have always JUST had a man and woman. When people are transgendered, they are becoming a man or woman, not a neutral party. It can also cause harm and psychological stress towards the baby once they become of age and have to deal with the opinions and terrorization of society. Its something that can be positive or negative. I personally don’t mind them withholding the sex of their child it is their personal business. As for allowing it to figure out its gender, the body and hormones won’t lie. At some point that will become difficult and confusing on the child, if they decide to go the opposite typical gender.
Transgender encompasses more than someone who wishes to be the opposite of their assigned gender, it can include gender expression within a continuum in which a person doesn’t have to be only a man or a woman.
I cannot say I support “genderless child”; but I also do not hate the idea of it. On one hand the parents are the parents and they can choose to raise their child anyway they would like. On the other hand, have they ever thought about the kind of life this child will lead once in school? This child is going to have to enter the world at some point and is going to be incredibly confused. What happened to letting your boy have a Barbie and your girl have cars and trains so as not to pigionhole them at an early age? I suspect these parents think themselves astoundingly clever, but they are really rather stupid. Fair enough not to let a little boy choose a pink dress and a baby buggy to play with, or a little girl choose dungarees and a toy car to play with, but to actually deny a child its gender is foolish. Whatever they think, they are still imposing their will on the child and its siblings. They are asking for trouble when they all grow up. It is a fact of life that children learn about the workd from the people around them and it is a fact of life that children and teenagers use role models to find their place in the world. This does not presuppose that their gender behavior is gained totally from those people around them. It is innate and in their DNA but all humans live by comparing themselves to others.
Ok, yes there is sterotyping all the pink toys for girls and blue toys for boys, girls do ballet, play with dolls…boys play football and play with diggers, etc….but to deny your child to know who/what they are is just plain wrong. The parents are thinking about what they want, not what is best for their child. This child will have a lot of havoc in his or her life. When in school they are going to endure a great deal of torment because they do not know what they are. It is ok for a boy to like pink and wear his hair long. It is not ok for a boy to think he is exactly the same as a girl. We are different, and the child needs to understand the difference between the two genders.
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The Social Construction of Gender »
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