Baby Storm (4 months) & Older brother Jazz (5 years)
I simply can't stop thinking about the latest ridiculous couple to make a misguided attempt at raising their child without gender. In 2009, I railed against the 'original' newsmaking Scandinavian couple who called their child Pop and kept him/her in an endlessly changing array of clothing and hairstyles.
Now another couple has jumped on this bandwagon. Kathy Witterick and David Stocker, a canadian couple who already had sons, one of whom likes to dress in stereotypically girlish clothing and hairstyles have made the decision to keep the sex of their third child a secret. Witterlick (because, to the best of my knowledge, we haven't heard from the father) intends to shield her newest child's identity from all possible societal tainting by keeping it under wraps: "…if you really mean what you say about being kind, honoring difference, having an open mind and placing limits thoughtfully where they help children develop competencies and be safe, then you better walk the talk."
I believe that I'm pretty good at 'walking the talk'–I have a house full of open ended toys and devoid of canned superhero and princess paraphernalia. My son and my daughter both have full access to dolls, trucks and pink t-shirts.
I am also the first to jump down someone's throat for describing my daughter only as 'pretty' or for excusing some misbehavior of my son's by saying 'boys will be boys' because I would hate to pigeon-hole either one of them by forcing them into gender stereotypes.
But to pretend that their sexual identity doesn't exist? Kind of seems absurd to me…and, as Peggy Orenstein said to me in an ongoing twitter conversation simply "wrong-headed."
I could go on and on about why you shouldn't turn your offspring into a social experiment….but, you know the thought that I keep coming back to?
How on earth is this couple going to avoid ever changing their kid's diaper in public?!
Good luck to them with that!
As an interesting addendum, today my very girly 2 year old daughter chose to wear navy blue pants with a white tie-dyed stripe down the sides and an off-white t-shirt with a woolen sheep on the front. She was also wearing pink and orange sandles and has flowing hair down her back. Not once, but two times,within the course of 2 hours, she was mistaken for a boy. In one case, I corrected the mistake and in the other, my daughter emphatically said “Girl!” Even at the age of 2, she knows that she is female…and I would hate for it to be any other way!