I remember when my babysitter used to sing to my children. To my daughter she sang, “you are a pretty girl” and to my son, “what a strong boy.” I was frustrated that the adjectives chosen were so clearly gender-biased. All girls should be pretty. All boys should be strong.
The latest news from Toronto (http://www.parentcentral.ca/parent/babiespregnancy/babies/article/995112--parents-keep-child-s-gender-secret) is of a family who has chosen to raise their child genderless. Their four-month old child’s gender is being kept a secret. The only ones who currently know the baby’s gender are the parents, two young siblings, one family friend and two midwives.
The parents may have the very best of intentions. Perhaps they have decided to take this opportunity (and this child) to comment on social and gender politics. Perhaps this child will lead us into a brave new world of gender neutrality – though I am not certain I’d like to follow them there.
The article in the Toronto Star states:
When Storm was born, the couple sent an email to friends and family: “We've decided not to share Storm's sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm's lifetime (a more progressive place? ...).”
Judaism, for better or for worse, has a clear division of gender roles. And, at times, I certainly do find them frustrating. However, this alternative strikes me as appalling. I’m all about having a cause and being passionate about your ideology. I think what makes me so upset is using your infant to promote your agenda. The baby either is a boy or a girl s/he is not missing genitalia. By keeping the gender a secret you are inviting speculation, discussion, criticism all focused on your baby. The article that appeared in the Toronto Star received more comments than any other article in the newspapers’ history.
What do you think? Should baby Storm change the way we look at gender?