27 May
Mouthing Off: Keeping Your Child’s Gender a Secret

Welcome to Mouthing Off, a semi-regular feature where we tell you about an item in the news that has us perplexed.   We’re already on the record with our outrage about toddlers drinking alcohol and shoes for girls designed to tone their legs.   Now we’re talking about parents from Canada who don’t want to reveal their child’s gender.

Yes, that’s right.   Although their child does not have ambiguous genitalia, they feel like gender is not something that they want to impose on their child.   (They seem to have no problem, however, imposing the name Storm on their child.)

The dad is quoted as saying, “What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious.”

Oh, the irony.

Because these parents seem to have made a choice for their child that will follow him/her as a footnote to his/her life in the form of a media joke forever.   Besides, I don’t know about other parents, but we at The Mouthy Housewives are the type of hands-off parents that did not make the gender choice for our children.

There are many ways of battling gender stereotypes, but perhaps confusing the beejesus out of your kid and everyone on the internet isn’t the best way.

30 Responses to “Mouthing Off: Keeping Your Child’s Gender a Secret”

05.27.11#1

Comment by Rachael.

This is the best explination/ opinion / rant (whatever you want to call it) I have seen about this issue. I agree 100%. That poor baby.

05.27.11#2

Comment by Tracie.

It stood out to me that their other children are expressing unhappiness with the questions surrounding their gender…but this mom is on a crusade, and it seems her kids are her props.

Desperate Dietwives Reply:

This is exactly how I feel.
Those poor kids are going to have soooo many more problems than other, conventionally-raised children!
Life’s already hard: why make it harder with such choices as names (for God’s sake, Jazz and Kio are Storm’s brothers???) and a no-revealing gender approach? This will make them feel gender IS an issue, which it shouldn’t be.
On the whole, I think those parents are much more genderphobic than us, conventional and ordinary people…

Danielle Reply:

Yup. Their poor boys! I’m sure they only pick out girl clothes because Mom becomes so happy that they are able to step outside of their gender. Kids pick up on a lot and I’m sure she rewards them without even knowing it when they grab a skirt.
Sometimes I think they should require people to apply for breeding permits.

05.27.11#3

Comment by From Belgium.

These parents where clearly at the back of the line when common sense was being handed round…

05.27.11#4

Comment by calliope.

I have so many negative things to say about these people and their deluded reasoning that it’s all canceling itself out and leaving me speechless.

05.27.11#5

Comment by Diane.

Everybody wants their fifteen minutes of shame. This family wants to make on the back (or other parts) of their children. As I mutter so often these days, “What is WRONG with people?”

05.27.11#6

Comment by Muffintopmommy.

I think it’s sad grown adults are this desperate for attention. They need to stfu and get a time out. I have three boys and our plan has always been….to teach them and demonstrate to them women can do anything men can do by word and example….does it have to be so complicated? Poor little Storm!

05.27.11#7

Comment by All Fooked Up.

I personally believe that the people with the most influence on a child’s perceptions are the parents,

This child is screwed. Out of all the Xmen names they chose storm? Her powers were stupid.

These parents are idiots and I suspect this kid will be more confused than ever.

05.27.11#8

Comment by neena.

While I can appreciate that they don’t want their child to be defined by gender and rather by the whole of their character – I think this approach is creating a circus and working against their goal in the first place.

I hope this kid rips off its diaper in the middle of the playground and throws the parents’ plans out the window.

Marinka, TMH Reply:

That is a very, very funny image. I bow to you.

Ju Reply:

Are you kidding? This is probably the type of family that believes in holding their kid over the loo until it pees instead of diapering. You know, the type of attachment parenting that leads you to watch until your baby is about to grunt and poop so you rush them to the loo and hold them there. LOL The world takes all sorts of nuts. Poor storm.

05.27.11#9

Comment by Darthwiggie.

I agree. I understand what they are trying to accomplish, but they are NOT going to accomplish it by making their child gender neutral IMHO. I can only imagine how things will be as this kid grows up. He/She may be alienated from both genders because he/she can’t relate. Maybe. That’s just my guess.

Either way, it feels uncomfortable. There are gender differences for a REASON. If your child grows up and decides to change their gender, fine, but don’t force it on them at this age. He/she may be FINE with being a twig and berries boy or a muffin girl.

Whatevs.

05.27.11#10

Comment by Plano Mom.

My problem is not necessarily their misguided attempt at parenting – parents screw up their children with wacko ideas all the time, and I include myself in that description. That’s part of why they make humans so resilient and forgiving when they’re young.

The problem is with the media (and the parents) turning this into such a huge public statement. It’s not the strange ideas that will screw them up – kids take care of humbling us with our parenting decisions all the time. It’s when a minor parenting misstep turns into the media event of the week, it becomes a forced crusade and a situation where no one wins because no one is allowed to be wrong.

05.27.11#11

Comment by Wendi.

It’s attention seeking from the parents, plain and simple.

And I’ll wager $50 that Storm is a boy. With those cheeks?

05.27.11#12

Comment by Bean.

I will admit that I refused to read the story. Based on the premise alone, I think they’re wackadoodle.

My question is this: What happens when it’s time for bathroom breaks at school?

Danielle Reply:

Their kids don’t go to school. The oldest child was given the choice but chose not to attend due to his insecurity over his gender.

05.27.11#13

Comment by Naoma.

Isn’t this somewhat akin to not wanting race to be an issue so not telling others that their child is black?

It’s not the telling or not telling of others that makes gender (or race) an issue. It’s how the family unit as a whole treats eachother, others & themselves that teaches a child how to do the same.

Clearly, I’m not the only one who has read this story and finds it perplexing. But it sure is a good source of conversation!

NKL

05.27.11#14

Comment by dusty earth mother.

Mom and Dad in Canada, YOU just made gender an issue. Oops.

05.27.11#15

Comment by Karin.

I have 2 girls and then a boy. While I didn’t go around dressing my son in pink frilly stuff, I didn’t buy new baby toys for him (and hey, I had 2 girls first – I have the whole set of Pink Little People) or state that certain toys were “girl” or “boy” toys. And do you know what he picks out at the store? Wheely Pals, a boy doll, Hot Wheels, every single sport ball and “guys” (little action figures). That’s what I consider a healthy way to address gender – let them decide what their interests are but don’t withhold information from them.

Karin Reply:

oh, and yesterday, he picked a purple (it’s a nice dark royal purple) balloon at the last day of school party. 2 of the boys in his class asked him why he got a “girls” balloon. He looked at them very confused and said, “I like purple.”

05.27.11#16

Comment by This week’s irritations…. « crazy dumbsaint of the mind.

[…] was a bad week for asshattery, like people completely missing the point behind a Canadian couple’s decision to not tell what gender their baby […]

05.27.11#17

Comment by Minka.

Why oh why oh why can’t people stop over-intellectualizing humanity and stop pretending that boys and girls and men and women are EXACTLY ALIKE? We are not just disembodied brains and souls… we are ANIMALS. We might have thumbs and language and shopping, but seriously — we cannot think our way out of our very essence. Biology is, to a certain extent, destiny. It is also FUCKING REALITY.

This is not some hypothetical, politically correct conversation — this is a CHILD. Or maybe a weather pattern. But whatever — it’s a living thing, one whose spirit is entwined with the flesh within which it is housed.

I get the basic idea of not pigeon-holing your kid into thinking they have to follow a stereotype for their gender, but why is it that when people think something is wrong/bad/asinine, they often do EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE, thus something equally wrong/bad/asinine. Sigh.

05.27.11#18

Comment by Becky.

I’ve alerted my sister (a child psychologist) who lives in Canada that there most certainly is a “Storm” in her future. What a pair of nutbags the parents are. Step away from the bong, already!

05.27.11#19

Comment by I'm a big ol' b with a captial B!.

Today’s irritation– Not being able to reply on the blog I enjoy reading (this one) because it only links to a blog I simply find annoying and pompous (that one) without a reply button under the link here on this page.

At any rate, I really do think that if anyone is ‘missing the point’ it’s the parents in this whole thing. They’re trying to bring attention to the fact it’s simply a child; but instead, the child is being treated like an object and news story. Who’s fault is this? The parents.

05.27.11#20

Comment by Saskadoodle.

Oh those wacky Canadians!

05.27.11#21

Comment by raleigh mom.

I think they REALLY wanted a girl, but got stuck with a third boy……
not acknowledging it makes it not so right?

05.29.11#22

Comment by N and Em's mom.

The best way to spread news: tell a small child that something is a secret and not to tell anybody else. This worked really well for my mother when she was pregnant with my brother. I started out the next morning by telling the bus driver, and by the time I got home that afternoon, she had several friends call about “the pregnancy rumor.” Unless they threaten and beat this kid, he/she will tell the whole world when asked. Total control over everything your child says and does- haha- a concept always good for a laugh.

05.30.11#23

Comment by Poker Chick.

I hadn’t heard about this, sad. I will say it’s the kind of “liberal minded” thing I thought I could do before you become a parent. A few months into it and I couldn’t even put a damn Beatles t shirt on the kid. As cute as it was and as much as I love them, it suddenly ocurred to me: maybe she won’t like them? Why should she be a walking advertisement for a band or food or silly saying I like? It’s her choice to make later on. So I have toned down the clothes, for her sake. She can make more liberal choices when she dresses herself. This poor kid. They’re using their kid to make a statement.

06.01.11#24

Comment by Patty.

I remember from a time long, long ago, when Ms. magazine had no advertising, a story by Lois Goldman, I think, called something like Little X, who was the subject of an experiment in genderless child rearing. Little X wore red-checked overalls, was friends with everyone, liked football and basketball and dolls and cooking, and helped all the ordinary, boring children discover their transgender selves, and in the end introduced everyone to the sibling, Little Y. Y indeed?

Consider Checking Out...