By now, you’ve heard the story about the Canadian parents who are refusing to reveal the gender of their baby, Storm.
They are claiming Storm should be allowed to choose what gender he/she is and to be “gender creative.”
But in keeping their child’s gender a secret, they are doing the exact opposite of their original intent. They are actually placing too much emphasis on it.
And, yes, while a lot rides on gender, it does not determine a person’s life, and I think to surmise such is to fall back into the old stereotypical gender roles Storm’s parents are trying to prevent.
These days, I believe girls are not brought up to be “in the kitchen” just as boys aren’t solely encouraged to explore and, one day, become “breadwinners.”
As the mother of a boy and a girl, both close in age (less than 22 months apart), my husband and I have always parented based on each child’s personality and needs.
The old adage, “Boys will be boys,” doesn’t always hold true. Nor should it.
In fact, if you want to play by antiquated gender role stereotypes, my 20-month-old Adalyn Rae should be our “boy.” She has no fear, picks up ants and worms, eats anything and everything and is not afraid to get dirty.
Like many parents these days, we opted to find out the sex of both of our children when I was pregnant with them. And we had no qualms about revealing either. We bought dresses for Adalyn and painted her room pink. Does that make her more “girl?”
Zander’s room is green. He wear jeans he’s not afraid to get dirty. But he is also anxious. He is fearful at times, he doesn’t like to try new things, he doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, he’s a picky eater, and he often screams when he sees a bug.
Does this make him less of a “boy?”
It is society’s assignment of things and actions/reactions as either “boy” or “girl,” that Storm’s parents should be protesting, not gender itself. Gender isn’t a bad thing: It’s biology.
The debate between what is a bigger influencer on our lives — nature v. nurture — is a longstanding one. You can’t deny either. Nor should you.
As parents, it’s vitally important to expose our children to all types of toys, all sorts of situations, and respond to our children based on their personalities and their individual needs — whether they are girls or boys.
Maybe I give people more credit than Storm’s parents do.
Truth is, gender is more than the color of your room or whether you wear a dress or pants. Gender is an undeniable part of who we are, but it does not make us who we become.
What do you think? Will “girls be girls” and “boys be boys” regardless of how we react to their gender? Or, is there something more at play?