And Another Thing…

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The Stupidest Thing I’ve Heard This Week

A couple of parents in Sweden have decided to fight the “social construct” of gender by keeping the biological sex of their two and a half year-old offspring a secret.

Only those who have changed the toddler’s diapers know if “Pop,” which is not the child’s real name, is male or female. “We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mold from the outset,” the tot’s 24-year-old mother told the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. “It’s cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”

Pop’s wardrobe includes both pants and dresses, and the child usually gets to decide what to wear. “Although Pop knows that there are physical differences between a boy and a girl, Pop’s parents never use personal pronouns when referring to the child — they just say Pop,”

 It gets better:

Yet, Kristina Henkel, Swedish gender equality consultant, says Pop’s parents’ experiment could help the child develop as an individual without being boxed in by gender-role stereotyping from birth. “If the child is dressed up as a girl or boy, it affects them because people see and treat them in a more gender-typical way,” Henkel explains. “Girls are told they are cute in their dresses, and boys are told they are cool with their car toys. But if you give them no gender they will be seen more as a human or not a stereotype as a boy or girl.”

Pop’s parents say that they will reveal the child’s gender when Pop thinks it is time to do so. In any case, he or she will soon have more company. The family is expecting another child, and with the next bundle of joy, the parents plan to continue playing the “what’s it to you?” gender card.

First thing: what is a “gender equality consultant”? Second thing: the gender equality consultant suggests that a child with no gender will be seen more as a human. How does that work, exactly? Denying gender is denying a part of what makes us human. As much as some theorists might want us to think otherwise, gender is part and parcel of the human experience. It is a biological construct, not a social one.

“Pop” is also being denied the development of his/her/it’s own persona. Since the parents have opted to turn their child into a social statement rather than raise him/her/it as a whole human being, they are undermining the child’s dignity and laying the foundation for some serious neuroses in the future. Children are not property, product, works of art, or a means of expressing our own individuality or ideology.

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3 Responses

  1. Kelly says:

    I think the real travesty here is that people would use their child as an experiment! I’d like to think the kid has a chance to not grow up with a lot of resentments, but it really seems unlikely. Maybe it will have a more open-minded attitude towards whatever the opposite of it’s sex is. I don’t know, it’ll be interesting to see how things turn out. And since the parents obviously love the publicity, I’m sure we’ll hear!

  2. Shayna says:

    Wow! This is utter negligence in parenting. Let;s not tell Pop whther Pop is a human either. Let Pop figure out what species Pop wants to be too.

  3. David B says:

    I think you de-valued this story by only saying it’s the stupidest thing you’ve heard this week. I say it’s already locked up the award for stupidest story of the year, perhaps decade, and it’s an early contender for the international category on ‘stupidest thing I’ve heard this century’.

    Mike, you put my previous all time bad-parent story to shame. Congratulations. (http://preacherearl47.blogspot.com/2007/06/at-least-this-didnt-happen-in-america.html)

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