I know people are going absolutely crazy about the Toronto couple that refuse to assign gender stereotypes to their three children, but I gotta say – I think they’re doing some things very, very right.
Would I go the extreme route they are by not announcing the gender of their 4-month old child? No, I probably would not. While I wholeheartedly agree with the principle of not caving to certain gender norms while raising my kids (boys will be boys, girls will be princesses), I’m not sure if the expectation that they ‘choose’ their own gender is any less weighty or potentially damaging as giving in to gender stereotypes.
But it seems to me that these parents are not trying to raise their kids without gender, just simply trying to move away from raising them with gender stereotypes. I think it’s admirable, if not tough to maintain.
I am ok with a certain amount of gender ambiguity when raising our kids; as with most aspects of parenting and growing, things aren’t always black and white. These parents are allowing their children to make choices, something I’d like to be doing more of.
I applaud these parents for allowing their children to not only pick out their own clothes at the store, but to let them browse the boys’ and girls’ sections. I applaud them for allowing their children to choose whether or not they want their hair long or short, and I applaud them for their efforts to raise open-minded, accepting children, even if people don’t always return the sentiment.
So I wonder what exactly it is that people are so up in arms about regarding the Stocker-Witterick family. Is it that we are afraid that they are damaging their children, or are we simply afraid that they are damaging our ideas of ‘normal?’