This is part deux of a previous post I wrote about an ultra progressive couple in Toronto, Canada, who are making a concerted effort to raise their 3 children in androgyny. Their 5- and 2-year-old’s gender is male but only in biological terms. Their mother makes no excuses that their outward appearances are very much female. The boys are encouraged to choose their gender according to what they’re attracted to and the boys just so happen to have chosen the societal form of femininity, wearing dresses, braiding their long hair and wearing pink boas.
Their 3rd child, 4-month-old Storm, its gender will not be disclosed to anybody outside of their immediate family and friends. This experiment is apparently their way of proving to themselves and the world that gender is exclusively a state of mind.
The couple, David Stocker, 39, and wife, Kathy Witterick, 38, have been the recipients of a lot of criticism. Many people within the general public, including myself, feel that this is nothing but a social experiment which does a grave disservice to the child. Witterick wrote an email response in which she accused critics of being “judgmental.”
Recently, the parents of “Baby X” and their androgynous clan have spoken out against the backlash they’ve received. In the email that Witterick wrote which was obtained by MSNBC, that disclosing their 4-month-old’s gender to the world is “unhealthy.”
The infant, aptly named Storm, perhaps the parents anticipated the firestorm their anti-genital, gender bending ways would have on society. The mother contends that the infant’s gender is being kept private and not secret. However, if you want to keep such a thing private, why allow the media to blow it all up? They put their social experiment on display, now they have to live with opposing opinions.
She goes on to write this about her 5 year old son:
“Jazz has a strong sense of being a boy, and he understands that his choices to wear pink and have long hair are not always acceptable to his community.”
And this is where I really call bullshit. A 5-year-old little boy cannot possibly understand what it means to defy social norms. In other words, a 5-year-old, in my opinion, is unable to make a conscientious decision to thwart cultural norms. That is the act of adult deliberation not a Kindergartener.
She also wrote:
“An infant at four months is still learning to recognize himself or herself and it’s not appropriate to force a sex on them.”
First of all, you’re not forcing sex on them (Issues anyone?). Gender is not forcing sex on anybody. The gender you’re born with is a natural gift and it should be celebrated, not hidden in shame.
Lastly Witterick writes:
“The discussion that emerges not only “outs” people (in their rush to judge, they demonstrate the prevailing views), but also has the effect of health people examine whether they truly do believe the status quo to be the best that we can do. Is this the best that we can do to grow healthy, happy, kind, well adjusted children?”
What studies can this woman cite that recognizing one’s naturally born gender and being okay with it is “unhealthy?” If a boy is naturally attracted to what society sees as more feminine preferences, why can’t he be a boy with certain likes? Or a girl that gravitates towards boyish play and style? I was a tomboy as a child, but grew up quite a girly-girl, but I never denounced my natural gender either. In either of these situations, you are not ashamed of your gender.
A doctor at the Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Dr. Ken Zucker, tells MSNBC that the situation causes people anxiety in their own self examinations of how they became who they are.
I think this is totally condescending and elitist. I have no anxiety about who I am. I like who I am. I was born a female and have zero desire to change it. The cultural status quo is constantly being challenged by strong men and women who want to break out of the mold, and that is healthy for individuals, but there are clear differences between men and women which is not mutually exclusive to a superior gender, but the unique strengths, differences and similarities of each gender. Societal norms are not always a bad thing. For example, a 40-year-old man cannot marry a 5-year-old girl by way of societal expectations and standards, but that doesn’t mean that we should challenge that status quo, either.
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