Friday, 10 February 2012

Sasha knows what sex he or she is

Hmm, I have a feeling that it's a bit pointless continuing to make this blog keep the secret. Anyway, if you've been reading and not known whether Sasha is a boy or a girl, skip this post.
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Yes, of COURSE Sasha knows he's a boy. How could he fail to notice that he's got a willy? We have never concealed from him what sex he was. That would be silly. Plus, he's got a willy so how could you even attempt it? Duh!

The thing we don't push is GENDER. That is different. We don't say "Ooh, he's a typical boy" or "Don't  run like a girl" or "You sound like an old woman" or "Big boys don't cry".  We don't say that only girls are interested in dolls and colours and what they look like; we tell him he's beautiful. We don't assume that he likes diggers and lego because he's a boy; I like diggers and lego, and I'm a woman. Mummy has a toolbox; Daddy does the cooking. We just don't believe that stereotypes are useful when you're dealing with individuals. So we try not to restrict Sasha's options based on generalisations about gender. On the other hand, we do restrict his options based on good taste and our own opinions, which can border on sheer bloodymindedness. Barbie is banned (except for jumble sale bargains) because she is BORING and Disney is banned because their Princess crap is too yukky and they over-merchandise, and because I have never forgiven them for ruining two of my favourite books, Alice in Wonderland and Winnie-the Pooh.

What things do you ban, as a parent?


9 comments:

ruinsetc said...

Dear "Strident Feminist,"
I hope you are not aware what damage your "choice" to sacrifice your child to your own prejudices about the definition of the term gender you are - or have been - doing. Not aware, because if you have knowledge of the biology of human body or failed "experiments" with gender (Bruce Reimer), you cannot in all honesty believe that that is how you are going to raise a mature person.
Would you do the same should a daughter be born to you?
Do you not see that by defining yourself as feminist you already propagate those "gender stereotypes" you are so much against? Where do you think the male and female roles in society come from?
I believe that other people can be more eloquent than myself on this topic, and I urge you to consider the information on innate sexual differences and behaviours determined by those differences.
I do hope you will realize that identity - based on sexuality - is not preventing one from developing a personality but a basis for it.

Silvia Karaffova

Anthony Atkinson said...

You let Sasha dress in hyper feminine clothing. You do. Don't lie to yourself about it. All you did was cut out masculine.

Beck said...

Hi Anthony. Don't agree that a bright pink top and a few pearls and sequins count as 'hyper feminine' - what about pointy bras, suspender belts, cinched waits, short skirts, high heels? I think our stuff is nearer the centre than the extreme.

Hi Silvia. I define feminism as a belief in the need for equality of opportunities for men and women. While there's a uneven playing field, you'll never know what's biology and what's culturally conditioned. But there's also a spectrum - some people fit the stereotypes better than other. If I'd had a daughter, I suspect I'd have been even more strident.

Frank McGar said...

You are putting your child at risk for the sake of winning an argument. Kids do not want to be singled out in school (remember?), and by doing this you are placing your child directly in the line of fire, subject to potentially irreparable harm. I will be quite interested to see how this turns out in the next 5-10 years. Conducting a social experiment using your child as the subject is the absolute height of narcissism, not to mention highly unethical.

You say on one hand that pink sequins isn't hyper-feminine, but cargo pants and skull printed shirts are hyper-masculine? What makes cargo pants or skulls hyper-masculine, but a pink sequined (girl's) bathing suit not hyper-feminine? Your blind spot is HUGE, and everyone else in the world but you can see what's going on here.

I'm sorry you didn't have the XX chromosome child you always wanted, and Sasha will be too in a few years.

Frank McGar said...

You are putting your child at risk for the sake of winning an argument. Kids do not want to be singled out in school (remember?), and by doing this you are placing your child directly in the line of fire, subject to potentially irreparable harm. I will be quite interested to see how this turns out in the next 5-10 years. Conducting a social experiment using your child as the subject is the absolute height of narcissism, not to mention totally unethical.

You say on one hand that a pink-sequinned girl's bathing suit isn't hyper-feminine, but cargo pants and skull printed shirts are hyper-masculine? Your blind spot is HUGE, and everyone else in the world but you can see what's going on here.

I'm sorry you didn't have the XX chromosome child you always wanted, and Sasha will be too in a few years.

Heads All Empty said...

To both Anthony and Silvia:

My brother grew up with two older sisters and a lot of hand-me-downs. One these hand-me-downs there were a couple of raincoats. The "Peanuts" one (peanuts comic patterned) with the yellow inside, the "puppy" with the dog hood and the "pink" one, bubble gum pink outside and pink plaid inside.

My mum let my younger brother pick which one he wanted, and he choose the pink one. My neighbor (who had two boys and two girls) flipped and she told my mum she had plenty of raincoats to give my mum if she needed it. My mum politely told her, my brother was given a choice of three raincoats and he choose the pink one.

He is a perfectly normal 22 year old.

And for the record, I hated pink growing up.

szopeno said...

I am not saying that trying to raise a boy in "gender-neutral" setting is wrong. However, I find it morally objectable to making your own child an object to an experiment. An experiment with uncertain results.
BTW, if you really care about "equal opportunism" for males and females, would you support a law which would support males in forcing their wives/gf to abort their children?

szopeno said...

BTW, it is good to ban Disney. I find their fairy tales extremely bad. E.g. they advertise the stereotypical thinking: it is ok for girls to hit males (Mulan II), but the opposite is disgusting. It is ok to ditch all your responsibilities and just follow your heart; in modern fairy tales most female heroines are dilligent, aggressive, cute, while most males are usually just funny.

Erin said...

Silvia, there are a lot of issues surrounding studies about the enculturation of gender norms in children. Yes, we commonly see preferences for dolls in girls and cars in boys, but we are not entirely certain how much of this is actually cultural and how much could be said to be biological because it is impossible to completely remove culture from the picture, regardless of how much we try.

More and more, we see that gender is a spectrum rather than polar opposites. Children self-identify gender fluidity more often than we previously realised, in part because some parents are starting to listen to their children instead of trying to fit them into a mould.

Check out the Youth & Gender Media Project for some really good resources. http://www.youthandgendermediaproject.org/Home.html