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View Full Version : Parents Keep Child's Gender A Secret Following Birth (and other incredulous stuff)



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overedge
06-11-2011, 09:10 PM
The Toronto Star is Canada's highest circulation daily newspaper (even though its print distribution is almost entirely in Ontario) and its website is the largest digital news site in Canada. It's a lot more than a "local newspaper".

heckles
06-11-2011, 10:31 PM
Do you see parents who enter their child into ongoing beauty pageants the same as parents who were approached and then did one interview for their local newspaper?

So far the parents have done at least two interviews, and we don't know if they have an agent or some other attention in the works. The day ain't over yet.

Asli
06-11-2011, 11:30 PM
Isn't there the danger that this child may feel that his/her gender is something to be ashamed of, because hers/his is the only one being hid while the older brothers' and everyone else's is known?

Of course the parents' frustration with gender stereotypes is understandable and they are going to a lot of trouble trying to fight these for all three of their children. However, after reading the article, I wonder if this struggle isn't having the opposite effect, i.e. they seem so obsessed with giving their children a "choice of gender" that in the end gender plays a more central role in this family than in many others. For instance, apparently the eldest child doesn't want to go to school because of this issue.


Jazz was old enough for school last September, but chose to stay home. “When we would go and visit programs, people — children and adults — would immediately react with Jazz over his gender,” says Witterick, adding the conversation would gravitate to his choice of pink or his hairstyle.

That’s mostly why he doesn’t want to go to school. When asked if it upsets him, he nods, but doesn’t say more.

Japanfan
06-12-2011, 12:45 AM
Isn't there the danger that this child may feel that his/her gender is something to be ashamed of, because hers/his is the only one being hid while the older brothers' and everyone else's is known?


It isn't being hid from the child or the family and the family hasn't expressed an intention to hide it at which point it becomes self-evident. I don't see how Storm could get the message that gender is something to be ashamed of. No one is doing anything shaming. Treating a child as a person does not = shame about gender.

PeterG
06-12-2011, 01:19 AM
Isn't there the danger that this child may feel that his/her gender is something to be ashamed of, because hers/his is the only one being hid while the older brothers' and everyone else's is known?

Of course the parents' frustration with gender stereotypes is understandable and they are going to a lot of trouble trying to fight these for all three of their children. However, after reading the article, I wonder if this struggle isn't having the opposite effect, i.e. they seem so obsessed with giving their children a "choice of gender" that in the end gender plays a more central role in this family than in many others. For instance, apparently the eldest child doesn't want to go to school because of this issue.

So do you object to the actions of the parents...or do you object to the actions of those outside of the family who have upset a child to a great enough extent that he does now not want to go to school?

modern_muslimah
06-12-2011, 04:25 PM
How do you feel about parents who put their young children into beauty pageants, which sometimes bring about media attention? Do you feel any differently towards parents who put their children into sports events, piano recitals or spelling bees which bring about media attention?

To be honest, I don't like the idea of putting girls in beauty pageants either since I think it objectifies women and reinforces the idea that girls/women should be judged on their beauty.

As for sports, I think that is a different beast. numbers123 pretty much summed up my feelings on the matter. Little league or gymnastics aren't political and if a child is talented and wants to pursue it and there is a blurb about it in the local newspaper, then I think that is different than parents deciding to use their child publicly for a cause. Honestly, it could be gender, race, religion or anything else. It would still bother me. It's one thing to raise your children with certain values but it's completely different to push them in the spotlight for your cause.

PeterG
06-12-2011, 06:11 PM
As for sports, I think that is a different beast. numbers123 pretty much summed up my feelings on the matter. Little league or gymnastics aren't political and if a child is talented and wants to pursue it and there is a blurb about it in the local newspaper, then I think that is different than parents deciding to use their child publicly for a cause. Honestly, it could be gender, race, religion or anything else. It would still bother me. It's one thing to raise your children with certain values but it's completely different to push them in the spotlight for your cause.

How do you feel these parents are using their child for a cause? They were approached by their local newspaper to do one interview. They decided the issue was worthy of that one interview. That was it.

From the June 7th article I referred to last week (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/parents-genderless-toronto-baby-surface-talk-unwanted-media-173022122.html):


Storm's parents revealed that, after the Toronto Star published its front page feature about the "genderless" baby on May 21, media outlets who doggedly pursued a follow-up included People magazine, the Oprah Winfrey Network, and the Australian "60 Minutes."

The attention motivated the couple to grant one audio interview with a relatively quiet Storm in tow.

The global hype around the story has taken Witterick and Stocker by surprise. While reporter Jayme Poisson asked to spend a day with the family after an initial chat, and many photos were taken, they still didn't expect such a prominent article in the Star.

"The fact that the story has gone viral, and is now across the world, is also a tremendous shock to my system," said Storm's mother. "This wouldn't be my chosen venue for having these discussions."

So one print interview. Followed up by one radio interview, only because of the attention brought on by the print interview. Now it's over.

I just don't see how the parents are using their children to support some "cause" or doing some wild "social experiement". They are raising their children in what they feel is the best possible way.

heckles
06-12-2011, 06:26 PM
So one print interview. Followed up by one radio interview, only because of the attention brought on by the print interview. Now it's over.

So the parents gave an interview to the media so they could talk about how much they dislike the media attention they've gotten ever since they chose to give a previous interview to the media? That makes no sense. I also wouldn't be so certain that this is the last time this family will put themselves in the spotlight.

numbers123
06-12-2011, 07:11 PM
How do you feel these parents are using their child for a cause? They were approached by their local newspaper to do one interview. They decided the issue was worthy of that one interview. That was it.

Wait - they decided that the issue was worthy of one interview? Do you think that they really thought it would end with one interview? If it was a controversial idea/practice in the first place - which is why the media chose to do the story - what made them think it would be a one shot and over with?

I am not sure what you are trying to make a point of - you approve of their media blitz, you approve of their parenting choices, you approve that one should experiment with how society reacts to a child when no gender is identified?

perhaps if the family documented the story over the next few years, keeping the story to those who are in the need to know and then published their findings after divulging the child's sex, I *could* see what they are trying to do. Right now, it just feels like a "look at me" story rather than a concern for the child. YMVV

Japanfan
06-12-2011, 11:26 PM
Wait - they decided that the issue was worthy of one interview? Do you think that they really thought it would end with one interview? If it was a controversial idea/practice in the first place - which is why the media chose to do the story - what made them think it would be a one shot and over with?


As indicated in the quote above, they apparently did and were surprised at the interest generated. And, they subsequently refrained from participating in a media feeding frenzy which would probably have generated considerable $$.

Asli
06-12-2011, 11:31 PM
It isn't being hid from the child or the family and the family hasn't expressed an intention to hide it at which point it becomes self-evident. I don't see how Storm could get the message that gender is something to be ashamed of. No one is doing anything shaming. Treating a child as a person does not = shame about gender.

When people ask the parents "Is it a boy or a girl?" they don't reply. OTOH they don't hide the fact that the brothers are boys. What kind of message is Storm supposed to receive from this, especially if she is a girl? :confused:



So do you object to the actions of the parents...or do you object to the actions of those outside of the family who have upset a child to a great enough extent that he does now not want to go to school?

I don't object to either side. IMO the parents' intentions are good. As for the other adults mentioned in the article, it seems their only fault is being confused by the eldest son Jazz's wearing what is generally considered girl's clothes and hairstyle and asking whether he is a boy or a girl. Maybe somewhat tactless, but not necessarily sexist.

What I meant in my previous post is that, as a result of all this "gender exploration" thing, gender issues seem to play a huge role in Jazz's life. He can't go to school, he's seen like something of a freak. Is he now treated more like a "person" than if he were wearing a t-shirt and jeans, which are worn equally by girls or boys? :confused:

Dress is one of the signs that people express themselves with. It is the parent's role to explain what such signs mean in their culture. It isn't as easy as taking children to a shop and allowing them to pick up items at random. Jazz wants the people he cares for to know that he is a boy. According to the article, he even asked his mother to write a note to explain to his nature camp group leaders that he is a boy. Jazz is like a French ice dance team's free dance, you can't decipher him without a written explanation. A written note is a sign. Dress is also a sign. Why make it so difficult?

It is important to fight against children being imprisoned into the cliché roles, feelings and activities related to their gender. However, in this case it seems to me that Jazz is blocked from many roles and activities much before that stage. JMHO.

jenniferlyon
06-13-2011, 12:20 AM
So do you object to the actions of the parents...or do you object to the actions of those outside of the family who have upset a child to a great enough extent that he does now not want to go to school?

Personally, I object to both. Is it wrong for people to make fun of this little boy? Yes. He's a small child and it's not his fault his parents are whackadoodles. But at the same time, what these parents did to this child borders on abuse. Anyone with a normal functioning brain knows full well what will happen to a little boy who comes to school dressed like a girl. Say what you will about gender stereotypes are bad or whatnot, but we're living in the real world and in this particular culture of the real world, pigtails plus pink equals "girl". I think these parents wanted their kid to have a negative school experience to give them an excuse to isolate him.

agalisgv
06-13-2011, 01:08 AM
Asli, I'm trying to understand your point, but not quite getting it. It's my understanding Jazz didn't like his school because he was being teased for dressing the way he wanted. Are you saying he shouldn't be able to dress that way, or his parents should be talking him into a new wardrobe? Or are you saying the parents are forcing Jazz to wear feminine clothes?

Speaking broadly, the theme I'm getting from some in this thread is it's ok to question gender roles as long as one does it discreetly and doesn't make an issue out of it. I can't help but think how similar that is to responses I hear from conservatives re: sexual orientation--"they (meaning lgbts) can do what they want, just don't put it in my face." "I don't have a problem with gays, but I wish they'd just keep it to themselves instead of publicizing it." Etc.

PeterG
06-13-2011, 02:42 AM
I think these parents wanted their kid to have a negative school experience to give them an excuse to isolate him.

:eek: :scream:

Japanfan
06-13-2011, 04:43 AM
Anyone with a normal functioning brain knows full well what will happen to a little boy who comes to school dressed like a girl. Say what you will about gender stereotypes are bad or whatnot, but we're living in the real world and in this particular culture of the real world, pigtails plus pink equals "girl".

I'm sure that George A. Rekers, the therapist who treated Kirk Murphy for effeminate behaviour when Kirk was a child - under discussion in the 'sissy boy' thread - would agree with you wholeheartedly. After all, Rekers emphasizes that he only wanted to help Kirk live in the real world, which means conforming to gender stereotypes.