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

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05-25-2011, 05:53 AM
But how do you foster it? By exposing the child to certain item, activities and concepts over others, among other things. The nursing professor wanted to give her little girl a chance to play with toys that are traditionally considered for boys.

Speaking of math and science: the one of the positive things about the FSU is that they encouraged girls to go into science and math just as much as boys. Girls were expected to perform and learn the same way as boys. Lots of women were engineers, doctors and scientists.
Right. I'm not saying certain parents aren't trying to open their children's minds, but the more we insist on sticking to traditional gender roles during a child's early years, then the more our kids have to fight to buck the trends later on in life.

It's not just girls in math/science either. I think many men have a lot of trouble communicating verbally, and it's a serious detriment. Part of it is probably because they were never encouraged to do it well.

05-25-2011, 06:20 AM
The thing that gets me is that it won't last long that the gender will remain 'secret'.

- If the parents go out and they have a babysitter who has to change diapers.
- When the child is old enough to use public restrooms on its own
- Any government documentation

The list goes on and on.

I have absolutely no issue with letting your child be who they want to be. I appreciate the fact that they are doing that with their other children, though I could kind of see them saying to their oldest son things like 'are you sure you don't want the pink one?' in order to promote him leaning to the more 'feminine' side.

I will say though, Storm definitely looks more like a boy than a girl.

05-25-2011, 06:44 AM
I am going to guess that Storm is a boy too. Shall we have a vBet?

There was a series of pictures of cats online somewhere and you were asked to guess the sex of the cat based on looking at their face. Most people guessed very well.

05-25-2011, 06:47 AM
The unschooling thing sounds pretty wacky (although I can see it working if the kid is ambitious/curious/engaged and the parents are really focused on it...but it seems ilke a zillion times more work than regular school),

I have nothing to say about gender, mainly because the word "gender" annoys me, but I do know a bit about unschooling and your description is pretty apt. Like any other form of independent education, it's success depends on the people involved. I have known some people who have practiced unschooling at different points and have been quite successful with it; I've known others for whom unschooling is an excuse for basically doing nothing.

I am continually amazed at how much people in this forum value formal education, which is also sometimes successful and sometimes means basically nothing. School is school; it is not necessarily education.

05-25-2011, 07:28 AM
The word "gender" annoys me too. I am wondering if some people would argue that "gender" and "sex" are really the same thing.

05-25-2011, 09:11 AM
Maybe to some people it is. There are transgendered people who also want to have operations done to make their genitalia and other body parts (like breasts/chest) match what they feel their gender is.

that's what I got from it to. Some of the comments in this thread are far more than this family


05-25-2011, 12:08 PM
A couple of years ago my students were collecting data for a research project with children. There was one 5-year-old who participated in the study and my students could not determine whether the child was a boy or a girl. At first I thought that the students made a mistake when entering the data into excel - i.e., erroneously left the gender column empty for this child, but they told me that they had no idea after interacting with the child on several occasions for 10-15 minutes at a time. The teachers presumably knew (unless the child was completely independent in the bathroom), but respected the parents' wishes to not make the child's gender known to others. Not a choice I would make for my children, but seems to have worked out OK for that child, at least while the child was at that particular school - no teasing, questioning, etc. Actually, the school has a policy of not using the terms "girls/boys", everyone is called a "friend". It's a bit weird at first, people quickly get used to it.

05-25-2011, 02:38 PM
I could kind of see them saying to their oldest son things like 'are you sure you don't want the pink one?' in order to promote him leaning to the more 'feminine' side.

And how are they are going handle it when he hits puberty and talk amongst any girls he's friends with turns to who's gotten their period and who hasn't (a la Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret)? Or when he starts getting sexually attracted to one of them?

I think they are setting these kids up for a world of hurt. Because the truth always finds a way of coming out.

05-25-2011, 02:50 PM
Uh, XX or XY determines if you are the sex that carries the offspring or fertilizes the egg. It doesn't get any more basic than that. From a pure biological anthropology perspective, yes, the only role that ultimately matters from an evolutionary perspective is defined by that particular pair. A malfunction or anomaly on that pair means, in purely evolutionary terms, you're 'out.' A genetic dead end, or supposed to be as far as nature is concerned. We're a sexed species, like all other primates. That's just the way life goes. For all people complain about it being cultural, reproductive roles are in fact biologically determined. Humans are no different than any other species except in we try to be clever and cirucmvent the selective process when we probably shouldn't.

As such, female bodies and male bodies do different things. You want to dress a girl in 'boy's clothes' (though in Western society at least there's barely a difference except 'skirts', as opposed to 'kilts', are considered female-only; women wear jeans, trousers, etc), that doesn't change that the reproductive anatomy is female. They grow differently, body shape is generally different (hence women's clothing having to be cut differently to fit most women), hormones trigger different behaviors and emotional states--none of that has anything to do with how you raise your child to BEHAVE. "Gender" might be a social construct, SEX is not. That was decided when the sperm fertilized the egg. You can BEHAVE however you want within legal bounds provided you're not hurting anyone else or placing others in danger, but that doesn't change biology. Male and female is on the chromosome. There's nothing science can do to change that. Anything else is just pretend and window-dressing.

05-25-2011, 03:07 PM
This is a minor point in the article, but it left me confused:

This past winter, the family took a vacation to Cuba with Witterick’s parents. Since they weren’t fluent in Spanish, they flipped a coin at the airport to decide what to tell people. It landed on heads, so for the next week, everyone who asked was told Storm was a boy.

Why is it they need to tell people that Storm is a boy or a girl in Cuba? If they can keep it a secret in Canada, can't they do the same in Cuba? I found this "let's flip a coin and just pretend for the week" thing to be rather :huh: given the family's towards gender. This little anecdote makes it seem a bit like they are playing games with people.

Oh, and given they travel to Cuba, the kids must have passports. We just renewed my kids' passports (US) and they ask the child's sex, and I am fairly sure that the passport itself indicates the person's sex. Is it the same in Canada?

And, yes, the unschooling thing is :rolleyes:, but I was even more :rolleyes: over letting an 18 month kid pick out their own clothes. My kids are 5 and 7 and I still need to periodically intervene in their choices - not based on color or style, but based on practicality (weather, gym class, etc.).

05-25-2011, 03:07 PM
For those who didn't read the entire article, they also co-sleep: discuss.

05-25-2011, 03:10 PM
For those who didn't read the entire article, they also co-sleep: discuss.


05-25-2011, 03:13 PM
I'm willing to discuss gender and "un-schooling" (would be fascinating if done correctly), but co-sleeping? :scream:

05-25-2011, 03:27 PM
I'm willing to discuss gender and "un-schooling" (would be fascinating if done correctly), but co-sleeping? :scream:

How well would the un-schooling play out for college or future employment? Do the parents plan on the kids living on a commune for the rest of their lives? :lol:

As for co-sleeping, that's a cultural thing, however, most cultures that practice this are families that live in one-room dwellings.

05-25-2011, 03:30 PM
I haven't had a good track record with home-schooled kids being tossed into my classroom in high school. At the moment, I'd score it 0 for 10. I blame the parents, though, as the main problem was that the kids were too sheltered.

But since a lot of home-schooled kids go on to do very well in college and life, I think "un-schooled" (IF DONE CORRECTLY AND WELL) kids could be successful as well.