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  1. #21

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    Nubka - Unpaid Slave Laborer...

  2. #22

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    Rather ridiculous. Personally I don't like that colours get sterotyped (pink for girls and blue for boys which when my nephews and neice were born I steered away from) but to not acknowledge what sex their child is pretty stupid. Because by the time the kid turns 1 or 2 it is going to be pretty obvious. You can't change personality.
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    Your chromosomes are what they are.
    True, but which chromosomal charcteristics a society chooses to be definitional of personhood is arbitrary. One could just as easily choose blood type as the defining characteristic of who we are.

    That's not nebulous--just pointing out the obvious arbitrary relationship between a particular chromosomal trait and that which defines our personhood.

    I realize that may be difficult to fathom if that's your entire cultural context, but it really is a matter of cultural convention only.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    You can't change personality.
    Did they say they wanted to? I thought it was more of a situation where they wanted the child's personality to be appreciated for what it is.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    I thought it was more of a situation where they wanted the child's personality to be appreciated for what it is.
    that's what I got from it to. Some of the comments in this thread are far more than this family
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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    Because by the time the kid turns 1 or 2 it is going to be pretty obvious. You can't change personality.
    Because girls have a different personality than boys?

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    True, but which chromosomal charcteristics a society chooses to be definitional of personhood is arbitrary. One could just as easily choose blood type as the defining characteristic of who we are.
    How does a blood type impact us the same way that the XY or XX chromosomes do, in physiological terms? Would you say having trisomy 21 is the same as having an A+ blood type in terms of societal perceptions?

    This whole thing reminds me of a nursing professor who told her students (among which was my friend) that she wanted to raise her daughter in an androgynous environment and let her choose. She bought her trucks instead of dolls (not really giving her a choice, is it). The little girl proceeded to put the trucks to bed and tuck them in. It is what it is.

    Similarly, I tried giving my son stuffed animals and even dolls to see what he would do. He had no interest in stuffed animals with one exception of a stuffed crocodile called Neville, that he still sleeps with. Other than that he just dropped them on the floor. At the same time he had an absolute fascination with cars or anything mechanical from pretty much his birth. The one traditionally viewed as female interest of his is cooking.
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  7. #27
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    Societal perceptions are formed in great part by social constructions. If every person with a certain blood type was dressed in orange at birth, and given certain toys to play with, it might seem obvious that that DNA configuration is determinative of personality and such. And who knows, maybe people of a particular blood type do show common affinities. We don't know that though because our society isn't structured around that as a defining characteristic. Rather we choose other markers.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    Societal perceptions are formed in great part by social constructions. If every person with a certain blood type was dressed in orange at birth, and given certain toys to play with, it might seem obvious that that DNA configuration is determinative of personality and such. And who knows, maybe people of a particular blood type do show common affinities. We don't know that though because our society isn't structured around that as a defining characteristic. Rather we choose other markers.
    I asked you about trisomy 21. Or any other number of chromosomal abnormalities that affect appearance.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    This whole thing reminds me of a nursing professor who told her students (among which was my friend) that she wanted to raise her daughter in an androgynous environment and let her choose. She bought her trucks instead of dolls (not really giving her a choice, is it). The little girl proceeded to put the trucks to bed and tuck them in. It is what it is.

    Similarly, I tried giving my son stuffed animals and even dolls to see what he would do. He had no interest in stuffed animals with one exception of a stuffed crocodile called Neville, that he still sleeps with. Other than that he just dropped them on the floor. At the same time he had an absolute fascination with cars or anything mechanical from pretty much his birth. The one traditionally viewed as female interest of his is cooking.
    For me, gender roles isn't just assuming what the child would or wouldn't like. It's how other people treat the child. For instance, boys are assumed to be much tougher than girls, and girls are assumed to be more chatty. Not to mention girls are "supposed" to be better at verbal and artistic skills and boys are "supposed" to be better at math and analyzing. Foster those beliefs far enough, and they'll definitely affect the child. How many girls were dissuaded from math and science because they weren't a girly thing to do?

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    For me, gender roles isn't just assuming what the child would or wouldn't like. It's how other people treat the child. For instance, boys are assumed to be much tougher than girls, and girls are assumed to be more chatty. Not to mention girls are "supposed" to be better at verbal and artistic skills and boys are "supposed" to be better at math and analyzing. Foster those beliefs far enough, and they'll definitely affect the child. How many girls were dissuaded from math and science because they weren't a girly thing to do?
    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.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    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.

  12. #32
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    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.

  13. #33
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    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.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by genevieve View Post
    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.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  15. #35
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    The word "gender" annoys me too. I am wondering if some people would argue that "gender" and "sex" are really the same thing.
    Last edited by IceAlisa; 05-25-2011 at 07:40 AM.
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  16. #36

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    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by genevieve View Post
    that's what I got from it to. Some of the comments in this thread are far more than this family
    ITA.
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  17. #37

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    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.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by screech View Post
    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.

  19. #39
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    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.

  20. #40

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    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 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 , but I was even more 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.).
    Creating drama!

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