Skip to comments.NYT on “Gender-Creative” Children (Ithaca kid 'chooses' own gender at 8)
Posted on 08/16/2012 6:59:20 AM PDT by Behind Liberal Lines
One afternoon in Ithaca, N.Y., my kids were playing on the swing sets in the park when a little tike wearing a football jersey ran into my daughters path. I lunged for the swing I jerked the chain so abruptly that I feared whiplash and shared a wow, that was close exchange with the kids mom.
How old is he? I asked. The lady looked at me as she placed her kid on the swing and said with no trace of irony, His name is Jill, and shes three.
As I tried to match the pronouns and antecedents, she explained that she belonged to a group of parents who rebelled against gender stereotypes, allowing their children to decide their genders after theyd been exposed to both options. Id learned of this in a philosophy class at NYU. My professor argued that children are born with sex but taught gender. The claim is that children unwittingly learn certain gender signifiers that dictate their behavior. Little boys dont naturally want to play with trucks, and little girls arent naturally drawn to dolls, if unsullied by eager parents who try to indoctrinate their children with heterosexist ideas about gender. According to my professor, gender roles cause people to live according to the very limited ideas of others. The ultimate goal, of course, is androgyny, where no differences between males and females exist.
Im going to raise her as gender-neutrally as possible and let him decide which gender she prefers at the age of eight. (Oh, eight; thats the age at which my son dug up our Tennessee yard one square foot at a time, because he was convinced pirates had buried treasure there.)
Whenever I write about Ithaca (as I did in one of my memoirs), I invariably get e-mails asking, Really?
Understandably, people cant quite believe that there are parents like this in America. However, a recent New York Times article called, Whats So Bad About a Boy Who Wants to Wear a Dress? attempts to further push the normalization of gender-confused children into the mainstream. It includes a very similar playground anecdote....
The article, by Ruth Padawer, a professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism, examines how various parents deal with children when they dont seem to fit into traditional gender roles. Padawer and psychologists describe this condition in the following flowery terms: gender-atypical, gender-fluid, gender-variant, gender-creative.
Parents Susan and Rob have one of these gender creative youngsters. Consequently, they sent an e-mail to the parents of their sons classmates explaining their child will sometimes be wearing a dress to preschool. They explained that their son has been gender-fluid for as long as we can remember, and at the moment he is equally passionate about and identified with soccer players and princesses, superheroes and ballerinas (not to mention lava and unicorns, dinosaurs and glitter rainbows). . . . The important thing was to teach him not to be ashamed of who he feels he is. When Susan let her son wear dresses around town, however, her son was upset when strangers assumed he was a girl. He said, I just hate being misunderstood.
Other parents have paid for a half-day of gender-diversity training for the staff their kids school, though it doesnt stop teasing during recess.
Padawer goes to great lengths to make sure her readers accept the middle space between traditional boyhood and traditional girlhood. She writes, But the parents of the boys in the middle space argue that gender is a spectrum rather than two opposing categories, neither of which any real man or woman precisely fits. Padawer then goes on to write that this middle space is more acceptable these days in the form of the transgendered. The visibility of transgender people be it running for office or tangoing on Dancing With the Stars has provided an opening for those who fall between genders.
The most astonishing quote of the article was from Edgardo Menvielle, head of a program for gender-nonconforming youth at Childrens National Medical Center in Washington. He said, I would argue its not even ethical to say to a child, This is the gender you must be.
The author helpfully explains what we already know about the political persuasion of the parents of these children, Many of the parents who allow their children to occupy that middle space were socially liberal even before they had a pink boy, quick to defend gay rights and womens equality and to question the confines of traditional masculinity and femininity.
In other words, I wasnt exaggerating about what my professors at NYU taught about gender and sexuality, and I wasnt exaggerating about what I saw on the playground in Ithaca.
Though, believe me. I wish I had been.
Because Ithaca is the City of Evil.
I can imagine someone getting sued in the future.
Hint: Mommy, Daddy and maybe even a doctor.
Obviously a philosophy developed by someone who has never had children nor been around them very much.
So many liberties under attack ... but apparently not the freedom to irreparably and irrevocably scar your child.
Good grief, that’s gonna be one warped kid.
Nah. Growing up in Ithaca that kid will be so brainwashed [s]he will think [s]he’s normal. The lawsuit will come against whatever poor corporation hires the kid when [s]he’s all grown up.
How does the non-liberal parent deal with that kind of thing? I have tremendous empathy for someone in that situation. I mean, what the hell do you do if you have a "Pat" on your hands?
I would like to know where this idiot ‘parent’ was educated
My daughters shocked me with surprisingly feminine characteristics at an early age
For example- I was clothing shopping with my 4 year old (who could barely talk) and pointed to a mannequin and asked if she liked the dress, and she said “yeah- and just look at those SHOES” - I barely noticed it had shoes
All my girls have a thing for shoes and jewelry at an early age
I had to get my sister in law to help me when I went shopping for christmas present so they didnt always end up with remote control trucks and stuff- she suggested stuff I never would have thought of and my girls usually loved it
How do you say: “Mom and dad are crazy, thanks for ruining my life, in 8 year old speech”?
Gee..... maybe all your girls have something in common .
What do you do? Well, what do you do if your child likes to play with fire, or kick dogs, or pull the neighbor girl’s pigtail? Isn’t that a big part of parenting, teaching your kid that some behavior is inappropriate, and that they can’t do it even if they feel like they want to?
I'm talking about innocuous behavior, like playing with trucks, playing with Barbies, liking movies about Lego Ninjas, liking movies about princesses . . . that sort of thing. Your examples are ones of anti-social behavior, which you would correct as inappropriate because it may cause physical harm.
There's nothing inherently wrong about a little boy liking a princess movie, other than the fact that it's kind of light in the loafers.
It seems to me that there is a hidden agenda to blur the lines between genders to force confusion of sexual identity.
I have empathy for Joe Lunchpail parents who may find themselves in this situation, but I have no empathy at all, and perhaps even some contempt, for parents who deliberately set this agenda and create this environment for their kids. It's wholly against nature. I've seen very liberal parents very chagrinned when they tried to get their boys to play with, say, Barbies - and the boys ended up ripping the heads off of the dolls and then using the headless bodies as weapons.
Nature, it seems, knows what the Hell She's doing.
Maybe not, but as soon as it reaches the point where the little boy says “I want to wear a dress”, it IS antisocial behavior.
Biggest load of crap I ever heard. People who said that never had one of each.
Kids are hard wired. When my son was not even a year old, one of his first six words was *vroom*. He was obsessed with his older sister's toy car which she virtually ignored.
Ah, fall semester starting soon. The loons are returning to Ithaca.
Gender nuetrality is really about emasculating boys.
the grown ups who do that are mentally retarded in my opinion, spreading their mental problems to the kids