Monday 30 May 2011

Gender, Sex and Society - Response

Our darling Ashlee at A Mortal Doth Approach recently made this post about parents raising a genderless baby. The family have decided to keep the child's sex a secret and let it choose its own gender. I thought to clarify this, as ashlee did.

Sex is what you have downstairs. It's what's in your pants. It's your sex bits. Gender is what you are in your brain, and in your heart. Most people connect the two, saying, "well, i'm a girl downstairs, so therefore, i am female", or, i have a dick. so i'm a dude". But then there are others, who have the opposite bits to who they feel they are. There are more people, still, who are genderless - or just don't seem to fit in to any or all stereotypes.

People are furious over this, saying that they're screwing up their child. I fail to see how - they're not telling their child, "You are a boy. You must play with trucks" or "You are a girl. You must play with barbies". I was not raised genderless, however, I was not told that i must be one or another. I was allowed to pick my own gender, and I feel that made me a stronger person. I played with dinosaurs. I loved bugs and dirt. I played with the boys, and avoided the girls (they were always so much more judgemental).

I commend this decision. A child will pick what it wants to do. They're saying that it's wrong because the child has no choice - but by making the choice not to tell the child how to be, they will become however they want to be. They will choose how they will be. They wanted to keep it a secret because they didn't want the child to conform to gender stereotype - and the fact is, Storm will choose to conform to whatever Storm wishes. The parents aren't imposing. They're giving the child the freedom to say "This is who I am, and no one can tell me otherwise".

Who is society to tell a small child who they must be? Who is so upright that they can say that if a baby is a girl, then a baby must act like a girl.

As a child, my parents let me do as I please when it came to gender. I am a girl. I am happy to be one. However, when I was little, I wore boy's clothes, played with dinosaurs and had a total aversion to the colour pink. Because of this freedom, despite scrutiny from others, I was able to choose who I am. I have been allowed to say, "I am a girl, and I am female." Because of freedom as a child, I have grown up to be the best I can be under the circumstances.

Stop critisising these parents. What's the difference between raising the child to choose, and raising the child to be a girly girl who does women-only jobs, or a boy who is grubby and rough?

It stems from outdated gender stereotypes. Women are to stay home and squeeze out babies and make dinner every day. Men are to go out and work, and come home to their wives and children and be worshipped. As I mentioned on Ashlee's post, I am rather the former kind of girl - but I had the right to choose this. Everyone should have the right to choose.

I have been told i'm "anti-feminist" because I wish to stay home and have kids and make lovely dinners. How so? I support other women's choices. Want to work and have kids? Good for you. Want to just work and not have a family? It's your choice. I have chosen. Do not tell me my choice is wrong.

I don't understand how women can turn on other women for their choices that are well within the rights that were fought for. Women who work and have kids are called neglectful by stay-at-home mothers. Women who stay at home are called anti-feminist. Women who do not have children are selfish. Muslim women who choose to wear a headscarf are told they're anti-feminist and backward and controlled. The headscarf is a choice, just like the clothes anyone else chooses to wear. Women who wear particularly alluring clothes or low-cut blouses, or who use their sex-appeal in any way are slutty. How? Women are sexy creatures. How is it horrible to use what we were born with, like intelligence or a rich family? Does it make you anti-feminist to be a proud and sexy woman? No, not at all. It is your choice to choose who you are.

Why are women divided over such things? Jobs, homes, husbands, children, possessions, money? I am not poor. You are not rich. We are women. Stop being so caught up and jealous and petty. Women, across all countries, cultures, societies and mammal species are amazing, strong and the backbone of the group. Remember this.

Stop being so caught-up over things that don't matter. We are women. Hear us roar.


Anonymous said...

Agree-ness! Hurrah!

SarahWalrus said...

As a child my parents always told me to be 'Lady-like' and to 'Act like a girl'. That included not asking questions, sitting up straight and not embarrassing myself. I wore nothing but dresses. Pink was EVERYWHERE. I played with Barbies and Bratz. TO this day my father still tells me that "I can never be a programmer" and I have the suspicion this is because I'm a girl.

Kitty, you know me pretty well. I think this will affect me for my whole life.

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

Sarah, I am very disgusted about your father's behaviour sometimes. You are smart enough to know better. You can be a programmer if you damn well want to - he can't tell you anything about it because of your gender. I mean, he doesn't have a job, he doesn't earn for his family, so what kind of man is he? He has no right to tell you who you are.

Move in with Shaun and I. We'll be your makeshift parents and we'll tell you exactly who you can be - you can be you.

Tenebris In Lux said...

Lovely post, I was about to do something about this little baby until you beat me to it. Nice points, couldn't have said it better.

I found out about this yesterday via "ParentDish." I was disgusted to find that a lot of the comments were all "ugh, the mother is doing this for attention" or "poor baby!" or "what's wrong with these people?!" or "God bless us, oh dearie me what have we done?"

This is why I love my mum so much. I also loved dinosaurs and dirt, and she didn't have a problem with it :3

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

Make the post. I want to read it.


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