Gender neutral parenting has caught up as a popular upbringing philosophy among modern-day parents. Musician and singer Pink was the latest one to jump on the bandwagon after revealing that she is bringing up her children — a daughter and a son, in a manner that does not conform to gender binaries.
So what does gender neutral parenting actually imply?
Parents who do not want to restrict their children to gender binaries are raising their them in a manner completely contrary to the ‘blue is for boys, pink is for girls’ approach. It might involve not revealing the sex of the child at birth, dressing them in neutral clothes and letting them play with gender-neutral toys.
Countries like Sweden have in fact taken big steps to promote gender neutrality among kids, like appending a third pronoun ‘hen’ in its national vocabulary. Various retailers have also been forced to do away with designated boys and girls sections to turn into gender-neutral outlets.
In fact, one Canadian couple has not yet revealed the gender of their 3-year-old child Storm. According to the Toronto Star, Storm’s parents wrote in an e-mail to family and friends, explaining that their decision was “a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a standup to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place?).”
Like any other form of encouragement, gender neutrality does sound like a positive step for parents to let their children explore different possibilities and expand horizons from a very young age.
So why do not all progressive folks endorse it, one would ask?
Studies have claimed that, as opposed to the belief that male and female brains are identical, it was possible to identify the differences between the two in around 73 percent of the cases.
One study also states the impact of prenatal testosterone in the uterus affects the choices that the kid makes during and post growing up, rather than gender neutral norms. Supporters of these statistics also believe that accepting differences is not sexist and differences don’t necessarily mean one gender is better than the other.
At the end of the day, parents do wish the best for their children. In the same vein, it’s also their responsibility to raise ‘woke’ citizens who accept differences between them and the others as something completely normal.
The change however has to start somewhere, but in a manner that children aren’t treated as mere tools of that change. A progressive outlook against gender stereotypes is a good first step in that direction.