Boy Or A Girl? – I’m not saying

Boy Or A Girl? – I’m not saying

You might have been there before with your cute little one.  Someone asking innocently if it's a boy or a girl.  How about refusing to say whether it's a boy or a girl?  This is something some (weird) Swedish parents are doing.

The idea of this approach is great.  It's simply wanting a child to grow up without labels.  Without constantly giving girls or boys toys to the kids. 

 Är det en pojke eller flicka? Nej, den frågan om sitt barn Pop vill föräldrarna Nora och Jonas inte svara på. De vill ge sitt barn en så neutral uppväxt som möjligt där Pop ska slippa att bli bemött på ett visst sätt av omgivningen på grund av sitt kön.

– Det är taskigt att släppa ut sitt barn i världen med en lapp i ­pannan där det står rosa eller blå, säger Nora.

I'm on the parent council of my school and this is often discussed.  How do we let the kids grow up without always having girls playing with dolls and boys with cars. Or girls wearing pink and boys blue. I think the best way is talking about it and being aware of stereotypes which exist.  Those stereotypes are usually there without anyone thinking about them.

It's ironic that Swedish some Swedish parents are doing this.  Sweden is the most gender equal society in the world.  It's a place where mother almost equals father.  We've come a long way, things are not perfect but we're much further along than anyone else.

Is this a good way to raise kids?  Sounds weird to me.  I feeel like I can raise my kids with a mix of genders and still let others know if I have a boy or a girl.

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4 Responses to “Boy Or A Girl? – I’m not saying”

  1. My husband and I agree in that we try not to stereo type our child. Although I think if someone asked me the gender I would answer. I don’t think telling someone the gender is putting a “label” on them or stereo typing them in that instance. I think its an innocent factual question. We do have to admit that boys and girls are different and in some instances behave differently. Its a scientific fact that our brains are different. However, with that said, I do think that girls enjoy so called “boy” toys and vice versa. I think not wanting to use stereo types is to make sure that we open up the child to all different kinds of experiences and don’t cut them off from something because its not gender acceptable.

    It’s funny because my husband was telling me just the other day that when he has gone through a certain fast food restaurant and they ask if we have a boy or girl so they can provide the appropriate toy, he has the feeling of not wanting to say. Does it matter? Either toy is fine whether pink and fluffy or blue and fast.

  2. I tend to view this in cycles. I often find that parents who “insist” on gender-neutral toys often do not listen to the wishes of the children. If the boy chooses a car, they continue to offer a doll to convince the child that he actually wants to play with the doll. Our son ran around with a princess dress on all afternoon the other day. It is what he wanted to wear. Some days he wants to be Törnrosa and other days he wants to be Prince Philip. As long as he is happy, we try not to direct him too much. Once he gets older, we will have to explain to him that he is free to make his choices but that others may not understand his choices. I feel it is my duty as a parent to prepare him for the close-minded attitude of some people. Great post.

  3. I think this is beyond ridiculous, bordering on negligent. Male and female is a fact of life – penises and vaginas are not labels, they are anatomy. Things like breast cancer, prostate cancer, menopause, erectile dysfunction, pregnancy, etc are all very real issues that are OWNED by one gender. I dont care how hippy-dippy you are, if you have a penis, you’re not giving birth.

    I hate how the male/female thing overextends itself into the wrong areas. Male/female shouldnt matter in the workplace, in relationships, etc – we get it. But to a child, and culturally speaking, I think is is very important that they do have an identity and embrace it.

    In my opinion, doing stuff like this actually worsens the problem.

  4. It certainly is a different way of looking at things and I think if people started doing this in England then they would be labelled as cookoo! I’m not sure why people always do ask boy/girl question anyway and if it should be on a strictly need to know basis, maybe in these times of ‘modern’ names it is necessary to ask, my son has a unisex name but always looked very much like a boy so never confused anyone. People may feel that they don’t like to put their foot in it and assume a gender by looking at colour of clothes this can offend parents.
    Reading the post reminded me of when I was about 8 or 9 yrs old and at a Christmas party thrown by my dad’s employers(large factory). At the end of the party the kids had to line up in boy/girl que with their blue/pink ticket, this I did but didn’t realise I had the wrong colour ticket until the nice lady dishing up the goods said ‘ that’s a blue ticket so get in the boy’s que’ I replied ‘but I am a girl’. To which she said ‘no you’re not, get in the boy’s que or you can’t have a present’ I replied ‘But I AM a girl’ this went on for some time and I know I went bright red and felt so embarrassed. I don’t know why she thought a boy would want a cream vanity case complete with hair accessories but she obviously suspected foul play of some kind. I know I did look boyish with my cropped hair and corderoys and I think my mum got the flak for this, I even wonder if that’s why I always have had long hair since then. Anyway It was important to me to be a girl even though I loved to be a tomboy and wear boyish clothes, it was excruciating and painful when I was young and people assumed I was a boy,now it is so different and children can dress up in anything theyy want and it is acceptable. My 4 yr old loves to wear big sisters jewellery and shoes etc. Progress is wonderful but some times something is lost and that is a shame, are we allowed to be ladies and gentlemen anymore at the same time as women engineers and male nannies. Can I also be picky and remind you that there are some tribes in the amazon rainforest thet are yet to be ‘discovered’ who may be ‘further along than Sweden’ in the equality stakes’ not very likely but just a thought…Hey, and by the way my partner does the washing up twice a year at least!

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