Monday, May 23, 2011

Vaguely nauseating

Reader Steve from Alaska sent me a link to an article I found disturbing. It concerns some parents with three children -- two boys, and a baby named Storm of unknown gender.

No, there's nothing medically ambiguous about the child's genitalia. But the parents don't want their tyke burdened with gender stereotypes, so they are raising little Storm to be gender-neutral. They only people who know if Storm is a boy or a girl are his/her immediate family, and the midwife who delivered him/her. The parents "believe they are giving their children the freedom to choose who they want to be, unconstrained by social norms about males and females."

Which raises the first question: What pronoun should we use when referring to little Storm? The parents admit to facing "the tyranny of pronouns," as they call it. They considered referring to Storm as “Z”.

The couple's two older boys (Jazz and Kio) are five and two. "They are encouraged to challenge how they’re expected to look and act based on their sex," notes the article. Oh are they? So they're encouraged or at least allowed to wear pink dresses. Okay fine. But what if they want to turn every stick or Barbie doll into a gun? What if they choose a GI Joe action figure and want to play at combat? What if they want to take up hunting, hmmmm? Do you think these gender distinctions are going to be encouraged by the parents? Maybe I'm just casting a stereotype on the parents, but somehow I don't think they'd like that.

Whether the parents want to accept it or not, Storm HAS a gender. He or she will someday either father a child or give birth to a child. Why deny the beauty inherent in gender? Why deny the wonders of masculinity or the glories of femininity? Why does everyone have to be so durned hostile to gender differences?

In reading the comments following the article, someone wrote, "It is perfectly possible to raise children without hiding their gender and still give them a sense of self. It is not a child's job to figure something so huge out for themselves as such a young age. It is the parents' job to guide them. Problem is, the parents are pushing their own views on their children, the same way that they don't want society to do. They are only hurting the children's sense of identity, not helping. I believe all this does is teach children to be ashamed of having gender. Boys and girls are built differently, their brains work differently, their bodies work differently, and trying to have a child choose their identity without a healthy model is foolish."

Another comment says, "While I totally agree with the idea of not forcing stereotypical gender roles on children, I think that these parents may have instead created a situation where gender is suddenly huge (even if only in its "absence"). Go ahead and treat gender as just a characteristic - no different than hair color or handedness or height. None of these things need to define you as a person and are just one of the many things that make up who you are. But by refusing to even acknowledge gender, it suddenly becomes almost the whole focus."

Please don't misunderstand -- if a boy wants to play with dolls or a girl wants to play with trucks, it would never cross my mind to discourage him or her. Unless parents are anal in the other direction -- in other words, like über-macho dads who try to bully their sons into being über-macho as well -- then most kids will naturally gravitate toward toys of their gender. But some won't. Girls are usually the ones drawn to ballet, for example, but that doesn't mean there are not superb male danseurs. Boys are usually drawn to football, but that doesn't mean girls don't enjoy playing the sport as well.

There is unquestionably a continuum of gender influence among people. Some men are tough bad boys. Some men are gentle nurturers. Some women are tough bad girls. Some women are gentle nurturers. But most of us are blends of toughness and gentleness. It takes all kinds in this world, and we're all different.

Some of the more extreme comments on this article suggested removing Storm from his/her parents because of "psychological abuse." I disagree. I think the parents are whack-jobs and I think Storm is going to be messed up as a teen, but in all other respects they seem to be loving parents... and people are FAR to quick to suggest removing children from the care of their parents just because the parents are different.

I don't especially care if the parents let their boys wear pink dresses and put their hair in pigtails. Whoop-de-doo. But to deliberately rob a baby of "zis" identity strikes me as vaguely nauseating.

That's all I'm saying.


  1. Fact is, children react to the way their parents treat them, especially when they're around 2-3 years old. Their good, common sense, values, self-esteem, understanding and belief in God and His Son, how to behave around other adults and children, how to treat their pets and on and on. You are so right, Patrice, when you wonder what if this child decides to play cowboys and Indians or Army, like I and the other neighborhood children did when I was growing up? Fact is, they almost certainly won't, because the child's parents are liberal progressives, so they LIE. They WILL influence the child to be the way they want him to be, no matter what they say. God help the little guy and his idiotic parents!

  2. Well said, Patrice.

  3. That poor baby. If they want a gender neutral pronoun for the poor child, how about "it"? Because that's exactly what "it" will grow up feeling like. Yeah, a couple of real loving parents there.


  4. Disgusting as this is, I still don't believe it warrants removing the child from the parents. I'm a firm believer in parental rights and it gets to be a slippery slope when you suggest taking a child away for this reason or because they give their child a weird name.

    Just my .02


  5. The only saving grace I see here is that kids can be in really bad situations and still come out OK. Pray for these kids, they need every bit of it.

  6. Patrice,
    You didn't mention other horrors with these parents. They vacation in Cuba, hang out with Mexican Zapatistas.

    But the killer is this: un-schooling.

    Yeah, the kids will figure it all out by themselves, just by following their interests.

    My prediction: these kids will grow up to be misfits, and the parents will be mystified as to why their little darlings are so hard to live with.

  7. The parents need a good dose of counseling ~ obviously after the 1st child, they figured out which one of them was the boy and which the girl. They are the confused ones and will be harming their children with this "mystery". If I had to hazard a guess...little Storm is a girl, since we know the older 2 are boys. Otherwise, why the mystery. Regardless of the parents attitude, little Storm will show his/her own preference one day, either dolls or trucks.

  8. WTF?! Ewww! I whole-heartedly support preventing mental miscreants from procreating! Oh, what if big brother takes advantage of such a program? Well we need to dramatically reduce population anyway. And that goes for cult-ish type parents that breed litters too!!!

  9. What is going to happen to this child when they are school age, are the parents going to home school because in public school this child will be tormented and laughed at and or bullies when they can not tell classmates their gender. Or a person asked them are you a boy or a girl? This child sadly will as you said "have issues"! I totally agree with the letting boys and girls play with same toys, and sports etc, but again there is a time in the children's life when you as the parent have to explain why the child can not go to the public restroom with the opposite sex, and what is and is not acceptable of their gender. Anyhow, I feel sad for this lost child and hope God watches over him or her and helps them on this difficult life.

  10. Soooo so sick.

    These are some pitiful folks. Are they trolling for their own reality show or something?

    I can't remember their name, but I recall a handsome Jewish Doctor who married a beautiful woman from Mexico and together they had a bunch of kids, mostly boys, who they raised on the road surfing. They lived in vans and campers and taught the kids to surf, and pretty much left them to figure everything else out as they went. The parents were and still are completely ego-centric and the kids are all scarred in various ways, some of them serious.

    It's not about raising kids well. It's about being obsessed with being different and cool, all with the end payoff being the ego gratification and attention-getting behavior of the emotionally torqued parents.

    It's like an inverted case of Munchhausen by Proxy.

    Poor little kids.

    A. McSp

  11. God Created children.All of us are unique by having a individual spirit for our bodies. Our spirit has our gender. That child will be destroyed by society. What will happen at puberty. ummmm the boobs my give it away?? Really can they give it a choice to not have periods? I think not. I do think it is child abuse. But, then again crazy parents my be the issue. The child is innocent in this situation. The parents are disturbed. My mind is blown away at such stupidity.

  12. I'm learning. I start my daily news headline scan and come across this ridiculous story. Immediately I think of Patrice. I blast off an e-mail. THEN I come to spend some time at the blog, and what do I see? Patrice has matters well in hand and covered this story some ten hours prior. From now on, check in here FIRST...

    Jeff - Tucson

  13. We have a Mom living in our neighborhood who told her kids they couldn't play with or be around my youngest son (6) anymore. He likes to play with toy guns and she believes that young kids playing with toy guns grow up to be serial killers and Republicans. She didn't want her precious babies hanging around with criminal trash like that. I told my wife that it's a good thing that Mom didn't know us when my youngest son went through his "Chuck Norris phase." She would have freaked if my son had tried to karate chop her little boy!

  14. Vaguely nauseating? I find it more than vaguely nauseating...It seems to me that these people are taking a perfectly good kid and they will be ruining it. Way to go crazy Mom and Dad! Most parents already do a good enough job of screwing up their kids without some wacko extremists taking it to the next level.

  15. Walburga - you said it! There's enough material in this freak show family for Patrice to make two or three articles. I pray for those kids, they're gonna have a rough time mixing with other children.

    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

  16. Feel sorry for the kids - will they ever have any friends? Do they ever have play dates with others their age? Obviously they can't go outside and play kickball, basketball, etc. - might get the frilly pink dress dirty.

    All I can say about the parents - thank goodness the two of them found each other. It saved two other people.

  17. Have you been drinking the feminist cool aid? The nuns taught us that people have sex and nouns have "gender." We are male and female.

    The substitution of "gender" for sex is a liberal perversion of the English language.

  18. Kay - My mother-in-law used to say that..."Good thing they didn't ruin two couples." :)

  19. The other thing that occurred to me about this is that there are a number of babies born every year with ambiguous genitalia. The parents have to make difficult decisions about reconstructive surgery, or, in some cases, they will wait a few years to see if the child naturally exhibits characteristics of one gender or the other. I wonder how the parents of these babies would feel about Storm and his/her parents. Would they feel that their children are being mocked?

  20. I have a hunch this baby's parents are getting exactly what they're looking for: lots and lots of attention.


  21. Those parents had better pray long, loud and often that our current reality does not change as they and their children will not be able to survive in a world reverting to past days.

  22. These "parents" are treating this innocent child like some kind of social experiment. I think the person who mentioned a reality show has probably nailed it. When I think of all the people who would love to give this child a supportive loving home I feel very sad.

  23. Patrice, Looks like Dr. Manny agrees with you on several issues concerning Storm.

    Are Parents Creating a Gender Identity Crisis in 4-Month-Old?


  24. I wonder if Storm is another boy--and they've just always wanted a daughter. Guess we'll never know.

    Sad, though. Stuff like this makes me wonder what this world's coming to.