Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Congratulations, It's a Thing!

I am not a traditional person. I am interested in ideas that break down existing social models. I am a firm believer that some things that we take for granted are simply arbitrary and should not be followed just because "that's what you do".

But this is fucking stupid. Not because it's different, but because it's stupid.

Here's the short version for those who don't feel like clicking: A young couple in Sweden have not revealed the gender of their baby...who is nearly 3 years old.

Their concern seems to be that gender roles are social constructs and that letting people know what little "Pop" is would make people treat Pop in the way proscribed for tots of whichever gender Pop is, therefore destroying Pop's impressionable little mind.

Okay, I understand this to a certain degree, but it's really not that big of a deal. You can treat the child in a gender-neutral fashion if you like, but there's only so much you can control other people.

And they seem to undermine their own argument by not just dressing Pop in gender-neutral clothing but by allowing Pop to wear dresses some days and pants others. What do they expect those other people to think of their little girl in the dress? How do they think they'll act?

It seems that this whole process just makes a much bigger deal out of the kid's gender than it really should be, which would have the exact opposite effect of the one intended by the kid's parents.

People treat black people and white people differently too. But you can't just wish this away and blur the lines, hoping that people won't notice. Look how well that worked out for Michael Jackson. They just ended up talking about it more.

Apparently, they'll reveal Pop's gender when Pop is ready to do so. I'm sure we all can't wait for Pop's coming-out party when s/he is no longer ashamed of his/her own genitalia, whatever it happens to be. I didn't care before. Now I do. Congratulations, dummies.


Kizz said...

Seems to me that some version of this behavior is pretty common. A goodly number of parents get stuck on one particular thing that they want to avoid or embrace at all costs (food choices, music choices, TV, religion, whatever) and they make such a huge deal of it that it's basically guaranteed to become a fixation for the kid, in just the way the parents didn't want it to be. I will not be the least surprised if Pop (who I keep calling Po for some reason) becomes either a fairy princess or the next Marlboro Man once his/her pink parts have been outed.

MAB said...

This type of thing totally extends beyond this example. And yes, the result is always the same.

I'm under no illusions that my son is not going to grow up to be a music-hating carnivorous Republican Yankee fan. But the best way to guarantee that he does would be to ostentatiously hide all of those things from him, as if they were some kind of forbidden fruit.

There's almost a paranoia in this type of behavior that's kind of ridiculous. It's ostensibly designed to offer freedom but it ends up stifling it. Knowledge is power. Suppression of knowledge is slavery.