Remember when you had to study Shakespeare in school?
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
A Toronto couple have decided not to name the sex of their baby as they don't want the child to deal with gender biases or being defined by their gender. Additionally, they named the baby Storm which supposedly has no female nor male affiliation.
In lieu of a birth announcement the couple sent an email to friends and family that said "We decided not to share Storm's sex for now - a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm's lifetime...a more progressive place.
Baby Storm...are you a boy or a girl? For now the family is keeping that under wraps or in this case I guess I would say: under diapers.
The only people that know if this is a boy or a girl are the parents, the two older brothers, (Jazz, 5 and Kio, 2) and the midwives that helped deliver him/her.
The parents of little Storm, Kathy Witterick and David Stocker are wanting to give their children free reign to be explore their gender and be free from social norms that dictate male or female behavior. They feel that the children should have a lot of choice in developing their chosen gender. The two older boys are encouraged to challenge how they are expected to look as dictated by modern stereotypes Recently, for example, Jazz found a pink dress at Value Village that he liked because it "really poufs out at the bottom".
One of the interesting aspects to this story is that all the reporters that have visited with Kathy Whitterick and David Stocker have found them to be conscientious parents, well educated and involved with their children. They have been married 11 years. David is a teacher that teaches at an alternative school that basis a lot of curriculum around race, gender and social injustices.
They co-sleep in a room with 2 mattresses pushed together in the master bedroom and the children can build forts with the blankets and pillows during the day. The home is full of bookcases and maps are on the walls.
By all accounts, they seem to be good, caring parents. (although a TAD unconventional)
As far as keeping their child's gender a secret, very unconventional, for sure, but is it bad? Is it in any way harmful or is it helpful?
There seems to be a number of stories in the news as of late that pertain to parents, children and gender roles.
Remember the hubbub created when the mom from Kansas City let her 5 year old preschooler dress up as Daphne on Halloween. Moms were in an uproar...though I am still not clear of why this was so upsetting...it was Halloween. I let my daughter dress as a hobo for Halloween once when she was little. Does this make me a really bad mother? Did I scar her?
Still another family has been in news recently for letting their little boy dress up as a princess. Cheryl Kilodavis has written a book My Princess Boy inspired by her 5 year old son that loves to dress up as princesses.
How about the cover of US that has Shiloh Jolie Pitt playing with her sister in the pool? Angelina Jolie insists that her 5 year old only likes boys attire.
I guess I am relieved that my boy child and girl child are grown. They both seem to be happy with who they are in this world and seem comfortable in their respective bodies. I don't know what role hubby and I played in them becoming self confident adults nor do I know how they came to be the strong woman and man they grew up to be.
I know that when they were little, my daughter and son both played house. They both played sports and they both played with cars and trucks. My little girl loved baby dolls but hated pink clothes. My son played with our little kitchen set but preferred puzzles and blocks. I didn't push either of them in a certain direction because they were a boy or a girl. HOWEVER, I did talk to them about what gender they were. My daughter knew what her parts were and how they differed from her brother's parts. They always knew that mommy was a girl and daddy was a boy.
It is hard to say in absolute certainty but I am about 100% sure, that if either of my children had some issues with their sexuality, I would have been supportive of whatever their choices were. I think families can be made up in any number of configurations and still be a healthy family.
Now of this I am also, 100 percent sure of. I would of never left their gender a mystery. I would have never left them floundering while trying to figure it out. I think by not giving them guidance you are putting the burden on to them to figure it all out by themselves.
What are your thoughts, my readers? Do you believe that any of these examples of very young children being given no guidance in terms of gender identification is a positive step in parenting? Do you think it is harmful?
You probably all remember Johnny Cash's song about an name that caused some gender confusion.
The Good for the Day....The sun is shining and the sirens are quiet.
The Bad for the Day.... I am thinking that the name Storm Stocker might be a problem at some point down the road.
The Weird for the Day....
Wednesday's (May 25th, 2011) clouds moving into Kansas City
Weird looking, huh?