Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Gender neutrality - thoughts?

This is a subject I've come across many times during my research as a parent.

Here are some great articles in case you're not 100% up to speed on "gender neutrality" and Gender Neutral Parenting (GNP):
If you haven't heard the concept before, in general - GNP refers to raising you children without strict gender roles (i.e. if you son wants to wear pink or your daughter wants to dress up like Superman, you're ok with it).

There are more and more times since my son was born that I'm grateful for the time that I live in.  Gays no longer have to hide who they truly are, we're free to love amongst the races and there is more open-mindedness and acceptance for people of all walks of life.  This is the world I always wanted for my son.  My only wish for my son is his happiness - whatever walk of life he chooses, I just want him to be happy.  He'll have my love regardless, that after all, is unconditional.

I am a proponent of GNP, but not stringently so (like the couple in Anna North's piece above).  My son routinely plays with my purses, clothes, shoes & makeup.  Let's be real here: he's only 2.  He sees mommy using it and he's curious.  I don't believe for a second that my son exploring and playing with these items is going to fundamentally alter who he is as a person. 

When my husband & I decide to conceive another child, I'm going to purposely buy my son a doll (and probably a play crib and stroller) - why you may ask?  So that he can adjust to the new baby in our lives by doing what mommy & daddy do - feeding the baby, walking the baby and putting the baby to sleep.  If anything, should some of this experience stick with him subconsciously, I'd like to think it will someday contribute to him being a good father for his own children.

In general, I really don't define toys as for one gender or another.  Do I purposely buy my son dolls?  No.  Does he play with them at school?  Yes.  Does this bother me?  No.  If we happened to be at the store, and he communicated to me that he wanted a doll - would I buy him one?  More than likely.  The only way my son will ever grow and learn and become who he is truly meant to become is by exploring all of the options available to him - and I want that for him, I want him to discover what he truly loves and commit to those things with a passion that will bring his life happiness.

What are your thoughts on Gender Neutral Parenting (GNP)?  Do you think gender stereotypes will ever truly disappear?  Should they? 

Disclaimer: this post is purely my opinion and is not meant to offend any one in any way.  If you choose to comment on this post, please do so respectfully.


  1. I don't have kids so truthfully I haven't thought much about this but it sounds like a great idea. AFter all... they will choose what they want...

  2. I think kids are kids. Let them play with what they want to and what they like. Ultimately nothing one can do will determine their preferences when it comes to love later in life. Love is Love.

  3. I have 6 children and 3 step children. Two are only girls the rest are boys. YIKES, i know, but I agree with you! All of my boys had a doll of some sort, played with stuffed animals of sorts. Whatever they wanted to play with they could, no matter what. My son's are true boys and my daughters are girly girls (even though they all played with each others toys). Makes no differnece to me or to them :)

  4. I do in home childcare and all my children play with everything. My feelings are that role playing is a very important part in raising children, especially in today's society. I have had children in my care that in fact have turned out to be gay and not just a little bit gay but full fledged and whole heartedly gay. Do I think what they played with had anything to do with it? Absolutely not! I called it when they were about 7 years old and even wrote it down. It is actually pretty easy to see and it is not about what the play with but more it their actions and how the carry and perceive themselves. Father's don't just become good father's in the wink of an eye and daughters don't just learn how to take care of their cars and learn how to use tools in a wink of an eye either. They have to learn by hands on and role playing. I have one parent who completely believes that boys should play with boy toys and girls should play with girls toys. I have had her children for going on 9 years now and I made if perfectly clear when she had her son 8 years ago that those rules don't apply in my home. She just shook her head.