Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Boys don't cry

I know that there's other, more important stuff in the news today. Like Derek Webb releasing his sh*t-filled record online today only to have complications with the ordering process. And Facebook is acting mighty peculiar - maybe because they're so busy turning our status updates over to the robots and general stalking populace.

But I got caught up in just how naive this couple is. Parents of a 2 1/2 year old child are being purposefully ambiguous about the sex of their child. They dress "Pop" up in both boys' and girls' clothing (jeans and dresses, which, incidentally, my 2 year old girl wears) and have sported the child in traditional hairstyles of both genders.

Why? Well, they believe that gender is a social construct, according to The Local (Sweden's News in English, according to the virtual masthead). Further:

“We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother said. “It's cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”

The child's parents said so long as they keep Pop’s gender a secret, he or she will be able to avoid preconceived notions of how people should be treated if male or female.
I will not argue that gender is not a social construct, just that it isn't fully. Nobody forces a boy to like a Tonka truck or to be more aggressive in his pursuits -- sometimes ostracizing girls - like my infinitely curious child- in the process of protecting their GI Joes, as I noticed at a Reading for Tots on Monday morn. Or ostracizing nearly everybody else in declaring their Alpha-ness as I noticed in my childhood - being quite the Zed kid. Neither my wife nor I are crazy about phones, so it strikes me as a bit odd on first view to see how much Joss loves to take just about anything (including plates, cups, stuffed monkeys and the loose cell phone) to pretend talking on it. As curious as she is about objects, she's much more interested in people and in social circumstances. It wasn't our expectations -- or others' -- that forced that on her.

What is it? I'm not sure. It doesn't sound like anybody's exactly sure. Some very heterosexual girls prefer playing with cars and straight boys would prefer to wear dresses if they get the chance (as many married men have been caught doing while the wife's away).

Psychologists differ on the overall effect of this experiment, but I'm left wondering why the same people who believe that gender is primarily 'learned' do not believe also that sexual identity is learned, but rather primarily biological.

Just sayin'...

Oh, yeah, and then there's the whole Xianjiang-China civil strife thing.

And some influential pop star died.

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