Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gender: Society's Choice, or Yours?

In Promethea, we talked about the controversy involving Bill's relationship with Dennis Drucker. What would we label this relationship? Gay? Straight? Both? This also tied into our discussion about a world without the label male and female. In Bill's case, life would have been less complicated in this world. But would this world be better for everyone?

This past May, controversy arose when news spread of a Canadian family that decided to keep their baby's sex a secret to allow the baby to choose his/her own gender. The parents, Kathy Witterick and David Stocker are considered "the most politically correct family in the world" by some, while also being "accused...of taking away the newborn's right to choice by imposing their own ideology on the tiny baby". However, this couple is adamant to leave society out of their children's gender decisions. The picture below of Storm and his/her older brother Jazz, age five, shows that these children are more than welcome to defy gender-related expectations.

"The couple [believes] they are raising Storm from the constraints society imposes on males and females,...[that] children can make meaningful decisions for themselves from a very young age...[and] parents who make choices for their children [are] 'obnoxious' [because] instead of telling their children to challenge how they're expected to look, [they tell them to] act based on their sex."

Hypocritical, isnt it. These "'obnoxious' parents" are probably the same people that accused Storm's parents of "taking away the newborn's rights to choice", when they are the ones reinforcing the social norm to do so.

A vast majority of people believe"[Storm's parents] are setting up their children for a lifetime of bullying" I do believe this is true, to an extent. These children will obviously have a more difficult time than "typical" boys and girls. But when it comes down to it, these parents are instilling indivudualism and strength in their children at a very young age, which will prove to be well worth the small price of allowing their children to be who they want to be. As Mrs. Witterick said, "We are all mocked for our appearances at some point. When faced with inevitable judgment by others, which child stands tall (and sticks up for others) -the one facing teasing despite desperately trying to fit in, or the one with a strong sense of self..."

*definitions from


  1. I find this article interesting, but I’m not quite sure how it will work. Will the child decide at a very early age whether he/she wants to be a boy or girl? Or will the child eventually conform to societal views once he/she reaches puberty? I recently watched a documentary about an 8-year-old boy who dresses, acts, and even looks like a girl. He wants to get a sex change but he is afraid of the pain that will come with the surgery. His parents are 100% supportive of his life decision, and will endorse his sex change surgery when he is ready. ( Do you think the parents from Azi’s article would be just as well off dressing the child how they want to and then allowing the child to tell them if he/she does not agree with the gender they “picked” for him/her? Or do you think their current approach is best?

  2. I'm not really sure how this is possible, either.

    Even though these parents may have "good" intentions, the vast majority of people are right in that they do need to take into account the social consequences of their decision. "Good intentions" can only go so far in a critical society, and these people should also be practical. It is a very interesting idea, though.

    But it does leave me with a few questions. Isn't there a ton of crossover between genders... that is, don't some people not identify with just one, or either, gender? What then?


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