Sometimes babies give off an androgynous vibe. Are they a boy or a girl? Many parents try to make it clear to one and all by dressing their child entirely in baby pink or bright blue. But one couple in Sweden? They want to keep people guessing. The parents of Pop – a 2 ½ year old toddler – are refusing to tell anyone if their offspring is male or female. A select few do know the child’s gender such as people who have had to change the occasion diaper. When people do ask they say that they “don’t disclose this information.”
The 24-year-old couple made the decision to keep the gender private right when Pop was born. The couple stated that they think that gender is a ‘social construction’. They told a Swedish newspaper that, “We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mold from the outset. It’s cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”
“Ignoring children’s natures simply doesn’t work,” says Susan Pinker (a psychologist and newspaper columnist from Toronto, Canada, who wrote the book The Sexual Paradox). “Child-rearing should not be about providing an opportunity to prove an ideological point, but about responding to each child’s needs as an individual.”
There are doubts that the family will be able to keep the secret for long since young children are quite curious and tend to gravitate to their own gender early on. A Swedish gender equality consultant Kristina Henkel believes the experiment might have positive results saying. “If the child is dressed up as a girl or boy, it affects them because people see and treat them in a more gender-typical way,” Henkel states. “Girls are told they are cute in their dresses, and boys are told they are cool with their car toys. But if you give them no gender they will be seen more as a human or not a stereotype as a boy or girl.”
The family will only reveal Pop’s gender when he or she is ready and time will tell if it will have had a positive or negative effect on the child.
Do you think keeping a baby/toddler free of gender labels would confuse them or make them more confident?