What is Gender Neutral Parenting?
Gender neutral parenting is a hot topic in parenting circles right now. I read that Paloma Faith has not revealed the gender of her child and intends to raise them as gender neutral. This seems a bit extreme, but I won’t judge anyone for their parenting choices.
Gender neutral parenting comes down to one thing – choice. Giving children the freedom to choose what they like and who they want to be. Instead of choosing from half the options available they get to choose from everything.
Getting Rid of Femininity/Masculinity
Trying to get rid of femininity or masculinity would mean that we’re still trying to police people’s likes and dislikes. If girls want to be traditionally ‘girly’ and boys want to be traditionally ‘boyish’ we should just accept it. Removing anything ever associated with a stereotype defeats the object of what being gender neutral looks to achieve. The aim is for people and children not to be restricted, meaning they should have access to everything, not just everything with the label ‘gender-neutral’.
How We Practice Gender Neutral Parenting
Ragamuffin knows that there are boys and girls, but she’s not old enough to have worked out why. We try not to use gendered names but I still slip up sometimes. I try not to put too much emphasis on her looks, and whenever I hear anyone call her beautiful I tell her she’s clever . Not because I don’t think she’s beautiful, but because I want her to know that looks aren’t everything.
She plays with dolls and cars, she wears whatever she wants. Sometimes I let her choose clothes before we buy them. One week it was a white t-shirt covered in cartoon fish from a ‘boys’ section and the next she wanted the Beauty and the Beast t-shirt. She chooses every outfit she puts on in the morning so ultimately she decides which clothes she wears.
Nothing is off limits – pink is not outlawed and neither are dresses. Gender neutral parenting shouldn’t be about removing things associated with gender stereotypes, it should be about addressing stereotypes.
What do other Bloggers Think of Gender Neutral Parenting?
Raimy from Readaraptor Hatchling says “For me it’s allowing my daughter to wear, play with and read what she wants. I shop clothes I like, she has pink, purple, blue, black, brown, rainbow, polka dots and more clothes to wear from every section of the shop. Avoiding pet names that I wouldn’t use with either gender (for example I do use sweetheart, but I call my nephew that too). I remind her daily that she can be who she wants to be and try not to put any emphasis on pointing out people’s looks or behaviour when with her because we shouldn’t judge anyone for their choices. And we’re massively into non-conformity of gender roles. We share the cooking, cleaning, driving etc and we both work equal amounts (full time). She has dolls, she has toy cars.”
Nyomi from nomipalony says “I think gender neutral parenting is great. It’s not something we do, although we are mindful of it but I respect those who practice it. To me, it’s about keeping gender out of the picture as much as possible. Avoiding gendered names, clothes, toys etc. It’s very hard to achieve as everything is gendered these days. It wasn’t like this in the 70s if you look at stuff like the Lego adverts back then. I let my girl wear pink or have pink toys and my boy blue but I try and encourage them to wear/play with each other’s toys. We avoid gendered language, especially with regards to ability, what they can do or how they should express themselves. I think gender neutral parenting is a sensible reaction to how gendered the world has become.”
Jess from Mrs Helicopter Writes says “Making sure they always have choice. Encouraging them to perhaps see beyond the interests / subjects that their peers do and approach things because they have a genuine interest/skill rather than just what their (same gendered) friends do. Eg, mechanics vs art etc.”
Rebecca from The Ish Mother says “It’s just another term for choice. Allowing your child access to a range of colours, clothes, activities and toys so they can develop their own preference rather than go for what they’ve been conditioned to think is the ‘right’ choice. It’s nigh on impossible in the hyper gendered society we live in but I think it’s worth trying!”
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