One of the top stories today is “Parents keep child’s gender secret” Not content with encouraging their two older boys to experiment with “girly” dress and demeanor and to obsess about gender (no six-year-old would, on his own, write a booklet under the pseudonym “The Gender Explorer”), this unschooling family have decided to keep their new baby’s sex a mystery.
Which pretty much guarantees it will be a much bigger topic of discussion.
I, too, read all the literature in the Seventies about how gender is a social construct, meaning that kids come out essentially neutral and only “learn” to be boys or girls. This is true in the sense that kids learn which behaviors in their culture are associated with masculinity or femininity. In Italy, for example, men often walk holding hands, while in America neither men or women do this with their friends except when tugging them to a nearby destination.
However, it is not true in the broader sense. Girls are girls and boys are boys, even if some girls are tomboys and some boys are quiet and timid.
This became blindingly clear to me when I gave birth to my first daughter. Counter to my feminist-trained expectations that “all babies look alike,” little Sarah was different from her brothers. Her features were finer and noticeably feminine. This was also true of my next daughter, a “wild thing” who tried to turn over when she was less than 1 day old!
Tons of research has been done which continues to show boys and girls are different. (For those who are inclined to demand proof, see for example Boys and Girls Learn Differently! A Guide for Teachers and Parents: Revised 10th Anniversary Edition by Michael Gurian.) Most of us with several children know this from experience. Just one example: if without prompting your preteen child draws a picture of planes dropping bombs with lots of explosions, he’s a boy. Endless drawings of ponies mean she’s a girl.
But we don’t need secular research to make this point. From Genesis 1:27:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
One of the pictures in the photo gallery associated with this story has six-year-old “Jazz” staring mournfully at us in front of a page he wrote that says, “let your kid be whoever they are.”
How about “whoever they are created to be”?
The irony here is so thick you could slice it with a knife.