There is a new trend in social justice parenting (yes some do reproduce), that is to raise their children gender neutral. This is extension of their belief that gender is a social construct or that gender is fluid.
It is a concept that is reflected in Australia with the introduction of programs such as Safe Schools and Respectful Relationships. Every year we also experience No Gender December pushed by former Greens Senator Larissa Waters.
But what is the end result of such an approach to parenting? After all the effort to raise a child without having them dress or behave in a gendered way? Even though it is a relatively new phenomena one girl who was raised gender neutral is now 16 and identifies as woman. What a shocking development.
Royce and Jessica James with their daughter Isis reflected on the experience raising her gender neutral in an appearance on the United States’ National Public Radio. Listening to it is painful for those who value freedom and the innocence of children.
Royce and Jessica describe the lengths they went to not have Isis display she was a girl at all. They discuss how they were triggered by midwives dressing her in pink at the hospital “Somebody nearby turned and looked at my baby in my arms, my little pink baby doll and said, ‘Oh, she’s so precious and delicate and dainty,’ and I was enraged”.
But that was nothing compared to how they treated family and friends who want to give girl presents to Isis “We had family who were sending us dresses for Isis [that we weren’t using] and the family members’ feelings were really hurt”.
Then there was the personal impact on poor Isis who had to endure a childhood being a social experiment of her social justice parents “A little boy wanted her to take her clothes off and prove that she’s a girl on the playground because she has short hair and she’s wearing primary colours and doesn’t look like a girl”.
You can also tell that Isis herself does not think she had a great childhood when she confesses “It was sometimes painful to be raised in a gender-neutral way because I had to tell people that I wasn’t a boy” adding “Sometimes people wouldn’t believe me when I said that I wasn’t able, especially children which was ridiculous”,
Despite Royce and Jessica confessing “there are those moments that we think, ‘OK is this something that we created’” they have no regrets and have gone onto have three more children who are also being raised gender neutral.
Of course, the fact that a child born a girl (or as they left say assigned female at birth) grows up to women does not surprise ordinary people. The fact that 99.7% of people grow up to identify as the gender they are biologically shows that assigning gender based on genitalia is a pretty accurate method.
There have also been countless psychological studies of children’s behaviour which show that boys gravitate towards blue and trucks and girls gravitate towards pink and dolls. The reason this occurs is not because it is forced upon them but because it is what they naturally enjoy playing with. Not to mention that men and women’s brains have found to function differently. Royce and Jessica claim they gave their daughter freedom, but it sounds more like she was prevented for engaging in any behaviour that was deemed to be gendered.
They also forget there has never been any written law that says that boys and girls must only do gendered things. Many girls play contact sports and boys dance as an example. The reason why we have boys and girls’ sections at toy stores for example is to reflect thousands of years observing the difference in behaviour of boys and girls and the consumer choices they make.
The bad news is that Isis’ experience is only the beginning, we will sadly see more grown children in the future have the same bad experience at being raised gender neutral and not being allowed by their parents to engage in activities which they would naturally enjoy. Let children be children and if a boy wants to do boy things and a girl wants to do girl things there is no need for anyone to be triggered by it and to feel the need to correct it.