Parents are now choosing to raise their children in a gender neutral home. Gender-neutral parenting challenges the traditional process of raising children into the role “allotted” for their gender. In the past, girls were taught to be gentle and boys were taught to be emotionless. However, today that process of child-rearing is being challenged to encourage children to embrace his or her true identity. Although there are those who embrace this new process wholeheartedly; there are those who believe that children were born with a certain biological makeup dictating how they should act.
Gender-neutral parenting encourages kids to learn and develop with fewer limitations and to be comfortable expressing themselves without being held back by what girls and boys “should” or “shouldn’t” do. As a child, I loved dresses, bows and all the typical “girl” obsessions, but I did have the desire to play the drums. Unfortunately, drums came with the stereotype that it was an instrument directed towards males. Upon begging my parents for several weeks for the opportunity to play the drums, they decided that I was not suited to indulge in a hobby with more “boy” characteristics.
That’s one of the reasons why parents are now resorting to gender-neutral parenting in order to instill the idea that their child has the opportunity to explore their interests. However, there are those who moderately raise their child gender-neutral and those who choose to take it to the extremes. These radical couples refuse to announce the gender of their newborn baby to close family and friends in order to create a free environment for their child.
However, as much as there are those who believe in gender neutral parenting, there are many who disagree with this type of upbringing. Several parents feel that when the masculinity of girls is emphasized, boys are discouraged from their own masculinity. Boys are being repressed from being boys, and girls as girls. There are also those who believe that gender neutral parents aren’t truly “neutral.” For example, it was found that a lesbian mother tried to instill queer feelings into her son, only to find her queer advances answered with a strong “no!”
Despite dissenting views, raising a child in a not-so-traditional environment would help dispel gender stereotypes. In order to succeed in raising a child with gender neutrality, parents must adopt an androgynous attitude at home. However, in order to maintain this view, we should be treating young children, as well as each other, this way in public, not just within the home. Gender stereotypes should be avoided when communicating with one another, such as references to gender bias due to common sayings or clichés. Instead of letting a child choose from a selection of toys designated for their “gender,” offer a large selection of non-gender toys which would send a message early on that it’s normal to play with toys of the “opposite” gender. Gender neutral parenting may be the first step to revolutionizing the way females and males view one another.