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Baby Named “Storm.” Sex Unknown

Kathy Witterick and David Stocker of Toronto have chosen not to announce their new baby’s sex, at least for now, as “a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation.” The parents would like to give the baby, named Storm, the freedom to choose or discover who she or he wants to be.

A Canadian couple is keeping the gender of their 4-month-old baby under wraps. Are they helping or hurting their child?

Other than their two sons, a close friend, and the two midwives who helped deliver the baby, no one knows the sex.

Because kids are bombarded by so many messages from society, the Witterick-Stocker’s are hoping to knock off a couple million of them, at least for a while.

If they want to treat their baby gender-neutral, Kathy and David will need to keep guard, themselves, because gender creation begins even before birth.

Typically, parents begin to develop ideas about what their child will grow up to be like as soon as ultrasound reveals the sex. Once they hear, “It’s a boy” dad gets visions of playing ball and coaching his son in little league. Or mom imagines playing dollies with her daughter or dreams of her future wedding gown.

Once they’re born, parents perceive boys as being strong and alert, while little girls seem delicate and pretty.

Parents treat sons rougher. Dad grabs Teddy Bear and threatens, “Teddy’s going to get you!” But tucking his daughter in at night, he’ll bring Teddy in for comfort and good dreams.

I’ve found myself mimicking these gender notions. When I was learning about all this in grad school, I agreed to babysit my two-year-old nephew. I’d roar at him. And for some reason I thought it might be fun to take a beach ball (it was very light!) and bang him on the head with it (but just once!). As soon as I did, I realized I would never do that to my little niece. She would be too delicate.

Parents even talk to their daughters more, and use a wider variety of emotion words. They use more questions, numbers, and action verbs with sons.

Girls are kept closer, and helped more. Boys are given more latitude and expected to help themselves, with just a little aid from mom and dad.

Meanwhile boys’ toys, like blocks, develop spatial skills while footballs and baseballs build muscles and a sense of competition. Girls’ dolls encourage nurture while tea parties hone social skills. Barbie teaches girls all about beauty, fashion, and the importance of dating Ken.

As kids watch cartoons they learn that boys are more active and aggressive, and are more likely the main character. There are a few exceptions, like Powerpuff Girls. Sailor Moon is another girl character who is active, fighting crime. Yet she’s an oddly sexy fourteen-year-old.

Hard to know whether the parents, brothers and friend’s knowledge of Storm’s sex might have some effect. And unfortunately, parents are rarely aware of how much they do treat their children in gender specific ways.

If little Storm gets any whiff of his/her sex, s/he’s likely to be highly influenced by the outside world: TV, billboards, other kids…

A lot of people are upset by all this. Maybe you are, too. But I’d like to know what’s wrong with trying to keep limitations away from a child so that s/he can become who s/he is with fewer restrictions.

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My Son Likes Girl-Things. Is He Gay?
Frats Invite Sluts, Bitches; Women Accept Degradation. Why?

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