Should children be raised gender neutral?
Debate Rounds (5)
What, specifically, does raising a child "gender neutral" actually mean? I agree that it would be preferable to avoid raising a child in a way that aleviates some of the negative aspects of the culture's gender identies, but this alone could not be considered "gender neutral". For instance, you could raise a boy without encouraging aggression or raise a girl without encouraging subsurviance, but still not raise them "gender nuetral".
In essence, to raise a child "gender neutral" means raising the child in denial of their gender. It means telling a young boy "you are not a boy", or telling a young girl "you are a girl, but that is completely irrelevant to anything in your life, or who you are". It is a form of deception and dishonesty. In short, it is a lie.
While gender is irrelevant to many aspects of life, community, and industry, it is certainly relevant to the child's identity and sense of selfhood. It will play a major role in the way he is perceived by others (both possitively and negatively), and how he perceives himself. While some aspects of gender role are cultural, some of them are purely biological, so not all aspects of gender identity can be avoided. Even if we could avoid the biological aspects of gender roles, the cultural aspects will still play a role in the child's life, especially if they are raised within that culture, and while we might one day strive to have a completely "gender nuetral" society,for whatever reason, to raise a child gender neutral in a society which is not can cause serious psychological damage to the child and is therfor completely unethical.
In short, raising a child "gender neutral" can only confuse the child and prevent them from understanding themselves and their relationship with others. To actively participate in the prevention of such understanding is, in a very real sense, a form of child abuse. This is something which we all instrinsically understand, and that understanding becomes obvious with a simple question:
Is it appropriate to dress up a young boy in a pretty pink dress before you send him out to play?
By raising a child gender neutral it would stop stereotyping. Just like girl should be cheering for the boys that are out on the field. Stereotyping is a harmful thing in society and can be harmful to a child as well. If a child believes that they act more like a girl but society tells the young boy he shouldn't be acting like that it can psychologically break down the young boy. By doing this it challenges gender stereotypes and gives freedom to the child to choose how he/she wants to look, act, and become as a person.
I asked if it was "appropriate" for a parent to dress a boy up in a pretty pink dress, and you did not answer. I was not asserting that that doing so constitutes raising a child "gender nuetral". It was to illustrate the problem with, as I said "actively participat[ing] in the prevention of such understanding", which I assumed was what you meant with the term "gender neutral".
However, if a boy wanted to dress up in a pretty pink dress before going out to play, and you, as a parent, did not attempt to stop him from doing so or warn him about the predictable consequences of that decision, that would qualify as raising a child "gender neutral" according to your definition that the parents "don't tell them you HAVE to be a certain way", or put "pressure or influence on what should be the outcome of their gender [identity]".
I'll accept your definition, as stated here:
"Being raised gender neutral simply means that the parents are not influencing what their child should look like or be doing."
The parents "are not influencing what their child should look like or be doing"? If that is what raising a child "gender neutral" is, then I see a very serious problem with it. I believe there is another word for "inluencing" what their children "are doing" - it's called "parenting".
"By raising a child gender neutral it would stop stereotyping."
How will it stop "stereotyping"? If parents raised a son, who is gay, in a "gender neutral" way, he might still accept a stereotypical identity of an effeminate gay male. A girl might accept a sterotypical identity of a "tom boy". Please explain how a parent "not influencing" a child would "stop sterotyping" - you are making a claim, but not backing it up with any evidence.
"If a child believes that they act more like a girl but society tells the young boy he shouldn't be acting like that it can psychologically break down the young boy."
I agree that children should be allowed to explore there own selves, but part of that exploration is the interaction with other people and the community, and it is the obligation of the parent to influence that exploration to be a safe, enjoyable experience rather than a confusing, traumatizing one. I agree that some children have personality traits that are not accepted in society, and can be ridiculed by their peers. I was one of them. However, this has nothing to do with gender any more than it has to do with ethnic background. The problem isn't with gender identity in this case, nor can this problem be fixed by raising a child "gender neutral". This problem is solved by raising children to respect themselves and understand their place in the world and their relationship with others.
I think you still have a problem with the definition of raising a child "gender neutral". Please tell me what that would actually look like. It sounds to me that you are actually talking about the morality of parents imposing cultural stereotypes onto their children against their children's wishes. If that is the case, then you really need to spend a little more time defining what, exactly, behavior it is you are defending or condemning.
I think I agree with you, to an extent. However, because of the lack of clarity in your position, it's hard to know what it is I'm supposed to be agreeing or disagreeing with.
This depends on your own definition of appropriate. By you asserting on whether it is "appropriate" to dress a boy up in a pretty pink dress, it is assumed that you believe it is not appropriate. However, people have different opinions on what their children do. If a boy wants to put on a dress or crown during play time then all the power to him. Because if that is what he wants to do, and if he thinks that nothing is wrong with that, then yes it is appropriate.
By raising a child gender neutral you are not influencing in their decisions on what they want to do or look like. Therefore, you aren't telling them "what a girl should do" and "what a boy should do". A stereotype is defined as "a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group." By not telling them you should wear pink because you're a girl or you shouldn't wear pink because your a boy you are reducing the stereotype.
"If a child believes that they act more like a girl but society tells the young boy he shouldn't be acting like that it can psychologically break down the young boy." "However, this has nothing to do with gender any more than it has to do with ethnic background."
If a child is ridiculed on what they think their gender is, not sex, then it does relate to the issue of gender neutral. By using the gender neutral process it will begin to lessen the ridicule he or she gets in society.
I didn't assert it was appropriate. I asked the question. You're answer seams to be "yes, it is appropriate to dress up a young boy in a pretty pink dress before you send him out to play", even though you don't want to explicitly state that.
You're ignoring the basic responsibilities of the parent. At some point, the will of the child to assert itself and its identity must be respected, even if that identity doesn't conform to cultural mores, but that is a far cry from ignoring your responsibilities of explaining what those mores are, and preparing them for the outside world.
You assert that raising a child "gender neutral" will "lessen the ridicule". You are essentially saying that dressing a boy in a pretty pink dress will evetually lessen the child's ridicule. This is absurd.
It shouldn't be seen as wrong if a boy wants to wear a dress. It isn't anyone's decision but his own. By time, if more and more children are going against the typical gender roles, like a boy wearing a dress, then in fact people will become more equip to the idea. Therefore, it will lessen the ridicule of the child.
I think we are in agreement that you should not impose an identity on a child. We are also in agreement that parents have a responsibility to care for the child.
What we don't seam to be in agreement with is the definition of the phrase "gender neutral". The reason for this, I suspect, is that you, yourself are not in agreement with yourself about the term, and keep altering the definition each round.
I initially started out arguing against raising a child "gender neutral", using e LITERAL definitions of the words, which you changed, essentially saying that 'raising a child gender neutral doesn't mean literally raising a child gender neutral'. The definition in round two was "gender neutral simply means that the parents are not influencing what their child should look like or be doing", which contained glaring errors which I brought up.
In round three, you stated that it means you aren't telling them "what a girl should do" and "what a boy should do", I assume in all situations, so we are back to the first definition.
However, mostly you tried to describe what it is not, and gave examples of what you think things "should" or "shouldn't" be.
"It shouldn't be seen as wrong if a boy wants to wear a dress."
Maybe not. In some cultures, it IS not, and is actually expected, but in those very same cultures, gender identity still plays a role in society and in how individuals view themselves and each other.
"It isn't anyone's decision but his own."
No, it isn't. However, the parents have decisions to make, too, and one of the decisions is how to teach children about sexual identity (not whether to teach them, but how, as avoiding the topic or pretending gender doesn't exist will just lead to confusion).
Some day, in the future, racism may not exist. Does that mean a black child should not be warned about racism? In the future, being gay may be truly accepted in society. Does that mean boys who show early signs of fabulousness shouldn't be warned about others?
Your idealism is admirable, and I agree with it. However, it is unrealistic to the point of child abuse. Whether you want the world to be a different place, you still need to accept what kind of place it is now. Whether you want to let the child find its own identity or not, parents still have a tremendous influence over the identities of their children.
Even in your Utopian world where everyone is "raised" gender-neutral, it still doesn't guarantee that children will be gender-neutral, because the biological differences between the two sexes is not arbitrary -- it is hormones running through our veins and motivating men to be men and women to be women.
I do agree with you that parents have to make decisions for their children, which they do. They make the decision for they child to choose how they want to live their lives. They aren't avoiding the topic of the child's sex, because the parents that raise their children this way make their children aware that they are a boy or girl. They just don't try to influence them into doing typical girl things or typical boy things.
"Some day, in the future, racism may not exist. Does that mean a black child should not be warned about racism? In the future, being gay may be truly accepted in society. Does that mean boys who show early signs of fabulousness shouldn't be warned about others?"
It is true that someday racism may not exist. But the child will still be educated on it since it is an important factor that happened in society. Just like a child being raised gender neutral will be educated on his or her sex.
I can accept your views because everyone has different views on how to raise their child. But this is just an upcoming idea that is coming into society. The main idea that I want to point out is that this can be a future way that people will raise their children.
It is true that men and women have different hormones that run through their veins that motivate men to be men and women to be women. But that would be a different argument on what about the people who believe they were born gay. By the time they were young they believed they were born in the wrong body. Like a girl believes that she should have been born a man.
Pro and I agree on many things here. However, Pro has been a little too elusive to pin down, defining and re-defining what it means to raise a child "gender neutral" several times, and never by an actually definition, but instead improperly defining it through example, ie "By raising a child gender neutral you are not influencing in their decisions on what they want to do or look like", or by defining what it is not, ie "raising your child gender neutral it doesn't mean you aren't preparing them for the outside world".
Pro's argument fails because it continually moves the goalpost. Pro's position also fails becuase it can not answer the simple question I posed in the first round of debate, constantly skirting around the issue and refusing to give a simple "yes" or "no":
"Is it appropriate to dress a young boy in a pretty pink dress before you send him out to play"
The answer to that question, in my opinion, is the answer to the question Pro asked to instigate this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Travniki 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This debate seemed to be about the question "Is it appropriate to dress a young boy in a pretty pink dress before you send him out to play" Con proved that no-we should not do that. I also bought into his argument about Gender Rejection
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