If you have been on the Internet this week, you are likely aware of the Toronto Star story that has, quite literally, taken the world by storm. Baby Storm, that is.
Baby Storm is a boy. Or Baby Storm is a girl. Very few people actually know what is hiding underneath Storm’s diapers, because Storm’s parents, Kathy Witterick and David Stocker, are not telling. For now, they are keeping four-month-old Storm’s identity a secret.
When Storm was born, his/her parents sent around an email to family and friends that said: “We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now—a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place? …).” This decision, along with many of the decisions the Toronto couple has made in the rearing of their two other children—Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2—was met, unsurprisingly, with many, many opinions that ranged from supportive to outraged.
As parents, they discourage any kind of gender stereotyping and allow their older two children—both boys—to make their own decisions about how they like to dress (which includes dresses) and how they like to wear their hair (which includes wearing it long and in braids).
The story has sparked opinions, comments and debates—both positive and negative—with articles, blog posts, Facebook status updates and tweets popping up all over the web this week. It seems that people have a lot to say about this “genderless baby” topic. Here are a few of the opinions shared in the comment section of the Star‘s follow-up article, discussing the outpouring of opinion on the original story:
“Kudos to these parents! For standing up for what they believe in, for loving their children unconditionally and for going against the ‘norm’ and showing people a look into their lives.”
“[I]t astounds me how misguided these people are. By all means, encourage your children to play with whatever they toys they choose (trucks or Barbies) or play sports they want to without concern about gender, but allow them to know who and what they are!”
“I’m just a little confused as to why these parents found it necessary to raise a genderless child? I have a little 2-year-old girl and she wears both girl and boy clothes and plays with whatever toys she wants. She’ll grow up as a girl knowing she can play with whatever she likes, cut her hair whatever way she likes, and ultimately love whomever she wants. She can make these choices wearing a dress or pants. It doesn’t matter! What these parents are telling their children is that it DOES matter what you wear or what you play with so you should be gender-neutral to be accepted.”
“I find it amusing that there are a lot of people who seem to believe that they’re open-minded simply because they oppose societal norms. A truly open-minded critical thinker would understand that there are pros and cons to conforming to society as much as there are pros and cons to opposing societal norms.”
“It’s nice to see parents taking the risk to not raise another generation of conformist consumers. I’m sure the kids will turn out great, whatever (the kids) decide to do. I turned out fine both despite and because of my unconventional parents.”
What are your thoughts on this? Do you applaud these parents for their unorthodox approach? Do you think this is a just an attention-craving social experiment? Do you fall somewhere in the middle? We want to hear from you!