Can Kids Be Raised in a Gender-Neutral Environment?
April 12, 2012
© Picture Quest
Earlier this week Sweden took a huge step toward their gender-neutralization goal by adding the new pronoun hen to the Swedish lexicon, Slate reports. While the gender-neutral pronoun is easier to write instead of the awkward "s/he", it has also brought about some changes in the way children are raised.
For example, a Swedish children’s clothing company has done away with its designated boys’ and girls’ sections in favor of becoming a gender-neutral outlet, and a Swedish toy catalog pulled a switch on readers featuring a boy in a Spider-Man costume, pushing a pink baby carriage. Gender-neutral activists are also lobbying to encourage parents to name their children whatever they want, and not stick to the conventional boy and girl names.
Swedish schoolteachers are also being trained on gender-neutral teaching techniques. Some schools have abandoned the traditional “Good morning, boys and girls” for “Good morning, buddies,” and others nix free playtime, stating that when children play freely, "stereotypical gender patterns are born and cemented. In free play there is hierarchy, exclusion, and the seed to bullying." One preschool in Stockholm also has children playing many versions of the traditional "House" game, where families are made up of mom, dad and child; mom, mom and child; and dad, dad, child and so on to include all types of modern families.
What's your take on Sweden raising gender-neutral children? Do you think it's possible to raise children in a completely gender-free environment, or do you think there are innate differences between males and females that can't or shouldn't be ignored?