To Avoid Gender Stereotyping, Parents Raise Son as Boy and Girl

Max Price and parents
Max Price's parents are raising him using a technique called 'gender-neutral parenting.' They allow him to dress in male and female clothing, and he is encouraged to play with a range of toys, including dolls. (Courtesy of Daily Mail)

A couple is attempting to raise their 1-year-old son as a boy and a girl in order to avoid “gender stereotyping.”

Max Price is dressed in both male and female clothes and is encouraged to play with a range of toys, including dolls, which he pretends to breast-feed on occasions.

His parents told the Daily Mail that they are using a technique called “gender-neutral parenting”—a practice that has been criticized as “misguided.”

Max’s mother, Lisa, wants her son to identify as being either a boy or a girl because “gender stereotypes can be so damaging,” she claims.

Max will be home schooled, but Lisa says she won’t stop him wearing a girls’ school uniform if he eventually goes to school.

She says, “If Max wants to wear a pink tutu and fairy wings, then he can wear it.”

Lisa adds, “The whole ‘boys will be boys’ thing basically teaches lads that it’s OK to be a certain way, because it’s in their nature to be aggressive.”

The U.K. editor-in-chief of fashion magazine Elle, Lorraine Candy, said that some parents often use the practice of gender neutral parenting as a platform for “political beliefs.”

Candy, a mother who initially let her son dress in girls clothes until the age of 5, says, “Many of these attempts to unburden children from the constraints of gender are misguided.”

A little over two years ago, another couple also made headlines for raising their 5-year-old son, Sasha, as “gender neutral.”

They posted videos and pictures online as part of a wider “experiment” to see if their son would bypass gender stereotypes.

But Candy argues the experiment was not fair to Sasha.

She says, “He has been hailed as an experiment in breaking stereotypes, but who would want to expose their child to possible derision for the sake of their political beliefs?"

“Apparently, all children need to ‘belong’; they crave positive recognition as they develop between the ages of 3 and 7. They seek the approval of their peer group to make them feel secure so they can develop with confidence,” she adds.

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, says, “A person cannot choose whether they are male or female—that is something that is intrinsic in their body at birth.”

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