(Philosophizing about) Gender-Open Children

Feminism and Philosophy Newsletter, American Philosophical Association (2020)
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I’m at the playground with my baby, and a smiling adult inquires, “Is it a boy or a girl?” Scientific studies show that if I say X, they will see my baby as doing A, being A, feeling A—versus if I say Y.1 They’ll likely make different assumptions about whether my baby is able to climb up the playground structures and sit without support, and they’ll encourage my baby to engage in different activities.2 And of course, they’ll respond to them differently depending on whether they think the baby is a boy or a girl. What do I do if I don’t want that to happen? One way to respond to the question is not to reveal the gender, or rather, to reject the assumption that my baby already has a gender, which is arguably a weird move, breaking out of a smoothly functioning, well-oiled social exchange. Here I want to talk about this weird move: How weird it is? What are some of the reasons to make the move anyway, and what are some of the concerns?
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Archival date: 2020-09-14
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