After reading several articles about gender neutral-child rearing, I became a bit cynical about the movement and practice but it was hard to pinpoint why I felt this way. After asking two of my male friends if they would ever raise their children gender-neutral, I was able to find my answer. One of my friends said that in order to raise his children gender-neutral he would have to make a very concerted effort to do so because gender roles are instinctual at this point and since they are so difficult to avoid so his children would probably not grow up gender-neutral. This led me to ask the question, in terms of gender, for what are we responsible? Unfortunately (or fortunately!) as members of this society we are responsible for everything. In terms of gender, we are responsible for the way that women, men and people of all other genders are treated and not treated in society. We are responsible for the images in the media, the same way that we are responsible for the way that our children our raised at home. We do not demand enough of the people who are sitting in the companies that bring gender-biased images to the televisions. We are responsible for the consumer culture we now live in where having certain electronic appliances not only represent a social standing but are almost necessary to our everyday lives. This makes way for gender to send messages and images to reach our children and us through all different types of mediums.
So how does this relate to my initial cynicism? I would love to raise my children as gender-neutral. I would love to let my children explore within and beyond the binaries set out by the dominant male and female genders and find what is most comfortable and appropriate for them. However, I feel trapped by a society that will never let my children do that and I feel that my efforts at home will be in vain as soon as my children will set foot out of their home. And unfortunately, I, along with all the other people that join me as members of this society, am responsible for it.