Swedes Raise a Gender-Free Child

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
June 29 2009 1:56 PM

Swedes Raise a Gender-Free Child


Parents of children born with an ambiguous gender often beg doctors to let them choose one gender or another. Now, in Sweden, a couple has decided to raise their now 2-year-old with no gend er . Of course, the kid has one, but they won’t tell anyone what it is. They dress the kid in any old colors. When they change the diaper, they hide its parts. The kid’s name is Pop. "We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset," Pop’s mother told a Swedish newspaper. "It's cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead."


I had a militant feminist mother friend like this once. She only let her daughter play with cars and trucks, and then one day came in the room to see her daughter swaddling Baby Tonka in a blanket and feeding her a bottle through the chassis. Experiment over. What the Swedish couple is doing is of course absurd on many levels. To raise a child gender-free requires a kind of vigilance that can only lead to obsession with gender. If they keep it up, in a few years they will have to redirect Pop’s every natural instinct, and then what to do about the hair?

What’s interesting to me is how gender neutrality has now become an ideal. Trying to raise a girl with boy interests has the benefit, at least, of building empathy for the other sex. But the idea of no gender at all is radical and dispiriting.

Photo by Getty Images.

Hanna Rosin is the founder of DoubleX and a writer for the Atlantic. She is also the author of The End of Men. Follow her on Twitter.



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.