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Swedish Parents Attempt to Raise 'Genderless' Child

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In an attempt to steer clear of all gender stereotypes, a couple is keeping the sex of their child a secret. WTH?!


Some couples don't want to know the sex of their child until after the kid is born. In a bizarre twist, a couple in Sweden knows the gender, but they're not telling anybody -- even though their child, whom they refer to as "Pop," recently turned 2.

"We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mold 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."

Some might argue that it's cruel to put your kid though your own personal social experiment. But for now, Pop's days are similar to those of most toddlers. Pop wears pants and dresses and is more likely to wear neutral colors than the traditional blue or pink.

Of course, like all children, Pop will eventually get curious and start asking questions. His/her first query might be, "Mom, Dad ... you two are a little nuts, right?"

next: 'Nellie Oleson' Talks About Childhood Sex Abuse
22 comments so far | Post a comment now
Matt June 16, 2010, 12:17 PM

Why are they crazy? Just because you don’t conform to the “society norm” doesn’t make you crazy. When you call them crazy your are reinforcing the idea they are trying to do away with that you shouldn’t stereotype people.

I am woman June 16, 2010, 12:51 PM

I’m sorry, but all this stuff about not wanting to sterotype gender is just crazy. Yes, girls can do anything boys can do and vice versa but there is nothing wrong with installing good gender roles in your children. I like my man to be a man and I enjoy being a woman. Too many lines are being blurred and kids today are going to grow up totally confused about how their sex plays a role in who they are. As long as you as a parent raise your children to be confident in who they are, why would you try and confuse them by what they are.

Arisma June 16, 2010, 1:57 PM

“I am woman”, you are exactly the reason they’re raising their child in this way. A man and a woman have every potential to become equally skilled at anything, it’s preconceptions that push them toward and away from areas of possible interest. Gender and what it means is a construct of society.

stef June 16, 2010, 2:50 PM

“I am woman”, I think you are completely off the mark with your comment. I think kids are more confused when they don’t fit the roles that our society has set up and that is the problem. For instance, when a boy is hurt, imagine how it must feel to hear “boys don’t cry.” When a girl wants to play G.I.JOE, why shouldn’t she be able to? Isn’t that confusing?
Plus, I’m not sure what liking your man being a man means…does he crush beer cans in his biceps and grunt when he wants food? If that’s the case, I’ll take my sweet, sensitive boyfriend who likes to cook over your man any day. And I am sure he likes that I can keep up in sports more than he would like me sitting in front of the mirror primping?

Liberty June 16, 2010, 3:41 PM

Today I got gasoline in the cans, found oil in the garage, checked and leveled off the oil in the mower, and mowed the lawn.

I also emptied the dishwasher, loaded it, and swept the kitchen floor.

I took a shower, clothed myself and drove to work so my spouse could come home from work. My spouse will do laundry this evening and make dinner for our two children. I’ll get home in time to peek at them sleeping.

Am I a man or a woman? Can you tell?

Yes, I am a woman June 16, 2010, 4:17 PM

This is why there are so many he’s who think they are she’s and she’s who think they are he’s. Are you people so afraid of not being politically correct that you can’t even look down your own pants and claim what you are? I don’t care if a women can “bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan” you’re still a women and I don’t if a men can cook, clean and take care of the babies, he’s still a man. You have got to be kidding me if you think it’s okay to raise a boy as a girl or a girl as a boy.

mom of 2 June 16, 2010, 4:26 PM

They may be able to do this while the child is young and not in school but once he/she is in school, it will all change. While it is easier for a girl to be a tomboy I think if the child is a boy, he will have a hard time dressing as a girl without being teased.
I know a lot of boys wear pink now which is great but I don’t know many who can wear dresses to school and not catch trouble for it. And to be honest, I wouldn’t want to come home from work and see my husband cooking in the kitchen wearing my dress.

stef June 16, 2010, 5:01 PM

“Yes, I am a woman” Nobody here is saying that it is okay to raise a girl as a boy, or vice versa…show me where anyone has even implied it.
We just think that gender roles are dumb and should not be enforced. If a little boy wants to try on a tutu its okay, we’re not saying his parents should force him to wear one. Unfortunately, this is not what children learn from the gender roles followed in society, they instead learn to discriminate against “fags” or others who don’t do what society thinks is “normal.”

I am woman June 16, 2010, 5:33 PM

You’re wrong stef, the article says that some days they dress “it” in pants and some days in dresses. That is clearly raising the child as both a boy and a girl and I found that completely wrong of them to do. As much as you want to agrue over not assigning gender to erase gender bias, you can’t change the fact that every person is either male or female.

stef June 16, 2010, 6:25 PM

girls can’t wear pants?? and why shouldn’t boys wear dresses? THAT is the point, not whether someone is female or male. There is no such thing as raising someone as a female or male. Female and male are terms assigned to us based on our anatomy. They are not labels of how lifestyles should be lived. It shouldn’t bother you that a boy is wearing a dress, some men WANT to wear woman’s clothes. It only bothers you because you were brought up that way.

21st Century Mummy June 17, 2010, 3:36 AM

Talk about an identity crisis waiting to happen. How long are they planning to keep it a secret for? It’s just plain weird!

James Fernie June 17, 2010, 3:48 AM

sounds like a perfectly rational plan to me. as long as you’re happy rearing a future serial killer.

I am woman June 17, 2010, 3:53 AM

I don’t understand why so many of you women are misunderstanding what I am trying to say. Yes, as a woman I proudly can watch and understand sports, I can use the mower to cut the grass, I can support myself and yes, my husband can cook, do the laundry, take care of the kids and clean the house. That is not what I am talking about at all. I agree that woman should make the same amount as money as men make and if a woman wants to play a prof. sport, I’m all for it. I’m also all for teaching girls to be strong and letting boys be gentle but my point is when you confuse a child by not identifying them as who they are, you’re not “erasing” gender but in fact you are confusing the child.

Anonymous June 17, 2010, 5:11 AM

All I know is when I walk down the aisle to stand next to my new to be husband, I want to be the only one in a bridal dress!

Katie June 17, 2010, 6:47 AM

I don’t think its crazy, I think its healthy.. kids don’t need to be gender stereotyped so young. It is a fact that girls and boys are treated differently, boys more rough, girls with more affection… it makes me sad that it is that way. Although I wouldn’t keep my child’s identity a secret, I do allow them to wear and play with whatever they want without being told “thats a girl/boy toy” etc.. My nephew’s grandmother scold’s them if they pick up a doll, its not okay to learn to nurture? Or play with a kitchen set? As if they someday won’t be fathers, uncles, etc.. or cook for themselves, it disgusts me so, maybe thats what the parents need to do in order to be sure their child gets fair opportunities

Katie June 17, 2010, 6:49 AM

James.. “a future serial killer” is a fine example of why this kind of thinking is so WRONG!

michelle June 17, 2010, 9:37 AM

This experiment isn’t very well-thought-out because it focuses only on the most superficial aspects of gender. They don’t mean very much, especially since plenty of girls wear pants and plenty of boys wear tutus for dress-up. Whether the child is wearing pants or skirts when out in public doesn’t really matter, because the *parents* know what sex the child is. And the parents are probably biased no matter how hard they try not to be. Studies have shown that even the most well-intentioned parents are likely to subtly treat sons different from daughters, especially when it comes to risk. For example, in a toddler playroom, mothers are more likely to hold back the girls from riskier, rougher play, while they tended to be more encouraging of the boys. It’s hard to see how this fundamental fact would change if you dressed the kid in gender-neutral clothes. So if these parents really wanted to try something interesting, they would do something like that — raise their daughter according to the Dangerous Book for Boys.

Swede June 17, 2010, 9:39 AM

You guys have to understand the region we are reading about. Sweden, probably Stockholm area. Not only is Sweden one of the most socially “free” countries, they are one of the most humble countries you’ll ever visit. Swedes believe in personal privacy and expressing your true self. It’s one of the only countries where two Homosexual men or women can walk down the streets and not feel judged or threatened. Sweden’s crime rate is extremely low. Sweden doesn’t really play a large role in setting “gender roles” to begin with, so I’m unsure why this article is getting this much of a big spin.

Swedish Fish June 17, 2010, 11:51 AM

Wow, how outdated is this??? Pop turned two almost two years ago and the couple has since had another child.

Also, “Liberty”, you’re clearly a woman.

chris June 17, 2010, 2:07 PM

What I think is that no one on here has thought only about the child. I think that it is wrong to do a “social experiment” using your own child. Having the child know its’ own sex but not sharing it was friends or family is putting a lot of pressure on a 2 yr old. Its’ parent must have explained to it what it sex is but told it not to share that with other people. How many times do you think that someone has secretly asked it “Are you a boy or a girl?” As a young child, you can’t understand what your parents are trying to accompliance so I think in the long run, this child is going to feel bad about whatever sex it really is. I can see that child in the future saying to itself “oh, my parents must not like boys or they must not like girls b/c they tried to hide what true gender I am. Talk about placing shame on a child. I know you can raise child without gender play or gender clothing but you can’t really take away someones’ true gender identity.

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