Another article in the “unfortunately, not the Onion” category.
This is where PC thought takes us, ultimately:
Once my partner and I finally stopped orchestrating schemes, we actually did something that stuck. We never planned on not teaching our son gender pronouns, it just happened. Once he started trying to talk and would point to a random person on the street with a question mark on his face, we’d say, “Oh, that’s a person”, as opposed to, “that’s a man/woman or girl/boy”. When he actually started being able to verbally ask about people, we’d either tell him the person’s name or we’d say it’s a person and groups of persons were people.
At two and a half the terms: his, her, he, she, woman, man, girl, boy are not part of his vocabulary.
These parents (we know the writer is a woman, because in the article she refers to her pregnancy, but we don’t know the sex of the other parent whom she refers to as her partner, relentlessly avoiding any gender-revealing pronouns) obviously subscribe to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of language: “holding that the structure of a language affects the perceptions of reality of its speakers and thus influences their thought patterns and worldviews.” If we don’t mention girls and boys, men and women, they don’t exist, or they don’t exist in quite the same way they would if we named them as such.
Parents have a lot of freedom to raise their children as they see fit, provided they don’t molest, beat, or starve them. There are more subtle forms of mistreatment, though—including being so far out in la-la land that you don’t recognize some of the basics of our society and every other society that has ever been (as far as I know), which is the recognition of gender differences.
The author writes, “the long term implications of this are yet to be seen,” and it’s possible her son will be just fine with it. It’s possible he’ll consider it one of mom’s (or mom and dad’s, or mom and mom’s) amusing peccadilloes, a harmless eccentricity on the order of setting the table with the fork and spoon reversed, or banning candy from the house, something that can be made up for later as parental influence wanes and the wider world becomes dominant. It’s possible he’ll end up in a therapist’s office screaming what crazy parents he had and how they harmed him. It’s possible he’ll become a proud professor of gender studies and spread the word about what a wonderful way this is to raise kids.
It’s possible this is the wave of the future. Somehow, I don’t think so. Is it child abuse? In my opinion, yes, but not in any actionable, legal sense. One consoling thought is that most (although not all) parents who hold similarly rigid ideas that lead to strange social experiments with their children slowly learn, as those children grow older, that life and culture have a way of intervening, and that it might be time to lighten up. Another is that many (not all) children are more resilient than we think.
As for this particular child, I wish him luck. He‘ll need it.
[Hat tip: Bryan Preston.]