That's the question asked by blogger Lindy West at Jezebel:
What's more harmful to kids—being awkwardly micromanaged by adults, or being warped by lifetimes of gender normativity?
What is Lindy talking about? Well, news is buzzing this week about Sweden's "gender-neutral" policies after the country officially added its "gender-neutral" pronoun, Hen, to the country's national encyclopedia. HuffPo explains that bit:
The word is a gender-neutral pronoun that can be applied to objects and people who don't wish to specifically identify as male or female, and it is now an official third pronoun in Swedish.
But Sweden's obsession with gender-neutrality doesn't stop at just semantics. It is exercised even in terms of classroom policies, and at the lowest level. That's what Lindy West is talking about when she asks "what's more harmful to kids?"
Well, read this excerpt from a Slate article, and you decide for yourself what seems more harmful!
[I]n the effort to free Swedish children from so-called normative behavior, gender-neutral proponents are also subjecting them to a whole set of new rules and new norms as certain forms of play become taboo, language becomes regulated, and children's interactions and attitudes are closely observed by teachers. One Swedish school got rid of its toy cars because boys "gender-coded" them and ascribed the cars higher status than other toys. Another preschool removed "free playtime" from its schedule because, as a pedagogue at the school put it, when children play freely "stereotypical gender patterns are born and cemented. In free play there is hierarchy, exclusion, and the seed to bullying." And so every detail of children's interactions gets micromanaged by concerned adults, who end up problematizing minute aspects of children's lives, from how they form friendships to what games they play and what songs they sing.
Lindy West seems to think that this "problematizing minute aspects of children's lives" is preferable to them "being warped by lifetimes of gender normativity"; but it seems to us that when "free playtime" is removed from a school schedule in order to prevent boys from being boys and girls from being girls, it is just another example of the selfish preferences of adults being allowed to supersede the rights of children. And unfortunately, that remains one of the hallmarks of the marriage redefinition movement.