There is no concrete definition for Gender-Creative Parenting (GCP). There are also several terms that represent the same idea: Gender-Neutral Parenting, Gender-Fluid Parenting, and Gender-Free Parenting, for example. Brent and I like the term Gender-Creative Parenting because being creative is our primary motivation and goal in raising Zoomer.
This is our little dictionary entry for how we have come to conceptualize Gender-Creative Parenting.
In a nutshell, Gender-Creative Parenting promotes gender equality and the freedom to express oneself without stereotypical gender restrictions or expectations.
Gender-Creative Parents understand that gender occurs on a diverse spectrum rather than a binary.
For example, let’s say femininity is on the left side of the spectrum and masculinity is on the right side of the spectrum. Often times, parents tend to keep their children on one half of the spectrum, females/girls are expected to stay on the left side of the spectrum and males/boys are expected to stay on the right side of the spectrum. There is much less resistance to girls crossing over to the “boy” side of the line than there is for boys interested in things on the “girl” side of the line. A great example of this is the recent GAP Kids collaboration with Ellen, that shows girls skateboarding and drumming and getting dirty (things that are traditionally seen as boy activities) in clothes with lightening bolts and a tough kid theme. And the whole campaign is applauded for being so gender-bending. However, there isn’t a line of clothes for boys who want sequins and leotards and unicorns and flowy dresses, which is an unfortunate double standard.
Gender-Creative parents recognize these societal gender boundaries and encourage their kids to travel anywhere along the gender spectrum they desire or create a new branch all together. Children’s individuality is prioritized above their conformity.
Gender-Creativity is not bland, or neutral, caught somewhere between femininity and masculinity, rather, Gender-Creativity disregards gender boundaries and embraces both femininity and masculinity equally and nothing is off limits. Gender-Creative Parenting encourages emotional vulnerability and assertive confidence. Gender-Creativity blows the lid off only allowing a child to experience half of the world, and instead encourages them to dabble in anything that strikes their fancy, while never telling them “that’s not for girls” or “that’s not for boys.” Everything is for everybody.
Gender-Creative Parenting is also a practice of egalitarian parenting, where household and parenting duties are shared equally between parents. Female parents are not expected to be primary caregivers and male parents are not expected to be primary income providers. Gender-Creative Parents determine what will work best for their families without relying on gender stereotypes and model this behavior to their children.
Gender-Creative Parenting surrenders control that parents never really had in the first place. It is a practice in freedom and rule-breaking and following kids’ lead when they show you who they are and trusting that they know what is best for them.