After a surprising pregnancy announcement a few months ago, billionaire Elon Musk and singer Grimes’ baby is finally here. And just as some might have expected from the odd pairing, the new parents came up with a unique name for their first child together: X Æ A-12.
Even more interesting is that Musk and Grimes can’t seem to agree on how the boy’s name is pronounced. But enough about that. The more pressing matter at hand is the way that the couple is planning to raise the child.
Goodbye Gender Norms
The Tesla CEO and the musician are reportedly going to employ a gender-neutral parenting style for X Æ A-12. As the 32-year-old first-time mother revealed in a YouTube live stream, she doesn’t want to gender her child now as they might not feel like their assigned gender as they go through life. That explanation from Grimes is a good summary of what gender-neutral parenting is about.
The style is a fairly new concept and seeks to do away with traditions like gender reveal parties and using pink or blue clothes for girl or boy babies, respectively. Instead, parents would be raising their children without the limits set by the norms related to being a boy or a girl. In the end, one of the goals is to let children develop their own identity outside of traditional social norms.
There are many different ways parents can go about practicing gender-neutral parenting.
Naming a kid with something that works for both genders is a good place to start. This way, the child would be able to continue using their given name when the time comes that they can identify which gender they are.
Creating gender-neutral spaces within the home is also important. Parents who are considering raising their kids beyond gender norms can opt to design their nursery to express both masculine and feminine characteristics or not focus on these at all.
The Challenges Ahead
Since gender-neutral parenting isn’t the norm in society, practicing it comes with a lot of challenges for the entire family. For example, not all American states allow parents to label their kids with the gender-neutral X to express their decision not to assign their newborn a gender.
And while parents can turn the home into a gender-neutral space, there’s still the fact that the rest of the world is filled with many gendered cues from toy aisles to clothing stores.