Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Genderless Child

     I don't know how many of you have heard about the parents in Toronto, Kathy Witterick and David Stocker, who recently had a beautiful, healthy, and generally normal baby that they named Storm. The name is a little quirky, but that isn't what is truly insane here. The parents have decided not to tell anyone (including the child's grandparents) his/her gender. There is nothing questionable about Storm's gender. He/she was not born a hermaphrodite; Storm's parents have simply chosen not to tell.

See the Yahoo News story here:

     Now don't get me wrong, I've got a little feminist in me and I'm the last person who is going to cram a child into a "gender" roll and tell my son that he can't be a cook because that's women's work, or tell my daughter not to play sports because people might think she's "butch." However, there is a line between allowing your child to have a free spirit and be them self and just not parenting the child. In our society of acceptance and tolerance gender rolls are nearly non-existent; people are free to be themselves and generally suffer very little harassment or ridicule because of it. So why have Witterick and Stocker taken such extreme measures to prevent their children from being gender identified by those around them?

     This couple has two older sons, age 2 and 5, whom they allow to pick their own clothes in stores -often they choose clothing geared toward girls- and to pick whether they will let their hair grow out or keep it short. 

     The parents reportedly came to choose this somewhat radical style of parenting when, during Witterick's pregnancy with Storm, their five year old son Jazz was "having some 'intense' experiences with his gender." Okay, I'm not going to down-play a child's feelings, but how intensely can a five year old actually feel about his own gender? Is it possible that the child was just naturally curious about his body and gender and what that means and his parents, as so many do, over-interpreted his feelings and in this case turned curiosity into a gender crisis?

     In addition, the five year old -who reportedly prefers to wear girl's clothes- has asked his mother to notify others of his gender because it upsets him when he is mistaken for a girl due to his long hair and clothing. I'm all for free spirits, but there is a point at which giving a child too much freedom can do them more harm than good, and sadly, I think Witterick and Stocker may have found it.

     So, tell me, how do you feel about these parents' radial approach to gender identity? Would you ever consider this for your own kids? Maybe a milder form? Comment below!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Who am I?

I've recently been thinking about how much a person can change over a year or two or four or ten. Contemplating job hunting and interviews has left me dwelling on that omnipresent job interview prompt: "So tell me a little about yourself." I mean, how does one really tell someone else "a little" about themselves? I know that being concise is a nearly impossible mission for me. I'm wordy, enthusiastic, and creative. I spew ideas, color, and a little bit of chaos everywhere I go. I like to cause at least one person to think in a new way every day. I guess if I had to type a mini-bio about myself for an event program or a dating site it would go something like this:
Larra Brogdon is a recently blonde art student from central Illinois. She loves art, music, being active for good causes, and most of all her friends and family. Larra loves going to local shows with her best friends and hates having nothing to do. Her greatest strengths are her ability to love people and her compassion for others; her greatest flaws are impatience and trusting the wrong people, which usually leads to heartache. Larra recently completed her freshman year of college and aspires to be a professional photographer. She drinks entirely too much caffeine, talks a lot, has a tendency to ramble, and loves watching movies. Larra loves bubbles and adventures in the wee hours of the morning, she hates the words 'moist' and 'crease' because she thinks they sound pornographic. She also has a penchant for useless information.

See?! Even that isn't all that short! I don't know how to only give people just a "little" piece of me. I'm a giving, enthusiastic person and when I trust and love someone, I throw my whole heart and soul into it. That's me, take it or leave it for someone else who will appreciate it.

Operation Freshman Year: Complete!

Wow! I made it! My last final of Freshman year is complete! It's kind of a dizzying feeling. It seems like just yesterday I was a lost newcomer, joining clubs, diving into classes, trying to discover how I was going to make my mark on Backburn. 8 (shockingly short!) months later, I have one more week of work and choir commitments until I head home for the summer. This year has been amazing in so many ways. I have been pushed beyond what I thought my limits were, discovered new interests, found out some things I don't like. I have made so many awesome friends that have helped me get through this emotional rollercoaster of a year. Friends who have stood up for me, been there for me, dragged me out to parties when all I wanted to do was stay in and feel sorry for myself, friends who have gone adventuring at 3am, blown bubbles on the quad at midnight, helped me sidewalk chalk in the freezing cold, lent me clothes, helped me study, given me rides. As I find my group of friends expanding, I find that I am so blessed to know not only the new friends I have made this year, but the old ones that have stuck with me from childhood, church groups, high school, summer camps, and more. I am the luckiest girl in the world when it comes to the people who love me. So, as I head into my first college summer, looking for a job, road tripping, and hanging out with friends, I feel like I have to much to look forward to. Despite all the bad things: heart break, anxiety attacks, frustration, and fights; this year has truley taught me who I can always depend on. So, Sophomore year, here I come!

Things I like

I decided to make a list of things I like, so that if I'm having a day in which I don't feel particularly grateful for anything, I can look at it and realize how blessed I am.

I like...
  • Warm weather.
  • Thunderstorms.
  • Edgar Allen Poe.
  • Poetry in general.
  • Those days when they sky is the most perfect shade of blue.
  • Crayons.
  • Trampolines.
  • Inside jokes.
  • Art classes.
  • My windowsill garden.
  • Pizza.
  • Eccentric make-up.
  • Nutty old people.
  • Texts from my friends.
  • The sound of my camera's shutter.
  • Purple things.
  • Getting mail. 
  • Music of many kinds.
  • Making really great art.
  • Funny stories.
  • Stumbleupon.
  • The smell of Sharpie markers.
  • Random dancing.
  • Random bursts of inspiration.
  • My closet: organized by color.
  • The view out my window.
  • Boyfriend smell.
  • Audrey Hepburn movies.
  • Tim Burton movies.
  • Hulu.
  • Tiny umbrellas.
  • New sketchbooks.
  • Dying my hair.
  • My job.
  • My friends. Every. Single. One.
  • Big holiday dinners with my family.
  • Useful advice.
  • Watching photos appear in the developer.
  • My sea monkeys.
  • Penguins.
  • The Oatmeal.
  • Dear Girls Above Me.
  • Going barefoot on warm pavement.
  • Free movie night at school.
  • Books.
  • Nice guys who still believe in wooing women.
  • Bass players.
  • Redheads. Honestly, I'm jealous of them. I think gingers are awesome.
  • My iPod.
  • Mediocre Films and Mediocre Films 2 on YouTube.
  • The word triskaidekaphobia.
  • Local bands.
  • Concerts at the IMC in Urbana.
  • Aviator shades.
  • Pens that write really well.
  • Planning parties.
  • Glow sticks.
  • V-neck teeshirts.
  • TOMS shoes.
  • To Write Love On Her Arms.
  • Catchy songs. 
  • Pomegranites and pomegranite scented stuff.
  • Random adventuring with my friends.
  • The way that I share a brain with my closest friends.
  • Hugs.
  • When boys sing to me.
  • Editing photos.
  • When I get the first drink of my soda before Lyndie steals it.
  • The first day of flip-flop weather in the Spring.
  • Drive-in movies.
  • Hanging out with my little sister.
  • My weird cat.
  • The puppy store in the mall.
  • Platypussen.
I'll add more stuff if/when I think about it.
  • Turtles.

Goodbye, 2010

Wow! Another year is on it's way out. Wasn't it just yesterday that we were in show choir with Mrs Woolwine, talking about prom and graduation? Now I'm done with my first semester as a college student, catching up with friends from high school, and looking ahead at one great year: a year I can only hope is as amazing as 2010 has been for me. I would love to thank everyone who made this such a great year: Cornjerkers, classes of 2008-2013, I consider myself lucky to have gone to school with such awesome people. You all made me feel so at home the moment I got to HAHS, and I know you're all going to do great things. To all my friends and family, both near and far, thank you so much for being there for me every time I needed you and standing beside me when it was time to celebrate. Every single person listed here and everyone I forgot has been such an important part of my life and I thank you all so much. In 2010 I discovered so much amazing music, and so many great bands. I tried new things and I grew on so many ways. I love you all.