Will ‘PARENT’ be the Gender Neutral Term for the 21st Century?

 One of my mother’s friends, after reading about Elton John’s baby last year, expressed her disapproval to me with “He’s gay! First he says he’s married to a man! Now he says he has had a baby with him. That’s impossible.” 

I tried to explain the concept of egg donation and surrogacy to her.  She brushed me aside like I was slow on the uptake.  That was not what she was questioning. She said, “How are they going to raise a baby without a mother? A baby needs a mother.”  She emphasized the word ‘mother’ like it was a critical component, not just for child-making, but for child-rearing as well.  Sir Elton John may have found an egg donor, but now what was he going to do about the absence of  a female parent?

“What can a mother give to the baby that two father’s can’t, other than breast milk, which I’m sure with his money he has organized for through a wet nurse if the surrogate mother isn’t willing?” I asked.

She waived me off, “You won’t understand.”

“Try me.”

“Love, a mother’s LOVE,” she said, emphasizing ‘love’ like she did ‘mother.’  “Mamta,” she said again emphatically.  Mamta is the special word for ‘mother’s love’ in Hindi.

“But can’t a father give love, and care? Can’t a father nurture a child so he grows into his full potential as a human being?”

To me it is strange that there are some women who think raising children is only a woman’s ‘domain’ when I’d think that as a part of the women’s lib movement we’d be pushing to DE-genderize what are basically human roles.  It is odd, because there was a time when men said women can’t study, they can’t vote, they can’t own land, buildings, businesses, they can’t run the government — because they were not men.  In fact there are many communities where these gender based role restrictions still apply to women! There apparently is something inherent in maleness that bestowed only on men the ability to do all these things.  But women went out and did all that and proved that theory wrong.

So here’s three cheers to men like Elton John who are now doing the reverse!  They are making choices to show that men too on their own, can set up homes, and families and raise children, and that it is not necessarily an inherent genetic factor that bestows the ability of home-making and child rearing solely on women!

Let’s hope that in the 21st century we can make the words ‘mother’ and ‘father’ obsolete, and replace them with the gender-neutral term ‘parent’ — a term that will mean everything a child needs to be nurtured: love, care, warmth, sensitivity, protection, belief, and all those good things.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

5 Comments

  1. hi Rita,
    I’m sure, many fathers, gay or not, can support their children as good as mothers …- on the other hand, many (not gay) parents mistreat their children – maybe gay parents, with a clear decision that they want a child to care for, are a good chance, sometimes even a better chance …

    Reply
  2. I’m sure, many fathers, gay or not, can support their children as good as mothers …- on the other hand, many (not gay) parents mistreat their children – maybe gay parents, with a clear decision that they want a child to care for, are a good chance, sometimes even a better chance …

    Reply
    • Rita Banerji

       /  May 14, 2012

      Good point Dietmar. I too think that often people take having children for granted. And gay couples who adopt have to go through a lot of hardship to even adopt a child and they really want to care for a child.

      Reply
  3. Tomica

     /  May 23, 2013

    What a hell is wrong with you?! It is just a child trading, n o t h i n g else… i mean, he freaking BOUGHT a child! You cannot create a child without a man nad a woman, i do not care how you obtain sperm and egg, it is still a man and a woman. No person can enjoy product of heterosexual relationship, if that person is not in that kind of relationship. Everything else it just buying and selling comodities (children)… How sick are you, for god sake… Who cares if someone wants to be in a homosexual relationship, or in any other relationship, i do not care! And if we talk about difference between a man and a woman, they exist, and anyone denying them has problem with elementary biology. There are many differences between two sexes, and it goes so far that genetic scientists found that we have more similiarities with chimpanzees then between two sexes. There is no situation where you can not find out a sex of a person, NO situation… Gender is nothing more than gramatics… My god!… I am sorry, i meant:’my evolution’… I do not want to offend anyone… 😀 (puke)

    Reply
    • By your argument heterosexual couples who can’t conceive and use a surrogate or in vitro techniques are also abnormal — yeah?

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: