The headmistress of an exclusive girls’ school in England has urged that children are raised in a “gender neutral” way, going so far as to suggest that boys could have “girlie makeup” and girls could wear “fireman’s outfit[s]”.
Jo Heywood, who is headmistress at the Heathfield boarding school in Ascot, made the comments to the Sunday Times, insisting: “Girls and boys should be allowed to explore roles traditionally associated with the opposite sex.”
But the news may come as a shock to parents who over £11,000 a term to send their children to Heathfield, knowing that transgender people face very high suicide rates.
But Ms. Heywood is adamant: “If a little boy wants to explore wearing a princess dress and a little girl wants to spend time in a fireman’s outfit, then that is to be encouraged . . . Have girlie make-up, but let boys have it too.”
The school’s alumni includes Princess Alexandra, Sienna Miller, CEO of Jimmy Choo Tamara Mellon and a host of other famous, public figures.
According to the Times, a survey of more than 2,000 mothers for parenting website Channelmum.com showed that two out of five parents under 30 would raise children in a gender-neutral manner. The site has a dedicated section to teach mothers how to raise kids in this way. Their intervention comes as it was revealed that pop singer Adele dresses her son as a Disney princess, which some might argue is child abuse.
Professor Alan Smithers, an expert on education at Buckingham University commented: “Putting three-year-olds into clothes for the opposite sex is silly and they will be teased by other children”.
“This kind of parenting will not advance the cause of equality. Instead of opening up a wider range of opportunities, it will actually result in some very unhappy and disoriented children.”