I was going to write some sort of intro to myself, since I have all these new readers now [yay! hi new readers! I love you!]. The gender of this fetus, however, seems to be a source of endless fascination to strangers, so I’m going to write about why I don’t want to know. Not because I need to justify this, but because it relates to actually important stuff people are talking about. Namely, gender and children and body issues.
Reason #1: I do not want to know the gender of this fetus until it is a baby I can hold in my arms, because I do not want to worry about raising Girls or raising Boys. I feel that I am qualified to worry over and take charge of raising my girl or my boy, but if I find out which I am carrying halfway through this pregnancy, I will research, gather information and obsess. I do not need that kind of anxiety. Here’s what I might worry about if I knew I were carrying a girl:
There is no longer a child too young to be assaulted by the friggin gender police. There are wigs for bald baby girls and “loungerie” for prepubescent girls. Rainbow Brite and Care Bears and My Little Pony and Barbie and other toys marketed to preschoolers look thinner (Candyland and Shutes and Ladders are now featuring thinner girls, too) than they did when I was small. Why a bear or a pony needs to be skinny and how anyone thought that Barbie could get any skinnier, I do not know. The Gap seems to have no problem selling a mini skirt for infant girls (their words, not mine). Wal-Mart, Target and Disney are actively marketing make-up for girls as young as seven, including anti-aging crap, and no one has ever bothered to study what the ingredients might do to a child’s skin.
But now, it appears, by age three girls equate thinness with beauty, sweetness, niceness and popularity; they associate “fat” meanwhile with laziness, stupidity and friendlessness. – Peggy Orenstein, “Fat is a Preschool Issue“
And a boy:
As for boys, about a year ago, the “news” media regarded an ad depicting a five-year-old boy with pink toenails as a sign of the coming apocalypse. Last year, my friend Avi, aka The MamaFesto, and her husband found themselves arguing with a waitress last year that their then-four-year-old son is, in fact, a boy with long hair, not a girl (yes, the waitress actually told them that their son just had to be a girl with that hair); this year, Avi also covered the absurd “news” on the Today Show that boys sometimes have long hair (gasp!) and adults’ cruel reactions to this shocking revelation. We’re all still waiting to see what happens when he starts sporting his new pink crocs, which he absolutely adores, in public this summer. Most certainly, someone will say something. Will he let it get to him? Gosh, I hope not. Wear neon as long as you can, little man.
Reason #2: I can stave off the waves of unecessarily-gendered stuff that will inevitably come into our home.
I do not have anything against pastel pink and blue, necessarily, but it’s more that I prefer bright colors like yellow, orange, red and green. I love stripes and polka dots in all the colors of the rainbow. If it’s a girl, I do not want her to own, especially before she is even born, anything that says “Princess” or “Diva,” especially if it’s written across the bottom. I’d just rather the baby were a few months old before we add tiny dresses or suits to the wardrobe. And since newborns can’t really play with toys, I’d rather just leave all that for later, too. Perhaps we will even manage to find out what the child actually likes before filling the house with the arbitrary Boy or Girl toys s/he is “supposed” to like.
Reason #3: I would rather hear about how stupid and annoying we are being for waiting to find out than hear every stranger’s advice on how properly to raise girls or boys.
While I am sure that every stranger who asks “Boy or girl?” will have excellent advice on how to raise a real gentleman or how not to raise a stripper, I will hear it all when I’m walking around with the actual baby. I wish I could apologize for all the trouble we are causing by waiting, but I can’t, because I don’t understand why anyone needs to know.
In short, I just don’t want to deal with the fact that we live in a culture that produces crap like this stuff I saw (again in Peggy Orenstein’s blog) at least until after I give birth:
Fisher Price’s “Brilliant Basics” girls’ and boys’ teething ring/rattles which highlight both gender hyper-segmenting and the downward creep of Kardashianization: The set for your “darling baby girl” features a purse, diamond ring and charm bracelet; your boy gets a saw, hammer and wrenches.