Welcome back readers!
Today’s post is on a more serious topic, so the jokes may be less frequent. But no worries, I will do my best to bring the funny.
Recently I have encountered an interesting situation that has occurred multiple times. I have been out in public with my son on different occasions. And while out and about, I have had various people gaze adoringly at my son, smile, and then say…”Aw, how old is she?” Good place for the old record scratch soundbite eh? Now, I can honestly say it is an ignorant assumption, but doesn’t bother me one bit. My wife and I are not those parents who feel the need to dress our baby boy in all blue all the time. Or in outfits that scream out the sex of our child. So we understand this will happen from time to time. And the fact is, at this age, all kids look pretty much the same. It just doesn’t matter to us. But, it does matter to the vast majority.
So, do people just make these guesses based upon only clothing color and/or wording? Apparently they do. But why are so many people obsessed with needing to know the sex of the child? It seems as though society plays a big part in this. I mean, we have all gone through it when we were younger. If you are a man, you most likely played with cars or action figures and wore t-shirts and pants. And if you are a woman, you may have played with dolls and made pretend tea (but has anyone ever wondered why not coffee? I guess as kids, we knew that pretend coffee was a longer process and had WAY too much caffeine for our young bodies) and wore skirts or dresses. Why does it have to be this way? Short answers are it doesn’t and it shouldn’t. All this does is promote set roles and behaviors for each gender. In reality, every child should be raised to play with whatever toys they want and wear whatever they are comfortable in.
You know, when my wife was pregnant everyone would pretty much ask these two questions: “Oh, how far along are you?” and follow with “So, what are you having?” My wife and I would answer the second with, “Oh, it’s a surprise.” Another record scratch moment. Then we would watch as said person’s head spewed out smoke as a COMPLETE SYSTEM FAILURE flashed across their forehead. People just would not understand how we could go on without knowing. After they rebooted, a follow-up conversation may have went like this:
Them: “But I don’t know what clothes to get the baby now.”
Us: “Oh it’s okay, we just planned on dressing the baby in loin cloths like Tarzan.”
Them: “But…what color loin cloths??!!”
Of course I kid. But at times, it felt like we were beating our heads against a wall. Why did we choose this course if it was frustrating, you ask? We honestly did not care what we were having and there are other colors in the spectrum, art majors. The ultimate goal for us was to start early with not allowing our child to become another statistic in this gender-defined society. Why should he be told he needs to play with cars when what he wants to do is make pretend tea? Because if that’s what he wants to do, then dammit that is what he will make (Or perhaps be the first toddler to master the pretend coffee press). Even now he plays with whatever he gets his hands on and that curiosity about all objects is a good thing. Who knows, he may be an especially curious infant and slip on some high-heeled shoes one day. And that’s okay because guess what? I did that too (sometimes still do on a rough day….don’t judge me).
The sad thing is all of this societal pressure goes beyond the childhood years. The roles follow kids as they grow into adulthood and you get what we have today: a society so strict on what we do as men and women that there is major ridicule when someone decides to be different or hypocrisy via comparison between the behaviors of both sexes of all ages. It doesn’t need to be this way, and I hope by doing my small part in writing this post, it opens up the eyes and minds of those who are reading it. Another hope is my son will continue to be curious about everything around him. That he grows up knowing he can make a choice instead of just following what society expects because of his gender. And perhaps he can be one of the speakers for change in our future generations. Now, if you will excuse me, Neutrally-Clothed Baby is informing me he needs a diaper change before he continues his crusade. I know, what the hell kind of superhero can’t change their own diaper, eh?
Until next time!