There’s no better dumping ground for socialized gender stereotypes than the ears of a pregnant woman. For a womyn like myself, it raises my blood pressure to listen to all the gendered talk and so I see writing about my pregnancy as one of the necessary exercises to stay sane and keep the kid healthy.
Sharing your pregnancy with others is like an invitation for the worst gender assumptions to pass through my ears. There’s nothing, I repeat nothing, more annoying to me right now than the comments that sound like misogyny on steroids.
“It’s just better to have a boy. You’ll worry less.”
“I wanted my first born to be a boy. ‘Cause after that, you can just relax and not worry about what the others will be.”
“Girls just are too much.”
“It’ll be better if you have a boy. With a girl, it’s just, it’s so…it’s so much more worrying.”
What is this equation in birth? Labor + boy = relief
while Labor + girl = stress
Let’s go past all the generalizations (all BS in my opinion anyway) about girls spending more money when they grow up, you’ll have to deal with more emotional crises, you’ll worry more about violence, etc…
I see both boys and girls as precious and vulnerable little things who will look up at me and not know left from right, evil from good, right from wrong…and they’ll learn what from me? –> That because she was born female, I will worry more about her being a victim of violence? That the world will treat her less, pay her, view her less because she was born with a vagina? What impact does that have on how she confronts the world? Will she fight it or believe it?
And what will I teach my son? I presumably don’t worry about him because he was born with a penis and we all know that the world prizes that much more than if he were born my daughter. Maybe he’ll have it tough from time to time, but he’ll never worry about his safety or getting raped or drugged because he’s a male.
The reality of the world is not hidden from me. I see misogyny, I see the violence, I see who takes the brunt of poverty, brutality, trafficking, and abuse. I understand how the world will treat my child differently based on its genitalia. I get it. But how does knowing how the world mistreats girls and women lead to the thought it’s better to parent a boy?
How radical is my mothering if I just walk the stereotyped line and accept the world as it is, not as I want it to be? Am I more of a mother if I protect more, worry more if it’s a girl? Or does that make me a coward?
My deepest fear is not in having a girl. I feel like I would know how to raise a girl because I identify womyn. I’ve never been a boy, I’ve never been a man. I don’t know how to teach masculinity in healthy, loving ways except in what I imagine it SHOULD be. My fear is that I do have a son and he grows up, eating the garbage available from media, peers, and school. And instead of regurgitation, he’ll swallow it, whole. And in my naivety of not knowing how to raise a man, he’ll grow to eventually be one of those fathers telling a young mother that it’s best to first have a son than to ever have a daughter.
That’s more terrifying to me than having a daughter.