What came first: the baby or the gender role?

By in Opinions


Baby Gender

So you preg-oed your eggo. Congratulations! You are the proud owner of a brand new rugrat. And as soon as people are positive your baby bump is not just a Palm Bay pot, they will be dying to know: “boy or girl?” But does knowing the sex of your baby really make a difference in how your kid develops their individually gendered identity?

Personally, I love surprises and would not want to know my baby’s sex before birth. In the words of Andy Warhol, “The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting.”

Of course, most do not need a fancy quote to understand that the days leading up to a special event can be equally or more exciting than the event itself. I haven’t had the pleasure of pushing an eight pound tot through my lady bits just yet, but I imagine the phrase, “congratulations, it’s a boy” to be the cherry on top of a life-changing experience.

All clichés aside, I do not believe that knowing the baby’s sex before birth has a significant effect on gender. But before you all start citing recent studies, allow me to elaborate.

I believe that children are molded over time by observation and education. That is, not by material items but by the people who provide them.

Let’s say a mother has been blessed with a baby girl. Stereotypically, she would host a baby shower where everything has been dunked in pink or rolled in glitter and lace.

Then she has the baby, dresses her in the most adorable frilly outfits with matching hats and encourages her to live in the magical world of My Little Pony.

If this baby girl grows up to spend hours in front of the mirror, primping and perfecting herself to that day’s criterion of beauty, her pink hospital blanket is not to blame.

These childhood accessories are projections of the provider; they reflect the personal beliefs of the parent on how baby girls should be raised.

Take the opposite, for example: a child is raised in a household where stereotypical roles are noted and opposed.

If a baby girl is not given a tiara and tutu, I believe that she is not being influenced by the lack of pink, but by the ideals of those in pink protest.  Chances are, parents or guardians who encourage more gender-neutral toys have different belief systems than those who enter their little ones into beauty pageants. It’s probable that these baby girls and boys are absorbing the habits and mannerisms of their parents or guardians, not the material objects they play with.

Not knowing the baby’s sex before birth can be advantageous. This way you can let future you worry about over-analyzing gender roles and subconsciously misguiding your little bundle of joy, rather than worrying about such things while you’re pregnant.

Your child is going to inherit the heck out of you whether you like it or not. So think critically about how you directly or indirectly teach gender to your kids.

Graphic: Cody Schumacher/Graphics Editor