This child I was just starting to feel stir inside me was a girl? I waited for the excitement to wash over me. It didn't come. Not only was I not thrilled -- I was disappointed. I'm still not sure whether I was more bummed by how I found out or what I found out. Either way, I was shaken.
The reason she was shaken? Well, that one goes something like this:
Even before I had sons, I worried about having a daughter. I could handle boys, with their cut-and-dried needs, but girls were so much more complicated. Girls have elaborate hairstyling requirements. They whine and mope, manipulate and triangulate. How was I going to deal with that?I could feel my face getting hot as I read through that. But I nearly blew my stack when I got to this:
I fear I won't know how to protect my child from a world that may often tell her that she's not good enough as she is.
Because it is obvious that it isn't just the world who thinks she's not good enough as she is, even though she's never been born yet. It is her own mother. This little girl may one day grow up and play the game many of us like to play from time to time, and that is to Google her name or the name of her loved ones. And when she Googles her mother's name, she may stumble upon this very article, telling her that her conception wasn't a joy - because she was a girl. And even if she doesn't, or even if she Googles and there are so many other Amy Wilsons out there she never stumbles upon this particular article, that sentiment - that girls are yucky, and so is pink! sentiment - is still present in this mother's mind. That is just all manner of sad.
I also want to know why this woman, a woman who herself has no interest in pink or princess or tutus, automatically expects a girl who will be. I want to know why this woman doesn't anticipate how having two older brothers will help shape this particular girl. How having that older niece who loves to get dirt underneath her nails will affect how this particular girl views being a girl. I'm not denying that this little girl may become inalterably in love with the shade of pink, but I find it all the more ironic that a mother who is protesting pink then goes and buys her daughter pink outfits instead of dressing the kid in the gender neutral outfits her boys were dressed in. In this case, I fear this little girl may very well suffer from mixed messages regarding pink and its attributes - and probably other girly things and their attributes, as well as the attributes of being a girl.
And then there's this: kids are always going to be interested in things their parents don't give two flying leaps about. One of my sisters is, at the moment, psychotic about remaining in her number 1 position in academic rankings; my other sister loves soccer, to watch it and to play it; and I was obsessed with dance and dance classes. My parents? Not really that interested in any of those things. But one of the things about parenting is in enduring activities you would rather not simply because it makes your kids happy, and because it doesn't hurt them. So, my parents go to parent-teacher conferences and soccer games, and went to at least one dance recital a year for about 17 years. The other thing is that kids are, generally, also interested in some stuff their parents actually do like; in my parents' case, that covers a wide range of subjects including but not limited to politics, history, animated films, games of frisbee, and Apples to Apples. So this girl may turn out to be a pink-wearing, princess obsessed girly-girl who also loves to roughhouse and play Matchbox cars. Stranger things have happened. Almost as strange as worrying about the world devaluing your daughter, as if you haven't spent an article doing just that.
Related reading on the devaluing of girl babies via FeministGal.