& a manifesto: gender war

A Manifesto of the Uninformed

Part 2: Boy or Girl

Some people have been looking at us strange when we tell them we’re not finding out Squatch’s gender ahead of time. In fact, there’s a chance you’re looking at the screen cockeyed right now because I just mentioned it.

In actuality, we get some of the same looks when we talk about breastfeeding or cloth diapers, but not nearly as much as when we say we’re not finding out the baby’s gender.

“Why wouldn’t you want to know?” you say. “It’s just so much easier! You have to plan!” Well, calm down, Imaginary Internet Reader (can I call you IIR?), and we’ll discuss that.

We were initially going to find out. Karli was set on it. But we had decided not to tell anyone the gender—IIR: “But WHY?” Me: “Calm your shit down. I’m getting to that. Don’t make me get the hose.”—and came to a realization. If we’re not broadcasting Squatch’s genitalia to the world (lesson to Squatch: don’t ever broadcast your genitalia to the world) and we’re not buying anything gender specific ourselves, then what’s the point of even finding out the gender? Why not leave us that little surprise? I’d be remiss—

IIR: “But why weren’t you telling anyone?”

If you don’t calm down, IIR, I swear I’m going to tase you. Now where was I? I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we came to the decision after talking to people who didn’t find out—some friends of ours, the lady who does Karli’s hair, a few others—and they said that they loved having this surprise waiting for them at the end. We decided we liked the idea of a surprise. Karli never gets surprised. She always knows her birthday and Christmas presents ahead of time, so this will be a cool change-up. Maybe we’ll do some of those folk legend tests that are supposed to determine gender and I’ll post (like other people have done) about that later. Just for laughs. But we’re not having the doctor definitively tell us.

Now, the reason we weren’t going to tell anyone—You paying attention, IIR? This is the part you asked for—is actually a couple reasons. The first is something told to us by our friend who didn’t find out the sex of her son before he was born. She said that when you tell people the sex, like some of her friends had, everyone tends to buy you gender-specific clothes and other things covered with butterflies or trucks, most of it so tacky and ugly you wouldn’t put it on your dog. But when you don’t tell people the sex of the baby, they can’t get the gender specific clothes and crap, and they focus on giving you stuff you actually need.

IIR: “So it’s because you want people to buy you stuff.”

No, it’s because we don’t want people to buy us shit. You’re a troublemaking little asshole, aren’t you?

So the second reason, and what makes this part of my Manifesto of the Uninformed, is that we don’t care if it’s a boy or girl. No preference one way or the other. (Maybe I should say that I don’t care. I shouldn’t speak for Karli. But I’ve got the blog here, so…) Occasionally, Karli will be around a boy or group of boys for a while, then after we’ve left say “I really don’t want a boy.” Then, the next day we’ll be around girls and she’ll tell me “I really don’t want a girl.” So I don’t know. Maybe she’s hoping to give birth to gummi bears and a bag of Cheetos. Which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

But point being, I don’t have a preference. That’s why we’re focusing on gender neutral things in the first place. Because that philosophy will carry over after Squatch’s genitalia has been laid out for all the delivery room to see. We’re not too hung up on gender roles. (There I go saying we again, when I should be saying I. You know what I mean, though.) Neither of us has anything against pink or blue in and of themselves. We just don’t want to tell Squatch what it likes because “that’s what boys/girls are supposed to like.”

Yes, if we have a girl, it’ll probably wear a dress every once in a while. If we have a boy, there’s less likelihood of that. I’m just not going to get all worked up if Squatch starts taking interest in things that aren’t “normal” for the gender. It’s not a big deal.

IIR: “So you’re trying to raise a homo?”

One more interruption, you little troll, and I’m drowning you in my toilet. But no, I don’t think that has any connection to the kid’s sexual identity when it grows up anyway. There are probably more gay people who grew up being forced into gender roles anyway. And furthermore, I don’t care what the kid grows up to be, as long as it’s not a serial killer, rapist, child molester, TV talking head, or criminal.

Am I going to get bent out of shape when someone tells Squatch not to do something “because that’s for boys/girls”? Maybe. Maybe not. One isolated comment might get lost in the rest of what we’re teaching in our house, but you never know what kids latch onto. People might get a nice serving of shut-the-hell-up at some point.

Are gender roles really that big of a deal anymore? Do people still make a big deal out of that? I mean, I know some people who do, but outside of clothing and toys, are there a whole bunch of expectations placed on little kids these days?

I have to go hook IIR up to my car battery now.

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12 thoughts on “& a manifesto: gender war

  1. I laughed out loud a lot of this post. I’ll go ahead and accept IIR as my honorary title for this post just to get full wriggly enjoyment out of it, but I applaud your decision. Note to squatch: Don’t display your genitalia to the world!

    In answer to your question, yes. Little kids are often forced into pre-ordained gender roles based on their genitalia. It’s not just tacky toys and clothes, but “what are you going to be when you grow up?” and “little boys don’t cry/little girls don’t get dirty…” An entire culture full of spoken and unspoken assumptions about what one tiny pair of chromosomes is going to effect in our lives.

    Fortunately, it sounds like Squatch’s parents have their heads on straight. ;-).

    Little boy, little girl, or little gender variant/third gender/two spirit/trans child: Congratulations on your newest addition to your family!

    Reply
    • Yeah, I’m not going to go the cliched route, either, and say I just hope the kid is healthy and happy. Well, healthy, yes, but I can’t do anything about happy, really. Kid’s on its own there. I’ll just go with healthy. The rest will sort itself out.

      But if I see pictures of Squatch getting out of a limo without underwear, so help me…

      Reply
  2. Great post! And your friend who said that once a sex has been announced the tack-fest begins is right. We are only 95% sure ours is a girl – and we made that very clear to everyone – and yet we have been inundated with pink. Le sigh.

    Reply
  3. Hah! We’re working on kid #3, so we’re all about knowing what we’re getting into. At the risk of posting what will seem like obvious linkbait, I humbly submit my blog post on the “should we figure out what the gender is” question:

    http://wp.me/p1F8Wq-5i

    -Dork Dad

    Reply
    • Nice! Love it. And congrats! (For your Star Wars room, I don’t know if you’d ever seen this. You’re welcome.)

      We’ve heard from some people that if you’re going to not find out the sex, then the first one is the one to be surprised by. Because withstanding the questions from the existing child on the incoming child’s crotch-business is nigh impossible.

      Reply
  4. not finding out the gender for us was an awesome experience. It was like an extra surprise after all that work our spouse has to endure. My wife was so excited to find out what we had… and when the nurses moved out of the way it was awesome. If we have another kid, we’ll be keeping it a surprise too.

    When our little one finally breaks out of shawshank hospital we’ll be doing cloth as well. My mom at first thought I was crazy. I think people think it as just a cloth and safety pin or something. sure it’s a bit more work, but saving hundreds of dollars kind of makes sense.

    Do what you want to do, and don’t let anyone get you down about your decisions…

    Reply
    • Yeah, that surprise is exactly what we’re going for. It’ll be a nice payoff for all the work that goes into it for her. Like Christmas, only we’ll end up with something we’ll use at the end of it.

      You’ll have to report back on how the cloth diapering goes for you and provide any kinds of tips. I think we’re most concerned about the newborn period. I hear they poop a lot. And that it’s not actually poop, but molten lava.

      Reply
  5. Before getting preggo, I was dead-set on NOT finding out. And people gave me the stink eye…but only from those who DID find out. That’s always the way. With parenting, too. “Oh, you’re doing disposables? We only did cloth.” “You want to switch to cloth? You’re going to hate it.” And so on. No matter what, “they” can’t understand what “they” haven’t done. So eff worrying. And do what makes you happy.

    In the end, we found out that EB was a girl. But really I just wanted to get my paws on the hand-me-downs from my brother’s kid. We got very few clothes at the baby shower b/c I said we were FINE in that department.

    I like the theory you absorbed about people giving you the good stuff b/c they don’t know what clothes to get. Brilliant.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: & the freak-down: fast forward « & squatch makes three

  7. Howdy! This blog post could not be written much better!
    Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept talking about this. I’ll forward this information to him.
    Pretty sure he’ll have a great read. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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