I keep seeing videos for gender reveals all over the internet, and whilst a lot of people think they’re cute, sweet, and adorable, I can’t stand them. I didn’t mind them as much when they were just little things, like a pink cake or a blue cake, but like most things on the internet it seems to have quickly become a contest for who can have the most extravagant gender reveal.
In fact they’ve become so extravagant that a gender reveal in Arizona went slightly wrong, to say the least, sparking a massive wildfire that caused thousands of people to have to leave their homes. Luckily nobody died, but the fire lasted for two weeks and cost the state $8,000,000. A pretty expensive affair just to put an unborn child in to a series of boxes.
And that is probably my biggest issue with gender reveals. It’s not the actual finding out of the gender of the baby, it’s the stereotypes and limitations we then out on them once the gender is known. Russell Howard does a routine about it actually, discussing the difference between clothes for babies. Babygrows aimed at boys had slogans on them saying things like ‘I’m super’ or ‘I’m awesome’ whereas the ones aimed at girls things like ‘I hate my thighs’.
I’ve seen it before as well, with babygrows aimed at boys saying ‘future footballer’ and ones aimed at girls saying ‘future footballer’s wife’. It’s like we encourage boys to be successful however, rather than encourage girls to be successful in their own right we encourage them to marry someone successful instead. And don’t even get me started on both the heteronormativity that this perpetuates, and the fact that in the US despite the fact women’s soccer earns more than the men for the companies, women soccer players are still paid less than the men.
I’m fairly certain that I probably faced discouragement from doing things growing up because they were aimed at boys. In fact I think I have vague recollections of being asked “Are you sure you want to do that? There are going to be lots of boys. You might be the only girl.” Though I’m not sure if that was in relation to taking Computer Science at A-Level, signing up to some adventurous summer activity, or both.
Fortunately for me, and probably unfortunately for anyone else who had to deal with me, I am incredibly stubborn. Once I’ve decided that I want to do something then I will find a way to do it. And telling me that I can’t do something, especially telling me I can’t do it because I’m a girl? That’s the fastest way to ensure that I’m going to prove you wrong.
Also telling me that I was going to be the only girl was the absolute worst way to discourage me from doing something. I spent most of my childhood trying to be one of the boys, so being surrounded by them was great. It usually meant that I’d push myself to keep up with them, and whenever possible I wanted to do better than them. I always felt like I had something that I needed to prove. It wasn’t enough to just achieve the same as the boys, I had to do better.
I never really fit in to the stereotype of what a girl should be or do, and for that I’m pretty grateful. I’m happy making my own path, and destroying the boxes that people still try to put me in. Even in my twenties people still insist on buying me make-up, jewellery, pretty delicate scarves. Things that they think a 20 year old woman should be wearing, despite the fact that I’ve never shown any interest in them whatsoever. Well except maybe that one time in year 9, but I like to pretend that that phase in my life didn’t exist.