Our neighbours just had a baby and are trying out the idea of not revealing its gender in order to disrupt and challenge the gender expectations people will invariably place on the baby. I get it, but find this kind of self-righteousness nonetheless annoying.
They also have a 3 yr old boy and are delighted when he chooses to wear one of his many dresses – they bring it up at every opportunity. It’s like they’re in a competition to be the most progressive, challenging parents on the block, but it seems to be all about their own self aggrandizement. Thoughts?
Meh. Using your offspring to challenge gender expectations is pretty much like shopping at Whole Foods. It’s not really progressive anymore. It’s just something trendy hippies do.
I dunno, maybe it’s still controversial in your corner of the world, but rich white assholes in Los Angeles have been pulling this kind of special snowflake bullshit since before Laurel Canyon had its first Prius. I mean sure, if the boy next door wants to wear dresses, that’s perfectly fine, but that doesn’t mean his parents deserve extra kale in their smoothies.
Nobody should raise a waxed eyebrow over any child’s choice of gender expression, but if your neighbors insist on challenging you to a sanctimonious game of guess-the-gender with an infant, you shouldn’t hesitate to challenge them right back.
Obviously I’m not saying you should impose traditional gender norms on their baby. (Come on, it’s not like we’re Republicans.) All I mean is that it’s fun to fuck with people who love the smell of their own farts.
Trust me, I know these types. They can’t wait to correct you when you use gendered pronouns such as “he” or “she” when referring to their human larva. That’s why you should always refer to their baby as “it,” which has the benefit of being both gender neutral and passive aggressive.
If you really want to ruffle some feathers, instead of labeling their baby as a “boy” or a “girl,” go ahead and just refer to it as an “accessory.” That’s how they’re treating it after all, as a fashionable accoutrement for their smug sense of superiority.
Sure, it’s wonderful that this next generation will grow up with the choice to proudly and openly express themselves as something other than cisgendered and heteronormative. Good for them. Still, that doesn’t mean your neighbors aren’t jerks for using their infant as a prop for a self-righteous object lesson in gender politics.
One thought on “On the gender of your neighbor’s baby”
As a nonbinary/trans person, I couldn’t agree with this more. You can raise your child outside of gender norms and encourage them to explore their gender identity without doing something this… unnecessary. They’re a baby. They don’t care if you misgender them because they barely understand what you’re saying. If you’re doing the gender-openness thing right, they’ll be happy to tell you if they want something else, whether they figure that out at 3 or 13 or 33. Maybe in a better world this would just be how all babies were brought up, but in this world, it just doesn’t make sense