Gender Obsession


That is usually what anyone I run into while out with the girls will say. Sometimes they don’t even say it to me, but I hear them say it to whoever they are with.

If they are talking to me, the next thing they ask is whether they are 2 boys or one of each. When I respond that they are two girls, they look at them closely and usually continue with some comment about how they don’t look like girls or I should dress them in pink (sometimes they are) or I should pierce their ears (I did). Only one woman has responded by saying, “I love that you dress them in blue.”

The obsession with gender since before they were even born has been pretty surprising. I have never much cared if someone is pregnant with a boy or girl. I don’t think it’s something that I have even asked someone, but it was the main thing I was asked while pregnant by people I know and by strangers. I spent the majority of my pregnancy explaining to people that I didn’t want to know the genders. This bothered people a lot. They could not understand how I could prepare myself if I didn’t know the gender. It’s not like I was going to create a pink ballet or blue baseball themed nursery. Random people would make definitive statements to me about the baby’s gender based on my belly shape and size. I was walking on the sidewalk of a strip mall, when a man yelled from inside a T-mobile, “It’s a boy!” I had a standard response to these people, which was “Well, there’s two of them.”

This fascination with gender shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. My mom has always told me stories of having me in dresses and people still saying, “Oh, what a cute baby boy.” The thing is that babies are pretty androgynous. Depending on the angle I look at my girls they can look more feminine or masculine (and really what does that even mean at that age). It doesn’t bother me that people think they are boys, it bothers me that they seem annoyed to find out they are girls.

I don’t consciously make it a point NOT to dress them in pink, but I dress them in the clothes that I like. Sometimes there is pink involved and a lot of times there are flowers, but many times it is blue. I do refuse to put them in those huge headbands with flowers or bows bigger than their heads. It’s just a matter of my taste. I am fully aware that when they are old enough to choose their own clothes, I can end up with one or both of them wanting to be in head to toe pink or in a constant princess costume. Until that day comes, I will dress them like me: I love dresses and skirts more than pants, but I also gravitate to blue, black and gray. I don’t care too much about my shoes (comfort over fashion), but LOVE purses.

That’s the thing, there’s no standard way to be male or female, especially not as an infant. Once I tell you that they are girls, just smile or nod or simply walk away if you don’t like how they are dressed.

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