The Minority Report | Ashley Kim
“Shhh” you whisper to your screaming baby as you watch a stranger force a needle through its untouched, infant earlobes. “Shh,” you whisper again. “At least now no one will think you’re a boy.” You smile to yourself, satisfied by your work. Congratulations. You have reached the pinnacle of parenthood, succeeding in preventing any future misgendering by ignorant assholes of your precious child. No one will ever think little Sally is little Jimmy ever again.
This is what I imagine happening every time someone forces their baby to conform to gender norms.
First of all, gender is a social construct. Babies don’t know anything about gender or its connotations; they don’t even know how to not pee on themselves. Yet, people decide how a baby will perform their gender and how to treat them even before they are born. This is most evident in gender reveal parties.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, consider yourself lucky. Gender reveal parties are absurd. That’s all you need to know.
Just kidding. A gender reveal party is centered around an ambiguous, hollow item. When broken, it reveals a blue (indicating a boy) or pink (indicating a girl) substance to announce the gender of a baby. It tends to be very dramatic. People are mostly excited either way. But, let’s face it. What’s really being celebrated is whether or not that baby has a penis.
Do you think a baby even knows what a penis is? They absolutely do not. They call it “wee-wee” until they’re, like, 17. Babies definitely don’t know anything about a gender identity. Yet, here we are, celebrating baby genitalia because a penis, or lack thereof, indicates a life filled or void of hardship.
I know talking about babies and their genitalia is disgusting and uncomfortable. But, that’s the point. Gender reveal parties are about baby genitalia, and they are ridiculous.
So, the next time you think that ear piercings are an adequate indication of a baby’s gender, think again. Gender can take a lifetime to define, and frankly, doesn’t need a definition at all. It certainly cannot be defined by a piercing. I promise Aunt Susan will survive if she doesn’t know whether or not to knit blue or pink mittens for your baby this Christmas.
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