I was thrilled when I found out I was pregnant with a girl. But then again, I would have been thrilled if I was pregnant with a boy, too. My husband was also excited, as he secretly wanted a girl, but other people? Well, unfortunately other people said super creepy things to my partner after we announced we were having a girl. And very quickly, my blissful haze of excitement dissipated and morphed into a sense of apprehension with a sprinkle of anger. I also realized why so many people choose to keep the sex of a fetus a secret: revealing the sex usually means being on the receiving end of unsolicited sexist and lowkey offensive comments.
I must have been naive, or maybe just so ingrained into this sexist world of "norms" that I didn't realize these blatant gender stereotypes were on the tip of everyone's tongue. As soon as everyone knew we were having a girl, our house filled with dresses and headbands and baby high heels (barf). My partner and I heard countless, ridiculous comments and assumptions about who she was going to be, how she would behave, and how we would have to parent her as a result.
The most irritating comment I received was "good luck," because obviously girls are "a pain" and "hormonal" and "emotional" and, as a parent, I was going to struggle. I received a ton of comments I didn't appreciate and that without a doubt got under my skin. My husband, however, got the worst of it, because everyone had just assumed he wanted a boy and was upset over the news that, instead, he was going to be a father to a healthy baby girl. So, everyone from family to strangers, said some version of the following:
"You're In Trouble Now"
What is that supposed to mean, anyway? Before a female is even born, are we already assuming she's going to be trouble? "Trouble" by whose definition, anyway? The common misconception that girls are automatically "trouble" is really damaging to our girls' self-image, and to portray girls as troublesome is incorrect at best and dangerous at worst. So, no, we are not "in trouble" we are having a girl, but you may be if you keep saying that to parents of girls.
"Time To Get A Gun"
Excuse me? Because my partner will now automatically shoot anyone who comes close to his daughter? The implication is that all men will want to go after his daughter and he will have no other choice than to shoot them, or at the very least scare them away with his "big, scary" gun.
You guys want to know why that's a ridiculous thing to say? Well, there's this whole "not all men" movement right now and yet every dad is all like, "As soon as some dude comes next to my little girl, I'm going to shoot him." But, like, if "not all men," when why do you even need a gun? Why so nervous about your daughter, then?
"Hope She Looks Like Her Mother"
Creep alert. Like, are you saying the dad is unattractive, the mom is attractive, or both? Because it's likely both. So, you're insulting the dad by calling him less than attractive and you're already objectifying a girl before she's even born. Like, "I hope she's hot" isn't really a good thing to say, pal.
"Good Luck Living With All That Estrogen, Man"
"Just wait until your wife and daughter are both on their periods. You're going to lose your mind!" You know what, bro? Go punch yourself in the face. Honestly. Just do it and save me the trouble. Or, you could try repeatedly stabbing yourself in the groin and the stomach for five days and then put a smile on your face and be pleasant and happy. Either one will work for me.
(Except please don't do those things, because I'm a decent human being and don't condone violence. Just, like, try and be a better person, though?)
"Time To Buy A Chastity Belt"
Because, clearly, as a man it's your responsibility to prevent your daughter from having sex? Or, because you think you have the right to control her body and choices? Or, is it because all men are creeps and will all try to sleep with her. I know, I know: "Not all men." Give me a break.
Buy yourself a chastity belt, because according to recent news you're the one who may need one.
"Do't Worry, Girls Can Play Sports, Too"
This is one of those lowlevel insults. It seems like an empowering thought, but yeah, no sh*t girls can "also" play sports. Thanks for the pep talk, bro.
"I'm Sorry, Man. There's Always Next Time"
"I know you probably wanted a son, but there's always next time, man." Someone actually told my husband he'll "shoot better next time." No, seriously. I'm not kidding.
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