On Sex and Gender

To be clear, when I speak about sex, I mean the physical male or female parts that people are born with. When I refer to gender, it is the characteristics that society ascribes to an individual and/or their behaviors and traits (ie what is “masculine” and “feminine”). 

Last week, I had my 20-week pregnancy scan. As much as I told myself, “it doesn’t matter” and that I’ll “honestly be happy with either”….I knew I had to find out. Would we have a girl (and therefore be inundated with a whole new wardrobe of “girl” clothes from friends and relatives) or would we have another boy and brother for Atticus? There is something about knowing the sex of the baby that mentally and emotionally helps me bond with my unborn child. I think I also like to be “prepared”.

With this sentiment, many people liked to challenge my convictions regarding sex and gender. If I am truly fine with my sons wearing pink or playing with dolls and my daughters playing with monster trucks in the mud, then what do I need to “prepare” for. Well, contrary to popular belief, preparing for a child includes more than shopping for a tiny wardrobe, decorating a nursery, and coordinating my personal baby gear in the appropriate color. 

I desperately hope to raise my children into self-actualizing adults. I think my desperate need to know boy or girl is a need to know what I will be dealing with. Will I have a child whose existence is most likely to be filled with society demanding them for politeness, complacency, and beauty or one whose sole requirements are emotionlessness, bravery/brutishness, and dominance? We expect different things from our boys than our girls….and that isn’t fair. I want my sons AND daughters to know that they don’t have to be the prettiest, smartest, toughest, or nicest person in the world. I want them to know that their priorities are to be honest with themselves about who they are, what they want to become, and not to prevent others from doing the same. What I want to “prepare” for is not necessarily what I will need to teach my children, but what I will need to “unteach” them. My biggest fear is that my children will be cookie cutters MALES of FEMALES based on what society tells them to be instead of fighting for what/who they truly are.


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