I'm Just a Girl

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Well, I knew it would happen at some point. My baby girl got mistaken to be a boy. "Simple mistake," you might say. "A lot of babies look the same."
Except, why is it that on the day she is wearing red and blue I'm afraid it might happen it doesn't, and then you get her all fru-fru'd up and that's the day someone calls her a boy?
She was wearing a flowery shirt with pink pants and had a hot pink blanket over her legs. I mean - you could not miss the pink! And did I mention the pink pacifier with the pink and red ribbon holder? (She's quite coordinated). She was all girl this day. And, what happens?
A nice, sweet grandmother comes up to say hello and says "Aw, what a sweet baby boy. What's his name?"
And then when I say "Oh, her name is Matilda" the woman actually looks at me surprised!
"Oh, it's a girl? I couldn't tell."
Really? What kind of torture did you put your son through?
I mean, when I was growing up, my sister and I heard many stories of how we got mistaken for boys.
"You didn't have a wisp of hair on your head for a whole year!" Thanks, mom.
But, that was then. They didn't have the fashionista, toddlers-in-tiara, my-baby-is-making-up-for-my-self-esteem kind of wardrobe consumerism that they offer today. There weren't entire stores dedicated to babies-as-adults clothing. And besides, it was the eighties. Being androgynous was semi-cool.
So, what can you do? Of course I shrug and thank the sweet lady for her nice (albeit inaccurate) compliments. But, why do I feel slightly offended? I mean, I would have been equally thrilled had I had a baby boy...but I don't. I have a baby girl. And it made me think - do many baby boys get mistaken to be girls?? Are their mothers offended?? Why do we care so much?
Society today would point us to a place of even deeper consideration. Oprah recently interviewed a transgendered man who decided to become a woman. He was the star quarterback in high school, and when he returned to his high school reunion 20 years later, he brought with him more than just memories. He had made the full transformation from Paul to "Kimberly". Oprah kept saying how courageous Kimberly was - that she had searched herself and found "her own truth".
Sorry, Kimberly. The truth is that you are a man. You found implants and hormones and a resolution to be happy - but you didn't create new truth. And I'm sure it was scary to walk in your shoes and face unbelievable challenges - but I wonder how much more courageous you would have been if you searched for the real truth instead of reinventing lie after lie.
It is scary to me that we're headed into a world that doesn't acknowledge the beauty that once was "normal". Mommies have babies and stay home and cook and clean. Daddies work and provide and drive the family to church on Sundays. Now you tell someone that old-fashioned "ideal" and they cringe and moan about inequality and prejudice. Words like "provider" and "submission" are suddenly a language of defeat that someone has manipulated you into.
I wonder if there will be a day where a grandmother will call a baby girl a boy and then say to you "Oh well, maybe she'll be a boy someday" and we will accept the comment with a shrug because she didn't really make a "mistake", she just "suggested a new future truth"...or some crap like that.
I'm not saying all steps towards "gender equality" are all bad. (I'm not looking to start any debates here). I'm happy for opportunities. I'm looking forward to Matilda learning everything from art to baking to throwing around a football with her dad or whatever. Sports, theatre, reading...we all want our kids to be exposed to all kinds of opportunities - to find what they're good at and use the gifts God has given them. This, along with being kind to others and loving the world. Oh yeah, and be a good steward of money...and the earth. And feed the cat and clean your room. Ok, we're pretty much wanting superhero kids. Which means we have to be superhero parents. Hm.
With all those standards hanging above us, is it too much to ask that we all be okay with just getting through the day wearing the same clean clothes and getting take-out on the dinner table by six o'clock?
I like having a girl. I like dressing her in pink. I like being a mom. And, in the world we live in today - that takes all the courage I have to offer.
And that's the truth.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, awesome reflections here. And by the way, the same mistake was made with my little sister, but not when she was a baby. She was three or four years old I think, AND bedecked in head-to-toe pink and all things girlie. And she still got mistaken for a boy. Really? Strangers should learn to ask questions instead of making ignorant assumptions. Or maybe they should just learn to pick up on all the bright pink cues you put out there for them. :o)

    Besides this, all I can say is: Preach it, sister!!


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