Here's the situation. This picture was posted on a moms group on Facebook and everybody was going crazy gaga love over it. Like, oh so cute and I LOVE IT and my heart lurched.
Why? Why did my heart hurt when I saw this cake? It's just a cake, right? And it's kind of cute with the words and the little cupcake and the muffin and the WHAT DOES THAT SAY?
WILL IT BE A CUPCAKE OR A STUD MUFFIN? I can barely type the words without bile rising in my throat.
Because these are babies. These are NOT EVEN BORN YET babies. No sexual connotations or urgings or jokes should be put on them before they are even born let alone EVER. The nasty taste in my mouth is the way this feels like objectification.
- I am not a big fan of gender reveal parties or gimmicks as that's my deal. But you do you. That's not what this is about. I REPEAT. THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT.
- My issue with this cake is HOW INCREDIBLY SEXIST and SEXUAL IT IS. ABOUT A FETUS. About a baby. About a child that hasn't even been born yet. Why is a baby made out to be a sexual being? Nobody finds that bothersome or disgusting even?
Raising 3 year old boy/girl twins it becomes incredibly evident that there is a WILD DISCREPANCY between boy and girl everything and my heart hurts. I feel like I need to fight extra hard for both of them. For their right to be anything they want to be even when they might be drawn toward typically girl or boy accoutrements.
Just step into any Target or Walmart and you will see that there are about 8 choices for boys to every one or two for girls. Just take a look at all the Star Wars hullabaloo to see that Rey was left out of toys. My friend Carrie and her 8 year old daughter have made big news about asking why. SHE IS THE MAIN CHARACTER OF THE NEW FILM.
For boys, the choices are varied - kind of, but for girls right now it's Frozen and maybe one other thing. It's infuriating. HOWEVER, if my girl is drawn to a princess thing or likes pink or purple I think that's great. I just want her to have choices. Right? Kids like what they like, but they are sure pretty easy to influence, so it's up to us to guide them in a healthy way.
My kids are lots of different things. I'll tell you what they aren't though. My girl is NOT a cupcake - not in the way implied here - and my boy is assuredly NOT a stud muffin. What if it's the other way around? Why do we insist on labeling everyone?
My boy and my girl like different things. But they are also really interested in each others stuff. So we make it very clear that nothing is just for boys or just for girls. Everything can be for everyone.
It hurts my heart to think of anyone calling my boy a stud muffin. He is three. He is a toddler. And before he was born? He was a baby boy. In no way sexual. They know that he has a penis and she has a vagina and we talk about them A LOT because that's what you do with toddlers. But in no way is it anything other than functioning body parts. No innuendo as that is GROSS AND WRONG.
I just want you to not be defensive for one second and really think about this. It's just a joke to most people, I understand that, but again, don't tell me to lighten up. Just think for a second about the other side of telling someone to "lighten up" or that it's "only a joke". Nobody likes that. That's a great excuse for mean behavior and when these kids get a little older, we call that bullying. I want to model kindness. And if that makes me unpopular, so be it. I'll still be kind to you.
If I lighten up on everything, my kids lose. I admit that I'm obsessed with this massive discrepancy between boy stuff and girl stuff. Because it's EVERYWHERE. If nobody speaks up, nothing ever changes. So get mad at me or be offended or whatever, but just honestly think about this. Question yourself and those you know. Change the conversation.
Can a gender reveal be just about boy or girl? Do we have to put a label and identity on every single kid? I think of my kids as blank canvases and everything they see and hear influences who they will become. A lot is determined before they are even born and I want them to just be comfortable in their own skin. Not the skin I think they should inhabit.
My boy likes pink and batman and monster trucks and he likes to wear a tutu. My girl likes lightsabers and baby dolls and pink bunnies and playing basketball. Sure it changes daily, but for today, I want them to be absolutely certain in the knowledge that they can like and do and be anything they want to be. The world will come down on them soon enough. My job, my wish, is to fill them up with good positive loving stuff. That's all.
Kids have a hard enough time navigating the world and becoming well adjusted healthy adults. Can we not stack the deck against them before they are even born? Who is to say who your child will become? I would hope that you want to give them every single opportunity to explore and figure that out on their own. To claim that confidence. I want them to believe that everything is open to them. That they can experience and feel whatever they need to. That they are not closed off because society says they can't because they are a boy or a girl. Let's not label them and sexualize them before they are even here and before they show us who they are.
Let's not make jokes that are sexual about babies. Let's do better for them. Let's let them be little.
If we don't fight for them, who the hell will?
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