by Mike Mitchum
Back in the day, parents didn’t have the luxury of having an ultrasound to tell them the sex of their growing fetus. Because of this advance, a conversation was born between my fiancé and I as we anxiously await the arrival of our child. I had been singing the “I want a boy” song to anyone who asked about my preference. It wasn’t until she told me that she didn’t want me to be disappointed if we waited for the child to be born only to find that it was a girl that I realized I might have been sending the wrong message.
My first wish, as I’m sure is true with any parent, is to have a healthy baby. I think I put so much energy into saying I wanted boy that it translated to, “I absolutely do not want a girl.” If we have a baby girl, I won’t be shocked or disappointed. I mean it’s a 50/50 chance right? I can tell you now, that she will be a daddy’s girl and that she will be absolutely spoiled rotten! Now if we had a panda, I’d be more than a little confused, but I think that’s a far shot off.
Anyhow, even as I sang my song there was a narrative that played in my head. It took that comment from my fiancé to make me realize that the narrative had never come into the wild, so here it goes:
We live in a hyper sexualized world where women are constantly objectified and false standards of beauty and worth are currency. I think that the challenge with raising a girl in this culture is what makes me want a boy more than anything else.
At the same time, I know that there are also positive forces and movements to help women and girls navigate these treacherous seas. Also, as parents, we would do our very best to educate our daughter and help her to develop a healthy sense of self-respect, but we would be battling a lot of outside forces. You can’t scroll through your Facebook timeline or even watch daytime TV without seeing booty cheeks hanging out or highlighted in trendy leggings or some other such imagery. That spills out into the real world in the form of teenage boys and grown men who see women as potential conquests instead of potential queens.
With this internal river raging, the constant question that whirlpools in my head is, “How do I protect our little girl from becoming the misguided object of some hormonal youth’s attention?” It may sound like the lazy dad way out, but I think it would be easier to educate a son against following that behavior than to educate all the other little boys against treating/looking at our little girl in such a way.
My only real worry about having a girl is putting up with assholes as she grows up. Now, I know that eventually my little girl would grow into a woman, find a beau who cherishes her very breath, marry and begin a family of her own. However, I anticipate that there will be a lot of dumb-assness to thwart before she gets there.
What do you think? Am I thinking too much about this or is there validity in my concerns? I can’t be the first person to have this thought. What does your S/O think of this topic?