I have always known that I was going to have a son. Yes, I know technically (ahem, scientifically) you cannot choose the gender of the baby, and the 50/50 odds it will be a boy or a girl are pretty even.
But I was determined.
In my heart, I knew that I was a true-blue boy mom. I had true grit in my bones, and I was ready for it. Snips and snails and puppy dog tails and all.
Maybe it was the fact that I desired a boy so much that my body actually willed it to happen. You know, or the amount of pineapple I consumed and the position of the, um, weather systems in relation to, my uh, body—what am I saying? (Side note: I don’t actually believe that you can choose the gender by how many pineapples you consume. I’m not that crazy, for the most part.) By an extraordinary case of pure luck and utter chance, I became pregnant with a son.
After two whirlwind years of being swept up into this storm I like to refer to as motherhood, I have decided that I never ever want to have a girl. I’m not afraid to say it. I don’t want a daughter, ever, never ever. The end.
Now, I’m not saying that boys are easy, and my boy especially (bless his little heart) is at his best a joyful handful. But beyond the constant need for affection, lack of personal boundaries, tearing about like a feral animal, outbursts of pure and unadulterated aggression, phases of pinching, biting, and hair-pulling, an obsession with nudity, and the constant struggle of the maniacal Mr. Willy and his diabolical pee-pee tirades: Boys are easier—definitely. I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but hands down, I would rather have a boy.
Here’s the hard truth: He’s already won the gender lottery. I know that just because he is a boy, life will generally be a lot easier for him than it ever would be for a daughter. I won’t ever have to worry about him the way I would worry about a daughter or even the way I have had to worry for myself.
The majority of my friends all have daughters, and believe me when I say the struggle is real from the very beginning. Already they are being categorized into a gender which they do not understand. Even the slightest hint that someone is expecting a girl, and suddenly all of the pink, frilly, foofy, poofy, impractical nonsense begins to slowly but progressively filter in disguised as congratulatory gifts. (Really, why do babies need headbands? They don’t even have hair! And don’t even get me started on those tutus.)
The point is, why, when it comes to our daughters, do we as parents seemingly begin to compete with one another in this self-condemning parenting beauty pageant? Suddenly forgoing practicality and comfort is OK, as long as it’s cute. Meanwhile, my son is literally naked 98% of the time, and yet somehow, that is the same. (The good old double standard)
The reason why I never want a daughter, is this: I never want to put her in that box. I don’t ever want to have to pierce her ears, to show people that she is a girl, and that she should only be defined by her appearance. The appearance that will one day be her downfall—the appearance that will categorize her, belittle, and violate her.
Whether she is that little pink princess tottering about in masses of tulle and silk or the 10-year-old girl with the bubblegum smile a mile-wide and every aspiration in the world, at some point, as for all women, her appearance will betray her. Despite the bright-eyed intellect and every aspiration imaginable, one day her body will change. Puberty will change her, and the changes within her body will outwardly change the opinions of others around her.
Breasts will be the focus of her new body. The curves of her hips will categorize her. How do you teach your daughter that one day, someone will violate her new features with a single glance? It will make her feel used and dirty, but it will happen. Probably more often than she will ever get used to, and she will have to carry on as if nothing happened. But it is a rite of passage into female adulthood: because her body is not for herself; it is a spectacle meant to be stared at and on occasion visually molested.
I will have to teach her that all of her male equals would eventually become “superior” to her, just because of her gender. That she will have to work three times as hard as the average male to exist in equality because her appearance will be valued higher than her opinion.
That she would be told that she is emotionally unstable, that she just feels too much.
That she will be subject to constant harassment and societal pressure to look and feel a certain way, because the society before her has deemed it so. God forbid she inherits her mother’s curvy figure, she will have it twice as hard.
That sometimes she may be refused work, just for being a girl.
That the mechanizations of menstruation and childbirth would make her weak.
The glass ceiling that was placed above her, was put there to keep her in her place, and if she could ever break through it, she must be frigid, prudish, and unfeminine.
Our world is not meant for our daughters, and this needs to change now.
The reason I cannot ever fathom having or wanting to have a daughter is because I know the burden she will have to bear on her path to independence. It is the same burden I have carried, like so many more women before me. It has left me scarred, and I will carry these scars for the rest of my life because of something so abstract as my gender.
In reality, I would probably make a great mother to a proverbial daughter, but I am constantly afraid that I would not be able to do enough for her. Imagine, if we lived in a world where we taught girls that their bodies were not to be taken for granted by others and especially not by themselves. That every body matters and every, single part of it is a part of something far greater.
Equal opportunity for all does matter.
Imagine, just letting girls be girls, without all of this other gender confining, sexist, patriarchal, socially constructed bullshit. I would wager that more would be in government—certainly more than the recently estimated 20 to 30% who are currently in office in some of the most developed countries in the world.
That every part of the female body is miraculous. The blood of womanhood, the menstruation that will become childbirth, the beginning of a new life, is extraordinary.
That opinions are vital and should be valued. That a woman matters as an individual and not as a gender construct.
That our girls could aspire to new heights and be strong without being deemed unfeminine. That they could be mothers and wives without being seen as weak. That they could be powerful without having their authority questioned.
Let’s teach them about the true leaders, beyond the celebrity facades, who challenge authority and make a difference every single day. Let’s teach our girls how to imitate modern women with agendas, such as Ronda Rousey, Malala Yousafzai, and Jaha Dukureh.
That their appearance does not define them.
To let them lead fearlessly.
To let them love whomever they choose, without prejudice.
To live life without a glass ceiling and to ignite a fire among a generation of women who will continue to burn for centuries to come.
So, help make the change, because women are worth so much more than just their appearance.
I am so grateful for my son and love him with every fiber of my being. I will support him as best I can in all of the challenges in life he too shall face and teach him to respect women as his equals, to embrace them in all of their glory. And if the day comes that I do have a daughter, I will be ready.
Because our daughters deserve the change.