I took my kids to the children’s museum on Sunday. While my husband and daughter played in the main area, I took my son to the baby room. We had been playing outside in the water before I took him upstairs (because we didn’t think things through at all), so I had to change him into his backup outfit, which consisted of a onesie and nothing else. Everyone thought he was a girl. Everyone.
We make a point not to emphasize gender roles at home. My kids can play with, wear, and be interested in whatever they want, but our day in the baby room really upset me. Not because everyone thought my son was a girl, but because of the way they spoke to him. I have always bristled at the way people address my daughter, but it was really interesting to see my son treated the same way. People were telling their kids to be gentle with him. Everyone told him how pretty he is. One mom commented on how he was playing quietly, and that’s how you know that boys and girls are fundamentally different because her boy was running around wildly (which I thought was interesting, because her son wasn’t running around, but sitting and playing with a toy). She also kept telling her son, who was playing with mine, how lucky he was to have found a pretty friend. I never corrected her, but as we were leaving I considered telling her she was talking to a boy, just to see how she would react. I assume she would have been horrified.
I just think it’s strange the way we project gender onto babies. My kids are both pretty and they’re both tough, and smart, and hilarious (in my own, totally unbiased opinion). They’re really different from each other, but neither is 100% stereotypically boy or girl. They’re just little people learning about the world, and I don’t want to limit them based on their junk. Most of the time it feels like I’m alone in that endeavor.