Looking forward to childbirth as an expression of her femininity isn’t the only thing tennis champ Serena Williams has done that’s problematic lately. Recently the seven-time Wimbledon champ enjoyed a ‘50s-themed baby shower and has been spotted all over social media and various magazines touting her gorgeous baby bump.
Jimmy Kimmel asked her fiance, Alexis Ohanian, if the couple knows the sex of the baby. They have chosen to be surprised, but the proud father-to-be said Serena thought it might be a girl since she won the Australian open while pregnant and only a woman could handle everything she went through in that time. He further gushed, “If anything though it’s really just reinforced just how amazing and strong and powerful women are—and how useless we are!”
I applaud the happy parents-to-be and hope for a healthy baby, but haven’t Williams and Ohanian gotten the memo about babies, baby showers, and boasting about a child’s sex? Recently Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire told readers we shouldn’t celebrate a baby’s sex, because gender is fluid and women shouldn’t glamorize pregnancy. This is not only a dismissive form of virtue-signaling but a subtle way to tout the importance of a de-gendered society.
Celebrating a Baby’s Sex Glamorizes Pregnancy
The author attempts to explain her general disgust with gender-reveal baby showers by tearing down the role of motherhood first:
[M]y discomfort with the gender-reveal party goes beyond my standard objection to fanfare surrounding gestational markers—which is primarily that, because we don’t celebrate non-pregnancy-related milestones with the same enthusiasm, we’re reinforcing the archaic notion that a woman’s value rests squarely in her ability to grow tiny humans.
This assertion is factually flawed. As the fertility rate among women under 30 has dropped to a new low, it seems a lot of women value more than just their fertility. Many women are now opting to put off pregnancy and child-rearing in favor of advancing careers, pursuing education, or traveling. So the author’s claim, while stereotypical, is detached from reality.
Second, what the author is really trying to do with words like “archaic,” “value,” and “tiny humans” (bonus points for nixing “fetus”) is take aim at the entire calling of motherhood. Whether motherhood is popular right now or not, it’s all nuance to her. Women like Williams, who proudly show off their growing bellies for tennis crowds and fashion magazines, disgust her simply because they are partaking in a role modern feminists deem as lesser.
The author virtue-signals to the 85 million mothers of the world, the majority of whom likely celebrated their baby’s sex, that their excitement is overrated, their baby’s sex makes no difference, and worst of all, their calling to raise “a tiny human” is nothing compared to, you know, authors who bash gender-reveal parties in glossy publications.
Never mind the reality that motherhood is a valuable, complex, noble calling that billions of women gladly have participated in. As much as women’s fashion magazines want to ostracize motherhood as a vocation and the women who bravely take on that task, they can’t. It’s imperative and valuable—with or without a baby shower.
Do Gender-Reveal Parties Damage a Baby’s Psyche?
Throwing shade on motherhood was just a chance to spread some buttercream on the cake that is the multi-layered dysfunctional view of the importance and role of gender in society today. Here the author really bears down on the myth that one’s sex is stereotypical, outdated, and even unimportant.
The author claims these parties “don’t actually reveal gender—they reveal anatomy. Gender is a wholly different thing, inextricably tied to the social constructs around it.” While in a sense she’s right, parties—and, later, births—do reveal anatomy. It’s anatomy that reveals one’s sex. But sex isn’t tied to social constructs any more than a vagina is tied to a female, at least not in the horrifying way the author claims.
The gender police, particularly the LGBTQ types, have attempted to hijack sex into a political statement rather than the basic anatomy that it is. They claim parties that reveal and thereby celebrate gender just end up giving in to stereotypes—girls like pink tutus and boys like cowboy boots. Celebrating a baby’s sex isn’t what damages an infant’s psyche, however, it’s perpetuating the stereotypes that go along with his or her sex that the author deems awful. Yet even this, within reason, isn’t as terrible as most advocates of an androgynous society claim.
Celebrating different God-given anatomy and thereby one’s sex as a male or female is normal and good precisely because the sexes are wired and behave differently. Researchers have discovered about 100 concrete differences between male and female brains, from how they process information to their actual chemistry to structural differences to blood flow. For example,
Females often have a larger hippocampus, our human memory center. Females also often have a higher density of neural connections into the hippocampus. As a result, girls and women tend to input or absorb more sensorial and emotive information than males do. By “sensorial” we mean information to and from all five senses. If you note your observations over the next months of boys and girls and women and men, you will find that females tend to sense a lot more of what is going on around them throughout the day, and they retain that sensorial information more than men.
As for men, their brains process differently too:
Males tend, after reflecting more briefly on an emotive memory, to analyze it somewhat, then move onto the next task. During this process, they may also choose to change course and do something active and unrelated to feelings rather than analyze their feelings at all. Thus, observers may mistakenly believe that boys avoid feelings in comparison to girls or move to problem-solving too quickly.
These differences, while they can of course cause problems sometimes, should also be celebrated, not ignored or scorned as if that’s old-fashioned. Many parents are happy to discover, then reveal, the sex of their babies precisely because they are aware of these differences even as society attempts to paint them as irrelevant.
Why should a father feel embarrassed or bad that he has a son he can now throw a baseball around with? Can’t a mother be ecstatic for a little girl to dress in pink frills? Those are not obsolete stereotypes but normal reactions to what people know boys and girls tend to be drawn towards. Beyond the superficial, it’s these very differences between the male and female sexes that allow them to complement each other both personally and professionally, often balancing and counterbalancing the other’s strengths and weaknesses.
It’s sad to see people engage in virtue-signaling, eschew basic biology, and something as harmlessly fun as gender-reveal parties because these don’t match the politically correct narrative de jure. A genderless society is one without differences, variety, and the joy that comes from both. Parents should proudly celebrate and embrace their child’s sex and all the gifts, surprises, and difficulties that accompany it, whether at a gender-reveal party or not.