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Sexism from birth

(33 Posts)
missmem Sun 28-Jun-09 00:14:31

Why, oh why when there are articles about babies or children i.e. development, does the description always use "she" and never "he"? It annoys me - someone explain it to me or is it as sexist as I think?

RumourOfAHurricane Sun 28-Jun-09 00:23:47

Message withdrawn

BitOfFun Sun 28-Jun-09 00:33:10

When I clicked on this I thought it would be about gender expectations from let me go off on one...

Apparently research shows that after women know the sex they report fetal movements differently: they describe boys' kicks as "lively" and "vigourous", and girls' as "fluttering" and "like a butterfly"...

When they are born, the reactions are "yay, it's a boy!!", or "aah, it's a girl..."

Interesting, I think...

kathyis6incheshigh Sun 28-Jun-09 00:42:48

That is interesting, BoF.
I have read about experiments where the same baby gets treated differently (gentle rocking versus bouncing up and down) depending on what gender people have been told it is.

lockets Sun 28-Jun-09 00:44:04

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Nancy66 Sun 28-Jun-09 00:46:02

fathers are always obsessed with the size of their newborn son's tackle..."takes after me in the trouser department" fnarr fnarr.

Pheebe Sun 28-Jun-09 07:32:25

Why is it so important to de-genderise (is that even a word? but you get my meaning) babies?

After all boys and girls, men and women ARE different - genetically, physically, physiologically, hormonally. That said, it doesn't mean men and women should be given the same opportunites in life.

Not sure what it is about our society thats preventing us from embracing and celebrating 'difference', men/women, coloured/caucasian, gay/hetero

piscesmoon Sun 28-Jun-09 07:44:43

In baby book you have to say he or she and be consistent. In the past it was always he, so authors addressed the balance and started putting she-probably because women are the main readers and care about that type of thing-a man wouldn't be bothered whether it said he or she.

Haribosmummy Sun 28-Jun-09 08:02:07

I def. agree with Bitoffun re. the kicks... DS (Now 1) kicked me like a football... My DD (Due in 4 weeks) is much more gentle!!
Also agree with Nancy66 - Dh is very proud of DS!! wink

but, to the OP, the articles I can bring to mind always alternate.

SoupDragon Sun 28-Jun-09 08:40:36

DD kicked just like her brothers.

Would you prefer they referred to the baby as "it" in articles?

SoupDragon Sun 28-Jun-09 08:40:56

some people worry about the most odd things.

sweetfall Sun 28-Jun-09 08:42:16

" would also add that you must have a stress free life if this is the sort of thing that you give head space to!"

ROFL grin grin grin

Longtalljosie Sun 28-Jun-09 09:06:48

I think it's pretty evenly split, actually. My pregnancy book, in its week by week guide, calls the baby "he" on one week and "she" on the next, which I like.

My week by week development email does the same.

Others seem to choose one and stick to it.

I think pisces is right in that for years and years the non-specific personal pronoun was "he" and people are just trying to redress the balance a bit. And not sound like they're from the 1950s. And not call the baby "it", which no-one likes.

Powdoc Sun 28-Jun-09 09:14:20

I think it's pretty evenly split too. Although one book I read said 'he' all the way through, they specifically explained that this was so you always knew 'she' was referring to the mother (the father obviously being mentioned less frequently in talk of placenta development, etc, so there being less of an issue there).

missmem Sun 28-Jun-09 09:53:11

Could reply that your life must be sad for taking the time to reply that way shinecrazydiamond! grin

ShowOfHands Sun 28-Jun-09 10:01:31

There are inherent differences between genders and hurrah for all of them but it is fascinating to see it so ingrained from birth.

Those studies where people have been told a baby is a certain gender are fascinating because consistently a boy is 'strong' and 'sturdy' and a girl is 'delicate' and 'dainty' and it's the same baby.

As far as the OP is concerned, I just can't muster up the chagrin. Not only have I never seen it happen, most chop and change, if I did see it I'd be more interested in the font.

ShowOfHands Sun 28-Jun-09 10:03:59

Oh God that 'ooh definitely a boy, look at the size of it fnar, takes after daddy har de har'.

MIL and FIL still do this with dh who is 28 farking years old (with regard to baby pictures obviously). It was even mentioned during our wedding speeches.

Yes, all boys have disproportionately large willies. The midwives don't care if you have one too.

GhostOfPsychomum5 Sun 28-Jun-09 10:06:54

"Yes, all boys have disproportionately large willies. The midwives don't care if you have one too."


the way that is worded makes me think you are referring to the mum giving birth, and I am sure that they would care thenwinkgrin

AnarchyAunt Sun 28-Jun-09 10:07:26

Slightly OT but when DD was born one of the midwives said to us, "Oh hasn't she got a pretty girly face?" and we were hmm 'cos tbh she didn't have, she had a squashed and pissed off face, but didn't dare to disagree in case she thought we weren't bonding or something.

Anyway the first time we took her out she was dressed in green and an old lady in a shop said, "Aah, what a cheeky chappy you've got there, proper little boy isn't he" [double hmm]

JonAndHate Sun 28-Jun-09 10:18:17

These parents are keeping the gender of their child secret. Wonder how stressful their life must be wink

Snorbs Sun 28-Jun-09 10:24:38

I'm a father. The size of my son's tackle was of no importance whatsoever to me when he was born. I just wanted to know he was ok.

RealityIsMyOnlyDelusion Sun 28-Jun-09 10:46:09

Message withdrawn

JonAndHate Sun 28-Jun-09 10:59:36

I know Reality...
The child knows, but I think gender is much more than a social construct. Women and men are different.
And even if it wasn't a social construct, you can't really get away from a social construct when living in a society can you?

On the forum I linked to, some people have suggested that the child might not have a clear gender (hermaphrodism). I wonder if the parents are waiting to see which "fits better" before making any decisions about surgery, medication, etc...

If this is the case I'm really not sure if it's worse to make the wrong decision or make no decision at all. Very sad for all concerned.

sweetnitanitro Sun 28-Jun-09 11:04:26

Bitoffun- that's interesting, it reminds me of a study I read where the same baby was passed around a group of people- the first time it was dressed in pink and they were told it was a girl and the second time it was dressed in blue and they were told it was a boy. Each time it was treated quite differently. I wish I could remember the URL.

I hope that boys do not kick more than girls in the womb because DD kicked the crap out of me for 9 long months hmm

KingRolo Sun 28-Jun-09 11:04:40

It's true that new baby boys have huge willies.

New baby girls have huge sex organs too - do we hear mums going 'oh, she takes after me in that department'?

I think not. Says a lot dunnit.

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