File this in the “gender stereotypes that make me puke” category. This might seem hokey and harmless; after all, it’s not too often when a cheerleader is a boy or a quarterback is a girl. I get that. However, it’s not impossible and that’s what this dichotomy is getting at.
This helmet versus pom poms battle is also striking the wrong chord with every gender chiche in the book. What is being implied with the blue helmet and the pink puffs?
This one versus the other situation is saying boys are quarterbacks and girls are cheerleaders. What does the quarterback do and what does a cheerleader do?
The quarterback is strong, athletic, fearless, the star of the team, the one who makes big plays, the one who gets all the attention on the field; on the other hand, the cheerleader doesn’t stand out — she is one of many, her role is the supporter not the star player, she cheers on the quarterback, her role only exists if there is a sports star to rally behind (never the other way around), and she participates while being well-coiffed and shiny and perky while the quarterback is dirty and sweaty in his attempts to carry his team to victory.
I know, I’m such a buzzkill. I’m no fun to be around. Why can’t I just laugh and not always be so serious. I must be such a big bore. Well, that’s not true. There is a world out there that agrees with me. These assumptions are harmful. There are young girls who want to be quarterbacks. There are young boys who don’t want to be quarterbacks. I’m not saying they can’t be that … if that is what they want for themselves. But when we start loading these stereotypes and heaping the weight of them on a tiny pale, squishy newborn just because it has a penis or a vagina, it’s really restricting.
I want my kid to have a world of options. I want my kid to be free to be whatever he or she dreams is possible. I don’t want them to be stuck in this backwards binary where their hopes and fears are colored by pink and blue boxes and there is no escape from those confines. Gender reveal parties just heap every cliche on to a world that needs more self-expression not more restrictions on personality and skills. One day when I have a baby, I’m not going to say it’s a girl or it’s a boy ta-da. I’m going to say: It’s a human! That’s what we all are. There are way more things that unite us than divide us! And I’ll be stressing that from pre-day 1!