I have eight nieces and nephews on my partner’s side of the family. I love each of them so much. They range in age from four months to fourteen. They each have their own marvelous personalities, and they each do things that drive their parents crazy. All of them are being raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and all of them experience some of the strictest gender policing I have ever witnessed. Last Sunday I was sitting with the newest addition, watching her wriggle and flail while Grandma told me that the little miss just had a “blow out” so severe that it went everywhere.
Less than five minutes later she looked at me and said, “Isn’t she just so feminine?”
My niece is just hitting the age where she can start eating rice cereal. She just learned to hold her own head up. She can’t even see color completely!
I’m going out on a limb here to say that nothing she does is inherently gendered. She is just trying not to die and form attachments to her parents.
Here’s the thing, gender is socially constructed. It starts with gender reveal parties, baby clothes, and keeps going until the day we die. I challenge you to think of the things baby girls do. I challenge you to challenge your family. Baby girls do the following as far as I’m aware: they vomit on themselves, poop their pants, spit all over, and fart with reckless abandon. Just to name a few. List those things and ask:
Are those things feminine?
I’m not saying they’re masculine or feminine. I think they’re just natural occurrences, but if we’re talking about normative gender ideology, shitting your pants isn’t feminine. So tell me, how is that four-month-old feminine?