Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Why Are Babies Assumed to Be Boys?

Our baby is almost a year old, and her hair is starting to grow out — which means she might finally not be mistaken for a boy!

This has been a surprise to me over the past year: Unless a baby has a ton of hair, strangers generally assume the kid is a boy. And yet, very few infants — girl or boy — come out of the womb with a full head of hair. (Alice did, which is why I didn't encounter this problem with her.)

I don't really care if people assume she's a boy. I just wonder, what are they thinking? Is it a quirk of their brain chemistry or some deep-set form of sexism?

If I dress Lulu in a girly outfit (pink, flowers, etc.), the majority of people still assume she's a boy. If she goes out in gender-neutral clothes (say, a white onesie), forget about it — 90 percent of people will think she's male.

I'm pretty sure I could dress her in a Civil War-era ballgown or an outfit from the Moulin Rouge and I'd still get a few people saying, "What a handsome boy you have there."