The Royal Baby's Genitals and the Dangerous Media Message for Girls
Unless you were under a rock yesterday, you know by now that Kate Middleton, wife of William, gave birth to a baby boy. Fantastic news, and the entire world seems to be elated that there's a new happy, healthy royal in the family.
What's troubling however, is how some people in the media are virtually high-fiving Kate for "pulling off" having a boy, as opposed to a girl. CNN's correspondent Victoria Arbiter said on TV, "This is how brilliant a royal Kate is. There are women throughout British Royal Family history who have panicked over not being able to deliver a boy and here we are. Kate did it—first time."
British Parliament proposed that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's first child—regardless of gender—would succeed to the crown, meaning that if the royal couple had a girl, she could potentially be queen of England. Now that there is a boy heir, this question won't have to be dealt with for another generation, however, Arbiter's remarks are troubling, and indicate we still have a long way to go in our thinking of girls and boys as equals. Arbiter's remarks send the message to woman and girls: you aren't good enough. Perhaps the British press could take a cue from Sweden's take on gender: the country has gone as far as creating the neutral pronoun "hen" to make sure boys and girls are thought of as people, instead of having their gender precede them.
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