Well, amidst all the huzzah and buzz surrounding the royal baby, I came across this delightfully ridiculous piece from the Independent Journal Review. Apparently, a new threat has arisen that is poised to strike deep into the heart of the modern culture of self-expression. Deep within the walls of the Buckingham Palace, completely out of sight from the average passer-by, a lone helium balloon sits outside the crib of the new royal child, bearing upon it dark and ancient words which threaten to destroy the world by imposing upon it the most sinisterly patriarchal conceptions of heteronormativity. In haunting baby blue, the balloon reads “it’s a boy.” Seriously. What could be more oppressive than that?
That’s right. Apparently, there’s a bunch of folks on Twitter wanting the Royal Family to hold off on declaring the gender of the baby until he reaches an age to decide for himself.
Well, at times like these, I find my opponent’s position more worthy of ridicule than constructive engagement. I mean, I was almost taking them seriously through the first two tweets, the first worded with the universal sign of contemplation in the modern age (the word “ummm,” with three m’s for added significance) and the second worded as a remarkably poignant and evocative rhetorical question designed to conjure a philosophical aura around the topic.
But then I got to the third tweet, and promptly lost it. Apparently, “the royal baby is not a boy, because ze is not yet old enough to choose zir own gender.”
I mean, I appreciate attempting to destroy gender stereotypes by introducing gender neutral pronouns and all, but it’s a bit difficult taking you seriously when all I can think of is a German man attempting to sneeze or the evil emperor from Toy Story. Three tweets down, a well-intentioned Tweeter (“Twitterer?” “Twitterite?” Or perhaps just “Twit”?) tried to solve the grating on my ears, but unfortunately, his attempt had the result of making the royal baby plural.
And then, finally, we have the “proudly anti-intellectual,” “radial intersectionalist” (perhaps the center of a bicycle wheel?), and “revolutionary arachnofeminist” (female spiders of the world unite!) Sophy QX, insisting that “ZIR BIOLOGICAL SEX IS NOT RELEVANT.” Really now, sir (or ma’am, or whatever it is you are)? Methinks the abuse of the Caps Lock function to elevate your online tone of voice seems to indicate that you, at least, think it’s important. But if you wish us to disregard the topic and continue on our happy heteronormative lives, we’re happy to oblige. You’ve made your anti-intellectual point quite well.
In reality, perhaps heteronormativity is not so bad after all because heterosexuality is, well, normative. Throughout the vast annals of human history, human civilization has tended to realize that, upon birth, babies tended to go one of two ways (anatomically speaking). Being good essentialists (that is, those who believe that there actually is truth about who we are, why we’re here, and where we’re going), they concluded, after extended observation, that 1) there are some unifying traits that the males tend to share, 2) there are some unifying traits that the females tend to share, and 3) you need one of each in order to get more babies. Thus, a boy/girl gender classification system was born.
Unfortunately, in this angsty, post-modern world, it’s hip to cry “self-expression” and allow people lured by the promise of limitless freedom the ability to rage against the binary system of gender classification. The problem with “self-expression” is that you’re expressing yourself, and if you believe, as I do, that human nature is generally not that awesome and is actually pretty sinful, then “self-expression” tends to produce some disastrous results. Anyways. That’s just me. Perhaps you have a different idea. Leave a comment.
Posted by Nick Barden