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Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images
In late October 2020, soon-to-be-mom (at the time, that is) Emily Ratajkowski penned an open letter in Vogue on her pregnancy and why she and husband Sebastian Bear-McClard were choosing to forgo sharing the gender of their baby. The couple were praised for their progressive parenting. Yet, fast-forward five months later, Sylvester Apollo Bear is here and the negative commenters are already striking hateful blows at the new parents on Instagram.
Ratajkowski has been anything but private about her pregnancy and birthing experience on social media. Since Sly's birth in early March, the new mom has shared tons of sweet images from both the hospital and at home, as well as a selfie of Sly latched onto her breast eating—it truly is beautiful to see.
However, the social media trolls have come out to play since this photo was posted.
What should have been an awe-inspiring, appreciative moment of the great lengths a mom's body can go through to nourish her child post-birth was immediately capsized by rude, distasteful comments regarding Ratajkowski's choice of words, AKA referring to her newborn as a "boy" after publicly announcing she wouldn't be gendering her child.
First off, how dare you. Secondly, it is the couple's decision to do whatever they feel most comfortable with to and for their child and we don't know the full story. What people—ahem, haters, we are pointing the finger at you—seem to forget is that social media shows us a teeny, tiny sliver into someone's life. It may feel like you personally know them inside and out, but the fact of the matter is you don't.
In response to the negative commentators, Ratajkowski suggested on her Instagram Story yesterday that followers and whoever else feels compelled should read her Vogue essay in which she eloquently breaks down the backstory regarding their decision to parent in a way that does not conform to gender stereotypes.
She writes in the intro: "We like to respond that we won't know the gender until our child is 18 and that they'll let us know then. Everyone laughs at this. There is a truth to our line, though, one that hints at possibilities that are much more complex than whatever genitalia our child might be born with: the truth that we ultimately have no idea who—rather than what—is growing inside my belly."
Likewise, she acknowledges the difference between sex and gender, and her ultimate goal is "forcing as few gender stereotypes on my child as possible."
But what does this mean?
The supermodel goes on to list the things both she and her husband have battled with in their respected gender roles as male and female. Ratajkowski recalls the way she learned about jealousy at the young age of 3 and how she prayed to be beautiful. Bear-McClard said as a young boy he felt "invincible," which led to a tidal wave of defiance and acting out in his teenage years. He tells his wife he wants a boy so they can watch football together, in which she stabs back, "Girls watch football too!" This right here is gender stereotyping.
Without even revealing the gender of her baby, Ratajkowski already felt the pressure and expectations. "'Boys develop slower. They're more work than girls as toddlers, but they love their moms so much!' one friend tells me, winking. 'Girls mature faster but are so sensitive!' another adds. According to friends and strangers alike, even my pregnancy itself seems to be affected by the gender of my child: where I'll carry (Boys are low! Girls sit higher and make you sick in the first trimester!), what I'll want to eat (craving sweets means a girl!), and even what will turn me on (carrying a boy means more of a sex drive!). A makeup artist applies mascara to my eyes as he tells me that carrying a girl takes the mother's beauty away," she penned.
All of this to say, Ratajkowski isn't backing down on her views of parenting or saying yes to raising Sly under predisposed gender stereotypes, nor why should she?
Let the family do what they want and if that means telling the world how much they love their beautiful boy then so be it. It's not our business, and we sincerely hope for the best for lil Sly!