Another day, another opportunity to remind the world that no sex or gender has a monopoly on colors. Expectant mother Jenna Dewan gently shut down a caller’s speculation that she and boyfriend Steve Kazee are having a girl while appearing on Watch What Happens Live! on Wednesday night.
“On Instagram, you had posted a picture where you had a pink bow around your stomach,” the caller said, referencing an adorable photoshoot Dewan did for People earlier this month. “Does this mean you’re having another girl?”
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Dewan, who joined WWHL to promote her new book Gracefully You, seemed a bit stunned by the question.
“I’m keeping this secret from myself,” she said. “I was not trying to tell any sort of [reveal]… It was not a gender reveal, and I saw a lot of people ask me that, and I was like, ‘I didn’t even think about that.'”
The caller was right; Dewan did wear a pink bow around her pregnant belly in one of the photos. But it’s a bit dated to assume that the blush accent was any indicator of the baby’s gender (or, more specifically, the sex since gender is a self-identification that lives within a broad spectrum).
By pointing this out, I don’t mean to attack the caller, who genuinely seemed curious and like a sweet person. (Also, she revealed that she delivered her baby by herself while watching WWHL two years ago, which is an incredible feat of determination and strength. Give her all of the awards, please.) But it’s worth noting a few things: there are more than two genders; there are no such things as “boy colors” and “girl colors”; not every post has to contain some highly secret meaning; gender reveals can be harmful to kids as they grow older.
These concepts may still be new to people, and that’s OK. Gender reveals are still wildly popular in the United States, and the choice to have one is ultimately yours (please, leave the guns behind and try not to set off a massive brush fire). But it’s time that we all are more mindful of harmful gender stereotypes and how they affect children, adults, and even ourselves.
In the simplest of terms: People of all genders can love pink or blue, can choose to play with dolls or trucks, and can wear suits or dresses. If we want to go a bit deeper (we do), we should also acknowledge that there are real people and feelings behind gender stereotypes and identifications. It’s not enough just to say, “boys can wear pink” or “girls can play sports”; though, both are undoubtedly true. We also have to encourage all kids to get to know themselves intimately, exploring what they like, how they feel, and how they identify.
The more we practice, the more we might be able to stop wasting time wondering about the secret meaning of outfit accessories and focus on the more important things, like the absurd fact that Dewan thinks it’s possible for her to “ugly-cry.”
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