Could it be that Mariah Carey is more attentive to gender issues than most people in today’s world?
I, for one, think yes.
The other day, Carey appeared on the Ellen show and was asked by the aforementioned host if she could guess the sex of her baby. Carey’s response? That she would prefer if Ellen didn’t.
“I would prefer not. Because imagine if you’re a baby inside someone’s body. Do you really want someone imposing their sex ideas on you? Not really? I’m just saying. Would you want them to be like it’s definitely a girl … would you?
I find it impressive that Carey says that she doesn’t want to impose “sex ideas” on her child. I could be completely misinterpreting what she was trying to get across here, but either way, it’s an important topic to address, especially in my opinion, as I’ve spent a lot of time at Oberlin studying and discussing the many issues of gender identity. Relevant to Carey’s interview is the fact that at birth, children are assigned a sex, and in turn, a gender identity that they are expected to maintain. As children, we are more often than not presented with one option: if you have a vagina you’re a girl; if you have a penis, you’re a boy. As they grow older, these children are taught that any visible challenge of their assigned sex’s accepted gender characteristics (for example, manner of dress) is unacceptable, or merely ‘a phase.’
But you know what? Sometimes? They aren’t. And who is anyone to say that this is wrong? We’ve come a long way from saying that female-bodied people should always be housewives and that male-bodied people should never cry, but yet there is still such a stigma attached to how people choose to express their gender identity, and it’s rooted in the fact that we continually insist on making gender and sex synonymous.
My friend once said that when she has children, she’s going to send out birth announcements that say “It’s a BABY!” rather than including any indication of the child’s sex, because she doesn’t want her kids to feel that they have to conform to any societally constructed ideas of gender. And you know what? I’m all for that.
And I hope Mariah Carey is too. Because she’s reaching a lot more people than I am right now, and until such point in time as that changes … she’s gotta take the reins on this one.