Royal Baby: Why I Hoped for a Girl

royal-baby-girlOkay, I really like Kate Middleton for the mostly superficial reasons any commoner who likes her likes her. I was never big on the royal baby bandwagon, but I still kept hoping for a girl.  When is the last time this royal family produced a girl, anyway?

Here’s why:

1) In my mind, this child would be the anti-Suri Cruise. Suri is cute and well dressed and all, but much of her life creeps me out and the way the media and the blogosphere cover her is even worse. I’m looking at you, Hello Giggles. I imagine the would-be Princess of Cambridge would be more privileged and even more well-dressed, but would have saner parenting. (No offense to Katie Holmes.) Plus, as weird as having her future basically paved out for her is, the princess wouldn’t spawn the truly bizarre stories about what the baby will do when she grows up. Ballerina, duh.

2) Soooooo much fodder for thinking about how our culture and media think about and portray girlhood. Much like our own first daughters, there’s a different protocol for covering the children of political leaders and that often sheds light on the disparities between what we think is appropriate and what really goes down. (As in, that time the NYDN printed a picture of Sasha’s rear end.) A big part of my research looks at how girlhood is used as a symbolic space for national identity. Our leaders’ daughters are often burdened with modeling what it means to be a “proper” girl. (Remember the Bush twins!?) As much as I hoped for a girl, the prospect made me really nervous too. Growing up that much in the public eye sounds like a nightmare (I remember pitying Chelsea Clinton when I was a kid.) Selfishly, however, I knew that it would provide me with plenty of moments to analyze. There, I said it.

3) I respect the way Kate Middleton handles herself. I don’t know her anymore than you do (I assume), but she seems like an intelligent, down to earth person. Given how big girlie-girl pretty pretty princess culture is right now for little girls, I hoped that she could raise an actual princess very much in the public eye who could (hopefully) demonstrate strength, civic engagement, and that it’s not all about the prince. That’s a lot to put on a little kid, though. Relatedly, there are other real-life princesses and this awesome slide show about reimagining feminist heroes as cartoon princesses.

4) Changing that primogeniture rule would have actually meant something. Even if it was so outdated that most people thought it was so obsolete they weren’t in a rush to officially change it.

That’s it. I only had four reasons. Because I don’t really care that much. This child is third in line for the throne in a monarchy that is basically decorative in a country that isn’t even mine. Anyway, the baby is here and I will not begrudge him being a boy. Boys are cool too.

P.S. My favorite piece about the wait for the baby actually came from Jezebel: Kate Middleton: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Went into Labor

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