This week I have been curating @TwkLGBTQ, a rotational curation account that each week has a different tweeter from around the globe. It has been a fascinating experience, and great fun. I have spoken with people from Australia to Zanzibar and had my own little soap box. For me this is the strength of social media, the ability to come into contact, and communicate with, people whose experiences are so different from my own.
This morning I was tweeting as the birth of William and Kate Windsor’s baby was announced. Instantly a host of expectations and assumptions were piled upon a child mere minutes old. “It’s a girl” “She will want pink” “She will be named after her grandmother” or at the other extreme “She’s a parasite “Another royal scrounger”.
The gendering of babies is established by custom, but is nothing more than a guess. The baby may be cis, and a girl, it may not. Even if the baby is, she may not want to be a perfect pink princess, she may want to smash gender norms in a very twenty-first century way. Princesses are hardly renowned for their agency, for claiming their personal power. Instead they look pretty and wait for their handsome prince to rescue them. As I wrote here this is often a narrative that even those not born in palaces need to escape.
Whoever you are these expectations are often the things that break us. Be it assumptions about gender, about life goals, about sexuality, when these are imposed by adults upon children they stifle a child’s ability to be themselves. Often those children grow up into adults who feel they have failed, not because of their own actions, but because their parents and caregivers tried to mold them into something they are not.
As I said in the quoted tweet, if I had one wish, not just for the royal baby, but for all children, it be that they be allowed to grow, to develop, to express their true selves, without the adults around them deciding who and what they are.