A girl or a boy?
Plenty of mums-to-be will admit to hoping for one or the other. But one woman has sparked a huge debate by saying she doesn’t want to have daughters because she doesn’t want to bring up girls in such a “deeply misogynistic” society.
On UK website Mumsnet, a woman calling herself AngeloMysterioso explained that she and her husband would be starting to try for kids soon. But as they were talking about how they would raise their children, she realised that she didn’t want to bring a daughter into the world.
“I’ve begun to realise that I really don’t want to have any girls… Don’t get me wrong, I think having a daughter is in itself a wonderful thing. It’s more an issue of the world I would be raising a daughter in,” the woman wrote.
“Sexual harassment and assault f—ing everywhere,” she wrote. “I’ve genuinely lost count of the number of times I’ve been grabbed, groped or catcalled. I know more women who’ve had some sort of encounter of that kind than haven’t. And of course, the victim blaming and slut shaming that occurs around it.
“I just don’t see it getting any better. If anything, it’s getting worse.”
She finished by asking: “Am I being unreasonable?”
Some of the mums who replied agreed.
“My daughter is four months old and I’m terrified for all the reasons you have mentioned,” AnxietyStrikes said.
“When trying to conceive, my husband said on both occasions he wanted boys,” QueenAmongstMen posted. “He said he couldn't handle all the issues surrounding girls that are unfortunately part of our society these days.”
But quite a few mums of daughters objected.
“I've got two daughters (13 and 15) and they know how to handle themselves,” wrote PoisonousSmurf. “They both do karate and don't take nonsense from the boys. Raise them to be confident and men can take a flying leap!”
“I love being a woman,” Bluntness100 added, “and I love my daughter more than anything in the world. Oh yeah, and I also brought her up to make her way in the world and not to be hysterical.”
Look. I can understand where this woman is coming from. But you know what would be just as bad as having a girl who might grow up to be sexually harassed? Having a boy who might grow up to sexually harass women.
Yes, society is still misogynistic. The Harvey Weinstein-triggered avalanche of sexual harassment and assault allegations is all the proof anyone needs. But we’re not going to get anywhere by not giving birth to girls, or being afraid of giving birth to girls.
We, as parents, have control over what the society of the future will be like. It’s up to us to raise the strong girls with good self-esteem and the thoughtful, sensitive boys. We need to get our girls playing sport and let our boys cry.
Am I worried about my daughter’s future? Yeah, I am. I’m terrified. But I’m worried about my son’s future too. Will he be depressed because his body doesn’t look like Chris Hemsworth's? Will he get beaten up when he looks at someone the wrong way in a pub?
LISTEN: Sex, drinking, and social media is a recipe for some risky behaviour...(post continues after audio)
Anxiety is your default setting when you have kids. From the moment you give birth, you worry about your child. You worry about things you expected you’d worry about, but then those worries get swamped by a flood of new worries that never even entered your mind when you were childless.
But should we let worries about the future stop us from having kids – of either gender? No way.