Model, progressive activist, and socialist Bernie Sanders supporter Emily Ratjakowski is pregnant with her first child and will not be announcing their gender until the child is 18 and can choose for themselves.
“When my husband and I tell friends that I’m pregnant, their first question after ‘Congratulations’ is almost always ‘Do you know what you want?’ We like to respond that we won’t know the gender until our child is 18 and that they’ll let us know then,” Ratjakowski penned in an essay for Vogue.
After going on for several paragraphs about her childhood issues and her apprehensions about having either a boy or a girl, weighing the pros and cons for both, Ratjakowski then comes to the conclusion that forcing gender preconceptions onto babies damages them in the long run.
“I don’t like that we force gender-based preconceptions onto people, let alone babies,” she wrote. “I want to be a parent who allows my child to show themself to me. And yet I realize that while I may hope my child can determine their own place in the world, they will, no matter what, be faced with the undeniable constraints and constructions of gender before they can speak or, hell, even be born.”
“I used to call myself superstitious, but now I understand it another way. The idea that I could ‘jinx’ something or the belief that I could project my thoughts in a particular way to bring about a certain result is actually called ‘magical thinking,’ a coping mechanism one develops to make oneself feel more in control,” she continued.
Ratjakowski concludes by describing the sense of “peace” she now feels by resigning away from such gendered thinking as well as thoughts about parenting and pregnancy in general. She does, however, refer to this being inside her as a “person.”
“I used to use magical thinking whenever I wanted something to go a certain way. Now, though, I don’t try to envision a pink or blue blanket in my arms. I’m too humbled to have any false notions of control,” she concludes. “I’m completely and undeniably helpless when it comes to almost everything surrounding my pregnancy: how my body will change, who my child will be. But I’m surprisingly unbothered. Instead of feeling afraid, I feel a new sense of peace. I’m already learning from this person inside my body. I’m full of wonder.”
Emily Ratjakowski is an avid supporter of abortion. In 2019, she even shared naked photos of herself on Instagram while scolding the “white men” in red states voting to ban the practice.
“This week, 25 old white men voted to ban abortion in Alabama even in cases of incest and rape,” she said. “These men in power are imposing their wills onto the bodies of women in order to uphold the patriarchy and perpetuate the industrial prison complex by preventing women of low economic opportunity the right to choose to not reproduce. The states trying to ban abortion are the states that have the highest proportions of black women living there. This is about class and race and is a direct attack on the fundamental human rights women in the US deserve and are protected by under Roe vs. Wade. Our bodies, our choice.”