Emily Ratajkowski is pregnant, but she and her husband won’t learn the baby’s gender until the child is a legal adult who can determine that for itself.
In an essay for Vogue, the model said that: “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.”
Ratajkowski said that everyone laughs at the line, but it hints at deeper truth: as parents, they have no idea who the child growing inside her belly will turn out to be.
“I like the idea of forcing as few gender stereotypes on my child as possible,” she wrote.
In the meandering, approximately 2,000-word essay, Ratajkowski said that she didn’t know whether she wants a son or daughter, but she is scared of possibly having a son because, “I’ve known far too many white men who move through the world unaware of their privilege, and I’ve been traumatized by many of my experiences with them.”
Ratajkowski, who has about 27 million Instagram followers, wrote that she is “terrified of inadvertently cultivating the carelessness and lack of awareness that are so convenient for men.”
She then tells a story about a friend of hers who cried “for a whole month” after finding out she was pregnant with a boy. This friend developed postpartum depression and came to resent her own husband because of how peacefully he slept, writing in a journal that “There is nothing worse than the undisturbed sleep of a white man in a patriarchal world.” This friend said that “It was hard to come to terms with the fact that I was bringing yet another white man into the world.”
Ratajkowski says that while she understands the realities of living in a gendered society, “I don’t like that we force gender-based preconceptions onto people, let alone babies. I want to be a parent who allows my child to show themselves to me.”