Royal baby: Surprisingly sexist merriment

The royal baby made his debut appearance Tuesday, with Will and Kate taking turns posing with their little prince, the future king. It was a sweet and surprisingly down-to-earth moment. But still, even as I found myself unexpectedly cooing at my screen, I couldn’t quite quell a bit of disappointment. I had been hoping for a girl, a future queen.

When news broke Monday that Kate had given birth to a boy, CNN correspondent Victoria Arbiter couldn’t contain her excitement.

Finally, after all this waiting, we know that we have a boy. My first thought, I have to say, was, ‘This is how brilliant a royal Kate is.’ There are women throughout British royal family history who have panicked over not being able to deliver a boy, and here we are. Kate did it — first time.

FULL COVERAGE: Royal baby born

To which Jezebel’s Madeleine Davies lamented: “She's not so much congratulating Kate Middleton for giving birth to a healthy baby. She's congratulating her for giving birth to a healthy baby boy.”

Media maven Tina Brown also weighed in, tweeting that “#Kate can do no wrong!” She later elaborated on her quick commentary on “Morning Joe” (via Jezebel), saying essentially that Kate must be a delight to the royal family because she is “impeccable” and “once again, she [has done] the perfect thing.”

So, in other words, if Kate had given birth to a baby girl, it would have been disappointing and would have have made here less “brilliant,” less “perfect.” Ugh.

VIDEO: Hail the Prince of Cambridge!

You’d hope that women with a platform wouldn’t veer into sexist commentary, especially given the historical context of this birth in particular. The new rule, as of October 2011, was that the first baby Cambridge would become the future monarch regardless of gender. A royal baby girl would have been monumental.

As Patt Morrison wrote last week: “This is a bigger deal than you think. For nearly 1,000 years, the dumbest, least able royal boy was regarded as better monarch material than the smartest royal girl. A princess only got to become the sovereign if all her brothers died or were killed. Nice, eh?”

Morrison also imagined a few scenarios of how things might have turned out had men not been left in charge. For example:

The girls-rule rule could have changed Britain more recently too. The first of Queen Victoria’s nine children was a daughter, also Victoria. The studious, serious little Vicky, not her charming, libertine little brother Edward, would have inherited the throne.

That means Vicky probably would not have married the crown prince of Prussia, nor given birth to the horrid little boy who became Kaiser Wilhelm II, whose posturing and saber-rattling put the fuse to World War I. Is it too fanciful to imagine that, without the ridiculous, dangerous Kaiser Bill, there might have been no World War I, no burdensome postwar reparations yoked onto Germany, no sullen, opportunistic, anti-Semitic corporal named Adolf Hitler, no World War II, no Holocaust …

Obviously, news of Will and Kate’s healthy baby boy is wonderful for the family (and for Britain’s economy too!). It’s just a shame that relief over the baby's gender has been part of the merriment.


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