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Baby Showers As A “Village” Ritual And The Nuance of An All-Female Village

Baby Shower

Baby Shower (Photo credit: GraceFamily)

So, one of our friends and her partner are about to bring a baby girl into this world. It will be a Thanksgiving baby and I have to say there is a whole village of Lesbians in our circle of friends who are so thankful to have a new little human to welcome to the planet and can’t wait to shower it with affection and gifts.

The ritual of the baby shower is probably the one excuse for a “party” that makes the most sense to me in terms of the pure humanity of its purpose.
First of all, there is the exercise of surrounding mom and impending baby with positive energy to welcome it into a strange universe. Then there is the fact that babies are expensive, so it’s important that the community help chip in and bring the expectant parents as many supplies as they can handle: diapers, bibs, pacifiers, bottles, clothes, blankets and on and on. Finally there is the training component: playing games that relate to the impending tasks at hand like diaper-changing relays. It’s kind of like when we were children and play was meant to prepare us for adult life (doctor, house, fake grocery shopping, tea sets, baby dolls, etc.).

But the kicker in this unique circumstance is the one I mentioned in sentence 2: the lesbians. Here you have a pretty tight community of couples and friends, most of whom do not and never will have children: a lifestyle choice for some and an accepted reality for others. But what is really important to remember is the female factor. And most females have a very strong biological drive to nurture: to have and be involved in the lives of children. We are females, after all. It’s part of most of our genetic makeup.

For the most part, we get what we need out of being the “auntie” or godmother or being on the periphery as an adult-on-deck with our straight friends who have kids. But when one of us can’t get over our biological drive and makes a point to bring a child into this world, it’s a big damn deal. And everyone, understandably, wants a piece of that action. I mean everyone. This opportunity doesn’t come along very often in lesbian social circles.

It’s not like it’s a birthday party, which happens all the time and people generally don’t get upset if they don’t get asked to be party planner. Only the big ones are big deal events. Other than that, it’s a dinner or some cocktails and calling it a night.

This, however, is a profoundly unique and human event that ties to very deep-seated female drives and the anthropological lesson I am learning is the degree to which it can stir up a lot of emotions.

So here is my tip to the Ladies (with a capital L): If you are the one who has the idea first to plan the baby shower, make SURE you reach out to every single friend you can think of AT ONCE and ask them how (not IF) they would like to help. Let everyone have the opportunity to pour their heart and time into it, even if you think they might not have the time. Because baby showers are different and for the Lesbian village could be a once in a lifetime experience.

I write this with love to all of “the girls”. And to Anna McClean who will be joining us in just a couple short months, know that you are going to be welcomed with open arms and that there is a community of surrogate Mommies who can’t wait to shower you with love and will make sure you never want for anything.

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Categories: Anthropology, Consumer Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Gay and Lesbian Lifestyles, Lesbians, Participant Observation, Rituals, sociology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Baby Showers As A “Village” Ritual And The Nuance of An All-Female Village

  1. Cute, but why don’t more lesbians have kids then if its that important?

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