There is something so damn ironic about this pair of greeting cards photographed by Julie Becker from Lansing, Mich.   The cards, designed to congratulate new parents on the birth of their child, reveal a (perceived) desire to gender our infants from Day One. It is important to identify this child’s gender; it must be noted and color-coded that it is a “he” or a “she.” But the card company finds no irony in using exactly the same baby on each card:


In fact, gendering infants is a rather new phenomenon in Western history and not cross-culturally consistent. Some cultures, and in Western culture previously, the sex of children was considered rather irrelevant until puberty.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.