It has just been revealed that Grimes is featured in a cover story interview for Vanity Fair’s April 2022 issue. But that’s not the biggest news the publication is bound to make headlines for. In the article, titled “Infamy Is Kind Of Fun”: Grimes on Music, Mars, and Her Secret New Baby With Elon Musk, the Canadian musician, who had been dating Elon Musk for three years until both of them announced their separation in September 2021, disclosed that she and the business magnate welcomed a baby girl into their life via a surrogate in December 2021. Say what?
According to Vanity Fair, the whole scoop was never planned in the first place. During the interview, journalist Devin Gordon allegedly heard not one but two babies, which was strange since, in May 2020, the couple had their first child together, named X Æ A-12. Their only child, right? Well, wrong. This led the journalist to ask the singer if she “had another baby in her life,” to which she answered, “I’m not at liberty to speak on these things. Whatever is going on with family stuff, I just feel like kids need to stay out of it, and X is just out there. I mean, I think E is really seeing him as a protégé and bringing him to everything and stuff… X is out there. His situation is like that. But, yeah, I don’t know.”
So, “X” must be X Æ A-12 and “E” Elon Musk. Don’t worry, we got slightly confused too. And so did Gordon apparently. She went on to write, “I suggest we pause for a moment to discuss the surreal professional ethics at play, which are that I can’t pretend I don’t know she’s got a secret baby with the world’s wealthiest man hiding upstairs. Especially when she invited me here.” Eventually, Grimes laughed and confirmed that Musk and her had another baby together.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what I was thinking,” she continued, laughing about the fact that she tried to hide her newborn daughter, whom they call Y, though her real full name is actually Exa Dark Sideræl.
As for the fact that what many saw as the world’s most chaotic (and somewhat unlikeable) couple has potentially been reunited, here’s the cryptic answer Grimes had to give, “There’s no real word for it. I would probably refer to him as my boyfriend, but we’re very fluid. We live in separate houses. We’re best friends. We see each other all the time… We just have our own thing going on, and I don’t expect other people to understand it.”
Last but not least, the musician even briefly touched upon the meme-worthy videos she shared on TikTok last year, which resulted in a lot of controversy surrounding the half-baked arguments she tried to promote. “I mean, when people say I’m a class traitor that is not… an inaccurate description,” she admitted. “I was deeply from the far left and I converted to being essentially a capitalist Democrat. A lot of people are understandably upset.”
A few days ago, Grimes and Elon Musk welcomed their firstborn child named X Æ A-12. After the internet was done making memes about the newborn’s name and searching for its hidden meaning, people were quick to pick up on a significant detail about the child’s future upbringing: Grimes and Musk have decided to raise X Æ A-12 through gender-neutral parenting. What exactly is gender-neutral parenting and why should parents start considering it for their own kids?
In a live broadcast in February, Grimes explained that she and Musk wanted to adopt a gender-neutral parenting style in case their child doesn’t identify with their biological sex: “I don’t want to gender them in case that’s not how they feel in their life.” The pair is not the first celebrity couple to embrace this—Brangelina were openly supportive of their oldest child John (named Shiloh at birth) exploring their gender identity after saying they wished to be a boy. In 2017, Megan Fox was criticised by the media for allowing her two sons to wear dresses.
Although gender-neutral parenting is still frowned upon by most conservative and religious news outlets, more and more parents are ditching gender reveal parties in exchange for gender-neutral baby showers. Some countries are now allowing parents the option of labelling their children’s gender as ‘X’ on their birth certificates, and Sweden has even incorporated a gender-neutral pronoun, ‘hen’, into its vocabulary.
Gender-neutral parenting is about breaking away from the binary and allowing the youngest members of our society to explore their gender identity without any social restrictions. Because it is still new to our society, this parenting style comes in different forms. What exactly are the benefits of being a gender-neutral parent?
While ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are synonymous, they are not equivalent to one another. Sex is biological, whereas gender is social, performative and arguably, limiting. Philosopher Judith Butler first coined the term ‘gender performance’ in 1988, which defines gender as something learned and performed in our daily activities, purely based on the constructed notions of femininity or masculinity.
For instance in children, activities such as playing dress-up are seen as ‘girly’, whereas playing with toy cars is considered ‘boyish’—in the same way, the colour pink is exclusively associated with baby girls, and blue with boys.
Picking activities for your children depending on their assigned gender limits their self-expression. People who shamed Megan Fox for letting her sons wear dresses did exactly that. Many experts argue that this also negatively impacts the child’s personal growth and ability to reach their full potential later in life, as our childhood experiences and upbringing are formative to our development.
A 2016 study published in The Guardian article Gendered toys could deter girls from career in engineering, report says found that only 11 per cent of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) toys were listed for girls, which was directly linked to the gender gap within the tech industry heavily dominated by men. There has since been a spike in marketing STEM-related products to girls, as well as in the representation of women in STEM as role models for young girls, but it is still important for us to ensure that it does not stop at that.
Stuti Agarwal, perhaps better known as @mombae.blogger on Instagram is a Mumbai-based parent blogger who frequently talks about the importance of gender-neutral parenting on her account. The mother to a two and a half year old boy and a six month old girl was also raised in a non gender-biased household.
Speaking to Screen Shot about how she has conversations around gender equality with her son, Agarwal says: “I try to make him learn to do all the housework, which is still traditionally taken as a woman’s job. Even though he is young, I keep telling him that he has to learn all of the skills because later on in life he will face problems if he doesn’t know the general basic skills like cooking.”
At the moment, Agarwal is teaching her son how to make roti from Play-Doh and has even bought him a kitchen set he loves playing with. Speaking about how their neighbours ridiculed the kitchen set as being a ‘girly’ activity, Agarwal responded: “Please don’t say things like that because I want to teach him that cooking is not a girl’s job—not just a girl’s job.” She explains that her children are “free to do what they want to do. My son can be a chef, my daughter can be a policewoman, whatever they want to be.”
While for many parents gender-neutral parenting is about removing gender stereotypes and fighting inequality, some parents are choosing to ditch the concept of gender altogether by keeping their child’s biological sex private from the public until the child makes a decision on how they identify.
Gen Zers are most familiar with non-binary pronouns and expressions, and more and more new gens are rejecting the gender binary themselves. Raising children as gender-neutral can provide them with a safe space and allow them freedom of expression without any restrictions.