I have said numerous times that we are not a family that conforms to the lines of gender bias. My boys are definitely tool-toting, rough-and-tumble kind if kids.. but they aren’t restricted to that. My boys adore Disney. All things Disney, right down to the Princesses. My oldest also loves the color pink. In fact, he says it’s his favorite color.
We have My Little Pony toys, Princess castles, baby dolls and strollers in our house. We also have Lego Ninjago, super heroes galore and a lot of cars/trucks/trains.
My boys have never thought anything of their interests. We’ve only used the phrase “Those are made for girls..” once and only with our oldest. Glittery pink TOMS shoes. I actually felt horrible for letting that phrase leave my mouth. WHY did it leave my mouth? I was afraid of how others would treat him if they saw him wearing them.
The world is not as accepting of the non-standard as our family is. This was proven yesterday, when in a fit of excitement our 8-year-old wanted to take his new Frozen doll, Elsa, for show and tell. We allowed it and he came home upset. His classmates, and some of his friends, laughed at him.
I gave him the only answer I could.. “Some people don’t think boys should play with dolls – but that is silly – and no one should ever make fun of someone for liking different things than they do!”
He proceeded to point out that no one laughed at the girl in his class that handed out Star Wars valentines. Or that no one made fun of their good friend, a girl, that had a super hero birthday party.
I’m sad. We clearly have made strides in embracing and empowering girls to be and like whatever they want.. But our society still shuns boys for doing the same if it doesn’t fit within the structured notions of the stereotypical male?
We praise companies for making building/engineering kits aimed at girls. She can do what boys can do, after all! We make construction vehicle toys in pinks and purples! Why aren’t we as accepting of boys who want to play daddy with dolls or fix someone’s hair?
8-year-olds should be enjoying life without the fear of being bullied, judged or ridiculed for their likes. And those doing the bullying and laughing? They learned it somewhere.
Parents, not all girls have to play with babies or dress up.. and not all boys have to do karate and play with trucks. Stop putting labels on young kids who simply just want to be KIDS. Not boy kids and girl kids.. But KIDS. Teach your children to be accepting of others, even if they don’t like the same things.
How boring would our world be if we were all limited to liking and thinking the same things?