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November 05, 2010

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My son came home in tears from preschool because the boys in his class told him playing kitchen is for girls. He is 3 1/2. Come on people. .......

you are too kind.

*I do wish you true happiness every day!

At a birthday party once, when I told another mom that my daughter likes to play with trucks, she said "Wow, you're such a good mom--I could never let my daughter do that." I'd like to say I said something encouraging or at least snarky to her about gender roles, but I think I just stared at her blankly for a long time.

Well, after several years of hearing these stories, my 11-y.o. son now provides us with his own explanations of gender stereotyping. And race, and class, to boot:
http://onthequest.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/heres-the-payoff/

I'm hoping we're all going somewhere with this!

I think you're great for fighting the fight. It's an uphill battle for sure.

Hey, on an unrelated note (and this may sound like I have been living under a blog reading-rock since I have and have been offline for a bit working on other things) what happened to Parent Bloggers Network? I tried to pull it up today to see what ya'll were up to and nothing...so I assume it's disbanded?

Seems like we have a nasty double standard in our society regarding b-words and g-words. Growing up in the 1970's, it was nothing for a girl like me to play in the dirt with trucks and climb trees with boys. We were called "tom-boys" and the boys our age loved to hang out with us. In rural areas, girls shoot deer and bear and have their pictures put in the local shopping weeklies, proudly displaying their first kill. But put a boy in a cheerleading outfit and he becomes the butt of jackass jokers everwhere. (And hey, any guy who gets to catch girls in short, tight uniforms and bare legs knows what the hell he's doing.) In some ways, we've gone backwards with socially acceptable standards. Show me a man in a pink shirt anyday. I'll be the one drooling over his beauty and fashion sense!

Meanwhile I am raising a 23 month old neanderthal boy who has 3 older sisters. Every Barbie is a gun and the child-sized broom is a sword. I get comments about trying to make sure my son isn't "girly", but most people who know kids know that you can't make their personality to suit yourself. Not to mention our 3 girls run the gambit of "girly" to "tom-boy". Of course, our little boy has to wear shoes to correct his feet, so most people don't see the nail polish on his toes...

Mostly I think it's about letting people be who they are. My son will probably never be the "sensitive" type, but I expect him to be an upstanding citizen, even if he's a macho one. And I expect my daughters and son to respect each person they meet as an individual, not a specific gender stereotype.

Kinda like the pink Leapster BC plays with. Does it still play the same dang games?

Yes. Yes it does.

This morning I overheard two mothers talking about how ridiculous it was that their daughters wanted microscopes and telescopes for christmas. And I keep getting tons of weird looks because both my daughter and son take dance classes. I live in West Virginina, by the way, which explains a lot, but still.

I wonder if there is something other than the gender stereotype issue. She said sitting there would make him the g-word not make him a g-word and it's a word someone got in trouble for saying. And girl is not a word one mustn't say. I think some child she knows got in trouble for using gay as a perjorative and the scoolyard grapevine; where gay (a word 6 year olds don't undrestand) has morphed into girl. It's very close to the same issue but not quite. Bears watching and listening in case you need to clarify for your daughter.

Oh man the "g word" that is awesome!

While pregnant with #2 this summer I told a neighbor dude that regardless of gender this baby was going to wear all of its sister's clothes (especially the dresses)!

Hey got seriously pissed and told me to take my gay loving ass back to the East Village (gayborhood in nyc). Then said he isn't raising a faggot and will not let his 3 year old son play with his sister's toys. It sounds totally shocking but that is exactly how people feel in my hood. A man does not EVER show an interest in anything "girl" or he will be considered gay and that is very dangerous here (like life threatening).

So sad and my kids definitely stick out.

Yes, love Nerdy Apple Bottom - even saw her post on Bravo! last night (woo!).

And Amber - no one would be up in arms. In fact, most people would say it's cool. It's much "better" to be more masculine than feminine in society - hence why girls can wear boys clothes without a major issue whereas boys in girls clothing - big difference.

As always,you rock! For whatever reason, all my closest friends have girls so until recently when my son started preschool he has only played with girls. He loves playing dress up, anything purple and pink, having tea parties and playing kitchen but as soon as we're home he's all about trucks, trains, and cars. My inlaws have BIG issues with him having "girlie" toys so for the most part we just play with those when at a friend's house...

the other day at a friend's house for dinner, my son was playing with a pretend BBQ and her daughter wanted to play too. my friend promptly told her 18 month old daughter, BBQing is a boy's job, you go play next to him in the kitchen. That's where girls below! GAH! I was so upset.

I LOVE that my son doesn't understand what boys or girls toys are and hope that mentality carries on thru his life.

I forgot to mention my friend's daughter who is almost 5. She is obsessed with boy toys and superheroes. She was Batman for Halloween. She prefers action figures to Barbies. Her older sister is very girly. She is not. She is also a happy and well-adjusted child. She is her own person and kudos to her mom for allowing her to pursue her own interests at such a young age.
It's interesting that no one questioned her wearing a "boy" costume, but so many people have a problem with boys wearing "girl" costumes.

All of my closest friends have only girls. My son (now 8) has always played with girls. He has plenty of friends who are boys, but is fine in a feminine world. Our daughter just turned 3 last week and got a makeover kit as a gift. We had to laugh because our son was painting nails on 5 little girls during the party.
It's nice that he can appreciate the things that make girls happy. Also, our daughter is a girly-girl who is rough and tumble and tough as nails from chasing around her big brother. The best of both worlds.

You will appreciate this blog post from NerdyAppleBottom: http://nerdyapplebottom.com/2010/11/02/my-son-is-gay/ about her preschooler who was given a hard time by parents for dressing like Daphne from Scooby Doo.

My brother had a cabbage patch doll when we were children. It was "his baby" and he took it everywhere. People would say the most ridiculous thing to my parents about it. Now my brother is 27, is built like a tank and looks like a tough guy, but is one of the most kind and nuturing souls I know. I'd like to think that caring for "his baby" had some part in that. :)

Where do kids get this stuff? I know ultimately it comes from parents or teachers or media, even unconsciously. But it's so pervasive, and it pops up at the most unexpected times. It's no wonder we feel like we're always battling these gender norms.

Check out this story. It made me wonder if people would be up in arms if a girl was to dress as Iron Man or Superman or Batman?

http://www.salon.com/life/parenting/index.html?story=/mwt/broadsheet/2010/11/04/my_son_is_gay_blogger

My son came home in tears from preschool because the boys in his class told him playing kitchen is for girls. He is 3 1/2. Come on people.

As I tell people who want to comment negatively on my son's hand-me-down pink tricycle 1) if you want to buy him a blue one, go for it but if not then shut up and 2) shut up anyway.

My daughter is friends with three boys across the street. One day I brought over a new straw cup for her water that matched what their mom had bought for them the day before since my daughter wants what they have. Her cup was blue on the bottom and pink on top. One of the boys had one that had purple on top. My daughter screamed and didn't want her cup so their mom switched the tops. "We like pink over here." My daughter now permanently has the purple top and they have the pink because even the boys tell me, "We like pink."

too many families raise their daughters to be feminists, but not their sons. you must do both in order to create a better world. So says the mom of the little boy who can't wait to grow up and get a vagina so he can play basketball like his big sisters...
3 girls, 1 boy.

Keep fighting the good fight. I'm not there yet with my child, but I dress her in "boy" clothes because they are cute and comfortable for her. And you can bet, if she has a brother he will be wearing pink and purple cloth diapers.

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