two uteri, two mamas pregnant, AGAIN, with baby number two

snakes and snails and puppy dog tails March 23, 2008

Filed under: ttc — charlotte @ 9:55 pm

I get so riled about gender marketing to children. So mad. It really seems to get worse and worse over the years. Chicory posted a while ago about this topic and it reminded me how much I adore my boy, and how proud I am to be the kind of parent who buys my boy these pink crocs, when he picks them out in the store (because pink is his fav color).

But even S and I are all kinds of gender stereotyped, even when we are rebelling. Anyone who says “my boy really just does love trucks, I had nothing to do with it” is delusional. We absolutely influence what our kids like to play with, and so do our peers, their peers, their friends, their grandparents, billboards, toystores. If girl likes trucks we think it’s “cute” or “great”. It isn’t unnoticed. I mean I wouldn’t be thrilled if my daughter picked out pink shoes. I’d be like ‘great more pink shit, how indoctrinated can you be?’ (I don’t really like pink).

That said, nothing makes me more proud than my boy…wearing a dress. Seriously. He asked me to buy him this dress the other day (which, BTW, is a nightgown for like an 8 year old) and I did because it was only $6. He didn’t show much interest for a couple weeks, but then he wanted to wear it!

He put it on and was transfixed. Do you remember what dresses felt like when you were little (if you wanted to wear one that is)? The way they move around your body? Smarty loved it. He slept in it. He twirled in it for 2 days. He wore it with his fireman’s hat for hours.

Anyway, I loved Smarty that day more than I have ever loved him, save the day he was born. I don’t really want to post a pic here…hmm…maybe I’ll post a password protected picture tomorrow.

It brings me to tears just thinking about it. The freedom. Such unabashed joy, which is soon to be crushed. He already gets comments regularly from older kids about his pink shoes. It is infuriating, but mostly it is just sad. Most boys don’t ever get to wear dress…unless they are pretending to be a woman, for halloween or at a frat party. It is something to laugh at. They certainly are not allowed to enjoy it. My point is that even progressive parents (us, for example) are still part of this culture, and we are all, ALL, influenced by gender stereotypes about girls and boys, even if we are questioning them.

So S and I muddle through, and are very proud when our boy, partly because he wants to, and partly because we let him be whoever he wants to be, wears a pink dress. That evening my lovely boy wore his dress to the beach – sunlight streaming through his curls as he ran across the sand. Motherhood just doesn’t get better than that.


9 Responses to “snakes and snails and puppy dog tails”

  1. Here Here! I think thats the right spelling of that. My nephew at 2 coudln’t get enough of the pink power ranger! So you go Smarty. Don’t let the big kids sway you!

    Can i get in on the pwp picture? If its ok w/you.

  2. ciaochow Says:

    My little brother’s favourite colour was pink until he was 10 or 11. He probably switched because of what a hard time everyone in the family gave him… including me, including my other brother, and my parents.

    It’s a shame that we made him feel so bad.

    I think you’re right that the pink/blue revolution is stronger than ever. We’re not going to be a part of it either. It’s going to be an uphill battle. People around my office, when there’s a pregnant coworker, talk about the baby in terms of “pink one” or “blue one” instead of boy or girl. *Shudder*

  3. shelli Says:

    we are thrilled that Malka prefers trucks and her favorite dress up is as “fire girl Malka.”

    but we’re a little scared that she’s SO infatuated with her Zoe diapers. She kisses Zoe. We hope and pray that she doesn’t fall victim to the princess insanity. It won’t come from here, at least.

    Yea for Smarty – that’s SO touching, and awesome.

  4. Jude Says:

    I used to facilitate a therapeutic play group for toddlers, and I once had a little boy in my group who LOVED the dress up area, especially this tutu skirt. He would put it on and twirl and twirl and twirl… ask for the music to be put on (which was a big deal because he was working on speech) and then dance in his tutu. It was so amazingly awesome, and he was SO happy and talking so much. So I took a bunch of pictures and sent them home so his mom could see how happy he was and how well he was doing.

    Instead of being thrilled, she wrote a note to my boss stating that I was not reinforcing proper gender roles and if her child ended up “becoming gay” she was going to blame me.

    Argh! Good for you, Charlotte, for not having your head up your ass. 🙂

  5. mrsbluemont Says:

    Brilliant. I love Smarty now too. You are incredible parents. Thanks for setting the example and being brave enough to embrace the full meaning of it all.

  6. amy Says:

    good for you guys! i guess it’s not as taboo for girls to wear and play with stereo typical boy things but we totally let our 2 yr old daughter pick out the stuff she wants which is sometimes boy stuff.

    there was a little boy in a dress at one of her activities and i got tears in my eyes in support of the parent who allowed her little boy to wear it. i’m sure people stared and made comments but i was in awe of her strength and support for her little boy. it’s going to take our generation and the future ones to start making the changes necessary for it to be ok for little boys to wear dresses and lots of other gender bender rule breaking…

  7. gypsygrrl Says:

    i hope if i am ever a mom, i can be as cool as you and S are.
    Smarty and Waffle Recipe are very lucky kiddos, indeed!

  8. Good for you, and hooray that Smarty feels no hesitation in wearing his dress or his pink shoes. Kilts, anyone? I grew up on the praire of Oklahoma wearing jeans and cowboy boots in the early 60s. I remember an elementary school teacher asking me if I was ever going to wear a dress. My answer was an emphatic NO! (STILL hate the damn things). Then I moved to GA in 1967 and GIRLS WERE NOT ALLOWED TO WEAR PANTS TO SCHOOL. Any pants. Period. I was completely depressed for years, then finally, when I was in 8th grade, the state passed the “LAW” that girls would wear pants. I can’t even begin to describe the weight that was lifted off my shoulders that day. So you just keep on letting Shorty wear what he wants to wear, color or fashion be damned! Go Shorty!


  9. Amy Says:

    I enjoyed your post. This topic is one I think about often. I have one comment about girls and pink. As progressive parents (as least we think we are), we try to provide a wide array of toys and clothing options to our almost 2-year old and she picks both toys and clothes that might be assigned to both genders.

    However, she loves loves loves pink and sparkly things. I don’t know why she is drawn there, but I have to come to feel that I shouldn’t be proud of her that she loves her tools and tool box (which I am) and cringe b/c she loves pink (which I sometimes do). So, I have resolved to be an equally excited partner in her pursuits of personal preferences on both sides of the gender divide. But, oh how the princess thing will test me!

    I have very much enjoyed a book on this topic called ‘It’s a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters.’ There is an analogous boy one too (that I haven’t read).

    I love your son’s shoes BTW

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