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.