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Love What You Love

Joshua and I spend the morning drive to school talking. About anything and everything. Usually Sonic the Hedgehog or Toy Story. This morning’s conversation made my heart sink a little.

“Mama, what song is this?”
“This is the fairy godmother song from Cinderella.
“Mama, do you like Cinderella?”
“I do.”
“I like Lightning McQueen. Mama, you can like Cinderella and I can like Lightning McQueen.”
“You can like Cinderella and I can like Lightning McQueen, sweetie.”
Cinderella is for girls, Mama.

My boy in the pink hat flashed across my brain and I felt myself tense up a little. I knew this would happen sooner or later. I knew it and I sort of hoped against it.

I knew the day was coming when Joshua would start to associate some things as boy and other things as girl. That the day when his peers held more sway over his likes and dislikes than I did would happen.

To be honest, I’m a little sad about it. Not because I want him to like “girl” things. But because I want him to know that I don’t care if he likes girl things.

I want him to know that it’s okay to love what he loves.

I tried to tell him this morning that it was okay if girls liked Lightning McQueen and boys liked Cinderella. Movies are for everybody. We can all like whatever movies we want to like.

We all love what we love and like what we like and that’s okay.

He said “Cinderella is a princess, Mama.” And I let it drop and kept on driving.

What I wanted to say was that it will never matter to me what toy he wants to play with, whether that’s Barbies or baseballs. It will never matter to me if Emma wants to race cars or rock baby dolls.

I will never care because they are my children and what I want for them above all else is happiness as they’ve defined it for themselves and not as it has been defined for them.

I wanted to shout that it shouldn’t matter to the rest of the world either. Because it shouldn’t. Why do people care so much what toys kids choose to play with?

Boys get trucks and girls get tiaras. Bah. That’s dumb.

Toys are toys. Games are games. Kids are kids.

We don’t have to define the world for our preschoolers in terms of gender-specific everything.

Why is it okay for our girls to like blue? What if our boys LIKE pink? If we tell them pink is for girls and they can’t like it because they’re not girls, what message are we sending to our boys? For that matter, what kind of message are we sending to and about our girls?

Why can’t we just let kids love what they love? That should be enough.

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Amy O

Monday 9th of September 2013

So true - kids will be whoever it is they want to be - who they are meant to be! My daughter gravitated towards princesses - even though I tried to avoid it. And that's ok with me - it makes her happy.

The other day I was getting her dressed (she's 2), I put her dress on and she said "now I'm a girl". Oh boy! Where to go with that one? I tried to explain that girls can wear whatever they want to wear and they're still going to be girls!!!


Tuesday 10th of September 2013

I'm definitely okay with princesses if Emma wants to like princesses. Or Joshua. Princesses are (mostly) cool. I want them to be happy (and healthy and safe) above all else.

Jennifer @ Also Known As...the Wife

Friday 6th of September 2013

My three year old niece has recently latched onto the "pink is for girls/blue is for boys" idea. While on vacation she stressed this a lot about all sorts of things including the color of her mini-golf ball. My sister and I were talking about where she could have picked up the idea because neither she or my brother-in-law care what types of toys she plays with or how she wants to play. It dawned on me while reading this that it comes from everywhere including me. I tell Sophia all the time "that's a baby toy, you're not a baby" when she wants to play with Jack's toys. All she needs to do is make the leap from "baby toy" to "boy or girl toy".


Monday 9th of September 2013

It's so easy to say things we think will have no effect beyond our intended meaning, you know? It's part of what makes being a human hard, much less a parent.

Law Momma

Friday 6th of September 2013

Yeah. This has become an issue all of a sudden at my house, too. "I hate girl things" and "Pink is for girls" and all that crap makes me cringe. J has taken to categorizing things... "That's a girl show" or "girl toy." Even the aisles at Target which used to just be aisles of toys are now "Girl" and "boy."

Stupid culture.


Monday 9th of September 2013

The culture surrounding it all really does make me insane. WHY do we force our kids to be masculine or feminine or anything other than KIDS?


Friday 6th of September 2013

This was one of my BIGGEST fears about having a girl. Tore me up inside. My little girl cradles her baby doll while wearing basketball jammies. My little girl asks to play cars as soon as we get home, then, puts away cars and plays house.

That tells me I'm doing ok, and I hope to continue to encourage her to do what she loves regardless. But it's tough. People keep wanting to buy her princess stuff and the girl loves monsters lol.

But with our influence, they will be ok :)


Monday 9th of September 2013

Oh, they'll definitely be okay :)

I'm way less concerned about this sort of thing with Emma than I am with Joshua. It seems more acceptable for girls to like trucks and monsters and sports than it is for guys to like dolls and ballet and princesses. There's this assumption that boys who like "soft" things are weaker, which is just dumb.


Friday 6th of September 2013

I completely agree. E plays with cars and princesses. She loves the color blue but declares pink her favorite color on the days I dare give her an orange spoon at breakfast. So far the gender stereotyping of toys has passed her over. But the other day she announced that she would only make new friends at her new school with the girls because she doesn't like to be friends with boys. We had a similar talk which I had to drop as well because you know - once they dig in their heels, they argue endlessly. She has boy friends... I hope this will solve itself as her class is 3/4 boys this year. We shall see.


Monday 9th of September 2013

Oh, the digging in of the heels! How well I know that!

I think girls are able to skip the toy stereotyping in large part because it's so much more acceptable for them to like "boy" things. Almost praised even. Look at every comment that's ever been made about toy companies making pink/purple Legos, you know? There's an uproar about it every time a new product hits the shelves and chants of "girls can play with blue, too!" echo throughout the blogosphere. So where are the chants of "pink is for boys!"?

Right here, I guess. ;)

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