Have you ever wanted to wear that outfit or play that sport, but decided against it because it wasn't the norm. Worried what other people would say and what stares you would receive. I believe this has happened to all of us at one point in our lives.
Lately I have seen the topic of gender popping up on the web and in conversations between friends and myself. People asking is it ok for boys to play with baby dolls or to wear pink. It has got me thinking a lot about my own views and ideas of the sexes. I have to be honest that I am a little ashamed of myself that when the topic of boys playing with baby dolls popped up that my first thought was why are boys playing with baby dolls that is a girl thing. After digging deeper and thinking more. I said to myself why is this odd, don't we want boys to learn to nurture just like we want little girls to learn to be a loving mom one day. Then it hit me this is what society has taught us. That girls and boys are suppose to fit into these nice neat boxes and never step outside of our gender box.
One of my favorite bloggers Alex from Late Enough because early sucks wrote a post titled The Yellow Bow today. She wrote about how her daughter N said no to wearing a bow but her son E stepped in wanting to wear the yellow bow and a yellow snow white princess dress to lunch one day. She hesitated at first to say yes. But was brave enough to stand by her and husbands parenting beliefs to allow their children to be who they want to be and not keep them in a gender box.
E wore the yellow princess dress to lunch and got some stares from adults, but the adults dared not to say anything. But a group of middle school girls did do some giggling and probably pointing. E was aware of this and asked if they were making fun of him. Alex made a good point that these girls were just showing what they had been taught by society and maybe by their parents. That boys are not suppose to wear dresses or bows. That these girls to were afraid of being different and wanted to just fit in and conform with society.
Alex was confronted again when E wanted to wear a bow to school. His school is progressive so she thought he would be safe. Well as she is telling his teacher about the incident over the weekend at lunch. E comes running up and is crying that a boy called him a girl. Any mother at this point wants to cry and grab their child up and tell them everything is going to be ok.
E came home happy that day and didn't want to talk much about what happened at school. Then when Alex and her family went to the children's museum he asked his father to pick him out boy clothes from the dress up chest.
It is sad that kids are having to learn life lessons so early about how cruel society can be. That a boy in a dress or wearing a bow is going to be faced with stares and mean comments. But one quote that I loved from Alex's post was
I remind myself to add YET.
Because I believe that it won’t always be this way. Each generation, while perhaps not financially better off, is more open and tolerant than the last.
And in the face of hatred, we learn every year to judge people less by what they wear or who they look like, and more by the person they are trying to be.
But progress is slow. And children are sensitive.
I believe this sums it all up and shows that there is hope for society and that one day everyone will be free to be who they want to be. Without fearing what society and people will say. I too hope that I will change my view and next time I am in a gender conversation that I won't be so quick to say that is a girl thing or a boy thing.
I highly recommend everyone head over to Late Enough because early sucks and read The Yellow Bow post. Alex is a wonderful writer and this post is a must read. I was in tears as I read the whole post. I hope that I will raise Virginia to be whatever she wants to be either a pretty ballerina, a rough and tough sports player, or a gamer, or all of them together.
You can also head over to Momversation to watch a video on this very same gender topic.