"Why is Jack wearing a grill shirt?"
"Grill" is Johnny's completely adorable way of saying "girl."
In this case, however, it wasn't quite so adorable. The shirt in question happened to be a neon shade of pink, which I kind of had to agree wasn't exactly "boy" material. It wasn't one of those preppy light pink button-downs or Polo short-sleeves. It was an obnoxiously bright pink t-shirt.
That's beside the point of course. Obviously the bigger issue was Johnny has learned quite well from his Daddy what boys should and should not wear. Scott is really adamant on Johnny being "all boy." No playing with Barbies, or sipping from princess cups or even trying on Mommy's high heels. Wearing anything remotely close to pink would put Scott in a panic.
Although I think Scott goes a tad overboard, I kind of have to agree on some points, though I know some moms will completely disagree. I don't freak out when Johnny plays with Julie's American Girl dolls, and I'm fine when he says his favorite colors are pink and purple.
But, I have to say I do want my boy to be a boy. I want him to love sports and get dirty, play with cars and roughhouse with his friends. I know there's this whole gender neutrality movement where parents think their kids should decide what and who they want to be. I recently met a mom whose 3-year-old daughter had no idea whether she was a boy or a girl. That's completely mind baffling to me.
What's so taboo about talking with your child about what they are and what makes them special? What's so wrong with wanting your kid to be the gender they were born to be?
Feel free to disagree.
I have to say that I read A LOT of mom blogs & usually the posts don't stay with me, but this post stayed with me ALL DAY. It really got me thinking. I have a 20 month old & she knows she is a girl b/c unfortunately I often say to her, "good girl" or "how's my pretty girl". I say "unfortunately" because words matter & words form & I'm focusing on gender & what she is DOING that makes her good. Neither of those are really that important when I look at how I want to raise my daughter. I want to raise her to be kind, creative, loving, curious... I would bet that 3 year old, who doesn't know she's a girl, does know about kindness, acceptance, love, etc. I think when we say our girls will be "girly" or worse yet "our boys will be boys", we are contributing to the all too prevalent and very sad culture we hear way too often about - the bullying & rape culture. Because, that culture didn't just happen. It has grown out of the fact we are more worried about the color of clothes our boys are wearing or if our girls are too tom boy, etc. that we are missing the deepest values we should be teaching our children - love, kindness, generosity, respect, diversity. So to me there are a lot more important things than gender or class or religion, etc. There are deeper human values we ALL share no matter what gender, sexuality, race or creed. You said "feel free to disagree" I hope you don't mind me freely disagreeing with your post. After all, it was this post that has occupied most of my mind today.ReplyDelete
Hi Michelle. Thanks for your comments. You made some excellent points. I too agree that generosity, respect, diversity, kindness, love, etc. are much more important than whether you're a boy or a girl. I want my kids to be comfortable with who they are and what makes them special. To me, part of who they are, is their gender and their race, their family, their background and their culture..whatever that might be. I just don't see the point in raising kids in a gender neutral environment.ReplyDelete
I'm fine with my kids playing with whatever toys they want or choosing their interests, whether it's music or sports or science or art. That's fine. I don't mind if my daughter's friends are boys or my son's friends are all girls. But, I do think they should at least recognize that they are a boy or a girl. And, that's OK. That's part of who they are, along with all the other things that make them special and completely unique.
The other part of this argument is like you said the society-driven norms. Being a mother of both a girl and a boy, I have to say, having a boy is a lot harder in terms of societal norms. Be honest. Does anyone truly really want their boy to wear pink and play with Barbies at the age of 10? Would we want our sons to dress like female cartoon characters for Halloween, high heels and all? Do we really want our little boys to undergo the ridicule they might face? In contrast, having a 10 year old girl who loves riding dirt bikes and playing baseball would be totally acceptable. If a little girl dressed like the Incredible Hulk for Halloween no one would think twice. Obviously this goes in line with what you were talking about in terms of culture. I'm not sure there's a way to fix that, other than make children feel comfortable with who they are.
I know my thoughts aren't completely politically correct, but I'm just being honest. I respect your opinions too.
Thank you for entering into a respectful dialog. That is rarely seen in the blog world. You bring up interesting points. I always wonder how much is formed by culture. Having lived in Europe & Mexico, I saw that some things we see in the USA as "normal" to child rearing are just not "normal" in those cultures. So I wonder if the gender limitations we set up are more from us than true reality. I guess more than anything, I hope I have unconditional love for my children. If I have a boy (I'm currently pregnant) who is playing with dolls at age 10, I hope I let him blossom into the person he was created to be even if that means he grows up and wears pink. :) I guess parenting, more than anything, is an adventure. I'm hanging on for the ride & the only thing I know for certain is that it is all pretty uncertain & I have more questions than answers. :)
Well congratulations on your pregnancy. How exciting. I also have more questions than answers when it comes to parenting. My kids are 7 and my little boy just turned 4 and I often wonder if I'm doing the right things or raising them the right way. I just love them so much and I do want them to be confident and make their own decisions, but I also feel like I can protect them a little at this age by not encouraging my son to dress like a girl. Do you remember the story last year about the mom who let her kid dress like Daphne from Scooby Doo? A lot of moms thought that was great. I guess I'm a little more old-fashioned because I thought it was kind of ridiculous. I kind of thought the mom was doing it more for herself to make a point and not really looking out for the kids' feelings. I know a lot of moms, some of my friends included, entirely disagree with me on this. It's just how I feel though. Thanks for reading and commenting. I welcome a friendly discourse anytime.ReplyDelete