Digi Domi

Sharing my passion for technology and learning.

Boys don’t like pink!

on September 17, 2013

So this isn’t necessarily about technology but I may try and awkwardly force a link.  I was listening to my friends podcast 2 Grown Men, you can find it online at http://www.2gm.co (that’s the ‘lazy link’, there are others). The 2 grown male hosts, Nick and James were talking about their children and gender identity in society. Basically the sum of the discussion was about not wanting to indoctrinate your child with gender stereotypes and biases that are prevalent in society. Particularly, James said he worried about his little girl because society still views females as second class citizens, and Nick seemed to agree that he would be more worried about those issues for a girl.

I must say, although I currently don’t have children,  I worry more about having a boy than a girl because of gender stereotypes. I feel there is more to support showing a girl she doesn’t have to be a barbie pink fairy princess (although I can’t say there is anything wrong with that)! Movements such as feminism and the like are useful tools to show a girl she doesn’t have to conform to societies expectations. Although these concepts might be a bit heavy to introduce to a toddler there are still plenty of strong female role models and heroines throughout history to highlight. These female icons go back to Joan of Arch or Boudicia, and can show how women can fight against submissive roles and be leaders or fighters.  There are also strong women in movies and TV, and not all of them are even bitches anymore! Some are simply strong powerful women, who are respected by many, even if they do still have to fight for what they want. I’m not saying equality is achieved, extinguish you’re burning bras, I’m simply saying enough progress has been made that there are alternatives to expose a girl to. Things as simple as if you put a girl in trousers then no one would blink. If you decide to put her in a red or a blue outfit rather than pink today, then not too many people will comment.

But a boy…if you don’t want to be stereotypical male, which involves a degree of machismo and interest in sports culture, and perhaps instead you like pink or My Little Pony then you are clearly gay! Of course just because you like, say pink or purple, and enjoy traditionally female toys, that doesn’t determine your sexual orientation. That would be like saying that an enjoyment of sports means you are definitely straight, again that couldn’t be more wrong. So who do you tell you’re son about? Okay there are some famous transvestites such as Eddie Izzard that could be used as an icon, and I’m certainly grateful for them…but I don’t know of many. In fact Izzard is the only one I can think of right now who isn’t homosexual. That might just be my ignorance, and I would appreciate any guidance to help me learn more on this issue. But I can guarantee you in modern British society, if you put a baby boy in a pink onesie,  you will definitely raise eyebrows.  Even having a son with long hair, whether it is due to participation in a sub-culture with a masculine energy or not, he is going to attract comments.

All of this concern is not because I want my child (male or female) to be an outcast, of course I will be happy if they fit into societies mold. Because all of this concern is because in my idealist-young-left-wing-childless mind I want my child to be themselves, I want them to feel free to be whoever they are, whether that fits society’s expectations or not. I know that is what all parents want,  and so I’m not so silly for having those ideas. I don’t worry about teaching my daughter she can ignore the stereotypes forced upon her, and I don’t worry that my friends and family will agree they are outdated and support me in this en devour. I do worry about teaching my son he can fight the stereotypes, and I’m not sure my friends or family would support this. I’m not sure my husband would let me put a boy in a pink onesie, he would probably call it hippy nonsense. And not because he is small minded, and not because he doesn’t support me, but because all the fighting for sub-cultures and minorities has meant the dominant male population hasn’t been able to complain.

Maybe I’m worrying about nothing and when I have my child it will be fine. The internet may even play an important role, making it easier for any awkward, counter-culture child to find like-minded souls (there’s the awkward link). But I still worry about the role models I have for a son, who wants to look at mummy’s My Little Pony collection (look, not touch these are collectables!) more than the little girl who wants to play contact sports.

2 responses to “Boys don’t like pink!

  1. Jasmin Hodge says:

    Boys will be boys and girls will be girls………and boys!

    I really enjoyed this Dom and brought back many fond memories of my childrens early years and ‘finding themselves’. Not that it was many many years ago, my wee boy is 5 and my wee girl is 9 now – so I can comment on my own experiences as they are quite fresh in my head.

    My first born, my daughter, was immediately recognisable as a girl due to pink clothes, onesy’s, pink blankets, pink hats, pink bits on pram, pink bits on pram bag and I am ashamed to say, pink knitted shoes hanging from her car seat displaying a particularly bling gold ‘A’ for her initial. Now whether that was because she was the first girl amongst a lot of boys in my world, who knows, but as my daughter grew up she had no choice but to like pink, pink, pink. She had all the girly girl toys before she was old enough to know what she liked, and probably because they ‘went with her room’.

    I took her to ballet classes (3 years old!!) and bought her fur coats for christmas day 🙂

    Now, I am not what you would call a ‘girly girl’ and I am sure I was trying to stereotype her into being a ‘typical’ little girl and following the crowd with what I thought she should become and what activities she would and should enjoy. Why? Needless to say, she become her own wee person and developed her own ideas as to what she enjoys and what she applys herself too.

    Fast forward today and she is now a singer with her schools glee club (absolutely takes that from me), a keen drummer and is about to make her debut on the drums with the glee club in front of a 2000 deep audience, has gave up dancing and runs for her county in cross country knee deep in mud sometimes! Though I must say, she still has a girly girl side and loves shopping and lip gloss 🙂 thank goodness!

    I had my wee boy when my daughter was 3, so I think that was when the need to make sure she fitted the stereotype female toddler ended. I was blessed to have a wee girl AND a wee boy and couldn’t be happier with my lot. Plus, I had 3 years’ experience by then and realised wee kids don’t need to conform to anything, it’s just the pushy parents.

    With my boy, I let his hair grow with the cute wee ringlets, let him play with all of his big sisters toys. I have to say the doll and the pram were by far his favourite! Dora the Explorer was definitely his favourite programme and he took his sister’s Dora Doll out with him on many occasion.

    I must admit, when his Daddy was home I would encourage him not to take the Dora doll out, encourage taking Iggle Piggle more…
    Thinking about it, my husband didn’t contribute to any of the choices I made for our daughter, it was just a case of, look what we are doing, or we started this class today or how cute is this wee dress?? It wasn’t that he didn’t care or his opinion didn’t count, he was just happy to let me (a female) call all the sub concious shots.

    With our son though, the dynamics began to shift slightly. He wanted to dress our son in tracksuits and trainers, I liked to dress him in cords, tank tops and shoes 🙂 If he came home and we were in the garden playing, our son running about with his ‘pram and doll’, then he would very subtly take it off him and declare ‘we are going to the park to kick a ball about’ – or not so very subtly when I decided that our son was getting a kitchen for xmas and how awesome the role play would be for him….. not a chance! My husband would then beat his chest like Tarzan and say ‘I man, you woman’! Well, not quite……………..
    Nowadays, my boy plays football twice a week, goes to dance classes (which is street dancing I must add) and lives and breathes LEGO (with short hair)

    The only role model a child needs, I think, is their Mummy and Daddy so, I think your child will be in very, very good hands…………………………………………….

  2. […] not unusual things to see men engage in. This brings me beautifully back to my previous post about men having to be men, and having no role models if they wish to express anything nontraditional. So what if a guy wants to wear skinny jeans or cry? Neither of them are necessarily unhealthy […]

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