The issue with this is there seemed to be an attitude that offering only a restricted choice of items to children which forces them to appear sexualised didn't seem to bother anyone.
I've heard similar complaints from parents regarding colour choices for both boys and girls. The vast majority of girls clothing is pink, or purple. Yes, there are other colours, but they are few and far between. Most stores are the same no matter the price range offered.
For boys, the colours are neutral, or red, navy and green. Occasionally there might be an item in yellow, or orange or even pink - with a stupid and obvious slogan like, 'Tough boys were pink!'... These are often also emblazoned with monsters or skateboarders or superhero characters, in case anyone makes the heinous mistake of confusing the 'little bloke' with a girl - l'horreur!
This morning I saw this article about a German dad who started wearing skirts to show his five year son, who loves to wear dresses, that there is nothing wrong with a boy wearing a dress! Ironically, it is okay in much of the world for men to wear skirts and dresses, it is even national dress in some places.
It's just that in our Western Culture we have this narrow Imperialist view of what is acceptable, and we believe that only women and sexless men (monks and Catholic priests) wear dresses. We're stupid like that (and we're always forgetting the Scots are part of our Western Society).
|German dad with his dress loving boy.|
Earlier this week Bryn took his amber necklace off and refused to wear it to school anymore.
The amber necklace was a gift for his seventh birthday. He's asked for one for weeks and weeks because he really admired Ari's. After only two weeks of wearing it at school, he'd discovered the hard way that 'boys don't wear beads'. The Grumpy Old Man and I tried to tell him that some kids don't know that everyone can wear whatever they want, but he didn't want to have a bar of it. The shaming he'd received was more powerful than any support we could offer him. It was just an amber necklace for crying out loud!
In the end, all this 'Blue is for boys, and dresses are for girls' seems to me to be about putting gender roles in little, very, very separate boxes - and I think it stems back to homophobia and it makes me sick and sad!
If girls want to wear Ben 10 t-shirts, we have to label them 'tomboys' so people will understand 'she's still a girl, she's just not a girly-girly', things are a little harder for boys, they can't be 'marygirls' and because it's not okay to be a 'girly-boy' - which is both offensive to boys who like dresses and pink and, god forbid, beads and also offensive to girls, because it infers that there is something wrong with being like a girl... Are girls less than boys? Is being a boy who likes 'girly stuff' somehow less of a boy...
Is it okay to be a 'tomboy' if you're a girl because aspiring to 'boyish stuff' is somehow understandable - because boys are the best, right? Actually, I think it is more acceptable, on the whole for girls not to be girly, because, you know, being more androgynous or masculine makes you a tough girl which is, you know, more like a man, and men are what everyone should aspire to be like, right?
No, of course not, I hear you all cry, but just think about the messages we send out children!
It's all so screwed up, really. If a boys wants to wear a dress, let him! If a man wants to wear a dress, LET HIM! Stop labelling things as belonging to 'the feminine' and 'the masculine'. Get that these are human constructs, and as such, they are mutable and can be changed if we want them to change - and I think a lot of us do! Stop shaming little children for not buying this narrow, scared little view of the world!
Get with it, already!