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Monday, November 17, 2008

Boys Like Pink Too


Do you see what I'm doing in the photo up there? I'm playing the role of Al Bundy, helping my son Deal put on some red glitter Dorothyesque dress up shoes. He was 2. It was his birthday party at a children's museum. Stop the judging. Pull up your jaw. Roll your eyes back into your head. Take a breath. He was 2, people. 2.

And you know what? Deal is 3 now, and his favorite color is pink.

Mac Daddy and I don't care. His favorite color will change 10 times before he hits grade school. Bird's favorite color changes almost daily or every time he grabs a new crayon from the Crayola box of 64. And if Deal is 54 and still loves pink, I don't care. In fact, Mac Daddy can rock a pink shirt. Hubba. Hubba.

My point is this: Shut up about my son's sexuality. He's a preschooler for cripe's sake. Really, should we be talking about sexuality at this tender age? I bet you wouldn't want me waxing about your 3-year old daughter's sexuality. Sounds dirty, right? Because it is! You are twisted people. Deal is not to be taunted, judged, or otherwise mocked. Deal is quite simply the sweetest child you will ever come to know. There isn't enough room in cyberspace to list the many ways he shows his utter sweet demeanor. And yes, I write this from the frustration stemming from multiple comments at school.

The fathers in preschool who guffaw at Deal's little "all about me" sheet that lists pink as his favorite color should take a good look in the mirror. You're deriding a child, assholes. Ditto to the moms who look in horror when Deal trapses around in those red glittery shoes at the children's museum. Some have even been brazen enough to flat out ask me if I'm okay with that. Gee, are you okay with your son's snot ridden hair and satanic laugh as he sticks his hand down his pants and then sucks his fingers, lady? Shut the hell up! Then those queen bee moms retreat to their little friends and whisper and point. Yeah, high school clearly is alive and well. The difference now is that I'm not the one being taunted. Don't fuck with me when it comes to my sons.

Do these same mothers and fathers denigrate little girls when they dress up in scrubs or a firefigher helmet? Do they sneer when girls like blue or green or other such colors we tag as masculine? And why do gender roles need to be so clearly defined? Does society tell us that girls cannot be assertive and boys cannot be sensitive? Au contraire, mes amis! Bird asked Santa for two dolls for Christmas when he was 2. He also had a pink toy stroller. He stuffed it full of super hero figurines and raced it around the house. Deal is rough and tumble and can wallop the heck out of a pitched baseball. Both of my sons cause a ruckus with their wrestling, sword fighting, and car racing. Well, that's the stuff they do with Mac Daddy. They are plenty happy coloring with me or doing a craft project or rocking out to Aerosmith for Dance Party USA.

I don't really give a damn what my boys become, as long as they are kind, genuine, productive, and smart contributors to society. I hope they have a good sense of humor and their dad's easy going nature too. I would be so ashamed if my sons grow up to be like those dads in preschool.

Deal loved those glittery shoes so much that he picked them out to give to his buddy Sarah for her birthday.
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29 comments:

AMomTwoBoys said...

Love it! Dylan (3.5) is constantly saying: My favorite color is blue, green, purple, pink, red, yellow...all of them!

And his pre-school has dress up day a few times a week and most of the boys parade around in princess dresses. He refuses to put ANYTHING on, though. He NEEDS an imagination!

And AMEN! I LOVE this post!

Papa Bradstein said...

3B's favorite color is most often pink. Even more so if it's sparkly or shiny. I think he has an innate understanding that it coordinates well with his red hair. Fortunately, we haven't run into the kind of nonsense you have yet, but I'm sure we will. My reaction will be about the same as yours, although maybe with more cursing.

The Over-Thinker said...

"Gee, are you okay with your son's snot ridden hair and satanic laugh as he sticks his hand down his pants and then sucks his fingers, lady?"

You. Are. Awesome.

And thank GOD there are moms like you out there.

LilaTovCocktail said...

Here's a little parable about gender, sexuality, and difference I think you'll like:

Sandra Bem, a professor of psych at Cornell, used to tell a story about her son to her Psychology of Gender Class.

One day her son(preschool or kindergarten-age, I think) decided to wear a barrette to school to keep his hair out of his eyes. Naturally another boy taunted him and called him a girl.

When the Bems' son challenged him, the other boy said, "Everybody knows that the difference between boys and girls is that girls wear barrettes and boys don't."

"No," said the young Bem, whose parents were both researches in the psychology of gender, "No, the difference boys and girls is that boys have a penis and girls don't."

To which his astonished and horrified classmate replied, "That's not true! Everybody has a penis!"

Of course, grown-up men can be just as unenlightened. Some seem to feel it's their civic duty to extinguish any behavior in little boys which doesn't fit their narrow definitions of masculinity.

It would be a sad, sad world without good mommies like us!

Fairly Odd Mother said...

A male neighbor saw my son's bright red toenails and said, "I need to talk to your father about that!" Ridiculous.

I also remember when my oldest was about 2, we were in a playgroup with a neurotic mother who scolded her son for hugging another boy in the group ("We ONLY HUG GIRLS!"), and was greatly concerned that her son loved to play with toy kitchens. Ugh.

I purposely give my son the pink plate if that's what I grab first, or let him wear one of his sister's necklaces. At Disney, what did he chose for his candy snack? A Princess Candy Necklace set. And, I was SO happy that, at 4, he doesn't yet know that there are many close-minded dimwits who would freak out about this.

karen said...

You rock! Go mom! My 3 year old son was in love with a blue sparkly Cinderella costume this year for Halloween until my 5 year old son said "that's for girls" in that nasty disapproving voice. I was so upset. I told him that his brother could pick out any costume he wanted and that this one was great, but it was too late. My baby adores his big brother, and he chose a batman costume, but his eyes never lit up over it the way they had over the Cinderella one. My DH was so upset when he heard the story, if we had had the cash, he would have gone back and bought it anyway, so little one could wear it whenever he wanted. Yay hubby! But where did oldest learn that sort of censorious behavior? (sigh)

ilinap said...

So glad to hear from all of you who are like-minded and sensible! Hurray for children who are curious, open minded, imaginative, and above all, innocent! You are all welcome to come for a play date at my house any time. Come on a Friday...there will be cocktails!

DraMa said...

That is the best damn cyber bitch-slap ever!!

My son's favorite color was purple, now it's red. Good times:) They also like to wear my shoes around the house. Eh, I don't care. Like you said, they are little. And if my boys grow up and tell me they are gay someday then I will leap for joy and say LETS GO SHOPPING BOYS!

My sons are my sons no matter what. Red glitter shoes or pellet guns. They are my loves.. my children.

abbyjess said...

Hear, hear! I couldn't agree more. My son (16 mo) loves anything pink and glittery. I mean, there's nothing more eye catching than that. I mentioned it to a friend and she responded with, "I'll bet his dad's not thrilled." To which I replied, "His dad could care less."

There is absolutely nothing wrong with boys liking "girly" things. My son also plays with baby dolls. I think it's a sign that he has a great role model in his father. He understands that fathers are parents too.

It is shocking the way some people react. They are kids for heavens sake, let them be kids.

Shutter Bitch said...

My son's favorite color on his all about me page? Pink. I wanted to smack my husband when he said he cringed at that. What do you do with the asshole comment comes from the kid's dad?

I love this post. And you know what? My husband's sister runs a day care and has two boys of her own. The most coveted toy in the entire daycare? A baby stroller. No matter the gender the kids fight over that every chance they get, to the point where my SIL had to buy more than one to keep the peace.

It's play. It's imagination. And so what if pink isn't manly enough? They're KIDS!

CathyVon said...

What an awesome post! It so annoys me when people judge and yet don't bother to look at themselves.

Hugs!!!

KTP said...

as you can see you are not alone. my 3.5 y.o. boy picked Dora underpants (panties) as his potty training prize! I wish they made Dora stuff in boy mode, becuase he likes that better tahn Diego!

the mommie of mommie blogs said...

great post and you sure are fired up and well you should be. mean spirited, judgmental people upset me and I think its heartbreaking when its directed at a child. your son is not hurting anyone, including himself. keep up the love and acceptance of your perfectly normal little man!

amyz5 said...

nice post

my son is 16 and as far as we can tell a heterosexual. if he was gay we would certainly not love him any less.

he carried a purse at 3...
with power rangers in it.

that did not make him gay, or bi for that matter. it made him quirky. just like banging on the piano at that age did not make him a musical phenom, what interests a young child does not MAKE them who they are.

sexual orientation is not chosen people! we are who we are. no need to over think the nurture piece. nature is what nature does.

parents, love your kids. for who they are. for what they choose. for who they love.

life is surely hard enough without everyone judging each other's parenting choices.

Cheryl M. Wenzel-Nelson, M.A. said...

I couldn't agree more! I'm sick of having to worry about it. I do what you do, if I grab a pink plate I purposely give it to my son AND the blue one to my daughter so as not to stereotype her, either.

I had to buy both my son and daughter (3.5y twins) a Tinkerbell nightgown. They both wear it to bed. My son wears his OVER his pj's, but he loves having his own nightgown to wear. He also LOVES trucks, cars, and chose a batman costume.

The point is that boys are kids, they're not men. And quite frankly, I think a lot more men could do with enjoying the softer side of life. It might make them less violent (just my personal unproven theory). :)

Thien-Kim said...

I totally agree! Even though my daughter loves pink and wears princess dresses, she loves playing with her tools and "fixes" things around the house. I love it when she wears the pink dress and plays at her toolbench at the same time!

landismom said...

Color me happy that no one has ever given me this much grief about my son's various choices on dress or color!

Great post.

mamasnest said...

This is one of great frustrations. We've always been very careful of not imparting gender roles on our son but it's amazing how many other people think that's they're place. He'll be 3 next month and he LOVES cars,trucks,dinos, skateboarding and legos. BUT he also loves his dolls and purses and Tinkerbell. His favorite color is pink, just yesterday he was wearing my purple tights and asked to have his toenails painted pink. He has long hair and has been known to wear headbands and barrettes.

IT DOES NOT MATTER! So sorry you've been on the receiving end of such negative reactions!

Feener said...

excellent post, i like your voice.

Nette @ Smiling Mom said...

My 4 year old son's favorite color is pink also. He in no way shows signs of being feminine. But if he did, I'd embrace it. :-) I loved this post. Thanks for writing it.

willa said...

i recently heard a mom talk about her 10 year old son wanting to dress up as hannah montana for halloween. and he did, with the clothes, wig, makeup and everything. and she was so matter of fact about it. this in a small town, no less. that little guy is lucky to have her.

i think so much of little kids wanting to dress up as princesses, fairies and sparkly whatevers is about how special and beautiful they are. that's how kids see themselves (when things are going right at home), and we should celebrate it. and maybe be reminded ourselves a little bit about how that feels in the process.

Lawyer Mama said...

LOL! LOVE IT! My youngest (2) loves his pink princess sunglasses and his hot pink sippy cup. We always get looks.

It makes me mad as hell when my oldest (4) comes home from preschool and says "that's a girl toy" to some doll or something glittery. I hate that we have to constantly reprogram them after the world gets a hold of them.

Natalie W. said...

Beautifully said. Thank you.

ilinap said...

Wow, I am so blown away by all your validating comments! So glad that there are parents like you out there. It's a shame to rob our children of the only period of innocence, curiosity, and wonder they have. It's our job to encourage and applaud those little sponges, not judge them. I think I love you all!

paper napkin said...

I am appalled at how quickly my kids learned to label toys, colors, activities "boy" things or "girl" things, despite my protests and discussions about how things are just things, it has nothing to do with being a boy or girl, blah, blah. I loved the times when my son paraded around in a feather boa and wanted his nails painted. And my husband didn't care a whit.

dadshouse said...

Thank you for not gender stereotyping your son. I'm a single dad, and I cook, clean, do laundry - and I can whallop the hell out of any mom or dad who thinks I'm being unmanly. I love and take care of my kids, and I'm a man. Sue me.

Anonymous said...

When I went to pick Ryan up from pre-school today he refused to take off the pink sparkly princess dress he had been wearing during the school day. If it had not been for the fact that I had a cnference call waiting for me and the dress belonged to the school. He could have kept it on all day long.If it makes a happy 2 1/2 yr old. Then go for it!

Great post!
~Nicole

*sara* said...

This is great! Thanks for reaching out & sending me this link. I love finding other mommas of boys who love pink. I created the Boys Like Pink Too t-shirts (www.zazzle.com/armlish) because my three boys just love pink and I was tired of feeling like it was a big deal. Historically, pink was a men's color so when did it get co-opted by little girls?

Whenever my boys wear their pink shirts out in public (and we have quite a few including "Boys Like Pink Too," "Yes, I'm a Boy and Yes I like Pink," and "Pink is the new Blue")-- I always have at least one mom ask where we got the shirts because she also has a pink-loving son. It's not atypical for goodness sake. One of my favorite essays is by Catherine Newman called "Pretty Baby" about her son's love of pink and folks' reactions to it from the anthology It's A Boy: Women Writers on Raising Sons. Let me know if you want a copy of this essay and I will get it to you.

Sorry to go on for so long in this comment. I end up blogging A LOT about gender stereotypes & trying our hardest to defy them in our house. Here's one:
http://fullhandsx3.blogspot.com/2008/04/role-modeling.html

I'll look forward to reading more from you.

Anonymous said...

I love this post. My son LOVES pink too. In fact he just got back from Build a Bear where he picked a Pink Monkey and dressed her up in sparkly red shoes and a skirt. He is who he is and we are lucky to have such a sweet, loving little boy.