How do you explain to kids that certain things are girl / boy things?(167 Posts)
Sorry if its a dumb question. We were picking out shoes for ds recently (2y) and he kept pointing at pink ballet pump shoes in the catalogues. I didn't know how to say that those designs were for girls. Is there a nice way to explain this?? I have no issue with him playing with pink toys as i believe toys are gender neutral, and am a bit stumped as to how I explain that he can't wear certain things because he's a boy!
Why can't he? Are his feet an odd shape?
I wouldn't tell him, personally. I might point out how impractical they are for jumping in muddy puddles, on the other hand, but then I wouldn't buy them for a 2 year old girl either.
I wouldn't say anything, apart from if they're shoes for general day to day wear they aren't very practical!
apart from the fact that no-one should wear ballet shoes except to do ballet (really bad for the feet), what's the problem?
Given the choice my DS would pick out pink in anything, be it clothes, shoes, toys, whatever. It's his fave colour and as far as I'm concerned that's fine.
Ballet pumps are just not functional as winter footwear IMO though, unless doing ballet, so why not buy him a cheapo pair for dressing up indoors and you choose him some outdoor shoes that are more practical.
I'd just say they were special shoes for dancing. Why mention gender?
Why can't he wear pink ballet shoes?
My DS chose his own pink flowery wellies at age four and wore them proudly for a year.
I'm glad that he lives in a society where he can choose. Or do I mean I HOPE he lives in a society where he can choose?
Pink does not belong to girls
Really it doesn't.
I would refuse them for boys and girls on the basis that they were not suitable everyday footwear.
Not mention that they are "for girls".
I think its so sad little boys get put in this box at such an early age. Friend of mine's husband refused to let their little boy have a £2 pram to push about. I think he was afraid he would catch gay or something. Ridiculous and sad.
I just strained my eyeballs rolling them too hard. FFS.
Pink is fine for either sex.
Ballet pumps (except for ballet) are crap for either sex.
I'm so much more interested in what is good for their foot health than the colour.
I find the pram thing particularly mystifying. I mean most of these blokes push their own bloody kids' prams without apparently calling their own sexuality into question?!
And yes to strained eyeballs. My toddler son just went to bed wearing rather fetching pink pyjamas with ice-creams on them. I don't think his willy has fallen off, though I'll have a quick check in the morning just in case.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
You tell him that ballet shoes are for ballet dancers surely. Not that they're for girls
what an odd thread.
I will add ds is 3.5 and we've not yet covered pink is girls blue is for boys.
I was just explaining to my dd 5 that pink isn't just for girls. Although I wouldn't let my ds wear ballet pumps, as he would break his neck the first time he tried to run in them. FIL is horrified at the stuff I let him dress up in (i am going to turn him gay apparently!) dd loves dressing ds up as a fairy/princess, much to FIL annoyance
I think we have established there is a risk his willy will fall off. Or he will catch gay.
Do you know that not much more than 100 years ago that ONLY boys wore pink. It was a boys' colour.
DS is currently wearing pink pyjamas with a ballerina on the front of them. You'd be forgiven for thinking they were hand me downs from his big sister. They aren't. They're his, he loves them. Similarly, he loves his velvet pink trousers, flowery tops and his little dolly. He also loves his tool kit and playing rugby. They're just things and he chose them himself. On Monday, his big sister plays rugby (only girl) and she has mostly male friends and collects Marvel superhero stuff. The only time my heart sinks a bit is when dd comes home and says she's been teased for doing boy stuff or being told certain stuff is for boys only. Bollocks, frankly.
Just say that ballet dancers wear them and that he doesn't need a pair right now. He can be Billy Elliott when he's older if he likes?
I think you're all being a bit disingenuous. Yes if course boys can wear pink and why not ballet pumps etc etc. but op still needs her dc to understand that society currently sees some things as boyish and some as girly, so they understand why some people may react to them the way they do, rightly or wrongly.
No he doesn't need to understand why some people are prejudiced - he just needs to be not prejudiced himself! Really. That's all it takes.
He has many years ahead in which to learn that sadly some people are closed minded bigots. For now, let him play.
He's only two, Homophone.
I understand what you are saying,but It's just too early imo.
i would say to him, "if you wear those shoes, your genitals will shrivel up and you will becaome a sort of fake girl, do you want that? do you?"
That should get the message across that the shape of is genitals determines what footwear is aceptable for him. Oh, no, wait a minute...
Homophones not disingenuous. It is perfectly possible for a 2yo boy to wear pink shoes - although maybe not these ones for practicality reasons. My DS 3 wore a princess dress out and about at half term and had pink nail polish because he wants to copy his big sister. I'm glad that he doesn't know how stupid we are, yet.
If we stop teaching our children that society says X is for boys and Y is for girls, what terrible will happen?
Oh, that's it.
The ridiculous notion of X being for boys and Y being for girls will just disappear.
Most toddlers have one pair of shoes at a time. I genuinely wouldn't want a DS to have pink shoes as his only pair of shoes as they wouldn't go with the rest of his clothes if he has a predominantly boy styled wardrobe. I also would get fed up of having the same conversation with grandparents, friends and random passers-by. If you can afford many pairs of shoes then fine, have a pink pair for wearing some of the time. To be fair I don't have a DS and I choose all of DD's clothes in a rather controlling way and wouldn't let her have pink shoes as her only pair as I don't think that they work well with the colours she mostly wears.
Actual LOL for Greythorne's post - mwahahahahahaaaa!
I think you're getting a typical mn thrashing for stereotyping. Learn from your mistakes op
No stereotyping.tis wrong !
Homophone men wear pink shirts, women wear blue. Being simplistic but the idea of blue for boys, pink for girls is outdated and silly.
But why does she homophone, this never occurred for my dd who would often as a toddler and still does from occasion have days where she wants to wear boys clothes. It is because it is a little boy that the messages are different.
Sadly as she grows she learns this herself, however I support her to see how wrong this is and she continues to make her own choice regardless. I never felt the need to prepare her for other people's reactions of any kind. Those people expose their own ignorances by them selves.
I don't think OP is getting a thrashing I think all messages have been friendly supportive and reassuring
Cripes, I must be a Daily Mail reading, homophobic, right wing extremist - because I wouldn't love my 2 year old boy to walk around wearing pink ballet pumps....I must tell all my gay friends this....and throw away my copy of the Guardian....and tell my husband to start wearing a dress to work - because in that suit...he's just FAR too conformist.
But seriously, I would never stop my DS from dressing up at home in a ballerina outfit if he wanted, and he's got several pink shirts and shorts, but I reckon most mums and dads I know wouldn't dress their little boy in a pair of pink ballet shoes to go out in... maybe I know very bad people.
Shoes are not worn on genitals, so genitals don't need to influence footwear choices.
Most parents wouldn't let their children out in ballet shoes because they would get very cold, wet feet. What are your other objections?
If only mumsnet was representative of the whole population. But given it's not I think totally fair enough to want your children to understand how their choices may be viewed by other less enlightened folk. They might then still want the ballet shoe and that's fine. But actually it would be mean not to explain how it might be seen.
I wouldn't let my 2 year old pick out his own shoes exactly because he'd want sequined ballet pumps while I want him to have nice, sensible shoes.
If I was just buying slippers or play shoes though I would let him wear pink if he wanted.
I agree with Homophone.
My DS has a doll's house and a pushchair, but the fact is that across all societies, including animal and bird society, genders have or display different outward appearances - whether it's their natural appearance or artificial adornment.
Maybe in a thousand years' time we will all look totally androgynous, and clothes will be interchangeable, but until then, males and females, from Amazonian tribes to New Yorkers, do wear different things, and do possess different outward appearances. And for my son's sake, particularly when he goes to school, I would think that gently letting him know that mostly girls wear this, mostly boys wear that, could save him from bullying or teasing. And could be something he might thank me for in the future.
Having said that, if he showed a big interest in wearing stereotypically girls clothes, I wouldn't stop him. I just think he has a right to know what the societal norms are, at present.
It seems there are a lot of advocates on here of the extreme gender-neutral approach as seen here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9028479/Couple-raise-child-as-gender-neutral-to-avoid-stereotyping.html
Personally I feel a bit sorry for the little boy.
Thank you lifesobeautiful and homophone. You've explained my reservations about the pink shoes far better than I could have. I have no issue with him wearing girly clothes (I mean dresses and ballet pumps) for play /dressing up/ at home. But I would like him to conform while out and about.
So, OP, do you have a DD and, if so, do you let her wear ballet pumps outdoors?
Because in RL I don't know a single parent who actually allows their DC to wear ballet pumps outdoors. On practical grounds.
I'm not sure... so forgive me if I'm wrong... but I think some posters may be getting confused between ballet slippers - see here:
and ballet pumps (which are just flats really, I wear them all the time! - see here:
Ballet slippers would be a very odd thing for anyone to wear outside!
I agree with Homophone,as I stated before.
But I do believe that with a two year old I would do what I can to avoid tarnishing that two year olds' rosy world view.
Leave that till he's older.Let the world be a happy place for as long as possible.
I don't. Ever. First pair of shoes my daughter chose for herself was from the boys' range at Clarks, because for reasons I can't fathom, they don't do dinosaurs in the girls' range.
I know plenty of little boys who like dressing up as fairies - if noone tells them they're not supposed to do it, then they don't get the idea that boys aren't allowed.
I also know a little boy who wished for a pink t-shirt with all his heart. His mum didn't let him, so he wouldn't get bullied. So what did that teach him?
I find the comments on this thread rather odd. Would you all really allow your sons to wear PINK shoes, of any description?
Rightly or wrongly, in the society in which we live, some things are for girls, and some things are for boys. Fact of life. Get over it.
Rightly or wrongly some people are just small minded idiots. Fact of life. Get over it.
If I had a son he could wear what he wanted as long as it was suitable for the weather. My daughter has a t shirt with stuff about - gasp - physics on it. Better bin that pronto and get something with Barbie riding a unicorn eh.
Could those with such a deep seated aversion to a boy child wearing anything 'girly' explain their objections with any other argument than 'other people may object'?
Interesting take on how you deal with 'less enlightened' folk - you push your children to "conform' in case you upset the less enlightened.
Well thank goodness not everyone in history has taken that view.
I completely agree with what you are saying Spiro.
But as grown ups it is our judged choice to make a stand against the norms of society and to face the possible (probable) aggro that goes with it.
I think its understandable to guide your child through an easier path whilst teaching them a differing world view. Hopefully then they will choose to stand up for what they believe in,when it becomes their choice to stand up,and ultimately end up in a more enlightened majority.
If letting a two year old child wear pink shoes is transgressing against our 'societal norms' then frankly I despair of society.
If those really are 'societal norms' then I think they should be actively despised by all right thinking people.
Lets not pussy foot around the issue. The objection to boys wearing girls stuff is because people think the boy will be considered 'gay' by some knuckle dragging Neanderthals. It is that kind of thinking that leads to gay people being abused and beaten up by adults.
If some people took the stick out of their bottoms and stop fussing about something so utterly inconsequential as whether little Jimmy likes a flowery top or not, the world would be a much better place.
I wouldn't use my son, if I had one, as an unwitting flag bearer for my beliefs but if he wanted to go it at any age in a hula skirt with flowers in his hair he damn well would and I would be right behind him, making sure any bigoted fools who wanted to pass remarks made them to ME first.
But I think the point being made here Spiro is that in letting him go out in a hula skirt with flowers in his hair you would,imo,be allowing him to be an unwitting flag bearer for your beliefs.
It's undeniably wrong that it is (imo) the case, I completely agree.
But,even if you are there taking the bigoted fools on yourself,it feels harsh to me that a two year old should be exposed to such bigotry.
I would like to agree with you,but my instincts think that it's not quite the time for that yet.
Another generation on,then maybe.
All you lot giving OP a hard time make me laugh. I don't believe any of you go out shopping for clothes/shoes for your ds and hit the section labled girls first.
Yes your child may choose to wear pink, but I don't believe that any of you specifically would make that choice, thinking, Ds has so many dinosaur and car tops. I think I will get him a nice pink flowery one this time.
OP makes it quite clear she didn't want to make a gender issue otherwise she would have just said to her Ds, "they are for girls, you are a boy, you can't have them."
And I hear what you're saying about homophobia and how it needs tackling right now.
Many adults could become more active to challenge that,and I think that's where our focus should be.
I don't think anyone has said that they themselfs would make that choice for their children but the message most potsers are giving is,if they made that choice themselfs at such a young age then they would alow it given it was a safe and practical choice.
What Voldemort said right there.
If I had a son who I forced into gay garments so I could pervade him up and down my local shopping street as a target for abuse then of course that would be utterly selfish and wrong.
But if I had a son who WANTED at any age to wear whatever he liked, then so long as it wasn't speedos whilst it was snowing he gets my support.
O yes let's wait another generation to challenge people who think a boy wearing pink is an abomination. Thank goodness Rosa Parks didn't have a mother like some of those on this thread.
If you just accept things as facts instead of challenging them, they will never change.
Wearing what he likes hasn't held back turner prize winner Greyson Perry. In fact his one individualism has been the fuel to his creativity and success, if I doubt teach your children about those inspirational people who has flurished with individualism. There are plenty out there.
Errrrm.. you DON'T explain certain things are boy/girl things.
Why would you want to? I don't get it.
I'd let DS wear pink shoes out. He frequently chooses to play with Barbies and sylvanians over cars and trains. In toys r us the other day he had a voucher and happily chose a pink and purple unicorn pillow pet. Which he takes on buses, to nursery etc and has had no comments or looks.
DD happily wears spiderman pjs, DS dresses up in various costumes that often include heels and dresses. If either of them catches the gay then oh well at least they had a childhood free of conforming to outdated standards and ideals.
I very clearly did not say we should wait another generation to challenge people who think a boy wearing pink is an abomination.
I merely suggest that I would want to protect my children at such a very young age from such bigotry.
My DS is 4.5. He found some pink, glittery sandals in Brantano on Tuesday. He said 'I like, these, I don't have any shoes like these, can I have them?'. My reply was exactly the same as my reply to the spiderman shoes he wanted - how much are they? Oh, no, 25£ is too much money'. He put them carefully back. TBH if they had been a fiver I would have bought them!
Seriously, I would do the same with DS as I do with DD.
"Ballet pumps are rubbish for running around in. I'm not getting those."
Then we'd have a look in the trainer section and find something there. The whole colour thing belonging to certain genders is a load of shit.
Why is there all this panic about pink turning boys gay but not blue and trucks turning girls into lesbians? Genuinely baffled.
I cannot imagine what DH would say if I brought either of our sons home wearing pink ballet pumps. MNetters are rather more free-thinking than RL people.
My three ds all had prams kitchens and ironing boards but I still wouldn't have let them wear obviously girls shoes cos they'd have had the piss taken
I agree with most non gender specifics but as the majority of people dress in gender specific clothes and shoes then I can't see it's a massive issue!
Sorry not read all the thread but adding my two penn'orth to the 'why not?' camp. I see no reason why boys can't wear pink ballet pumps at age 2 if they want to. Equally I see no reason why girls can't wear brown DM's at age 2.
If he was 7 or 8 and in school, that might be different.
If 'society sees some things as boyish and some as girly' that is up to other people. That's how stupid prejudices arise. How come it's okay for an investment banker (plucking profession out of the air) to wear a pink shirt with a white collar, but not for a small boy to wear a pink t-shirt?
And absolutely YY that pink used to be a boys colour.
I imagine Rosa Parks had a mother who taught her a sense of right and wrong and taught her to challenge what is wrong in this world.
There is a lot of time to teach children about these things when they are older and have more awareness than understanding than a two year old.
DS has asked for pink converse next. If I can find some cheap enough I don't have a problem with buying them. It's not the other children that will ridicule him. It'll be the small minded adults that can't deal with a 4 year old expressing his likes through his clothing choices.
And why dies it have any impact on homophobia? My brother is a gay man and he and his friends don't wear women's clothes and shoes?
There's a difference too between plain pink pumps or a pink t shirt and an some sparkly pink pumps adorned with flowers and lace!
I'm not sure I get the gay thing here. None of my male gay friends wear female clothes or go out in female shoes? In fact most of them wear very masculine clothes. The issue is not to do with gayness is it? I'm certainly not remotely homophobic - and yet - shock and horror - I do mildly conform to what boys and girls wear (as do my gay friends it seems)!!
And also, the OP didn't say she didn't want her DS wearing pink - pink looks great on boys and men - both my husband and my DS wear pink. I don't think pink is the issue - it was 'girls' ballet shoes.
Maybe I live in a very unenlightened area - and have only ever travelled to very unenlightened areas - because I've never actually seen a little boy walking around the streets wearing 'girl's' shoes. We have a resident transvestite wear we live - who cycles around wearing make-up, mini skirts and stilettos - and he has a girlfriend apparently. Wanting to wear female clothes is not a gay/straight thing.
I don't think a two year old will think he's changing the world for the good of all.
I don't think it will change any bigots viewpoints to send him out in pink ballet pumps.
But I do think that the possible result could be a very upset little boy learning the very hard lesson,very early,that the world is not the rosy place he thinks it is,where everyone wants to be friends.
Let him wear what he wants at home.Let him wear pink in public.
But don't let him go out in stuff you know will challenge the gender stereotypes to the point that there could be a scene in front of him.
Channel that strength of feeling into taking action as an adult towards changing these dinosaur attitudes.
I strongly oppose the suggestion that I am a close-minded bigoted neanderthal because I dress my boy in 'boy's' clothes... I'm a senior editor at a left-wing Sunday broadsheet, and am constantly putting out stories related to bigotry (and quite frankly FAR greater world evils than 'gender stereotyping through clothing' - such as the slaughter of children in Syria, or the subjugation of women in the Middle East, the hounding of homosexuals in Iran, or starvation and poverty in Africa).
Looking female - sadly, we still have breasts...perhaps we can hope those disappear through evolution - or looking male (curse that bodily hair and straight hips), is natural for both humans and animals. Those who think it's not will have to take their soapbox to every corner of the globe, to tribes in the remotest jungles and the furthest deserts, and tell them how awful and bigoted they are that their men wear one thing and their women another.
Personally I think it'll be quite a sad day when everyone looks exactly the same.
If you're going to be so PC about it- gay men do not wear pink anymore than straight men. You are confusing gay with transvestite and the two are not the same, plenty of transvestite men are straight. (this is not directed at the OP)
And being a transvestite does not mean you wear pink either.
As someone who dressed her toddler son in pink jeans in the 80s, and got some funny looks then, I can tell you, I would still not have bought girls shoes for him. Why? Because as girls shoes they are probably a narrower fit and would not fit his chubby little feet.
As for my gay brother- he would not be seen dead in pink or anything feminine, but he did have a penchant for washing machines and dish washers.
But, OP, I wouldn't have bought them either, saying no they're not practical is enough, especially at 2.
I've got 2 younger brothers, one was obsessed with trains and diggers as a toddler, he's gay, although still doesn't have a camp bone in his body. The younger one loved dressing up in fairy outfits and had a doll he took everywhere, still pretty camp as an adult but into girls
a bit too much IMO
I try to avoid it but it appears that someone else, probably either MIL or one of her interfering friends, has managed to put the idea into DS1's head already.
I wouldn't let him have pink ballet pumps though - totally impractical. I wouldn't let him have any colour ballet pumps, they're awful "shoes"!
He had red canvas shoes from Jojomamanbebe when he was smaller.
I love the pic that goes around FB every now and then about how to tell whether a toy is for boys or girls - does it require a penis to operate it? Yes = boys' toy; No = toy for boys AND girls.
Where on earth do some of you people live where a toddler would be publicly mocked for wearing pink shoes??? The mind boggles.
I've worked in a nursery and believe me loads of boys came in girls clothes and girls came in boys clothes - it really isn't an issue for under 5s unless adults try to make it into an issue.
it really isn't an issue, it really isn't
the world has gone mad
When ds1 was about four, he begged me for some red sequinned baseball shoes, that I refused to let him have on the grounds they are "not sensible"
My lovely little boy is now ten, and he can't get red sequinned baseball boots in his size, and I wish so much that I had just bought them for m! For goodness sake, what's the worse that can happen, they have shiny shoes for a few weeks, that is it.
There is no such thing as clothes for boys and clothes for girls and the only people who think there is are the sort of people I keep my children away from!
would have few qualms about a 2 year old boy wearing these
but these compare.ebay.co.uk/like/250998832347?var=lv<yp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar&adtype=pla&crdt=0 would be a no
I would put any child in the first for day to day wear, but wouldn't be keen on any child wearing the second for day to day wear maybe an older child for occasions but never a toddler, they just would not be good enough support etc for their feet, in my opinion. I can't see many older boys wishing to wear the second and in fact my dd wouldn't either, however if the did I think I would possibly have to support their choices.
I have made a link with gay because none of you who object can give me a reason, other than it 'transgresses societal norms' which I have assume means you fear boy children will catch gay if they wear effeminate clothing.
If I am wrong in that assumption apologies. Please tell me the real reasons.
I do not advocate everyone looking the same. What rot. Not do I assume gay men wear pink. Nor do I confuse being gay with being a transvestite.
All I am saying is that we should be allowed to wear what we like without being told - that is for boys, that is for girls. I think that is ridiculous and pathetic. Tribespeople in the amazon basin can do what they like. Grown women can celebrate their breasts as much as they like.
Surprisingly, I really don't care.
But a little boy being told he can't have something pink and sparkly because he transgresses societal norms? O do fuck off.
By the way I have just got back from walking my dog and there was a grown man jogging in pink shorts. I nearly threw up.i was literally shaking with rage. There were children in that park. God knows what impact it would have had on their ability to conform to societal norms. So i set my dog on him, it was the right thing to do.
Somebody once called social services on a client of mine who practices that no-nappy thing and dresses her son in pink clothes. Unhygienic and inappropriate were the terms used and the woman in question was actually investigated too. I was . Neither of those things are for me and I probably wouldn't buy my son ballet shoes either but others can do as they like.
Unhygenic. Excuse the terrible typing.
What was the outcome of the social services investigation? I don't think there is any problem in investigating after such a complaint but I would hope if her child was not at risk then that would be the outcome.
No child definitely was not at risk and is still with mum.
I find thisreally hard partly because if pink was universally acknowledged as fair game for boys, I would have so many more shopping opportunities that I'd be even more overdrawn than I already am, and probably have twice as many prams.
I do understand the reluctance to dress a boy in 'girl' stuff - if you want a way to explain it, then say that most people see pink as being for girls. But honestly I don't see why it should be this way.
My problem is more about conforming, and not being the 'odd one out' that everyone goes at (believe me I was the little girl who wore the wrong things/played the wrong stuff and got that all the time, and I was lonely)
but I still accept being odd in other respects, and put up with people doingthat face/asking me stuff. I hate it though, being different.
ds3 has a purplish pink hat, that was the only one in his size - he's a baby and people keep saying it's a girl, right? assuming he is a fairly ugly girl. I hate explaining.
ds2 had a dolls buggy for a while. a pink one. he is also being home edded at the moment and this is even worse - I had literally an audience of three or four shocked/interested parents to speak to the other day, I totally didn't want to, they all kind of gathered round Yes I believe in what I am doing but it's not a public service announcement. I don't want to convert folks.
So I can get what the OP means. still - it is sad.
When my daughter was a tiny baby, I went to a craft fair with her. She was dressed in a navy and white striped babygro which had pink patches on it.
Cue several people (aka busybodies) asking if 'it' was a boy or a girl. I smiled sweetly and said, 'a girl, why?'. 'Oh, just that it's confusing when they're dressed like that'. My reply? "Good."
He's 2. Any other comment is superfluous ffs.
At 2, my ds tries my high heel shoes on. He puts on his dad's steel toe cap boots. He thinks dinosaurs are coming and if he hides under blanket they can't get him.
Plenty of time to learn from others about life's prejudices when he's older. For now just enjoy his lovely, lovely innocence.
When I was at soft play with ds last year, another mother told her 3 yo boy not to play with the hoover because it was a girl's toy. My heart broke a little bit, both for the little boy and for society. I felt it my duty to redress this imbalance by buying my ds a hoover and a microwave with plastic food for Christmas.
I got mine a play house,(second hand) a pretend kitchen and all that. I was going to do it up, but before I had a chance to, they filled the drawers with stones, cooked mud and broke the windows by shooting at it.
<despairs> is this just a boy thing?
outside - nope, more of a child thing
My 4 yr old son wears bright pink crocs. they were hand-me-downs from his sister. She wears blue crocs handed down from a cousin. I never gave it a thought until a lady in the park told me she thought it was brilliant the way I was subjecting gender expectations with my children's footwear.
I wasn't. I was just saving a few quid.
My DS1 has a mini Henry and a kitchen - he likes to do pretend vacuuming (polystyrene balls are about the only thing the Henry will suck up) and cook food for us - I haven't got him a toy ironing board and iron, because I never do it and he almost never sees Daddy do it but I should really.
We had the discussion about baby dolls and pushchairs, but DS has never shown an interest in either, so I didn't get them for him. DH was typically "No, they're girls' toys" until I pointed out that he looked after our baby and pushed him in the pushchair - was that somehow "girly"? He got the point and said OK but only if it's not pink. <sigh> Although, tbf, I'd sooner get one in primary colours than pink anyway.
I bought DS a dollshouse, as he'd been playing with my old one at my Dad's - the one I bought was primarily pink, so DS1 and MIL had a fine time "redecorating it" - it still has pink bits but a lot of other colours now as well
My son is nearly 8 and has long hair and last summer his favourite T shirt was pink. He does dancing and choir and is often the only boy invited to girls' parties. He is also the fastest runner in his class, pretty good at football, very interested in space and his three best friends are boys. One of them asked him, once, about the pink T shirt. My son's answer - "because I like it". They've never asked again. Really, why on earth would any parent want to 'protect' their child from another child asking a question?? I don't see why I should assume my poor son isn't going to be able to deal with a few questions from less enlightened kids. A child with religious parents told my son that my son must have got it wrong when he said his parents (ie DP and me) were not married, because "you can't have a baby unless you're married". My son put him straight. No big issue. Kids need to learn to challenge ignorance but the great thing is they are kids and they can do it in a very casual way with no hurt feelings.
I hate all this 'pink for girls' bollocks - it's time we started encouraging our children to think of colours as just colours.
Spero (9.48am) I'm not sure why you used the word gay? Or why sexuality came into it? If a man was to wear woman's clothes then he would be classed as a cross dresser (transgender?)
So if you put a boy in girls clothes then I would say chances are they would be a cross dresser NOT gay.
Anyway I probably shouldn't be contributing, my son never wanted to dress girly or play princesses and I would never allow him to wear girls cloths when he has a closet full of very nice boys clothes, vice versa for my 3dd's. shoot me!
"If I had a son who I forced into gay garments so I could pervade him up and down my local shopping street as a target for abuse then of course that would be utterly selfish and wrong."
I found this a little odd. Gay garments? What are gay garments? I thought we were talking about boys wearing traditionally girl's clothes- or did I miss a meeting?
I can't see why you need to, I would be giving him the exact same reason that I would give a girl for not buying them.
I have repeatedly asked - what are your objections to sons wearing 'girls' clothes?
As all I hear is 'it transgresses societal norms' I have assumed that the real reason is you fear it will make your sons gay.
When a friends husband objected to his son pushing a pram, that was his fear.
So if I am wrong in this assumption, as I previously said, I apologise.
Now I am dying to hear the real reasons. A small boy expresses a preference for 'girls' shoes, tops, skirts etc. will the seas boil? Wll the earth tilt on its axis?
Come on, tell me I am really curious now. Especially as some of think is such an incendiary topic we have to wait 'another generation' to challenge it.
Whether anyone likes it or not, whether they think it's prejudiced or not, at this present moment in time, it would be unusual to see boys walking around in ballet pumps and dresses. Thus, it 'transgresses societal norms'. That's what transgressing societal norms means. It is something that stands out, is not usual. If you saw a 10 year old boy walking around the shops in a dress and sandals with his hair in clips - most people would look (not necessarily to judge, but because it's something unusual). It's got nothing to do with being gay.
In addition, no, seeing a tiny boy in pink ballet pumps wouldn't be unusual or horrible - he's still just a baby. But dressing sons always in girls clothes while out and about - that would be somewhat unusual. Well, it's not something I've ever seen, and I socialise with very open-minded people.
My son might be gay for all I know.
As it happened, he never showed a desire for pink ballet shoes when he was 4. However, if he had, I would have taken steps to protect him from ignorant and bigoted people which would have spoiled his pleasure in them. And because I can't control the reactions of strangers, I would have found a way of stopping him wearing them to Tesco. Not by saying "those are girl's shoes" but but saying that they weren't practical- or something. Because it only takes one remark from a git to shatter a child's innocent pleasure. He's 12 now, and old enough to deal with any comment he gets (he likes quirky clothes). He knows that, for example, if he wears his green skinny jeans, someone will call him gay. And he is old enough to decide for himself whether he feels like dealing with that today or not. When he was 4 he wasn't. So I would have made that decision for him.
As it happened, he never showed a desire for pink ballet shoes when he was 4. However, if he had, I would have taken steps to protect him from ignorant and bigoted people which would have spoiled his pleasure in them
couldn't agree more
what a sad world we live in though that children are not able to just wear what they want
when my son was 4 he was verbally abused by an adult for his choice of football strip
as for soceital norms- that totally depends on the society you are in- in parts of Manchester, for example, it is totally normal to see men walking around dressed as women. I have no problem with that at all, so seeing a young boy in sparkly pink ballet shoes would not challenge me at all.
Small mindedness is such a pitiful state to be in.
And, as an aside, the only man I know who might ever wear women's clothes in public is not gay.
Oh, and neither is Grayson Perry.
Big difference between pink clothes and skirts and dresses though.
It doesn't need over analysing really does it? They'd look stupid!
Same as if you let them wear clothes far too big or small or odd shoes.
And you cannot make someone gay, no matter what they do.
I'd let my baby boy wear what he likes but around school age it's up to the parent to guide them to fit in with their peers whilst maintaining their own personalities.
If they choose to cross dress then that's fine but most cross dressers also dress as males for work especially when they first try it out.
TBH, I feel like I'm constantly battling against parents like the OP who think only certain things are ok for boys and only certain things are ok for girls.
DD1 was the first girl to play football after school and now there are four or five others doing it. I thought things might have moved on in 30 years when I was facing similar things at school but apparently not...
filly my son is a ballet dancer and not gay. We are talking about dressing boys (if they so wish) in girls clothes.
Which in my opinion would make them stand out like a sore thumb.
I'm a total feminist - and was a tomboy at school. I think girls and boys should have totally equal opportunities when it comes to sport (football), politics, jobs everything. All I'm saying is that AT THE MOMENT (apart from in Manchester apparently), you don't regularly see boys wearing dresses and ballet shoes. But maybe that'll change soon. It obviously bothers people a lot that there's such a thing as male and female clothes. Someone needs to tell the department stores, shops, designers, dressmakers, etc that mark clothes as males and females clothes - or have boys and girls sections - how horribly bigoted and dinosaur-like they are, evidently.
Who mentioned sexuality? I didn't.
Define "girls clothes".
I think most people would think skirts and dresses are generally worn by girls wouldn't they? In the UK anyway?
That's just it, fillyjonk, there is no such thing as 'girl's clothes' because they are able to wear whatever they like. My Dd wears her boyfriends clothes all the time, she even wears boys boxers.
It's that acceptance of this inequality that needs to be challenged.
And if you go to Gap/Next/John Lewis - any department store - there'll be a section marked girls, a section marked boys, a section marked men, a section marked women. What will you see in the girls and women's section? Dresses, skirts - as well as trousers etc. It would be pretty unusual (call me crazy!) to see dresses and skirts in the men's section. Wouldn't it?? Or am I mad?
"TBH, I feel like I'm constantly battling against parents like the OP who think only certain things are ok for boys and only certain things are ok for girls. "
Me too. I'm just not prepared to put a child too young to understand on the firing line. Informed consent is all important.
Amused at the thought of hordes of cross dressing Mancunians..........
At the moment - there is such a thing as girls and boys clothes. Challenge it, fight it, boycott it - it obviously is very important to some people. But at the moment - yes, there is such a thing as girls and boys clothes!! Doesn't mean they can't swap if they want to!!
I am from Manchester but don't live there now. We stayed in a hotel in town for a friend's hen do. Had a drink in the bar before heading off and I noticed we were surrounded by very glamorous, well-groomed, tall women, looked in the mirror at my reflection and suddenly felt rather short and slightly drab. After a few minutes it sunk in that they weren't women.
i let my son wear a butterfly clasp in his hair to school last week. he came home quite happy - clearly nobody had been mean to him about it. my H and i did hesitate, because of the risks of "transgressing social norms" but i have to say OP that if somebody said something mean to a TWO YEAR OLD about the shoes they were wearing I would be saying something a lot meaner back to them!
They look great! And I imagine if you asked them what they're wearing, they would say 'women's clothes!' Anyway, it's been a fun debate! I expect to see tons of boys dressed in skirts and dresses traipsing the streets of London from now on - courage of your convictions everybody!
Oh for Gods sake.
Just tell him it's for girls.
Toys, jobs, sports, hobbies - not gender specific at all and I never will be with my DDs.
But clothes are. My daughters are females. And I will encourage them to dress as such. And if I have a son, I will encourage my son to dress as a male.
He will probably forget about them as soon as he sees something else. But if not buy him some ballet shoes to wear as slippers indoors. You can get them in a variety of different colours. He may prefer red ones!
'forced into gay garments'. I'm with you, seeker. Since when did garments have a gender?
OP, it's up to you, but personally I find it sad that you 'would like him to conform' when he's out in public. He's two, FFS! He'll probably gravitate towards different, more 'conformist' colours and styles when he's older
and definitely will conform if he's indoctrinated from this age.
Like a lot of others on here, I have reservations about the type of footwear but not the colour. If he insists on pink why not try to find him some pink trainers/wellies or something else sturdier?
With all due respect, if you want to let him choose then you have to buy what he chooses. If you want him to have a particular style then just buy them and he should be grateful for what he gets, until he can afford to buy his own and make his own choice
"I am from Manchester but don't live there now. We stayed in a hotel in town for a friend's hen do. Had a drink in the bar before heading off and I noticed we were surrounded by very glamorous, well-groomed, tall women, looked in the mirror at my reflection and suddenly felt rather short and slightly drab. After a few minutes it sunk"
You're absolutely sure that was Manchester? Did it take you quite a long time to get there- could it possibly have been Bangkok..............?
With all due respect, if you want to let him choose then you have to buy what he chooses. If you want him to have a particular style then just buy them and he should be grateful for what he gets, until he can afford to buy his own and make his own choice
Sorry that the irony of my comments clearly whizzed over some people's heads.
I agree with Eddie Izzard - 'these are not women's clothes. They are my clothes'.
But how silly of me, I quite forgot that department stores have different sections marked 'men' and 'women' which obviously invalidates all my arguments and clearly sets out in stone that men and women must segregate all their garments otherwise, crikey, I wouldn't like to speculate about what ghastly things might happen.
Not read all the posts here so sorry if I'm repeating someone else but I think at such a young age, it's unlikely he will be on the receiving end of any gender type bigotry. If he was older, he might get comments but at 2 it's not like strangers are going to come up to him, calling him names for wearing pink shoes.
And I don't really think the colour thing is that big a deal in this day and age. My husband went to an interview on Friday and wore a pink tie. As far as I'm aware, nobody laughed him out of the interview room saying "Get out, we don't employ gays here".
Oh, don't be silly, spero. Stop shouting at people and have an interesting discussion.
I am not shouting at anyone. Interesting that you think I am.
I am also finding the discussion interesting. Particularly as no one is being really clear about what the problem is. There are several little boys at my daughters school with long hair. Haven't noticed them being bullied or have it pointed out that they are transgressing societal norms.
And I am also chortling at suggestion that department stores determine our societal norms.
The department store thing is obviously bonkers.
And actually, boys with long hair do sometimes have a hard time. My ds did. He decided that it was worth it. But he was old enough to make that decision for himself.
What I am taking from this thread is that girls are allowed - nay, encouraged - to wear whatever they like, do whatever they like, not be bound by assumptions that 'its a boy thing'... But little boys can't.
They can't ever ask for or enjoy something pink or sparkly in case some random twat makes a comment. And we can't challenge this for another generation apparently.
Bonkers. And horribly unfair.
Well, if that's s what you take from this thread the I suspect you have read it very selectively. Which is a shame, because there is an interesting debate to be had.
Where do you all live that people would comment or be rude about a two yr old wearing pink shoes?
Ds3 is 8, for his 8th bday he wanted to go seethe new Tinkerbell film, he went with some friends and he wrote a fairy dress over a pair of skinny jeans. No-one said anything. He doesn't wear the fairy dress much to go out but if he has friends round or he goes to friends houses they are forever dressing up, sometimes in dresses etc, they are playing. He also has a purple sparkly tutu he wears over jeans with a purplet-shirt. He chose them and they look quite funky. The only comment he has hasd was from a teen at laxer quest who said he looked cool and gave him a high five.
He doesn't wear them all the time but when he does it just isn't a big deal. His friends know he likes Tinkerbell and fairies and sparkly things. He also likes football and Lego and riding his bike.
Seriously if I see a two yr old or any child wearing something that isn't the 'norm' I assume they have chosen it themselves as do most adults.
I get that sometimes children can be mean but actually that hasn't been our experience and ds3 is confident enough to say that he likes fairies etc on the odd time he has been questioned (he used to have a fairy scooter and someone asked why he had a girls scooter... He said I like fairies and they aren't just for girls).
I find it odd, and quite frankly, irritating that people insist on stereptyping boys/girls/blue/pink etc.
if it is now starting in infancy, then god help us all.
we went to stay with friends recently. it was bloody freezing, and ds (7 months) was wearing a snowsuit (in a rather fetching shade of plum). the very first thing friends said to ds? "oh, they've got you wearing pink, have they? that'll never do!" It was the first time they'd met him, but instead of cooing over his obvious gorgeousness (), they commented on his clothes, ffs. and he is 7 months old!
I did, of course, rush off to check that hs willy hadn't fallen off, as I had clearly unwittingly set in process his sex change
the next time they saw us, ds was wearing a different snowsuit (pesky babies do keep growing!) - this one in emerald green. they mentioned it was a better colour... what they didn't know was that that one was a cast off from dd2, and had a flowery lining . It obviously hadn't occurred to them that green could be worn by girls...
it is so tedious. I really don't think there are societal norms when it comes to toddlers - aren't they famed for bonkers dressing anyway? such as wellies/tutu/fireman's hat combo to go shopping? surely anyone seeing a 2 year old in pink sparkly slippers in Tesco (or Waitrose!) would think they are from the dressing up box anyway? (due to non-suitability of said footwear for everyday, rather than any boy/girl angst)
and anyone who said anything to a 2 year old about gender stereotyping of clothing is clearly just a narrow minded bigot, tbh.
Oh dear, I have failed so miserably in this.
My DS LOVED to wear his sisters pink ballet shoes, leotard and tutu at every opportunity - both at home and in the street/at others houses until he was about 5 and decided he preferred footy kits.
I don't think you failed at all bigtilly you let him be a child
Did he get horrible comments?
"and anyone who said anything to a 2 year old about gender stereotyping of clothing is clearly just a narrow minded bigot, tbh."
Of course they are! Anyone who said to a child of any age would be too!
But my job as a parent is to protect my children from narrow minded bigots, until such time as they are old enough to decide for themselves what they want to do.
I object very strongly to children being used as their parent's political bill board.
I really don't think 2, 3, 4 year olds need to be protected from bigots. No one is going to hassle a pre-schooler for wearing a tutu or pink shoes.
When they get to school there might be more pressure to conform to gender stereotypes - children of 5+ will work out for themselves if they want to wear ballet shoes or football kit.
Some adults fear of bigots seems to be massively out of proportion with any actual bigotry toddlers might face.
Homophone, we've said to DS (3) that some people think pink is for girls but that's a bit silly, and if he wants to wear pink he should. Pink is his favourite colour at the moment
Aaarrgh, I'm not saying that department stores should dictate societal norms - where did that come from! I'm just saying that whether you like it or not, most people consider some things to be girls clothes and some things to be boys clothes - which is why on shops and websites there are sections for girls and for boys. Eg most people I know would think dresses were girls clothes. Even if they didn't mind their little boys wearing them!! It's fine to let your little boys dress up in whatever they want - if that's what they want!
Right - I have RL things to do (10 people to tea!) - and I now officially surrender!! Have fun everyone.
I agree with those arguing that supposed bigotry seems to be more real for some people than any actual bigotry and that they are prepared to circumscribe their child's choices on that basis.
I object very strongly to children being used as their parent's political bill board.
It's not being used as a political billboard if your child has made a choice for themselves (at 2, 12 or whatever) and you go along with that.
The children are far more sensible about these issues than the adults, seemingly.
Also, if you only buy pink for your girls and blue for your boys, your child is just as much of a political billboard as if you don't care.
I have read it all, and that is the message I am getting. You are getting a different one, that's super, that is what discourse is all about surely?
I remember a care case I did once where the baby was in foster care before her parents killed her through combination of neglect and rampant drug use. I had to spend an hour trying to calm down my parent client - time we didn't really have to waste given the enormity of the mountain he had to climb to prove his fitness to parent.
Why was he so cross? Because at supervised contact the day before his baby girl had arrived in a blue onsie. According to him this was abuse. Why wasn't she in the pink vests etc, etc.
Maybe that was just his way of thing to deflect from the much more serious issues with which he had to contend. But sadly I think there are a lot of people out there with this bonkers world view.
They really need to know their history. In Victorian times PINK was the favoured colour for boys as it was seen as a 'strong' colour. I think the switch in perception came after WW2 when the Nazis designated pink triangles to homosexual men in the death camps.
What I object to is people being put into boxes for utterly illogical irrelevant reasons.
And 5madthngs, I think your son sounds amazing and will no doubt go on to achieve great things in adulthood. He clearly isn't deflected by the small minded, who must live their lives constantly on the look out for other people commenting. How exhausting that must be.
5madthings, no one ever made nasty comments, in fact he made many people smile a lot
Teajunky understands perfectly!!
Thanks spero I think he is pretty cool tho a whingy beast at times!
bigtilly that is exactly the reaction I have always had.
I have discussed this with another friend and our conclusion was feel sad for people who live somewhere that people would comment negatively or be mean to a CHILD wearing something slightly out of the norm. I regularly see kids in all sorts of funny outfits, it makes me smile and nothing more. There is a girl who comes to toddlers who has a very particular sense of her own style, her mum half despairs and half laughs, is is her fourth child and she is well aware some battles are not worth fighting so she makes sure she is warm enough and lets her wear her madly clashing combinations
This all came up on a thread I did about ds3 and if I should buy him anew fairy dress etc as he had outgrown his other one, people seemed to think I must live somewhere odd becausehe isnt bullied/picked on for his dress sense. I think its sad that so many assume a child will automatically be picked on etc. That isnt my experience and when the IDD situation has arrisen ds3 has dealt with it. I will help give my children tactics to deal with bullying or name calling etc and step in when necessary. I won't stop therm doing something 'in case' they get bullied. I don't think 'conforming' to avoid bullying is the right path to take and sends the wrong message to a child, that they are doing something 'wrong' when they aren't!
So basically, small children can wear anything they like and it doesn't really make any difference.
By the time they are at school they will probably decide to conform to gender expectations. Or they might not. And that doesn't really matter either.
At 2 they are likely to be their parent's political bill
Board. At 12 they are making informed choices
A 2 year old who chooses pink clothes/shoes is a political billboard?
I must be thick but could someone please explain why clothes for toddlers are a political choice ? I wasn't aware clothing featured in the manifestos of any political party.
I wondered that Spero!
DS in 3 and although I buy the clothes he decides what he is wearing, hence him wearing wellies (clean!) and a sun hat to go to the cinema today - there aren't many years of your life you can do that without it being odd so let them enjoy it!
seeker "At 2 they are likely to be their parent's (sic) political billboard."
I'm sure seeker is using 'political' in its widest possible sense to mean 'making some kind of statement', but what she isn't seeing is that whatever way we bring up our children is some kind of statement. Refusing to allow your son to wear pink is just as much of a statement about your own beliefs as permitting it.
Zuleika - exactly. And if people are going to insist on seeing children as simply extensions of their parents ideologies, instead of human beings who need to be allowed to develop their autonomy (as long as they are safe and warm while doing so) I would rather my child gave out the message that I am NOT some refugee from the 1950s and the world will not end if a male toddler decides to - gasp - wear something that your granny might sniff at as 'for girls'.
I really do find astonishing this attitude that there is stuff for boys and stuff for girls and we have just got to 'get over it'. Imagine the uproar if we were told we could not dress little girls in blue trousers or let them learn about physics.
This debate is just another branch on the same nonsense tree.
When my eldest was three we went to get him sme new jelly shoes and he chose the pink sparkly ones with a strawberry on the front. I had no trouble him wearing them out at paddling pools and beach. In fact lots of his friends of both genders loved them.
He is now five and probably wouldn't wear them now because he is at school and suddenly all his peers are spouting gender stereotypes. We try and counteract this but peer pressure is pretty strong at this age.
Personally I say let kids wear what they want.
My dd2, age 3, wears a lot of
boys gender neutral clothes. She has a plain black and green winter coat - a hand-me-down one - and shortish sort of hair. Everybody thinks she is a boy.
That doesn't bother me.
What bothers me is that now that she is more aware, she will know that people think she is a boy. I really don't want her thinking she is not a 'proper' girl!
My DD also has shortish hair and plays rugby and wears boys' clothes, and people frequently mistake her for a boy (doesn't help that she introduces herself as Thomas because she's obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine). She's nearly 4 and it doesn't bother her in the least so far.
OP.....having skimmed through a small selection of replies, I bet your wishing now you'd never asked
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