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About 'girls' parties and 'boys' parties?

(220 Posts)
LahLahsbigband Sat 29-Nov-14 09:47:33

My DS is six, and in his first year at school. There have been lots of birthday parties throughout the year, including his. I asked who he played with and we got together a mixed group of boys and girls for his party and it went very well.

As is to be expected, friendships have been very fluid over the year, but by and large it's a lovely group of kids and they all play together pretty nicely. On Friday one little girl, who I know my son plays with quite a lot, was handing out pink invitations to all the girls (in front of everyone) and said "its not for boys, it's a girls party". AIBU to be annoyed at this stupid boys versus girls thing, at this young age?

OK, his mother can invite whoever she wants and no one is owed an invitation - fine. I don't feel that it's necessary to ask a whole class (there are 24 in the class), and my son isn't put out about not going - this sort of thing tends to wash over him and quite frankly I am glad I don't have to schlep to yet ANOTHER party on my weekend with a gift.

It's just this stupid "boys"/"girls" apartheid that grinds my gears. They're SIX. My sons have been brought up with friends of both genders and sure, they may be areas where their interests don't overlap but every kid likes a party, and when he's been to very typically 'girly' parties (eg with a fairy princess entertainer) he still got into it and had fun, just as I imagine a little girl would enjoy running about at a "sports" party designed for little football fans (just an example of an all "boys" party we were invited to this year). I just think it's so sad at this age, and really annoys me when parents encourage it. Why not just invite the friends that you play with, whatever gender they are?

ilovepowerhoop Sat 29-Nov-14 09:53:10

if it was a pamper party would he really want to go to it?

My ds only wanted boys at his bowling party so it was just boys we invited.

On the other hand my dd has invited mixed genders to her parties which have been bowling, laser tag and high ropes/climbing wall (mind you she gets on better with the boys in her year than the girls as a lot of them are very pink and girly and she isnt).

AuntieStella Sat 29-Nov-14 09:54:41

I agree.

Excessive gendering of events does make me wonder what those children are learning about roles in society.

Pinkification (is there a word for the boy-limiting counterpart - sludge fiction? Skull indication? Gangstarisatiin?) is not the same as general liking for pink, nor for having best friends of the same sex. It is when it becomes defining, rather than a simple colour preference.

I wonder who is telling the girl that some things are limited to girls?

Because 'I couldn't invite everyone' is quite different to 'girls only' and does not carry the straitjacket of sex stereotypes.

AuntieStella Sat 29-Nov-14 09:56:51

(Sorry, my keyboard did not like my attempts to come up with a parallel term for "pinkfication". I was aiming for sludgification, skullification and gangstarisation. Which I suppose is still more choice than pinkified).

YackityUnderTheMistletoe Sat 29-Nov-14 09:57:51


It's a lot easier, sometimes, to have boys only or girls only parties.

Firstly, it's a brilliant way of cutting the numbers down without offending people.

Secondly, it gives you the ability to have a real gendered party which sometimes they like.

MOST of the boys wouldn't want to go to a sparkly, glittery, fairy tea party or something like that, mine would have gone but would have been too disruptive, just because they wouldn't have wanted to sit still for as long.

For one of DS1's parties, we had a boys only tree climbing party (although invited the younger sister of one of the boys, who was DS2's 'friend' at the event).

I know SOME of the girls would have wanted to tree climb, but I also know that a LOT of them would have been too scared to go up and quite frankly I would have been pissed off paying £18 each for them to stand at the bottom of the tree, not going up.

But, I also did a planes one for him, going to a museum with loads of planes and other military things in it, and invited a mix of people. The girls that went had a blast. (TBH the dad's that went - and they ALL WENT - had an even better time! wink)

LahLahsbigband Sat 29-Nov-14 09:59:03

A paper party for six year olds confused??

The whole thing makes me sad because he is being taught by other parents to normalise a wholly unnecesary gender divide

WD41 Sat 29-Nov-14 09:59:38


LadyLuck10 Sat 29-Nov-14 10:00:17

Yabu maybe sometimes kids would rather just do activities with their own gender. Absolutely nothing wrong with that.

LahLahsbigband Sat 29-Nov-14 10:00:20

PAMPER, autocorrect gorn mad

LahLahsbigband Sat 29-Nov-14 10:02:00

But Lady, this little girl plays with boys, including DS, at school all the time. Why would she be any different out of school?

Bramshott Sat 29-Nov-14 10:04:44

It can be an easy and uncontroversial way of cutting the numbers in half though. Rather than asking your DD/DS to pick the 15 kids they like best, you just say "we're inviting all the girls/boys".

LahLahsbigband Sat 29-Nov-14 10:05:06

Because 'I couldn't invite everyone' is quite different to 'girls only' and does not carry the straitjacket of sex stereotypes. yes, exactly. I am with you on those vile "-ations" for boys too, it's on all the clothes and toys from the age of about 3-4. It's just as insidious as the pinkification thing

stubbornstains Sat 29-Nov-14 10:07:03

£18 for climbing a tree?????? Wow. We might not be rich in these parts, but at least we get free trees (which the girls enjoy climbing as well, I might add. In fact, DS was invited to a little girl's party last weekend, and I noticed the apple tree in the garden had sprouted a couple of 6 year old girls smile).

YANBU, OP. In fact, I started a thread about this a couple of years ago, when DS was pointedly not invited to one of his female friend's 4th birthday parties, "because it's a fairy picnic in the woods, so we want it to be all girly". He still loves fairies, picnics- and woods angry.

WooWooOwl Sat 29-Nov-14 10:07:05

I don't think it's sad. As adults I go out with my female friends, often with the idea that our husbands/partners/brothers are unwelcome because it's a girls night. That's not sad, it's just one type of social event that doesn't prevent other types of social events where both genders have a nice time together.

As it's acceptable in audits, and we aren't talking about an age restricted activity, I can't see a problem.

It would be worse if young children were made to have birthday parties different to the ones they want for the pointless sake of always having to include the opposite gender.

dingalong Sat 29-Nov-14 10:07:26

My dd (5) has started school. A number of girls refuse to have anything to do with the boys in their class. It's really sad. I recognise they're are different (playdates are completely different with boys), but luckily dd enjoys playing with boys. While what other parents teach is up to them but it one child is putting a no boy's allowed sign on her room door (which includes her dad). This is sad

3boys40 Sat 29-Nov-14 10:08:11

yanbu. My ds all have mixed friendship groups. In fact ds2 played mainly with girls until aged 7 and used to get quite upset about his lack of party invites. My niece is a real tomboy and has mainly boys in her friendship group. Thankfully the mums never excluded her from karting or laser parties. I suppose I could understand if a pamper party but otherwise ridiculous.

LahLahsbigband Sat 29-Nov-14 10:08:30

But bram, wouldn't that be like say, having a works do and inviting every woman in the office, even though you were friends with some males, and didn't really speak with all the females? Just to make it "easier"? Why not ask the kids that they play with - kids have preferences with people, just like we adults do.

Micah Sat 29-Nov-14 10:11:02

Oh god yackety, I am taking 10 girls to a tree climbing/ropes session next weekend. Are you seriously telling me most of the won't even leave the ground?

Maybe I should have ignored the birthday girls wishes and just had a nice, calm, pink and glittery fairy pamper party with tea and cake?

Then she would have learned what girls should like, and tree climbing is for boys. Important lesson for a 10 year old.


Fwiw, I think it's more probable that boys will get on with it because of peer pressure and fear of being called a wimp. It's more socially acceptable for girls to be scared amd some of them play up to the stereotype for attention.

Ime girls are just as capable as boys, and boys have the same fears, at our local climbing wall.

LahLahsbigband Sat 29-Nov-14 10:11:14

I don't think it's "pointless" to invite the kids you are friends with (male or female). I think it's "pointless" to invite every kid of one gender, because that's your way of limiting numbers, regardless of whether you child plays with all those kids or not.

stubbornstains Sat 29-Nov-14 10:12:34

I think my DS would love a pamper party too, TBH- he loves having his nails painted, and would dearly love it if I let him cut my hair (oh, how do I ever find it in me to deny him? grin).

Bramshott Sat 29-Nov-14 10:14:01

IME asking them who they prefer usually ends up with 2 girls being left out and substituted for 2 boys (or vice versa). Once the numbers get that small I reckon it's less offensive to just go all one gender or the other.

LahLahsbigband Sat 29-Nov-14 10:14:25

I'm with you dingalong, DS had the same experience starting school when a little girl declared that 'girls don't play with boys at this school!". He was really confused because his two besties at preschool were girls. Fortunately that young lady has seen the light, and is the one most often invited to the boys parties grin

LahLahsbigband Sat 29-Nov-14 10:16:36

micah, interesting point about peer pressure and boys, sometimes a "girly" themed party can be a safe place for a boy to participate on things he might be scared to do otherwise (like pretend fairy magic, or singing and dancing to pop music, which in these parts seems to be promoted as a "girls party" theme

LahLahsbigband Sat 29-Nov-14 10:19:20

I would honestly not be offended if my son was one of only one or two not invited to a "boys" party if he wasn't friendly with the host. Cos that's life, innit?

WooWooOwl Sat 29-Nov-14 10:19:23

But why should they always invite all the children they play with when they want to do something with just some of the children they play with.

Swap the word play for the word socialise. I socialise with both men and women. Does that mean I'm automatically obliged to invite everyone I socialise with to every social event I might organise, regardless of who I actually want there? Should adults only ever socialise in mixed gender groups, or do you think it's ok for adults to have single sex get togethers but that it's not good enough for children?

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