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How do you explain to kids that certain things are girl / boy things?

(169 Posts)
BabyRuSh Fri 01-Mar-13 17:39:31

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!

Spero Fri 01-Mar-13 20:38:33

He has many years ahead in which to learn that sadly some people are closed minded bigots. For now, let him play.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 01-Mar-13 20:43:33

He's only two, Homophone.

I understand what you are saying,but It's just too early imo.

Greythorne Fri 01-Mar-13 21:02:27

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...

drjohnsonscat Fri 01-Mar-13 21:14:08

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.

Branleuse Fri 01-Mar-13 21:17:26

just tell him theyre hideous

Flisspaps Fri 01-Mar-13 21:24:14

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.

breatheslowly Fri 01-Mar-13 21:29:17

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.

DunderMifflin Fri 01-Mar-13 21:34:29

Actual LOL for Greythorne's post - mwahahahahahaaaa!

IllGetOverIt Fri 01-Mar-13 21:39:56

I think you're getting a typical mn thrashing for stereotyping. Learn from your mistakes op wink

No stereotyping.tis wrong !

Iggly Fri 01-Mar-13 22:08:00

Homophone men wear pink shirts, women wear blue. Being simplistic but the idea of blue for boys, pink for girls is outdated and silly.

Poorlysick Fri 01-Mar-13 22:39:32

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.

Poorlysick Fri 01-Mar-13 22:40:27

I don't think OP is getting a thrashing I think all messages have been friendly supportive and reassuring

lifesobeautiful Fri 01-Mar-13 22:59:20

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.

Arkady Fri 01-Mar-13 23:04:22

Shoes are not worn on genitals, so genitals don't need to influence footwear choices.

Spero Fri 01-Mar-13 23:34:28

Most parents wouldn't let their children out in ballet shoes because they would get very cold, wet feet. What are your other objections?

Homophone Sat 02-Mar-13 00:01:22

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.

MajaBiene Sat 02-Mar-13 00:07:12

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.

lifesobeautiful Sat 02-Mar-13 00:07:19

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:

Personally I feel a bit sorry for the little boy.

BabyRuSh Sat 02-Mar-13 00:57:29

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.

CinnabarRed Sat 02-Mar-13 08:02:55

So, OP, do you have a DD and, if so, do you let her wear ballet pumps outdoors?

CinnabarRed Sat 02-Mar-13 08:07:03

Because in RL I don't know a single parent who actually allows their DC to wear ballet pumps outdoors. On practical grounds.

lifesobeautiful Sat 02-Mar-13 09:10:23

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!

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Mar-13 09:13:06

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.

WidowWadman Sat 02-Mar-13 09:13:45

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?

PhyllisDoris Sat 02-Mar-13 09:20:35

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.

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