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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 Sat 02-Mar-13 09:26:01

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'?

Spero Sat 02-Mar-13 09:28:22

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.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Mar-13 09:42:40

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.

Spero Sat 02-Mar-13 09:48:20

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.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Mar-13 09:58:56

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.

VoldemortsNipple Sat 02-Mar-13 09:59:59

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."

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Mar-13 10:05:25

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.

Poorlysick Sat 02-Mar-13 10:08:40

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.

pictish Sat 02-Mar-13 10:10:20

What Voldemort said right there.

Spero Sat 02-Mar-13 10:11:34

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.

WidowWadman Sat 02-Mar-13 10:15:12

If you just accept things as facts instead of challenging them, they will never change.

Poorlysick Sat 02-Mar-13 10:16:22

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.

vamosbebe Sat 02-Mar-13 10:18:04

Errrrm.. you DON'T explain certain things are boy/girl things.

Why would you want to? I don't get it.

Kyrptonite Sat 02-Mar-13 10:19:01

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.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Mar-13 10:19:45

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.

captainbarnacle Sat 02-Mar-13 10:20:37

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!

Poorlysick Sat 02-Mar-13 10:21:03


Thisisaeuphemism Sat 02-Mar-13 10:22:48

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.

Kyrptonite Sat 02-Mar-13 10:22:50

Why is there all this panic about pink turning boys gay but not blue and trucks turning girls into lesbians? Genuinely baffled.

MotheringShites Sat 02-Mar-13 10:23:57

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.

Ledkr Sat 02-Mar-13 10:24:16

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 hmm
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!

MrsCosmopilite Sat 02-Mar-13 10:26:38

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.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Mar-13 10:26:48

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.

Kyrptonite Sat 02-Mar-13 10:27:34

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.

Ledkr Sat 02-Mar-13 10:28:47

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?

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