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To not understand why some parents get so scared

216 replies

TwentyYears · 18/07/2017 12:03

Why do parents of boys get so scared of giving them something they perceive may be 'girly'? What are they scared might happen?

Yesterday passed on a toy to a friend's DS, age 3 ish, that was branded with what I think is a character. Parent sees it as a girls character and was worried about DS's reaction!!!! DS loved it.

See this sort of thing happen all the time. School friends come to play and I can lay money on fact boys will say either 'Oh DD doesn't have girls toys' or (standing in front of science equipment) 'I don't play with girl's toys'. Once saw another 3yr old try to dress up in his sister's pink skirt and DF went crazy at him.

Feeling really sorry for boys at the mo. Why do parents think boys are in danger from 'girls stuff'? And what do they think would happen if they played with it?

(Name changed to post as have tried to ask this in RL but it seems to cause offence)

OP posts:
TheSparrowhawk · 18/07/2017 13:01

My DS, who's 6, wears dresses, not for dressing up, just as everyday clothes. It's just a piece of cloth.

The reason people get upset about boys doing 'girly' things is because being a boy is of a higher status than being a girl. So it's great for girls to want to be like boys - they're trying to be better. But it's embarrassing for a boy to want to be like a girl because he's trying to be a lesser thing. Girls are frilly and silly and that's beneath a boy - he's made for better things.

WorraLiberty · 18/07/2017 13:04

I presume you are including Christianity in this.

Well yes, but I didn't want to start naming cultures because as I'm sure you're aware, it tends to cause bun fights and there's no need for it.

The statement on it's own... Some cultures are massively insecure about boys doing what they perceive to be 'girly things' and vice versa was good enough imo.

yourcarisnotadiscovery · 18/07/2017 13:05

Yes OP - get this all the time! My DS is keen on playing all sorts of games and also with all sorts of toys. His father is very vocally anti "girls" toys and very firm tells him that he shouldn't play with certain toys as they are "for girls" Drives me mad! Then in the next breath he (ExH, DS dad) will say that he is so proud his daughter is a tomboy. -twat- any kind of labelling for children is wrong IMO (shy, tomboy, gender specific clothes and toys)

TwentyYears · 18/07/2017 13:05

Cao that's a really interesting point about transgender identity! Especially if this is enforced at really young age so spchild hasn't had a chance to develop own gender identity yet.

OP posts:
FiftyShadesOfDuckEggBlue · 18/07/2017 13:07

OP, this is a very common phenomenon I've experienced again and again. It's nothing but deeply ingrained, pervasive, self-perpetuating sexism. And, as I've experienced with 9-month DD, it all starts from the womb.

Have a look at the excellent <a class="break-all" href="//" rel="nofollow noindex" target="_blank">The Gender Policy: A Diary, if you haven't seen it before.

I think that there was also a study showing that baby boys get less cuddles and when parents play with them, they do it in a more aggressive manner.

And then we wonder why young women don't go for STEM subjects and men have trouble expressing emotions and suffer from mental health problems...

WhittersE This is a very useful diagram, I'll print it out and always keep it on me for future use as DD gets older... Grin

TwentyYears · 18/07/2017 13:10

FiftyShades everything you said, I agree

OP posts:
HottySnanky · 18/07/2017 13:10

It's in case they "catch the gay". I hate this kind of attitude. I remember buying a blue changing mat when I was pregnant with DD1. The shop assistant looked at the changing mat, then looked at my vast belly and said Oooh are you having a boy then? So I told her we didn't know what we were having, and then she said "But this is blue, what you have a girl?" and I just smiled and said I didn't think she would notice. But I did want to roll my eyes and ask her what difference it would make.

yourcarisnotadiscovery · 18/07/2017 13:11

Oh and I have a friend with two boys one old and one younger than mine. we went for tea and the boys were playing in the garden - basically beating the crap out of each other and DS; she laughed it off as a "boys will be boys"... DS was terrified. They don't get told off when exhibiting aggression and we haven't played there since!

BroomstickOfLove · 18/07/2017 13:12

When DS was 4, he loved pink, sparkles, My Little Pony, dinosaurs, swirly skirts, scooters and jumping, as did his friends, who were mostly girls.

He's now 7 and loves space, science, dinosaurs, computer games, climbing trees, sticks, digging, board games, comics and bike rides, along with his friends, who are still mostly girls. The girls are more into sparkles, clothes, dancing lessons and complex analysis of friendships than he is. He is more interested in cookery and pretending to shoot things with lasers than the girls.

usernameavailable · 18/07/2017 13:12

My nephew used to go to his female cousins house and play with her doll. My DSis wanted to get a pushchair and doll for him. So many people disagreed. She isn't one to be told what she should do. She went with her instinct and got DN a blue pushchair and doll for xmas. Even now he still loves his baby. Best toy she has ever bought him IMO.

Atenco · 18/07/2017 13:13

I remember Dublin in 90s. Boys were not allowed to do any activity that was popular with girls and the girls were getting involved in everything. I did feel so sorry for them with their narrow-minded parents.

TheSparrowhawk · 18/07/2017 13:16

I don't think it's anything to do with being gay. I think it's 100% misogyny.

Angelicinnocent · 18/07/2017 13:16

I've had this many years ago when my DS wanted a baby doll so he could play with his cousins, both girls. Grandma was horrified!

Also had it from the other side, DH is a martial arts instructor and no problem with DS learning but when DD wanted to go, I had several people tell me it wasn't for girls, she should do dance or gymnastics.

BarbarianMum · 18/07/2017 13:19

Sparrowhawk I disagree. We've had comments about gayness for liking pink, dancing, playing with a toy pushchair, playing with girls, being too quiet and not "boyish" enough.

Misogyny is alive and well but so is homophobia, esp amongst adults.

notgivingin789 · 18/07/2017 13:20

I think it's more to do with bullying. Also, you read on threads that some parents always get the latest fad for their DC's, so they wouldn't feel singled out or teased. Different to this scenario but the same type of worries and wanting your child to be "in".

TwentyYears · 18/07/2017 13:23

Soarrowhawk and Barbarian could you both be right, is part if the homophobia because some people identify bring homosexual with more feminine traits. So the homophobic hate is reinforced with misogyny?

OP posts:
MiddleEnglandLives · 18/07/2017 13:24

Yup, another thing that's so very common in Britain at the moment is the tremendous amount of conformism. You have to be socially connected all the time, any differences or being out of touch is to be seriously disadvantaged. It's remarkable how everybody being more and more connected with the outside world is leading to more and more insularity.

TwentyYears · 18/07/2017 13:24

But notgiving this starts in babyhood and when DC are toddlers. I think that's the most damaging time when kids are just learning about themselves and rules for life.

OP posts:
Aperolspritzer123 · 18/07/2017 13:25

I feel a bit mixed on this. I live in a v multicultural and mixed in the socio economic way too. I know someone who has 3 boys and one of them had a baby doll and his dad was obsessed with him getting rid of it. My friend (his wife) used to say that he threatened his son every night that when he woke up his baby would be hidden. She laughed it off but I thought it was awfully cruel.
On the other hand my ds who is 11 now would be massively bullied and picked on if he decided to wear dresses by his peers. He doesn't want to btw but I think even though I am supportive of gender roles being challenged in general I would actively discourage him from dressing like a a female. Not because I had a problem with it but because I wouldn't want his life to be made a misery- and it would be where we live. (Inner city).
It's a difficult one when the dc get older I think and their gender roles are established outside the home.

Jivebunny89 · 18/07/2017 13:26

My parents knew they wanted lots of kids, so made everything in our lives as gender neutral as possible. I was envious of my friend who was an only child, who had Sky Dancers, a pink bedroom and a China doll, while I had to tolerate the pirate wallpaper. The family ended up as three girls and a boy in the middle. Our lives would have looked very different if my DB didn't come along!
I distinctly remember being around 12/13, having some spending power with birthday money and buying lots of pink, frilly stuff to make up for it!

TheSparrowhawk · 18/07/2017 13:26

Barbarian - I think homophobia and misogyny are closely intertwined anyway. I mean, men generally don't give a fuck what other men do sexually - blind eyes are turned to prostitutes, infidelity, rape etc. So why are gay people such a target? Why do men care what other men do with each other? Because gay men drop themselves into the 'lesser' category by being like women - being more effeminate (generally), attracting men.

TheSparrowhawk · 18/07/2017 13:27

Cross post Twenty.


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JessicaEccles · 18/07/2017 13:27

I was in our local asda - very white working class area and a mother was moaning at her little girl in the toy aisle: 'What is wrong with you? Why do you always go for the boys' toys?' Sad

Oliversmumsarmy · 18/07/2017 13:28

My issue is little boys have to stick to little boy things and little girls have to stick to little girls things until boys do what boys do.

The school banned football.

No running around in the playground

in short they are told to "act like girls"

In the end the violence got out of control.

After one particular incident witnessed by another mum who dragged 2 boys off my ds who they had on the ground kicking and thumping him. We pointed the boys out to the HM who replied we must be mistaken as "they were good boys they go to church every Sunday"

SleightOfMind are you in the SE

AGapInTheMarket · 18/07/2017 13:29

I've got one DD and a good friend with a DS a few years older. We've had lots of hand-me-downs from them over the years and I've gone Hmm a few times over their weirdly gendered comments. They popped in the other day and my DD was watching Moana and they made their DS leave in the middle of it!! Too girly?!

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