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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:
BertrandRussell · 18/07/2017 13:29

"Feeling really sorry for boys at the mo"

One of my favourite red flags, that......

But yes, OP, there are a lot of misogynists and homophobes in the world.

midnightmisssuki · 18/07/2017 13:31

I have a daughter and a son - I choose to dress my daughter in pink and girly colours and my son is more boyish colours - it's just my choice, nothing malicious about it, and certainly not afraid they would becoming more boy or girl dressing in a certain colour. If when they are older my son wants to use a pink top - fine. Or my daughter wants a camouflage top (she has one btw) fine. But for now - I'll dress them how I would like.

TheSparrowhawk · 18/07/2017 13:33

Midnight - if your DS wanted to wear a dress, would you get him one?

Oliversmumsarmy · 18/07/2017 13:33

Feeling really sorry for boys at the mo"

One of my favourite red flags, that......

But yes, OP, there are a lot of misogynists and homophobes in the world

We are talking about boys, in my case a 7 year old.

How young does a boy have to be to be classified as a mysogynist?

midnightmisssuki · 18/07/2017 13:33

^^ to add to is, I have a friend who purposely dressed her son in pink and boUght him a pram - just so he could 'feel' what being a girl was like. Now - personally I thought that was a little strange, but it's what she wanted for him and so was her prerogative.

FrogFairy · 18/07/2017 13:35

I experienced this from my now ex husband.
Apparently by buying a play kitchen and buggy for our toddler DS, I was trying to make him gay or trans.

He got short shrift from me as I pointed out

  1. I really don't think you can "make" a child gay or trans.
  2. If our son was either of these things, I would have no problem with it.
  3. Housework and child rearing are the responsibility of both men and women. Not "women's work"
SleepFreeZone · 18/07/2017 13:39

I'm not scared. Both boys have worn girls clothes, pushed around a buggy with a baby dolly in it and the older one loves kissing his boy mates. It's cute (4 and 1). The only people I know that get funny about boys with girls toys are the older generation (my MIL) and a few homophobes who are married to a couple of my friends.

TwentyYears · 18/07/2017 13:42

Midnight yes it's your choice to oasis on your beliefs about what colours boys and girls should wear to your children. But we should all admit that's what we're doing, building deep seated beliefs in our kids. Since the recent elections I've heard my DD re-expressing my political views even more strongly than me. I felt guilty as she needs to be able to develop her own beliefs. But of course she is going to be most influenced by me and her Dad.

So out of interest can I ask, do you see how your DC are less likely to move away from the pink/blue divide because they love and respect your opinions?

OP posts:
horsefeathers · 18/07/2017 13:42

The accountant at my old workplace once told me about the time her little grandsons asked if they could try on her fancy hats and scarves, and she was horrified and told them no because she didn't want them to get confused. I'd liked her up until then. I still feel cross for those poor wee boys.

I've also overheard a mum at school complaining that her son (in Reception for fuck's sake) likes to hug his best friend - apparently it's grim and people will think he's a poof. :(

I feel sorry for boys and girls both. I genuinely think the policing of gendered behaviour has got worse since I was a kid. Certainly the division between boys' and girls' toys is greater - because it means bigger sales for toy companies - and people's expectations follow. Fucking depressing.

Mothervulva · 18/07/2017 13:42

I agree with the poster who said it was the liberal groovy types challenging gender stereotype.
Where I live in East London, the 'Hackney lot' dress their children in bright colours and non gender specific outfits. Some other groups that live in the area prefer to dress their daughters certainly in very obvious 'girl clothes.'

horsefeathers · 18/07/2017 13:43

Oh, and there was the time toddler DS was carting his baby doll around town. A woman sidled over and told me she thought it was lovely and she was glad my husband allowed it to happen as hers would never have stood for their boys having dolls.

ReinettePompadour · 18/07/2017 13:45

Theres loads of those around here.

I just wander past with DS in his red lipstick and glittery nail varnish pushing his buggy and wait for someone to dare comment...I'd eat them alive if they felt it was appropriate to comment.

I remember being a teenager where everyone wanted to dress the same, sound the same, study the same stuff, listen to the same music. It's clearly come from that, everyone wanting to be the same and not different for fear of being outcast. Ive always been a little different and I'm not prepared to allow my children to be sheep and follow the crowd if its not something they want to do.

TwentyYears · 18/07/2017 13:47

Mother oh please please please tell me I'm being called a liberal groovy type??! Liberal, ok. But groovy, OMG, please call me groovy!!! Never been called that in my whole life!!!! Oh I wish you could see why it is so funny/appealing. For the first time in my life I want to be groovy I'm crying laughing at the idea Grin

OP posts:
Oliversmumsarmy · 18/07/2017 13:50

A relative years ago was convinced she was having a girl. Nothing would shake her belief, The nursery was painted pink, Pink blankets, pink clothes, everything was pink. Out popped a boy who was dressed in pink till he was nearly 1 years old. Same thing happened for ds2 .

Eldest is married with 4 children and is a plumber, younger one is the same and is a car mechanic.

i certainly don't think you can catch gay from being dressed in pink

Igottastartthinkingbee · 18/07/2017 13:54

I've come across a few parents like this. Odd really, kids have little concept of gender or things that are 'just for boys/girls'. My DS was playing hairdressers with some my little ponies at his grandads house the other day. Grandad looked disapprovingly at him but managed to hold his tongue thank goodness. I like that DS doesn't have that mindset but it may well change as he gets older (currently 5yrs old).

Somtamthai · 18/07/2017 13:59

We live in Asia. It is virtually impossible to get clothes/shoes/toys that aren't pink, sparkly, dolls or Disney princesses.

School even found it worrying that she plays wih Lego and goes to a robotics class cause it's "for boys".

we talk about how silly this is often.

Northernparent68 · 18/07/2017 14:03

I doubt anyone thinks the children will catch the gay, it's more likely a fear of it really do bad to what your son to connect your his masculinity ?

Ladymadness · 18/07/2017 14:07

My 8 year old ds LOVES to have his nails painted and has so many teddies he can barely fit on his bed. A family member actually had the nerve to say he would " turn out gay" if I let him carry on !
I told her to shut her mouth and to grow up
I honestly couldn't care less about wether my children like boys or girls or if they are trans they are still my children and I will love them no matter what !

BertrandRussell · 18/07/2017 14:10

"How young does a boy have to be to be classified as a misogenyst?"

Sorry, don't understand the question.....

Yokohamajojo · 18/07/2017 14:11

So you can't be masculinity or 'connect' to your masculinity while wearing pink or push a toy pram?

It's a very recent thing that tells us that pink is for girls or blue is for boys, look at royals through history for example or even Disney, snow white in a blue dress!

It's also very important IMO to think about what masculinity means, isn't it a big problem that masculinity usually means aggression, violence and difficulty in showing emotion?

emmyrose2000 · 18/07/2017 14:11

I never come across this. IME, most, if not all, families that are boy-only households have some sort of "girl" toys in them.

I used to buy my boys dolls, and Santa also brought them the Fisher Price dolls house (with bright pink roof) one Christmas. It was the thing the older one always gravitated towards at his friends' houses, so it seemed like an obvious present that year. DC1 used to breastfeed his doll in imitation of me after DC2 was born. That was quite a while ago now, but he's still as heterosexual now as he was then, and hasn't harboured any secret desire to be a girl after his "breastfeeding" experience.

Their playroom was a mix of trains, cars, balls, science stuff, books, toy kitchens, tea sets, ironing boards, dollhouses, Lego, and basically any other toy that was "in" at the time.

In the end, most of it is just plastic "stuff" (junk). Who cares what colour it is. Anyone who gets uptight about a toy clearly isn't very bright and simply isn't worth the time of day.

ReinettePompadour · 18/07/2017 14:11

I doubt anyone thinks the children will catch the gay

You are wrong, its been said to me dozens of times by dozens of different people. Read this thread lots of people have said others do actually say this.

Its great that you wouldn't think at all about saying that sort of thing but there are plenty of people who feel its a genuine issue and they feel they must enlighten everyone that 'the gay' is catching and caused by boys playing with girls toys.


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BroomstickOfLove · 18/07/2017 14:21

I think that if connecting my son to his masculinity means denying him opportunities to learn about the world and people around and to develop new skills, then that's a bad thing.

Masculinity and femininity shouldn't be about incompetence, whether that's an inability to fix the plumbing, knit a jumper, cook a meal, defend yourself from attack, be strong and healthy, chose clothes that suit you, manage your money, look after your children, treat people with kindness and respect, ask for help when you need and do stuff without help when you don't.

RhodaBorrocks · 18/07/2017 15:22

I remember buying DS1 a toy kitchen and DM saying it was a strange thing for a boy to want to do.
I told her Gordon Ramsay might disagree with her.
DS is now a strapping 16yr old - who's a dab hand in the kitchen

My DS asked for a kitchen aged 6 and my parents bought it for him! But they also knew he liked nothing better than to sit in front of endless '30 Minute Meals' marathons on a Sunday afternoon. He's 10 now and still loves cooking. He's getting pretty good and wants to be a chef.

Friends who've come to tea and expressed surprise at his 'girly' toy get short shrift. I once overheard him say rather witheringly "Haven't you ever heard of Jamie Oliver? He's got a restaurant in town!"

DS has also always had baby dolls. When he was 1 he commandeered one that was mine from when I did antenatal teaching stuff and has had her ever since. He's added a couple of brothers and sisters for her too. He had a double buggy and cots for them and looked after them all so well. If anything got said he would say "I'm practicing to be a good dad!" He took one to school once, secretly (I'd suggested best not to in case of bullying). It turned out to be a big hit - the other boys were a bit jealous DS was allowed a doll and told me at pick up time I was cool because their parents wouldn't allow it. Grin The babies and their stuff have been retired under his bed for the past year, but he has said he isn't quite ready to let them go just yet even though he doesn't play with them any more.

DS had his own jewellerly box full of sparkly stuff at 2, to keep him out of mine! And he loved dressing up as a lady at nursery. Now 10, he's into computers, science, space, technology, robots, lego and... GIRLS! Grin He is definitely showing some signs of interest there. I've never worried (love is love), but some family members have. DS is perfectly secure in who he is at the moment and pretty hot on gender equality - I hope that continues as he goes into his teens. I like to think I'm a pretty good role model though - I'm a computer scientist and pretty good with tech stuff. Fixing his faulty bike chain the other week was akin to untangling a knitting error and no problem for me - but DS declared that I was Wonder Woman! Grin

Northernparent68 · 18/07/2017 15:49

I agree broomstick, what I meant was boys who do n't have any masculine traits are at risk of bullying and when they grow up permanently being in the friend zone.

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