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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Dads who think playing with dolls will turn their sons gay - advice needed

52 replies

Lottapianos · 27/02/2014 15:40

I work with young children and their parents. I have come across this kind of thinking before and the latest example was today when I explaining to a dad how to help his 2 year old son develop his pretend play skills by using dolls/teddies and a toy kitchen:

Dad: Dolls?????????? Shock
Me: You look horrified (smile)
Dad: Well I just never would have thought of giving him a doll
Me: Because he's a boy?
Dad: Well, yeah
Me: Little boys and girls both need the same opportunities to learn to pretend play etc
Dad: So it won't turn him a bit.........?
Me: Turn him a bit..........?
Dad: Oh well I guess he's only young yet....

So obviously in my head I'm saying FFS! What I really want to say to dad is 'oh you mean will it turn him gay? Oh I see! Well rest assured that there is nothing that will turn him gay - if your lovely boy is gay, then he's gay already!' But I had a feeling that would not have ended well.....

Almost the most depressing thing about this whole depressing episode is that this is a stay at home dad! I did point out that he's a man, and a dad, and that he takes care of his baby, and that there is nothing remotely weird about that, and so what could be wrong with his son pretending to do the same thing with a doll???? But you know when you just know that it's going to take a hell of a lot more to change someone's long held prejudices beliefs.......

I feel very strongly about challenging this nonsense but I also need to keep the parents on side. All thoughts and advice would be gratefully received

OP posts:
TerrariaMum · 27/02/2014 17:08

What about presenting childcare and cooking as life skills that everyone needs to know? Because everyone needs to eat and everyone will be faced with small ones at some point even if they don't have any themselves. And it may be easier to face those situations with a bit of background knowledge wherever it comes from.

UriGeller · 27/02/2014 17:12

Well every days a school day and he's had his long held beliefs challenged. You've given him something to think about and broadened his horizons and those of his son. Good work. He definitely missed the irony though!

CailinDana · 27/02/2014 17:15

Ime the issue is not that people fear that it will turn their sons gay but that it will make their sons look girly. Because girls are lesser beings then people feel bad about letting their sons be girly because it diminishes them. A girl doing boyish things is cute because it's like a dog dancing, but a boy doing girlish things is embarrassing because it is like a man barking.

Wolfiefan · 27/02/2014 17:15

Tell the idiot parents all the skills such play will help their child develop.

Lottapianos · 27/02/2014 17:16

Thanks a lot for that Uri, I really felt like I should have done more but felt that I couldn't have pushed it much further. He did seem to soften a bit as our conversation went on and I think he's a bit less anti-dolls now than he was at the beginning of our session. I hope so anyway!

OP posts:
iklboo · 27/02/2014 17:17

But they're ok with Action Man / GI Joe because they're action figures. Not dolls. Oh, no siree. Plastic 12 inch figures with a variety of clothes & accessories. But not dolls.

BetterWithCheese · 27/02/2014 17:18

CailinDana - that's so true and so sad.

Lottapianos · 27/02/2014 17:20

Ah good point iklboo - what on earth is Action Man if not a doll?!

I see your point about the girliness Cailin and I think that was definitely a factor too, but the limp wristed gesture and reference to 'turning him' definitely suggested this dad was afraid of his 2 year old catching 'the gay' Hmm

It's both infuriating and heart breaking that these views are still so prevalent

OP posts:
iklboo · 27/02/2014 17:20

FIL seems to believe DS not liking football will make him (limp wristed gesture). Even when it's pointed out that DH hates football. And that a lot of gay men like football as well. And that some footballers are gay.

Mind you, FIL is a twat dinosaur.

Lottapianos · 27/02/2014 17:23

Iklboo, that sounds like way too many logical points in one go - were you trying to make his head explode or something?!

OP posts:
ReadyToPopAndFresh · 27/02/2014 18:06

Does the man agree that gay people were around since before the 70s?

Because we had very clear defined ideas about children's toys and what was and wasn't acceptable then. So unless he think gay people are the result of some sort of new fangled liberal experiment in the 70s and 80s he's not just being homophobic he's also being an idiot.

Alan Carr's dad is a a football manager! Shock

TheDoctrineOfSnatch · 27/02/2014 18:14

I never understand this. Gay men are statistically far less likely to be fathers and give parental care for babies
/ children than straight men.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch · 27/02/2014 18:21

And Lotta - I think it does stem from "girlie" = gay as the same reaction would probably have happened if the DS had been in a princess outfit or something.

His son is far more likely to be a dad than to be a firefighter or a soldier or a truck driver. Can you imagine the dad turning up and saying, "don't dress him as a firefighter, that's a dangerous job, I don't want him to get ideas about an unsafe career" ?

But the discomfort is that children play at "jobs" like doctor, bus driver etc - and if the "job" being played at is caring, it seems to cause massive discomfort - even for one who had that "job"!

ziggiestardust · 27/02/2014 18:31

cailin that comment was brilliantly put I agree with you 100%, and I've copied and pasted it into an Evernote so I always remember it next time someone tells me my son playing with his kitchen is unusual

BuffytheReasonableFeminist · 27/02/2014 18:31

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Claryrocks · 27/02/2014 18:32

That's so sad. My 3yr old not only plays with dolls, but wears his sisters dress so he and her can be Anna and Elsa from frozen and wants his nails painting if he sees me doing mine. (He also loves dinosaurs and his sword - he's a little boy exploring his world) I'd never think that was going to make him gay but if he is then he is - it'll be part of his genetic make up not wearing a bloody dress. Nobody thinks a tom boy is going to grow up butch or to be a lesbian. I hate these ridiculous stereotypes. Not much advice than other to echo the dad was being bloody stupid. And how offensive using the limp wrist.

KissesBreakingWave · 27/02/2014 18:41

Wandered in to make the point about Action Man, which was the only doll I got as a small boy. Not just a doll, but a big, butch manly doll with no female company.

But it wasn't that made me gay. It was all them men I had sex with that did that.

BuffytheReasonableFeminist · 27/02/2014 18:43

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ReadyToPopAndFresh · 27/02/2014 18:45

Grin Kisses

duchesse · 27/02/2014 18:56

Having watched a lovely pair of 5yo boys at DD's school yesterday interacting- one carrying the other and kissing each other in a way that wouldn't even raise an eyebrow among most people if they'd been girls, I can only despair that there are still fossils about who actually believe that you can "make" people gay. Or that there's any problem with them being gay if they are.

duchesse · 27/02/2014 18:56

Grin kisses!

iklboo · 27/02/2014 20:31

Grin Kisses!


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TiggyCBE · 27/02/2014 20:37

But you have the problem that the customer is always right. (If I ever find the person who came up with that! Angry )

I looked after a child the other day who was not allowed cherry tomatoes due to an allergy/intolerance. Other types of tomatoes were fine. It was the size of them that were poisonous to her according to Mum. Hmm

At another nursery there was a boy who wasn't allowed to wear any of the dresses. Dad didn't like it. The problem was that ofsted would insist that he should be allowed to if he wanted AND that the wishes of parents should be respected. We really were stuffed.
The importance of addressing homophobic attitudes is way behind the belief that racism should be attacked head on with no compromise. Suggest to a nursery you don't want your child to "do gay stuff" and you'd get some sympathy (mostly lip service admittedly). Ask for your child to be kept away from black children and you'd get told to leave.

I've raised this issue on nursery websites before, but nobody is every really interested in talking about it.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch · 27/02/2014 20:50

Good points, Tiggy.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch · 27/02/2014 20:52

I blame the 1980s

( as in the Clause that allowed schools to opt out if covering ie "promoting" homosexuality - Clause 28?)

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