Tag Archives: teaching gender roles

Teaching Gender Roles

We are an equal opportunity household…I think.  In lieu of this fact, Andrew and I have been very careful to neither encourage nor discourage the playing with of certain toys for certain children, based on gender.  Our daughter is just as likely to place race cars and soccer as our son is to dust his cheeks with my make-up brushes and dress up like a princess.  And vice versa (visa versa?).

Like this morning, for example.

Admittedly, under the influence of his older sister, middle child Landon was dead-set on wearing Ellie’s three-year-old red satin and black velvet Christmas dress plus some pink clog-type shoes, while we were out in town running errands.  I have to admit–I did try a little to suggest he put on some shorts and a t-shirt.  But he was determined.  And so the smarter parent inside of me, the one that knows the harder you push your child away from something, the faster he will run toward it, said (in not so many words) ‘what the hell.’  And off we went–Ellie and Landon dressed for their “Princess Ball” and Gabe dressed as…well, just Gabe.

The guy at the mailbox store thought it was funny.

The guy we were in line behind at the grocery store was confused.

The lady at the dry cleaners…I couldn’t tell if she was amused, or concerned.
“Oh, my!  Look at the beautiful princesses!”  (She looks once.  She looks again.)  “Are they all girls?”
Without so much as a break in stride, I answered, “no, actually only one of them is a girl.  The the other two are boys.  He (referring to Gabe) is just a pretty boy, and he (nodding toward Landon) is playing princesses with his older sister.”

The lady smiled politely, and just kept looking.  And looking.  I have to admit–the electric blue basketball jersey Landon had on over the top of the dress did make the whole thing a bit confusing.

Then, the lady came in close and kind of whispered to me, “does his father mind?

I shrugged my shoulders and shook my head ‘no.’

And anyway, what’s there to mind?  Not that I have a crystal ball or anything, but I very much doubt that, because my son where’s a fancy dress around once in a while…my three-year-old son…that he will automatically end up gay because of it.  And you know what?  So what if he did?  I sure as hell wouldn’t love him any less.

I do not think you can dictate a person’s eventual sexual preference by controlling (or not controlling) the kind of toys they play with, the activities they engage in or the clothes they wear at an early age.  I’m sure there are plenty of gay men out there who played with GI Joes as a child, and plenty of Lesbians who only played with dolls and other typically “girly” things.

Now, mind you, here in Montana…you may be slightly less likely to see little boys being allowed to wear dresses and fancy shoes around than in some other locales around the country.  But, I don’t mind being the one to buck the system a little.

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