Gendered Frustration and Worry for My Boy

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Gender is a funny concept. Boys do these things, and girls do these things, right?


Sure, boys and girls are different, but it makes me INSANE when toys and activities and dress is brought into boys and girls stuff.


A Facebook friend posted a picture of her little boy, who is in Pre-K, wearing a dress, high heels, and a tiara. Multiple comments remarked, jokingly, that she need to call and make him an appointment with a psych.

But maybe I’m being over sensitive. After all, as a Pre-K teacher, I’ve been educated to know that all kids play dress up, in all kinds of clothes, and that a boy playing dress up in a dress and jewelry is perfectly normal behavior developmentally.

But then I keep seeing stuff on Pinterest, with pictures of pink cookies with the Eiffel tower on them tagged as “perfect for a girl!,” or a construction birthday cake tagged as “what a great party for a boy!” And I’m fighting the urge to comment “or for a boy who loves Paris!” and “Girls love trucks, too!” with several smiley faces and exclamation points to hide the fact I want to smash my face into my keyboard with every gendered thing I see.

Maybe it’s from raising a kid. A boy. Who marches happily around the house “doing karate” in his pink Dora pajamas.

Maybe from seeing how gendered the world is, where it’s ok for a girl to like trucks or wear pants or wear a shirt that brags, “Daddy’s girl,” but it’s side-eyed and talked about if a boy likes High School Musical or wears skirts or you can’t even find a shirt that says, “Mama’s boy,” because that’s emasculating and insulting.

Maybe it’s from realizing that little boys and girls are shaped the exact same way, and there should be no such thing as a “boy’s shirt” or “girl’s shoes.”

Maybe it’s just from feeling like I’m fighting a losing fight, trying to provide my little boy with stuff he likes, in a variety of colors, regardless of what gender it’s marketed to. Maybe it’s because some days I think it’s useless, with LEGO coming out with new sets “for girls,” and shirts being made “for girls” that say, “I’m too pretty to do homework.”

Maybe I think I should start commenting on all of those pins on Pinterest, just to see if it makes anybody THINK. Maybe I should comment on that Facebook post, saying how cute he is, and how refreshing it is to see a parent who understands that little boys can wear dresses.


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