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The boy in the pretty purple and pink boots is mine :) - Page 3

post #41 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovnMama View Post
DS likes to wear leggings under shorts. Usually these are easily found at thrift stores, but I had a coupon and blah blah blah... so I told DS that we were looking for leggings and he, being the awesome, mission-oriented child he is, found many! They were all purple with pink flowers and sparkly and, you get the idea.

He was just looking for what I had TOLD him we needed, just like when we need toilet paper at the store, he tries to find that for us too. I was SO conflicted! I wound up telling him that, while I didn't mind if he wanted those, some people in our culture think boys shouldn't wear stuff like that. He asked why, and I explained, as best I could to a 3 year old, about gender roles. He seemed to understand (???) and we kept looking. Finally we found some black and polka dotted ones, and then I saw that they had ruffles on the bottom. We decided we didn't care, and that it was silly not to get them because of that.

Did I do a bad thing? I mean, not getting the purple ones? He didn't seem to particularly want the purple sparklies, but if he had become enamored, I would have certainly gotten them instead of black. He doesn't seem to interested in his clothes. I don't know... What I do know is that I care WAY more than he does!
No, you did just fine. In fact, I would also have steered him away from the polka-dot leggings with ruffles, again gently explaining about gender roles.
post #42 of 167
I don't think there's anything wrong with buying a boy pink boots, but I probably wouldn't rush to do it because if I buy boots, I want them to be worn, and I would expect that there would be some reactions to a boy in pink boots (nothing harsh, but questions to me in his earshot about why he's wearing them) and that might lead him to not want to wear the boots.

I'm glad the OP's son isn't getting any flack about his choice.

My son likes pink, and he plays with pink stuff and will sometimes dress up in his sisters fancy dress up stuff, but I prefer for him to do this in a setting where I can be sure he won't be teased. Pink isn't his favorite color, and he doesn't care much whether or not he wears pink out of the house, and so I don't buy pink clothes for him. If he found something pink he loved that was cheap enough that I wouldn't mind if he only wore it once, I would buy it, but that hasn't happened.

It's fine to want change, but it needs to be balanced with protecting them from reactions they can't predict and shouldn't have to cope with.
post #43 of 167
zeldamomma, that's really at the heart of the way I feel. Interestingly, I noticed that one of DS5's favorite books, "Treasure of the Lost Lagoon", has a young male protagonist (not a boy but an alligator) dressed in a pink shirt and a purple sweater.
post #44 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post

DS has tons of PJ pants from the girls section at target , why? cuz the girls have all the fun patterns mom!... He is right, boys clothes are boring

I wish we had rain... I live in AZ and we dont get rain...
But, all the best Jammies are in the boy section. Boy's undies are better than girl's undies too. But, the girl's clothes are cuter than boy's clothes.
post #45 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iucounu View Post
No, you did just fine. In fact, I would also have steered him away from the polka-dot leggings with ruffles, again gently explaining about gender roles.
I guess what really bothered me about the whole situation is that I try to go less "boy" or "girl" style, but really more neutral, and I always thought of black as a neutral color - good for boys and girls. So why did these neutral color leggings have a stupid little ruffle on them? (ps. I would still think the ruffle was stupid if DS were DD. It was pointless and silly to have it on there - it was ONLY there to identify it as girls clothing. No other reason.)

We really got them in defiance - because by the time I had to explain how a dinky little ruffle on the hem of some pants made them unacceptable for him to wear, (totally honest here) I felt stupid and dumb. That's no justification for not getting what otherwise was exactly what we were looking for. And if a kid made fun of him and he was sad, well, I could cut the D*MN ruffle off.

It all seems so trivial, when I stop to think about it.
post #46 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iucounu View Post
Pink is a girly color. {shrug} It is a convention, but there it is. I would have gently steered my son to a more masculine set of boots, personally, just like I would steer him away from a tutu to a set of dungarees, if necessary. Gender roles are what they are; they're not going away; and I'd rather that my son fit into a normal gender role than an abnormal one.
SO you want to force your son to fit the mold that is "boy" with no room for his individuality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post
I'd rather my child grow up comfortable in his own skin by exploring and expressing himself rather than risk forcing him into a narrow definition of gender. I know too many people who nearly died because their parents and society couldn't accept them for who they are. My son wore purple boots last winter, and often wears pink shirts now--but there is no mistaking him as a girl. A boy who likes pink and purple, and long curly hair.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Iucounu View Post
I'll love my kid rich, poor, healthy, drug addict, whatever. But I don't want him to be a drug addict; I'd prefer that he were healthy.

Kids will very often emulate what they see, especially if it's coming from a role model. There's no harm in teaching your children a certain way to act; it's what parents have done throughout history. I don't see any harm in teaching a boy to be boyish, and I certainly wouldn't encourage him to be "open-minded" if that means actively encouraging him to be girlish in the eyes of others.

Perhaps this is because I simply have different ideas for what makes for a good life; I'd rather my son were a scientist, artist, etc. than focus his energy on exploding gender stereotypes. I actually see value in exploding gender stereotypes, but don't see it as necessary for my son. I'd be happy enough for him to simply be normal in that way. No muss, no fuss.
So if your son wears purple he is "girly" and can never be a scientist or an artist? Funny you mention artist, they tend to dress quite unconventionally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iucounu View Post
Pink is generally seen as a girlish color in our culture. I didn't make the rules. I don't particularly know why pink was chosen as a color mostly for girls here in the US, but I treat it as I do other aspects of dress in our culture. I don't teach my son to dress like a punk rocker from Russia; I don't teach him to dress like an Australian aborigine in tribal garb; I teach him to dress like an American little boy.

I don't, but we obviously travel in different circles. And that's fine, and I teach my son to be tolerant of others. In the meantime, I encourage him to wear pants instead of dresses, and other colors instead of pink.
encourage or restrict?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jnet24 View Post
I think it is more important to teach our children self confidence, then to force them into a bubble we think they belong in.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lucysmom View Post
Rock on, Musician Dad
post #47 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iucounu View Post
Pink is a girly color. {shrug} It is a convention, but there it is. I would have gently steered my son to a more masculine set of boots, personally, just like I would steer him away from a tutu to a set of dungarees, if necessary. Gender roles are what they are; they're not going away; and I'd rather that my son fit into a normal gender role than an abnormal one.
So it's okay for girls to fit into "abnormal" gender roles by doing "boy" things but it's not okay for the reverse to happen?! Oh right, I forgot that females are inferior so it's not okay for males to cross into that territory.
post #48 of 167
Quote:
I would simply rather not have an effeminate little boy. If he turns out to be effeminate despite being taught about gender roles, I will deal with it, but I don't have any reason to believe that teaching about gender roles is wrong or usually ineffective.
If your son does turn out to have a non-mainstream gender identity, you will have communicated to him his entire life that he is wrong to be who he is.
post #49 of 167
Thread Starter 

On preparation and meeting the world with pride

Hi All,

OP here. Thanks again for all of the responses. I'm not sure where to begin responding to a lot of it. I think there have been a lot of good thoughts on walking that fine line between helping your child "fit in" and also being proud of who they are no matter what.

I'm coming at this from a history of growing up in a somewhat narrow-minded community (the one I once again live in) where certain kids were often teased mercilessly. This happened to my brother---thing is, my brother did everything he could to fit in and he was still teased (believe me, there were no purple boots). My parent's were mostly lost in how to help him deal with it.

So it is the topic of "preparation" raised by Musiciandad that I would really like this thread to address. How do we best teach our kids to meet the world with pride no matter what? Without calling undo attention to how they are different and making them self-conscious about it before they need to be.

DH and I were talking and we feel we do the preparation without scary stories really well in certain areas. For example--how to meet a bear or other wild animal in the woods. We teach that wild animals are not to be feared but respected and there are ways to be safe in that situation. Same thing for navigating a situation where you have the potential to fall are trip--know where your feet and body are and be aware of what's going on around you. Crossing the street--ditto.

But we feel less equipped when it comes to preparing DS for the various pitfalls of social relationships. How do we prepare him to handle difficult social situations without scaring him about how mean other humans can be to one another?

The fact is that, while we don't go out of our way to shock the world with our different-ness (most of the time DS wears "boy" clothes for instance--and we're all just fine with that), our lifestyle and values do set us apart in this community. These values go to the core of who we are and one of their foundations is that we do not blindly accept what this culture tells us is right or wrong--- because the fact is that we live in a really broken culture. And it needs to be transformed. So, if my little boy falls in love with a pair of "girl" boots...its just not good enough to say its not culturally acceptable---I want to celebrate him for who he is and allow him to learn for himself what he likes and dislikes (something I honestly don't think I learned to do until I went to college). But we do need some stronger tools to help us meet a world that believes and operates differently.

Thanks again for all the good thoughts.
post #50 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthMamaToBe View Post
SO you want to force your son to fit the mold that is "boy" with no room for his individuality?
I'm not forcing anything. I'm just functioning as a role model. This may seem terrible to you, but it doesn't to me. He is incredibly individualistic, but thanks in part to my training, he just doesn't dress like a little girl, but rather like a little boy.

I encourage my little boy to dress like a little boy. I get the feeling that some here are actively encouraging their little boys to dress like little girls. I guess that that's their right, but it's not a choice I would make, personally.
post #51 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by limette View Post
So it's okay for girls to fit into "abnormal" gender roles by doing "boy" things but it's not okay for the reverse to happen?! Oh right, I forgot that females are inferior so it's not okay for males to cross into that territory.
Right, that's all based solidly on what I've written!
post #52 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iucounu View Post
I also would steer him away from a 10" Bowie knife or .357 Magnum in the sporting goods store, even if he wanted it. I steer him away from junk food; and I steer him away from scads of other things too. It's just part of teaching him the rules of a normal life and society, and so far he is responding just fine.

I would simply rather not have an effeminate little boy. If he turns out to be effeminate despite being taught about gender roles, I will deal with it, but I don't have any reason to believe that teaching about gender roles is wrong or usually ineffective. FWIW, I also don't have any indication that an effeminate little boy would be brutalized by wearing the color blue.

Gender-based behavior appears to be in large part learned. Some of the learning happens without intervention-- the young boy sees men and emulates them. There's no reason that conversations with him about appropriate gender roles in our society should be off-limits; I am merely confirming what he sees. If he sees a transsexual at the mall wearing a bra for a top, I will explain to him that what he has seen is very unusual, that boys or men aren't expected to dress that way and that it's not normal, but that we should always make sure to respect people no matter how they're dressed.

I'm truly stunned that you just can't wrap your head around these ideas. I am doing what a great many people do, teach children appropriate modes of dress, i.e. modes of dress that are accepted in our society. Lots of parents simply buy their children appropriate clothes (whatever that means to them) and the kids wear them, and learn from that what is appropriate to wear. Did you not know that this is mainstream behavior, and that children don't usually grow up brutalized by it? Did you not know that most little boys and men don't wear pink frilly dresses in modern society?
Why is being effeminate wrong? Why is liking pink and other "girlie" things wrong? Why does liking "girlie" things equate effeminate?

A boy is a boy is a boy no matter what he likes or how he dresses, unless he identifies otherwise. Just as a girl is a girl is a girl no matter what she wears or how she dresses, unless she identifies otherwise.

In my high school, plenty of boys wore skirts. Boys who were in the school plays or taking art class, boys who preferred computers and science, boys who took shop, even boys who played rugby every year. None of them would have been identified as effeminate in the least.
post #53 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iucounu View Post
Right, that's all based solidly on what I've written!
I really, really hope you don't actually believe that females are inferior. I really hope that. Because teaching that to your son is a very dangerous endeavor.
post #54 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by janinemh View Post
Hi All,

OP here. Thanks again for all of the responses. I'm not sure where to begin responding to a lot of it. I think there have been a lot of good thoughts on walking that fine line between helping your child "fit in" and also being proud of who they are no matter what.

I'm coming at this from a history of growing up in a somewhat narrow-minded community (the one I once again live in) where certain kids were often teased mercilessly. This happened to my brother---thing is, my brother did everything he could to fit in and he was still teased (believe me, there were no purple boots). My parent's were mostly lost in how to help him deal with it.

So it is the topic of "preparation" raised by Musiciandad that I would really like this thread to address. How do we best teach our kids to meet the world with pride no matter what? Without calling undo attention to how they are different and making them self-conscious about it before they need to be.

DH and I were talking and we feel we do the preparation without scary stories really well in certain areas. For example--how to meet a bear or other wild animal in the woods. We teach that wild animals are not to be feared but respected and there are ways to be safe in that situation. Same thing for navigating a situation where you have the potential to fall are trip--know where your feet and body are and be aware of what's going on around you. Crossing the street--ditto.

But we feel less equipped when it comes to preparing DS for the various pitfalls of social relationships. How do we prepare him to handle difficult social situations without scaring him about how mean other humans can be to one another?

The fact is that, while we don't go out of our way to shock the world with our different-ness (most of the time DS wears "boy" clothes for instance--and we're all just fine with that), our lifestyle and values do set us apart in this community. These values go to the core of who we are and one of their foundations is that we do not blindly accept what this culture tells us is right or wrong--- because the fact is that we live in a really broken culture. And it needs to be transformed. So, if my little boy falls in love with a pair of "girl" boots...its just not good enough to say its not culturally acceptable---I want to celebrate him for who he is and allow him to learn for himself what he likes and dislikes (something I honestly don't think I learned to do until I went to college). But we do need some stronger tools to help us meet a world that believes and operates differently.

Thanks again for all the good thoughts.
Preparation for what they may encounter is a long term deal.

Here's what we have done with DD and will do with DS (it really worked great with DD).

- Once she was old enough to understand, we started talking about how different people believe different things. We worked through this over time, explaining some of the ways people react to things they don't agree with, what is appropriate behavour and what isn't.

- We talked about and when needed did some role play, on how to deal with someone acting in an inappropriate way towards them or someone else because of their feelings. What do you do when someone is verbally hurting someone for being different, how about if you are the one receiving the treatment? What do we do if someone is physically hurting someone for being different, what if you are the one being hurt? What if it's at school/home/park? Are there trusted adults you can ask for help or should you just leave? All of that kind of thing.

- We provide a safe zone. Not only for our children but for anyone who walks through the front door. Berating someone or physically attacking them because you don't agree with something will not be tolerated.

- In keeping with the safe zone, we also provide a chance to talk about feelings, things that happened, etc. with not only DD but anyone else who walks through the front door. That means that, yes, if your son is at our house and starts asking about wanting to wear dresses and he doesn't feel comfortable enough with you (hypothetically) to express that, both DH and I are willing to talk about it and help him figure out a way he can safely be himself and even discuss it with his parents.

- We also encourage DD to offer similar support. If her friends, or someone at school approaches her and wants to talk, she will listen and offer advise or assistance. She also has the go ahead to offer either DH or I too help if the problem is too big or to offer support when going to see a teacher or school councilor the other child feels comfortable with.

- Finally, this is really something that doesn't need to be done but we do anyway because Dh grew up in a very strict, conservative home. We have a policy that our friends know about. If they know someone who needs support, a place to hang out where they can be themselves, or help finding other sources of support (therapist, groups etc) they can help the person get in contact with us and we will make sure they have access to everything they need. Not everyone has the courage to call up PFLAG or walk into a LGBTQ support center alone. Some people feel much more comfortable sitting down and having coffee with someone who understands and can go with them to these places if they can't do it alone.
ETA: This is a really incredible experience for some of the people that we've helped out, because they have always been told that gay men are out doing drugs and sleeping around, but their first real connection is a stable, loving, monogamous relationship.

I know I strayed in to support for LGBTQ individuals, but a lot of that is interconnected with boy (and girls) who break the gender barriers whether they identify that way or not. The more we support the straight individuals who break the gender norms, the closer we become to giving LGBTQ individuals the respect they deserve in society.
post #55 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
I really, really hope you don't actually believe that females are inferior. I really hope that. Because teaching that to your son is a very dangerous endeavor.
My comment must have gone over your head.
post #56 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
[In lieu of everything else I typed I post this instead]
Screw gender roles.
Real men wear pink

For every girl...
and THEY look fantastic in it too. ANYTIME i see a man in pink i make it a point to compliment him on it. pink is just another colour so why should it not look good in it. my then dh also wore pink. it was one of the colours that really suited his skin tone.

OP i have read a little bit. havent read the whole thread.

i have a feeling you wont really have to worry about your son. he already has a sense of self. he will have weak moments and all he needs is a warm pair of hands to hold him as he recovers.

age makes a big difference. at 3 or 4 i find they are better able to handle. as different growth spurts and hormonal changes slowly start btw 5 and 6 they have a harder time dealing with pain.

being the person he is i think he should be given the chance to do it on his own.

my dd was teased about her underwear at ps. i didnt even think of it. its her personality. she has a v. strong sense fo self. she would stand her ground and answer so what. i want spiderman underwear. she actually prefered boys because they fit well.
post #57 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Why is being effeminate wrong? Why is liking pink and other "girlie" things wrong?
It's not wrong, just like being an amputee or developmentally delayed etc. etc. etc. is not wrong, but it's also abnormal. Since gender-based behavior is largely learned, I'd simply rather that my son be normal than abnormal.

Quote:
Why does liking "girlie" things equate effeminate?
http://dictionary.reference.com/brow...eminate?&qsrc=

Quote:
In my high school, plenty of boys wore skirts.
Not mine. You went to quite an unusual high school, unless it was in the middle of Scotland during the Highland Games. My son won't wear a skirt, since I've taught him normal gender roles and he fits into the male one just fine.

I understand that coming at this from the viewpoint of a gay rights activist, you may naturally bristle at any hint that normalcy is preferable or good in any way (or even that it's fine to teach or discuss, apparently) when it comes to gender-based behavior. But that's simply something we'll have to disagree on.

Really, your arguments boil down to value judgments that are different from mine, backed up by a parade of horribles (e.g. every kid who's taught to be normal turns into an ultramacho battering jerk, full of rage that he was "forced" to wear blue, by gosh).
post #58 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iucounu View Post
My comment must have gone over your head.
Were you being sarcastic? If so, you need to remember that on the internet all I have to go by is your words, not your vocal tones or body language. Since you appeared to be agreeing with what the poster you quoted said, I responded to what you appeared to be saying.
post #59 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iucounu View Post
It's not wrong, just like being an amputee or developmentally delayed etc. etc. etc. is not wrong, but it's also abnormal. Since gender-based behavior is largely learned, I'd simply rather that my son be normal than abnormal.


http://dictionary.reference.com/brow...eminate?&qsrc=

Simply liking something "girlie" does not effeminate make. There needs to be more than just a love of pink for a male to actually be effeminate.


Not mine. You went to quite an unusual high school, unless it was in the middle of Scotland during the Highland Games. My son won't wear a skirt, since I've taught him normal gender roles and he fits into the male one just fine.

I understand that coming at this from the viewpoint of a gay rights activist, you may naturally bristle at any hint that normalcy is preferable or good in any way (or even that it's fine to teach or discuss, apparently) when it comes to gender-based behavior. But that's simply something we'll have to disagree on.

Really, your arguments boil down to value judgments that are different from mine, backed up by a parade of horribles (e.g. every kid who's taught to be normal turns into an ultramacho battering jerk, full of rage that he was "forced" to wear blue, by gosh).
Being something you're not is abnormal. Being who you are, even if it's an effeminate male, is not abnormal. It is simply a natural variance of human nature. Some men are more sensitive, or more macho, or more effeminate. It's not fair to consider someone as being abnormal just because it's not something that is common in your area.

ETA: I wasn't going to touch this, but I can't ignore it. Being developmentally delayed, or having had an amputation does not make someone abnormal either. Implying such a thing is offensive to many, many people including many parents on this very bored.

As for my school, while it was probably more liberal than many schools in the area (seeing as it focused on the arts), the mind set of masculinity and femininity not being defined by ones likes or dislikes is not abnormal. People in BC are very much capable of understanding that a man wearing pink, or even a skirt, is not by default an effeminate man. There is also very much a general understanding that effeminate males are not abnormal, just different.

I come at this from more that just the perspective of a gay rights activist (though, not so much an activist to be honest. I provide support but I don't really engage in activism for the cause beyond attempting to educate people when I notice they have a few misconceptions.) I also come at this from the perspective of a feminist and from the perspective of the father of a boy who likes pink and the perspective of a friend of a very masculine man who has always liked pink and never ashamed of it and the perspective of a man who's own father, who is very much a man, wears pink on occasion.

I am more than just a gay man, and I view things from the perspective of more than just a gay man.

Finally, I have yet to encounter someone who was raised in an environment where they were allowed to be who they are without being steered away who would act out against someone they don't agree with. On the other hand I have met people from very conservative homes where gender roles were enforced who were either antagonistic against those who broke the gender roles or deeply depressed and in one case suicidal and abusing both drugs and alcohol because they were taught by their parents that who they were was abnormal in some way.

As clinched as it sounds, I have to ask. What would you do if your son ends up breaking more than just the basic gender roles you set out for him? What if he's gay, or bisexual? What about if he's transgendered? If you won't even let him wear pink as a child, how are you going to be able to handle those possible outcomes?
post #60 of 167
We don't seem to assign the same sorts of meanings to words. I tend to use ones that appear in the dictionary (see, e.g. "effeminate" above). Abnormal, to me, means outside normal bounds in some way; and I would prefer that my son be within normal bounds when it comes to his gender role. No matter how much you disagree, that is not going to change.

The example of transgendered people is an interesting one. I would be sad if my son were to have such a disorder, though of course I would love him. If there were anything I could do to encourage him in normal behavior and self-image, I'd do that.
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