Gender Concerns - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 06-26-2013, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
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My 3.5 year old daughter is OBSESSED with "mans"- specifically Daddy. She pretends she is a boy all day. She loves to be with Daddy and do everything just the way he does. She talks about gender differences all the time, for example saying, "So nurses are ladies but doctors are mans. I want to be the doctor." We correct her gently explaining that she can be anything she wants to be and plenty of women are doctors. She has a good understanding of anatomy and clothing differences. She loves sports (though not very athletic) and cars and goes crazy for tractors. She has preferred males over femals since infancy- I remember the sound of Johnny Cash would soothe her during colicky crying fits. Her father, due to work, has been away off and on for nearly half of her life so I've essentially been a single mom. 


On the flip side, she also quickly identifies herself as a girl. When Grandpa exclaims "Oh boy!" she quickly says, "I am a GIRL" and seems to think it is so odd he would say that. :) She loves ballet, and while not very girly in her fashion choices she wears dresses on her own accord. She likes to paint her nails and play makeup from time to time. however, if someone gives her a shirt or baseball cap a boy would wear she is over the moon with happiness. 


She is an enigma to me! She is very bright, preferring adults to children; she loves the Sound of Music and likes the stepmother from Cinderella (the only princess-type movie she's ever seen). And she could be read to for hours if someone would be willing. 


What should I make of her current boy/man interests? I can't even remember how I played at that age, so I feel like I have nothing to draw on.... Is she gender confused? Thanks for your input and advice! 

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#2 of 10 Old 06-26-2013, 09:09 PM
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Relax. Gender roles are fluid until age 6 or so. She wants to be a man today. She may want to be a tree like my nephew next week. Don't encourage or discourage her at this point. Just help her develop into a kind, well-rounded person!
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#3 of 10 Old 06-26-2013, 09:15 PM
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She reminds me of my son.  She likes what she likes, she's not confused.  I found a lot of peace reading this blog:

SAHM to DS BuggaBoo blahblah.gif  12/07, and DD Doozer energy.gif03/10.  Sharing life with The Hubby since 01/05.

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#4 of 10 Old 06-27-2013, 01:58 AM
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I agree. Relax some. Even if she does become a tomboy later on, ypu have no realmprobleml
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#5 of 10 Old 06-27-2013, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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A tomboy is perfectly wonderful. I just think it is getting rather odd that her interests have gone from loving men/boys in infancy/toddlerhood to pretending to be one. I'd say she pretends to be a boy 75% of her day, for the past month. I've been a little concerned about her gender identity for about 6 months now..... 

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#6 of 10 Old 06-27-2013, 01:27 PM
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I wouldn't worry one iota.  My 4.5 yo plays with gender all the time, talking about wanting to be a boy often.  She wanted to shave her head last year, so we did.  She was read as a boy constantly, and sometimes she'd correct them, and other times not.  She doesn't like dresses, dolls, fairies, or any other so-called 'girl' play.  She's into bugs and monsters and ghost stories and art. Our 1.5 yr old has long hair and wears pink and purple often, and gets read as a girl most of the time.  My female DP has short hair, tattoos and rides a Harley has has a male name, and she's read as a man almost always.  I'm the only one in our house that no one wonders about.

Point being, whoever your daughter is, that's exactly who she should be.

It's far too early to make assumptions or predictions.  

Just let her be who she is, and celebrate her as such, and keep an open mind.  Sure, there are boys and girls, but there are a whole lot of in between too.

Were I you, I'd work on quelling your concern, because there's no problem.

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#7 of 10 Old 06-27-2013, 02:25 PM
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I agree she sounds like a wonderful child and very normal.

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#8 of 10 Old 06-29-2013, 11:43 AM
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I was one of those "girls" who never liked typical "girly stuff" as a kid (for what it's worth, I'm a heterosexual married woman with kids now), so I wouldn't worry about it much.  A lot of girls go through a phase of identifying with daddy (experimenting with the opposite gender), but grow out of it.  Some don't grow out of it, and remain tomboys.  And of course a really small subset will identify as LGBTQ.  Gender isn't a binary, it's a spectrum.  I wouldn't worry about it either way, none of these possibilities preclude living a productive and happy life.   

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#9 of 10 Old 07-04-2013, 05:01 AM
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There is a wonderful and fascinating world of gender exploration out there for those who are allowed to explore it. It sounds as if you respect your daughter's choices which is the main thing. At her age they will probably be quite fluid and change a lot. My son wore dresses and skirts exclusively for 2 and a half years until he was 5 but always identified as a boy. He then wore smart suits but had almost waist length hair. He's enjoyed a variety of toys over the years. My niece identified very strongly with the male gender for a long time. Like your daughter she always gravitated towards men and always played a male character in games. Even all her teddy bears are boys! She's 10 now and still mostly plays as  boy, but is adding a little more femininity to her clothing choices.


I've been part of the LGBTQ community for all of my adult life and know a wonderful array of people of various genders. I think that all anybody wants is acceptance and understanding. As long as she knows that you embrace all aspects of her I'm sure she'll be fine. I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'gender confused'. She doesn't sound confused at all, she sounds as if she knows exactly what she likes and what interests her. Gender liberated perhaps? :)

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#10 of 10 Old 08-10-2013, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input! She has now become obsessed with many other things, forgetting her obsession with "mans". Kids sometimes! :) 

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