Recently I had an interesting conversation with my brother and his wife about a little boy and a dress. This little boy was the son of friends of theirs and apparently he loooooves dresses. So wonderful parents bought him a dress and all was good with the world.
Then, the little boy grew out of his dress and he really wanted another one. He loved that dress so hard he just didn’t want to imagine life without it. So in the end his, parents, being awesome, bought him another dress. Then they posted a photo of him, in said dress, on Facey and gave a little run down of the story.
Well, you can imagine the response. Comments ranged from “You guys are awesome parents” to “Why would you do that to him?”.
My brother and I actually stood at opposite sides of the fence on this one. He felt it shouldn’t be encouraged as he, as a parent, would be worried about his child being teased and bullied. I argued that it would do more damage to a child to ask him to suppress his sense of self. I still believe that.
Yet, fast forward 6 weeks or so and there I am standing in the kiddie backpack aisle with my 2 year old boy who wants a pink Peppa Pig backpack and I am ashamed to say it but I was unsure of what to do.
I offered him the blue and red team George backpack. He didn’t want it. I tried the Spiderman backpack – the kid is bugging me for Spiderman gloves and boots at the moment. He didn’t want it. I tried the fireman backpack. He didn’t want it.
He wanted the Peppa Pig one. It was truly what his heart desired.
And then I said it. That terrible thing. “But the pink backpack is for girls, Saxon”.
My head screamed NOOOOOOOOO and I vowed never to push that sort of stupid comment on him again but it was too late, it was already out now.
So he looked about at all the backpacks and said “I’ll have the George one, the Peppa one is for girls”.
My heart sank as this, this sort of shit. This is how we teach our kids to judge.
You can’t have that because my mummy (who I look up to) says it’s a girl thing and you are a boy.”
Frankly, I was quite horrified at myself.
So, what did I do? I backpedalled. I said that I had been wrong and that anyone could have the pink Peppa one and I asked him which one he really wanted. Of course the answer was “Peppa”.
I called his dad as I have to admit, I was worried how he’d go with it. I wanted to prepare him. He told me off when I let Monkey paint his toenails once so you can never be too sure. And you know what he said? He said “So what? Peppa is pink right? Of course her backpack would be pink. Get him the one that he wants.” He didn’t even hesitate.
High five, Daddio. You kicked my arse in the whole “how to be a parent” game today.
As a friend of mine on Facebook said (as of course I went on there to moan about the fact Peppa Pig bags were only in pink):
If Saxon wants a Peppa backpack and doesn’t care if it’s pink, then no one else should either!
Damn fucking straight.
What would you have done? Is it right for us to force gender stereotypes onto our children?