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So your son likes pretty things...?

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#1 Fillyjonk

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:06 PM

If your four-year old son chose a garish rose printed fabric for a coat, what would you say? What if his second choice was Barbie pink?

I am ashamed to say that we forced ours to choose something else, without really giving a reason beyond, "hmm, that is probably more of a girl's colour." He was upset but gave in to a different design, which just happened to be blue.

It seems like we are having these little situations all the time - where we give him a choice and he selects the most "girly" option. Then we talk him out of it and into something he clearly does not like as much. And then I feel all uncomfortable that I am crushing his individuality and sense of style and kick myself for giving him the choice to start with.

I would like to say that I am not slave to gender stereotypes, but clearly I am.

So now we are planning to buy him a bike for Christmas and he has his heart set on a pretty dafodil yellow one with a white and yellow basket and white tyres. The only other one we have seen for his size is an ugly but "manly" fluro green and black number. The dafodil yellow one is a much better bike and within our price range, so surely that should be enough for us, right? But no, we are worried about our son being seen on a girls'  bike.

So what would you do? Would you let him go with the pretty things and be thankful you have a sensitive son who is not into skulls and ninjas? Or would you sit him down and giving a talking to about the way the world is?

Edited by with the goo goose, 10 December 2012 - 07:07 PM.

#2 Grant Me Wings

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:16 PM

I try and balance it. I don't give DS (3) a choice with most of his clothing when it is purchased to avoid issues, and he will normally choose based on the shirt having a dinosaur or teddy rather than colour.

When he has had a choice he has picked pink, and I am fine with him wearing his pretty pink undies out even when they will be seen, and he had pink slippers with glitter butterflies that may have even made it as far as maccas.

No one has ever been negative but I want to avoid teasing while letting him express himself.

#3 RealityBites

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:21 PM

What's wrong with yellow?

#4 **Xena**

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:21 PM

My boys' favourite colour for years was pink and they loved dolls. So they had dolls in pink prams!

As my husband said to my boys when they later came home from school saying pink was for girls "Does the colour pink have a vagina? No! So nobody can assign it a sex"

Went over their heads but had me in stitches

Edited by **Xena**, 10 December 2012 - 07:21 PM.

#5 naturalgoodness

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:22 PM

DS2 tells me that his friends don't care what things he has and whether they are usually aimed at girls rather than boys - this is what I say to him when he is making a final decision.

As a consequence of his choices, when his friends come over (who are mainly girls) they really appreciate having good stuff to play with! We have Sylvanian Family sets mixed in with star wars light sabres and army men so his choices are not always female orientated.

I have found that as he is growing, he is moving more towards other things - I always let him go when he was younger and there appears to be no harm.

#6 sammyv

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:27 PM

I would buy the yellow bike but perhaps change the tyres to black and remove that basket.  If you buy from a bike store not a department store they are more likely to do this for you.

My friends son has pillow pets, Sylvania families and other toys that are usually for girls.

#7 kadoodle

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:28 PM

My DS1 was into pink and preferred girlier options at that age.  Now that he's 8, the penchant for flowers in channeled into growing and trying to crossbreed his plants.

He has met with some rubbishing from kids at school over preferring dancing over footy and cricket, but the teachers have been very proactive about stamping on anything that could have turned into bullying.  He also has several good female friends and has made a couple of male friends this year with quieter boys who share his interests in sci fi.

Edited by kadoodle, 10 December 2012 - 07:34 PM.

#8 Guest_3Keiki_*

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:29 PM

There is an excellent blogger called Mrs Woog who has a couple of amazing sons - one wonderful lad called Jack and another Harry. Jack is a treasure, and Mr and Mrs Woog are about the best parents he could have been blessed with... I recommend you give her site a look do a bit of  search for her posts on Jack - not only will it have you in stitches but maybe give you an alternate way of dealing with your sons personality.


Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:31 PM

Yet a lot of people wouldn't have an issue with their daughter dressing in "boys" clothes or playing with "boy" toys and having "boy" colours.

I don't have a son, yet, but if he wanted to play with dolls, I'd let him, like I let my girls play with trucks. If he wanted a girl coloured bike, I'd get him the girl coloured bike, like I'd let my daughters ride a boy coloured bike. If he wanted to wear girls clothes, I'd let him, like I'd let my girls wear boyish clothes.

#10 Ridcully

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:32 PM

I think that currently you are making him feel bad about himself for wanting 'girly' things not society. You'd be surprised how accepting kids really are.

Let him wear pink. And if kids (more likely adults) look at him strange or say something derogatory then defend him - he needs to know his parents will accept him no matter what.

Xena - that saying is awesome!

#11 Lokum

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:33 PM

We've done it too. DS chose white sandals with pink butterflies, and we steered him back to red & navy sandals. And I felt guilty.

They were his $70-sandals-for-the-whole-summer shoes.
If he'd chosen white and pink for his $15-just-for-childcare runners, I might have given in...

He's only 2, but already his grandparents said, 'What are you doing to him???' when they saw him wearing his cousin's pink hair clip. If they can't handle it, what are randoms at the shops and childcare going to say if they see him in white/pink sandals? And how will he be affected by hearing that crap?

It's a tough one.

ETA - clothing is different to toys. DS can play with any toys he likes. But clothing is likely to get comments from adults - and I wonder how those comments (esp when I'm not there) will affect him? That's what I'd be 'protecting' him from. Not saying it's right.

Edited by Lokum, 10 December 2012 - 07:36 PM.

#12 Ridcully

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:34 PM

QUOTE (kadoodle @ 10/12/2012, 08:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My DS1 was into pink and preferred girlier options at that age.  Now that he's 8, the penchant for flowers in channeled into growing and trying to crossbreed his plants.

How awesome!

#13 BetteBoop

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:37 PM

I don't think it has anything to do with his personality. He simply likes pretty things. He may not be any more or less sensitive than a boy who likes green skulls.

I would try not to crush his personal taste in an effort to squeeze him into a box labelled 'little boy'. There is nothing inherently feminine about flowers.

It's good your aware of socialisation of gender and trying to step outside of the narrow constraints put on kids according to their sex. Most people are blind to gender roles and firmly believe it's natural for boys to love blue and girls to love pink.

And so they continue.

#14 A Tiny Hedgehog

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:43 PM

Because of course we know buying him a yellow bike and a rose-print jacket will spontaneously cause him to grow pigtails and a vagina.

Have you stopped to consider this hand-wringing is part of why pink and yellow are "girly" colours?

#15 baddmammajamma

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:43 PM

I shared this on EB two years ago when it was first written, but it is so fabulous that it should be shared again (it pretty much sums up my feelings about boys who love to wear "pretty things"):


#16 Onyx

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:43 PM

I think what you're doing is wrong. Let him choose what he wants, he doesn't need to know stereotypes, he's a little boy. Let him enjoy his childhood, regardless of what colour he chooses.

#17 CherrySunday

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:43 PM

QUOTE (Lokum @ 10/12/2012, 08:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
He's only 2, but already his grandparents said, 'What are you doing to him???' when they saw him wearing his cousin's pink hair clip. If they can't handle it, what are randoms at the shops and childcare going to say if they see him in white/pink sandals? And how will he be affected by hearing that crap?

It's a tough one.

ETA - clothing is different to toys. DS can play with any toys he likes. But clothing is likely to get comments from adults - and I wonder how those comments (esp when I'm not there) will affect him? That's what I'd be 'protecting' him from. Not saying it's right.

that's just it - it's one thing to say "let him be who he wants", but the reality is that it's more likely to gather negative attention, and that's more unhealthy than gender-sterotype bikes.
There's got to be a balance, because it's going to be hard to figure out 'who you are' while 90% of the word tells you it's wrong.
Lokum said it very well, and I agree wholeheartedly.

DS is going to end up with lots of pink toys, but DD also has lots of 'neutral' toys that he'll inherit from her as they grow up. We're hoping to be laid-back with girl/boy labelling, but there's a line somewhere, and we can only hope to be sensible about it when the time comes.

OP, I think you could probably go with the flowery bike, and maybe 'mod' it a bit, change the seat colour, put some covers on the handle to make it a bit less 'girly' and a bit more neutral perhaps?

#18 ~ky~

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:44 PM

My DS took a baby doll to school in a pink pram complete with a pink nappy bag, cloth nappies, a bottle and feeding set. He got some ribbing from older kids but kids his age all, both boys and girls, thought he was cool. His teacher said he was welcome to bring the doll every day as he was better behaved with a "baby" to look after than other days.

He also learned to walk pushing a teddy bear in a pink Barbie stroller around the streets of Bankstown ... it was mega cute!

#19 kadoodle

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:46 PM

I don't remember getting any comments about DS1 wearing pink when he was younger.  He went trick or treating as a witch last year and a fairy the year before and was happy to correct people who assumed he was a girl.

#20 B.feral3

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:48 PM

Double post below??

Edited by Bek+3, 10 December 2012 - 07:49 PM.

#21 raven74

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:48 PM

Little boys don't see stereotypes they just see a colour and pattern that they love.  Why make that shameful?

#22 **Xena**

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:48 PM

I never got any bad comments when my boys went out wearing tutus or princess dresses.

I'm friends with a lot of guys that STILL dress up as girls for fun and they've seen me dress up as a guy before biggrin.gif

Edited by **Xena**, 10 December 2012 - 07:50 PM.

#23 B.feral3

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:49 PM

It was my 4 year olds birthday 2 days ago. He got the pink Lego box which is what he showed interest in a few weeks prior. Now he can make pigs for the farm!!

#24 SuboptimallyPooks

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:49 PM

I would encourage him to go with what is in his heart. The world will teach him, soon enough, what boxes he is meant to fit in and what happens when you don't. And when that happens, he'll need his parents on his side.

#25 Fluster

Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:49 PM

Honestly, I'd let him pick all the pretty stuff he wants for home and steer him towards more mainstream boys items for anything that will enter an environment that might turn him into a laughing stock, at least until he's old enough to choose for himself what 'risks' he's prepared to take. I completely grasp the unfairness and rigidity of stereotypes but my son is not a social statement. He's a child, and he's vulnerable to criticism.

My son likes most mainstream boys stuff, but he has a penchant for jewellery and gems.  He has women's rings and pendants in his collection.

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