Sunday, July 7, 2013

he's gonna be g@y: the sunday parenting party

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a while back, i was talking with someone very close to me as we watched Bear play.  he was in the driveway pushing a baby doll in our stroller.  that's when the words came out of the person's mouth:
them: you know, if he keeps doing stuff like this, he's gonna be... y'know...
me: stuff like what?
them: playing with dolls, dressing up, y'know.  he's gonna be...
me: no.... gonna be what?
them: y'know... he's gonna be g@y.
before i continue, i need to note... i'm spelling the word g@y that way to avoid searches from pervs finding this post.  not because i consider it an obscene or offending word.
back to the incident.... i have never been more offended in my life.  my entire 33 years.  seriously.  i can venture to say that i had a little bit of momma bear mixed with rage bubble up. 
and thus began the conversation...
i explained that gender bias surrounding what little girls should do and how little boys should act were antiquated notions that not only pigeonhole children, but can also create shame in their creative play ideas. 

playing with dolls allows boys to explore the roles played by the caregivers in their lives.  by taking care of their baby dolls, they are practicing and learning how to nurture and exhibit emotions.  in this post from Picklebums, Kate puts these sentiments into words better than i.  in reference to her son playing with dolls, she says "He plays with dolls so that one day he may be a confident, loving and nurturing father, uncle, big brother, friend or partner." doll play can also help boys and girls prepare to become big brothers and sisters, as pointed out in this post at Dirt and Boogers.  this idea is properly illustrated in a children's book William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow.  i had no idea this book even existed until i read this post from Small Potatoes.

the ridiculous classification system that some use to categorize g@y vs. straight has become tiresome for me over the years. what in the world does hairstyle, clothing style, or  recreation activities have to do with $exu@l preference. {note: again anti-perv coding}

these stereotypes are even more asinine when they are applied to children's appearances and play choices through the categories of "sissy boys" and "tomboy girls", i.e. children who don't follow the gender behaviors prescribed by society.  granted there are some children that at a very early age, are aware of their orientation, but discussing the $exu@l!ty of children is just absurd to me.

but, i mean, seriously?  does it matter? it's not even a learned behavior anyway.  God made my son exactly how he wanted him.  toys that he plays with and dress up clothes that he wears isn't going to "teach" him to be drawn to his own gender romantically when he's older.  it saddens me that this theory is still in play in 2013.  but, no matter what orientation he recognizes he is drawn towards when he's older, what does it matter?  what does that have to do with his 4.5 year old life?  it shouldn't even be an issue.  and that's just what i told them.

the bottom line is this:  no matter what he grows up to be, whether it be g@y or straight, law-abiding or criminal, Christian or atheist, polka-dotted or striped....
he will always be my son. 

and nothing, nothing he does will ever change my love for him.
for more info on how playing with dolls helps girls and boys develop, check out this post from Mama OT that was written by  Katie Yeh, pediatric speech-language pathologist and writer at Playing With Words 365 and Laura Hutchinson, a clinical psychologist at PlayDrMom.

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pricklymom said...

Andie, I'm right with you! My younger son has always been so loving and nurturing with his stuffed animals. I wanted to get him a baby doll when he was 2, but finding something that my husband approved of was impossible. I know he's done other things, like insisting on wearing Mardi Gras beads to school, that make me needle my husband and say, jokingly, "uh-oh!" But the gender pigeonholes are ridiculous. Why does every Easy Bake Oven have to be pink??

Mary said...
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Sylvia Phillips said...

Hi Andie! I didn't realize you were doing a parenting party. My post is an older one about parenting a special needs child. Hope that's okay. My sons all played with dolls from time to time. The one who has a little boy is a wonderful loving father and is my grandson's main care taker as he works nights and his wife works days. I really don't think playing with dolls can make anyone gay!

Laura Lynn said...

It never ceases to amaze me the things people say about other people's kids. Friends and strangers alike. Hope your friendship was strong enough to endure the difference in perspective.

crittersandcrayons said...

Andie- I get why you used the coding- anything related to the topic of romantic preference yields odd search results and I would think you would likely have encoded reference to hetero-preference as well, if it made it into your post. It is amazing the kinds of odd searches that bring people to a blog- and it is good to err on the side of caution.

EC said...

He plays with dolls so he's probably going to grow up to be...caring, a good father. Ignorant people shouldn't be allowed to talk.

Kellie Barr said...

My son loves his doll! He got her during our cross country move, and I think that he latched on to her even more because of it. He takes her all over the place, collects things for her, and just generally loves her. He takes very good care of her and is rarely mean or inconsiderate of her. He also loves REAL babies! Imagine that! :D His play with his doll is just reflecting his interests. I am expecting another baby this fall and he is always coming over and kissing my belly, hugging "the baby", and talking about how much fun it will be and how much he is going to help me with the new baby, and with the toddler who is between the son I'm speaking of and the new baby. Why would I want to teach him to be less than caring?

And I also get the not spelling words a certain way. Especially on a blog that may address br3asts associated with feeding, and other body parts associated with other natural functions, if someone were to google a bunch of keywords, it could pop up with your blog pretty easily.

Jane Mamapeapod said...

Great post, Andie! It's unfortunate that many people still don't see the need for boys to grow up caring and nurturing, too.

Kristin said...

Girl you know I am right there with you! Good for you for raising a boy who will grow up to be a strong and nurturing man!

Rez P said...

Yes! I'm amazed how many people actually believe it to be the case.
I've just had a baby girl & my 4 yr old sons taken to caring for teddies & dolls as babies (because he watches me) & I've used that to my advantage encouraging him, showing him how to be gentle, quiet, slow & careful etc
He may become a father one day & a great one
:-) I love this post

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