Guess what? Glitter is for anyone who likes it. This has been a long time coming, but I was motivated to write it thanks to a conversation I overheard.
From the time my 9 year old daughter was born, I was determined that she would grow up knowing she was equal to any boy, and could do anything he could. She wore yellow, blue and green along with pink & purple. She had trains and toy tools and can play in the dirt with the best of them. She also loves pink and purple and sparkles and ruffles and dolls. The message of “girl power” is supported by the mainstream media, including outrage over pink toys. My issue with pink toys is the assumption that only girls want toy brooms and dolls. If the market demands pink toys (I know my daughter would choose pink!) so be it. Business is business.
Where is the boy power message? Boy clothes have airplanes and helicopters and dinosaurs and monster trucks. It’s hard to find “normal” baby boy clothes that are just solids, stripes etc. My 4 1/2 year old son’s favorite toy was the vacuum, for a long time! Both of my boys have dolls and baby carriers (though they quickly go from cuddling their babies to slamming their heads against the walls, ha.) We have a green & beige toy kitchen that all of our kids love, and one of my son’s most prized possessions is his toy mop! I had a heck of a time finding dolls who weren’t dressed in pink. My youngest son’s doll has a dinosaur appliqued on his onesie, but hey…it isn’t pink. I even contacted American Girl (when I was a kid, you could choose “boy” or “girl” clothes for Bitty Baby) and they essentially said there isn’t the market demand for a “boy” doll (other than Bitty Twins.)
Boys can do anything girls can do! The exceptions being lactation and giving birth, but I’m sure modern science will take care of that soon enough, ha. (I’ve read articles about men lactating!)
I’ve been very neutral on toy selections and color preferences. I didn’t bat an eyelash when my son was interested in pink and princesses and wanted his nails painted like his sister. Honestly, I believe it was more because he wanted to be like his older sister than because he really loved them! Suddenly though, my daughter came home from school snidely telling him that “pink is a girl color.” Nope, I quickly corrected her that pink is for anyone who likes pink!
I went to the craft store on a rare, relaxing solo outing, to grab paint for my daughter’s school project. In the same aisle was a family with a daughter and son, choosing paints for their derby cars. The son chose paint with glitter in it and the mother was berating him because glitter is for girls. The daughter was able to choose whatever she wanted, and wasn’t required to choose pink or purple. She wasn’t told that derby cars were for boys. I could feel the hurt when the little boy said that “but they’re glitter in boy colors!” My heart ached for him when his mother angrily said to his father that “these are his colors, that’s it, let’s go.” She told her son “well when all the other kids think you’re ‘funny‘ don’t come cryin’ to me, ’cause I told you not to pick ’em.”
On the one hand, I’m glad she let him choose the colors he wanted, but on the other hand, this experience will probably stick with him for the rest of his life. If his friends do imply that he’s “funny” he’ll be crushed. I doubt he even enjoyed painting his car with the words of his mother echoing in his head. If my sons chose glitter paint and were made fun of, I’d tell them to smile & tell those other kids “well I like it and that’s all that matters!”
I’m not just raising little boys, I am raising someone’s future husband and someone’s Dad (hopefully.) I won’t tell my sons to “man up” or that they can’t like/do certain things because they are boys. They are human beings, and while I acknowledge that there are biological differences between men & women, basing a little boy’s self worth on his level of “manliness” is ridiculous. Encouraging your boys to be themselves (even liking pink or glitter) doesn’t mean they will grow up to be “pansies.”
Glitter is not just for girls.