I will fully admit buying in to the traditional pink and purple gender stereotyping when I was pregnant with the twins. I mean, the first thing my mom and I did after finding out I was having twin girls was drop a loan of cash at Babies R Us on frilly outfits. But watching my kids grow, and letting them voice their own opinions, has greatly changed my outlook on gender stereotyping.
For instance, Audrey's favorite color is blue. And so is Emma's. Which means Natalie's favorite color is blue sometimes, especially if Emma chooses it (though really, I know it's pink). They love watching Thomas the Train, Fireman Sam, and Spiderman. I'm hoping to pass my love of Star Wars on to them, even though they think Yoda is a scary monster. Audrey wants to play soccer, and I have no doubt she'd totally rock. They play house, cook in their kitchens, mow the grass with their toy lawnmower, build mud pies, drive Corbin's truck, and build train tracks together. And no one bats an eye at that.
And sweet little Corbin, he wants to do anything and everything that his sisters are doing. I bought him a Little Tikes grill for Christmas because he was always in the girls' room playing with their kitchen. And you know what? He still would rather play with their kitchen. Why? Because he sees his mom and dad working in the kitchen: cooking, cleaning, eating. We don't own a grill. He's never seen us grill. It makes sense that he wants to do what is familiar to him. Corbin wants to carry around their dolls, because he sees his mom & dad caring for him. What better way to learn compassion and responsibility than modeling behavior? I want Corbin to be a good, hands on father. Generations ago, men went to work, and women stayed home to raise children. In the past decade, the amount of stay at home dads has more than doubled. As a society, we've embraced women in the workforce, but there is still backlash, and even feelings of shame, for dads that stay home with their children.
We live in a society that embraces violent games for young boys and emasculates them for doing "girly" things. How many times have you heard the phrase "boys will be boys" when they're rough housing? Why excuse bad behavior simply because your child is a boy? Don't you want to expect better than that? Our daughters are taught from a young age that they are princesses, and smothered with the color pink. Before we know it, they're in middle school, and riddled with eating disorders to attain that perfect cover girl look. While I want all of my children to have confidence and self esteem, telling my girls they're pretty all day long isn't going to help them in the long run. It's going to make them feel the need for validation based on their looks alone. And that's not what I want for them. I will give praise for being kind, thoughtful, inventive, and responsible.
So if my son wants to play with dolls and pink toys, or my girls want to wear blue and wrestle, then they are more than welcome to do so. We don't say "boys/girls don't" and "only boys/girls do" in our house. And if even one person starts the "it'll make them gay" homophobic spiel, I'll answer "so what?". Because my children are so much more than what they wear, and what they play with - and I'll love and support them no matter what.
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