Bringing up boys
I read an interesting blog the other day and it got me thinking . . . mostly due to the comments that were received (including those on Facebook). June from "A Wise Woman Builds her Home" blog wrote about a news article where a mother of a young boy put pink nail polish on his toes. Junes question was "what did her readers think of this?". Not surprisingly, almost all said NO, many found this very disturbing, sad and angry at the mother. Reasons given included: causing confusion to the boy, the feminization of boys, leading homosexuality, blurring genders etc..
I thought about this all day and these are my views. I would be interested in yours. When my sons were little (aged around 2-5), they asked from time to time if they could wear my nail polish . . . I saw nothing wrong in putting it on their nails. It wasn't any different to when they tried on my high heeled shoes, carried my handbags around or wore my necklaces during dress-ups (as in the photo below).
None of these activities have in any way affect my sons, they are men, they are not confused about their gender and they don't plan to wear nail polish as adults. Kids don't see the world like adults - when they get play "dress-ups" they aren't confused about their sexuality . . . they are just having fun. Many boys, mine included would be wearing their mothers high heeled shoes one moment and then off to play in the dirt with their cars the next moment. I gave my sons my old barbie doll . . . they showed no "female" behaviour when playing with these dolls - Tristan pulled off her head and turned her into a gun much to my horror (he was around 5 years old) - BOYS WILL BE BOYS no matter what toys they are given. And I am sure this has been going on for years and years.
If we say no to boys wearing nail polish (or wearing mums high heel shoes) as it "could" cause confusion (or blur the gender roles) . . . then where do we draw the line. Can boys only do boys activities . . . does this exclude cook and clean and playing with their sisters toys? None of this is encouraging "neutral gender" at all, we need to look at this from a child's perspective not as an adult. We read far too much into these things . . and take away some of the fun of being a child. In the long term boys will be boys and girls with be girls! However I am no saying this is suitable for older boys, when they should be being "boys" but quite harmless when they are smaller having fun. Anyway once boys have reached a certain age they have moved on and usually outdoors kicking a ball around in the mud. I am sure some of you will completely disagree with me over this, but I thought it was a topic worth discussing.
PS my mum taught my brothers to knit - it had no affect on them at all - however they no longer knit. No idea why????
Boys knitting as part of the war effort