My son simultaneously wears a Dora apron and fights sexism

Guest post by Sarah Vallely

Photo by Sarah Valley.
Dora the Explorer has finally found our house. I’ve never minded Dora; my niece had a big thing with her a few years back so I’m well acquainted with her program. I love that she’s a little girl who is always the hero of her own story. Dora senses the needs of her friends, does all of the planning, the guiding, the saving and helping, all on her own (well, with Boots, of course, but as far as his role goes, he is definitely a side-kick). There are very few children’s programs on air now that even give equal screen time to male and female characters, let alone have a female protagonist that isn’t rife with stereotypically feminine traits (conventionally attractive to the point of being “sexy”, a nag, in pursuit of a husband/boyfriend/appointment to royal status, or a fairy. Or a princess. Or both). Dora, in general, is fine by me as a television character for my kid to enjoy.

Well, apparently, because Dora is a girl she is a character for girls. There’s like, no way that she can just be a character for kids, according to all the people. Seriously. It started when my son decided he wanted cupcakes. I figured we’d make cupcakes and take them to work for our friends. I gave him one of my aprons but it was too big. The next week at the local farmer’s market I spied homemade kid-sized aprons. They had some robots and some flowers, but what really caught my eye was, of course, a Dora apron. It is bright pink and lacy but whatever — that’s not something that would register for Isaac.

He loves his Dora “shirt” as he calls it. He wore it all day that day, wore it to bed, we had to hide it from him in order to get it clean so he could wear it all day again the next day. He wore it to the bakery next door with my niece. Apparently the women behind the counter didn’t approve of his “girly” look and said things like “What are you wearing? Does your father know you’re wearing that?!” I mean, this kid’s dad wears an apron to work every day of his life. He’d be the last person to care!

Anyway, I guess I wish I were shocked. I wish that a boy child wearing pink didn’t elicit some sort of visceral, nasty response in people in my town. He’s too young to have understood what they were implying, but my niece sure wasn’t! (Thanks for that, bakery ladies! Certainly a young girl burgeoning on adulthood needs to be reminded of her second-class status whenever she goes to get a bagel!). So we’ve decided, at my brilliant co-worker’s suggestion, to commission a Dad-sized Dora apron so the two of them can match next time they go grab a “fuffin” for the kid.

Dora the Explorer apron by SewingByRose

So here’s what I can’t wrap my mind around: (and complete disclaimer here: I am neither an expert in child development nor gender or queer studies, these are just my opinions, gleaned from items I’ve read and experiences I’ve had). At two, gender is still very fluid. Isaac doesn’t know “boy” or “girl” at all. Like, no concept whatsoever. He calls every child “kid” and I love it that he does. I’m certainly in no rush to make my child fit into any category at all.

So, even if your average bakery worker isn’t quite up to speed with child development and gender politics, it’s still safe to say that “shaming” my kid (because that’s what they were trying to do), isn’t alright. He’s a child. He’s doing his thing, man! He’s got a great new outfit to wear on his big adventure to the store down the street, he’s happy as can be! It’s got pockets big enough to hold cars and his juice! And for what, exactly, should he be shamed? Because girls wear pink and girls aren’t as good as boys? Because if a boy has on clothing that was intended to be worn by a girl, then he may somehow draw the pink ink into his veins and that will cause him to be gay? Because, No to all of the above.

Girls are great! Boys are great! Trans* kids are great! Colors are great, aprons are great, hand-made items are great and Dora, at times, is great. And wearing a pink Dora apron doesn’t infuse gay into your veins. I tried it and it didn’t work. Anyway, why or how could I possibly care if my child or children were gay?

The truth is, it goes way beyond how Isaac presents himself and identifies himself someday in the future. The really important part of the societal conversation we need to be having is that statistically, he’s probably going to grow up a straight, white male, with all of the privileges that are afforded people like him. That is all the more reason he needs to understand that other worldviews and experiences have value. He can be one of two things in my mind: an ally or a bigot. In our house, we’re allies. Every day we have to fight the battle for our children so that one day they will be able to fight it on their own.

Less than important and less than meaningful. Less than exciting and less than adventurous.

I was grumbling about the whole situation to my husband the other night and a real sadness came over me. As I was going on and on about “He’s young, colors don’t mean the same to him that they do to society at large,” I kept adding “yet.” Soon enough the world is going to harden around him. Soon enough he will start to get the vibe that girls and girl culture is less-than. Less than important and less than meaningful. Less than exciting and less than adventurous.

He might observe some homophobia along the way. Hatred of trans* individuals is still, unfortunately, a very real thing and likely will still be as Isaac grows up. I won’t teach him that hatred and other-ness, his father certainly wouldn’t either. It is information that he will absorb, however. He may become embarrassed and deny having worn his Dora shirt. He will blush and protest when I mention that he used to demand that I paint his toenails whenever he saw a bottle of nail polish and that he loved to jump around in my heels.

That world is coming for him. It will seep in, through the cracks under the doors, through the advertisements and toy stores, through the off-hand and cruel comments by both his peers and those old enough to know better. That may happen. It may not.

My job isn’t to change the way the whole world thinks, or even to keep my kids away from it. My role is just to allow the two little people in my house to think better. To think better of each other, of people they don’t know, to think better than to make asinine assumptions based in ignorance and hatred.

Most of all I want them to be able to think better of themselves, so one day, when they are confronted with bigotry — even in its tiniest, most micro-aggressive forms — they are able to stand firm on the side of inclusiveness and err on the side of progress.

Comments on My son simultaneously wears a Dora apron and fights sexism

  1. Have you read the blog Raising My Rainbow? While her son is gender-creative (identifies as a boy who likes girl things) and may not fit with your son, it is easily accessible to read about other families whose sons are not yet indoctrinated with the boy/blue girl/pink.

    After reading this it makes me think that I might want to have a few stock phrases saved up if my son ever experiences this. Something like “there are no boy or girl colors, just colors,” or “his daddy wears an apron every day and my son is proud to be like him,” or “fuck off” (though..that one is a little more combative 😉 ).

    My kid isn’t into Dora yet, but he does love Sofia the First, so we’re probably heading into the princess culture with him 🙂

  2. I loved this.

    And I’m sad to say that for my 5-year old, L, the world is already starting to seep in.

    He used to beg me to paint his fingernails for him when I would paint mine. And I would gladly oblige because, well, why not? It’s just nail polish! He also loved princesses and playing dress up and “girly” cartoons as well as cars and dinosaurs and monster trucks and all the “boy” stuff.

    A few weeks ago, both he and my daughter wanted me to put some princess tattoos on them that they’d received at a birthday party. They each got two or three of them. Belle, Ariel, Cinderella. L asked me to put Jasmine smack dab in the middle of his belly. I showed him how he could “make her dance” by wiggling his belly muscles. He loved it.

    And then he went outside to play with some neighbor kids.

    A little while later, he came back in and begged me to take the tattoos off. Said the kids were making fun of him for having “girl” tattoos. I tried to tell him that lots of grown men have girls tattooed on them. That if he liked them, he should keep them, even if the other kids were being mean. But eventually, the sadness in his face was just too much for me and I agreed to take them off.

    He’s still so little. And it pains me that the opinions of others are already playing such an influential role in what he likes and doesn’t like. What he wants and doesn’t want. What are “gender roles” nowadays anyway? Can’t we just strive to allow our kids to be happy?

    Anyway, great post, Sarah.

  3. I love this post, and i love that there are people out there like yourselves who are teaching their kids to be open to the wonderful diversity of people and genders.

    I work in a childrens play centre and we have a fancy dress area and we find that a lot of the boys head straight for the ‘princess’ skirts and ‘fairy wings…. and i LOVE it!!! occassionaly their parents look a little uncomfortable that their son is running around in public in a pink fluffy skirt and wings, and i tell them its normal, almost all the boys who come in do it. Qnd it always makes me happy to see how happy and carefree and free of societal stereotyping they are.
    growing up i had 2 friends who were brothers, one would always wear skirts and ask to have his nails painted, the other wasnt having any of it, they both grew up and recently one one of them came out… and it wasnt the brother who loved dressing up as a girl as a child, he infact just had his first child. i dont know if there is anythign to read into there but it seemed interesting to me, and i cheris them both as friends jsut as much as i always have.
    I identify as a straight female, due to be married and start a family soon, and i hope that i am able to bring up my future children to respect everyone equally, and society is changing, slowely but surely it is.

  4. I loved this post! My son loves Dora more than Diego and that doesn’t bother me. He also loves Sofia the First and Tinkerbell, which most people identify as ‘girl’ things of course. He has a princess app on my phone that he adores and plays more than anything else. None of this concerns me in the least. He also geeks out, and when I say geek out I literally mean that, if we pass any sort of truck, especially jacked up trucks with candy paint. He points frantically and says “I wants, I wants” over and over.

    I do not identify with most labels/stereotypes identified with being a woman and most of the time it doesn’t concern me. Sometimes I get down on myself that I’m not the stereotypical woman… And then I remember how freaking awesome I am! (Haha, no really.) I work in a psychiatric treatment facility for children, specifically with the oldest group of boys (10-14). I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to hear them ‘insult’ each other by saying ‘you throw like a girl’ and other such statements that happen regularly. I call them out each and every time and then I proceed to show them that throwing like a girl is not a bad thing since I whoop them every time we play a sport or a video game. I am happy that I’ve been put in the unique position to show them, even a small fraction of the population, that not only do girls play, they play well and (often) better than the men I work with. I find my gender role to be fluid most days and I raise my son the same way.

  5. I’ve had two experiences at daycare when the teachers made some gender-norming comments (about dress up shoes and boys kissing others/boys goodbye) that seemed as much or more motivated by how parents react than their own beliefs (a dad freaking out about his son wearing dress up shoes). But I still don’t like it and each time affirmed that my son is welcome to wear any shoes he wants and be kissed by or kiss anyone he wants. But it also made me think about how these issues could be awkward for teachers.

  6. It really gets me angry sometimes, all the gender crap we put kids through. It’s unnecessary, it’s sexist, and for a society where the little darlings must have whatever they want (in my experience, but not to tar all parents with the same brush) we’re awfully quick to ban something if it doesn’t fit the gender roles. Because heaven forbid little Susie wants a monster truck or little Jimmy wants a baby doll. ESPECIALLY if little Jimmy wants a baby doll.

    I had two little boys with their mum come into my work one day. The elder brother (7 maybe) was buying some toy cars and the younger (5 perhaps) was buying a My Little Pony. I asked them both if they had more cars (yes) and more ponies (no, first one) and they were both just so excited to be getting their new toys. It was adorable.

    But when the younger brother said it was his first pony, his mum piped up, “Yes, and his LAST.”

    What a killjoy. I said something off-hand like, “Oh, but what’s not to like about ponies? I like ponies!” and left it at that, but man I wanted to say something else >_<

  7. I’ve got a 3 year old who loves what he loves and its totally cool. He’s also got a big purple sparkly princess dress he wears when we watch Sophia the First and a bunch of fairy wings for Tinkerbell showings. My husband was raised very traditionally Southern. He had a hard time at first with the dress up but once we talked it through and he saw how awesome princess dress up could be (storming his castle doll house in full princess dress & pirate eye patch to rescue a lost kitty usually) he came around. Clothes are clothes and its not fair that as a kid it was ok for me to be a “tomboy” but Little Dude can’t rock an awesome dress with out comment.

  8. Thank you so much for writing this. My three year old son just starting asking me to paint his nails (which cracked me up because I don’t paint mine), he’s always had long hair, and his favorite shoes are his pink crocs that he picked out. I was trying to articulate what you wrote in your post to family members who were getting very offensive over my son’s gender expression. They were confused because Liam will say, matter of factly (not defensively), “I’m a boy” and then flaunt his purple nail polish and ask to wear his grandma’s lipstick. In his own little way (and unconciously) he’s rewriting masculinity for himself, which both myself and his dad support and encourage.

    I was wondering if you’ve faced some of the same comments I have, where people turn and blame me, as his mother… as in, “Oh, did YOU put him up to that?” “Was the nail polish YOUR idea?” “Did you really want to have a girl?” Of course, the answer to all of those questions is no. If Liam asks for something, like to have his nails painted, or wear pink, or put his hair in a ponytail, I’m going to do it, regardless of what society dictates. However, all of the fears you highlight here are ones I have as well, and I am really curious as to how things will change in the next few years and how those conversations are going to go.

    I’m immediately forwarding this on. Thank you, again!

    • My son has asked for his nails to be painted for a few years now, and whenever we go out there’s always at least one person who comments on it. Usually it’s just a smile and “That’s cute!” but every so often it’s “Oh, does Mom have her nails painted, too?” which is usually followed up with a “No” because I don’t paint my nails nearly as often as my son asks for his to be painted. I think it’s so funny that something so insignificant can ruffle SOOOOOOO many feathers.

      • I work in outdoor education and I had a summer camper this summer that was 9 years old (or thereabouts) and had his toenails painted. He wore sandals one day and a LOT of other boys said things like, “WHY do you have your nails painted??” He kind of shrugged and I said, “Well, I think it’s AWESOME.”

        It is strange, though, how something so minor can cause so many people to get weirded out.

  9. Posts like this make me so happy and hopeful for the future. I am glad that parents like Sarah are paving the way for future parents to have an easier time when their kids defy convention!

  10. Just, yes. I’m going through the same thing with my 3-year-old son (and fan of Dora), and I’m having trouble navigating people’s reactions to his occasional fascination with pink/sparkly things. (I really need to think of a decent comeback for that situation.) 😛

    Thank you for writing this. Here’s to raising a kinder generation than us, eh? 🙂

  11. I think the best thing you can do is to assure your kiddo that there is nothing wrong with wearing a pink apron, acknowledge, when it comes up that yes, some people don’t like, but that’s there problem. And they don’t have to wear one. But he should wear what makes him happy.

    You can’t insulate your kids from this stuff, but you can inoculate them against it, somewhat. It’s not completely effective – cultural norms seep in by osmosis, being mocked still hurts even when you know you shouldn’t care and concessions get made – but it helps.

    • Yes! When I was little, I demanded that my hair be styled in a unicorn horn (school glue + bangs) and refused to wear matching things. By third grade, I told everyone I was going to marry Princess Leia.

      I am so eternally thankful that my parents let me dress myself and define my identity. I was bullied from preschool on, and they always made it clear that the problem was with the bully, not me. They did not call my clothes “dress up”, tell me that girls don’t marry girls, or make me “be normal” for special occasions. They also supported me when I would go through phases of trying to tone down my flare and blend in (it never worked, but I appreciated them not making a huge deal about how much prettier I looked in colors that didn’t clash or when I wasn’t wearing a dog collar).

      The fact that I was validated for being a queer oddball from the beginning taught me to be compassionate, committed to justice, and true to myself.

  12. first: i love this post! thanks!

    i visited an anti-bias-workshop a few weeks ago, and a story stuck with me:

    the teacher and her daughter went to a public pool. the daughter, maybe seven or eight, wore her hair short, because she liked it that way. in the dressing rooms, another (little) girl pointed at the -naked- daughter and asked, why that boy had a vagina. the girl asking didn´t mean to be cruel or anything, she just could not imagine that girls with short hair exist, so clearly the body must be wrong.

    the teacher said, in such cases to calmly state that a boy has a penis, (or a girl a vagina, obviously..) and that makes a boy a boy. not the hair, not the clothes, not anything else.

    and i kinda love that thought – how cool would it be when a boy is accused to be “girly” because of some tatoos (like amandas son above), he could answer with: “boys have penisses, and thats it. how stupid to think a tatoo could change that!”
    of course it´s not that easy, but worth a try.

    • It is important to be careful attaching gender solely to genitals. Trans* people may not have the anatomy that we associate with their gender presentation. In fact, clothes and colors are a really powerful way for trans* children to be able to live as the gender they identify with and may be a really important part of their gender identity.

    • I’d also caution this approach. A family member (who had short hair when she was a young child) was bullied by some kids who removed her undergarments to ascertain whether she was a girl or not. I think the more important lesson is that everyone should have the freedom to choose who they want to be and everyone else should respect those choices.

  13. I love this article! I don’t have any children yet or even have any current plans to start trying, but gender roles and sexism have been on my mind a lot. I have already started discussing these things with my husband in relation to how we might raise a child one day, and I’m happy when I come across articles like this one to share with him. Even though we seem to be on the same page, I think it helps to read about other people being accepting of the way their children express themselves and how they deal with potential backlash about those expressions.

    I have a 6 year old brother, and I’m glad that my mother lets him have his nails painted when he wants to or dress his teddy bears up in jewelry and have a fashion contest. It makes me sad when I hear about how some relatives and friends have told him painting nails is for girls or how he gave my mom back a keychain toy that he wanted after deciding other people would perceive it as girly. My mom added it to her purse and told him (something along the lines of) she was going to keep it to remind herself to try not to let what other people think stop her from doing what she wants to do. I thought that was a great way to handle it (not pressuring him to take specific action but just a gentle reminder to try to not let others dictate our actions). I hope that when/if I’m a parent I will handle those situations as well as the author of this article and my mom.

    • I’m in the same pre-thinking about kids as you are, and I’ve been delighted by my husband’s opinion on some things. I brought up about gender-neutral toys, and he blurts out “BLOCKS! All children should play with wooden blocks.”
      Are there entire websites devoted to gender-neutral toys? Manufacturers even try to make blocks for girls or for boys by only making them in 2 sets of colors. When the time comes I want the full spectrum of blocks, dammit!

        • Awesome! I should have known you would already have a post on this, but I missed it. For now these will make great baby shower gifts, and maybe in 3-4 years I’ll buy them for our house, haha.

          Sidenote: I am so encouraged that there are so many OffBeat parents and caregivers out there. I thought I didn’t want to have kids for the longest time because I knew I couldn’t (wouldn’t?) do it the “normal” way, but you guys are showing me that it doesn’t have to be that way. So like the nerd I am, I read about and research something for several years before doing it!

          • We have loved the Under the Nile toys, and also finding cool local people/fair trade shops that make awesome things. I am working on writing a guide to gender diverse child things without spending a bazillion dollars… Someday it will happen.

            But yes, cheers to offbeat families around the world. So thankful to have one parenting blog I can read and feel community!

  14. My brother used to ask mum to paint his nails – she’s looking forward to embarrasing him with that fact at his 21st birthday later this year!

  15. I can identify with this post so much because my 3 year old LOVES Dora! I got so fed up with Dora merch only being marketed to girls that I simply made my son some Dora shirts. Those are his favorites and if he could live in them, he would.

    He’s the same kid that walks around the room with his blanket around his shoulders saying “Look Mommy! I’m a queen!” Or when I’m at the table painting my nails and he asks me to paint his, I do. He wears it proudly and I let him embrace these things as he enjoys them.

    • I was thinking about something like this- just Dora on a green or orange or yellow t-shirt. Or maybe a Dora apron with Camo ruffles, haha.

      If there isn’t one already, and there aren’t any copyright issues (probably if you used pre-printed fabric instead of drawing it yourself) you could open up an Etsy shop with gender-neutral Dora clothing! I bet you’d have a customer base already from this website.

  16. In a weird way, this almost makes me wish I’d had a boy. At least where I live, it would be easy to say, “Yes, my boy likes stereotypically femme things. Deal with it.” It’s like a badge of honor around the bay area (California). But I have a 3 year old who is starting to get really into those things. She’s had very little exposure to the pink/blue dichotomy (we don’t even own a TV!), but she’s still picked up on the concept of princesses. I worry that people will think that I pushed these ideas on her, though one look at me might indicate otherwise. I try to remember that she is her own person, and although other people will tend to think her style is a reflection of me, it’s really not.
    Earlier today we were talking about the new “princess” toothbrush she picked out from the dentist’s office. I asked her what she liked about princesses. She said the dresses, the hair, the face. Just a few months ago, I asked her what a princess was and she said “Someone who wears sparkly things.” I felt reassured by that. Who doesn’t like to wear sparkly things? Now it’s evolving into this more complicated ideal. I hear that if you don’t make a big deal out of it, the princess phase passes in a few years. I hope it’s true!

    • My kid is totally all about monster trucks and Hot Wheels right now, and it’s not something we pushed on him. He also likes to have his nails painted, plays with a glittery wand, and wears all kinds of colors. Kids pick up stuff from ALL OVER the place, and it’s just going to continue to happen as they get older. I think it’s all part of the ultimate goal of parenting, which is to nurture a tiny person who will grow to be an adult with his/her own opinions and interests and thoughts. We don’t make a big deal out of the monster truck thing — in fact, we kind of do the opposite. Since our son has expressed such a big interest in monster trucks, we found a documentary (Modern Marvels) about them that we let him watch, and last year we took him to a big rally so he could see them in person. One of my on-going parenting goals is to show a legitimate and honest interest in the stuff my kid likes — even if it’s stuff I’m not personally interested in, and even if it’s stuff that he probably mostly likes because society is set up in a way that encourages him to like it — because I think it can only do good things for our relationship as parent and child (now and in the future) if I can find different ways to positively and honestly encourage interests my child has even when they contradict my own.

      • I could probably recite to you Modern Marvels Monster Trucks.

        But I have a different itinerary here: monster trucks and Hot Wheels are my middle son’s obsession (autism-trait). So we’ve been watching that for over 3 years now, I think?

        However, I, like you did, try to extend their interest beyond the surface. We too took him to a monster truck rally, or we’ll look up books on how they are built. That extended into learning measurements of tire height, building cars, race cars, speeds, car design…now he spends his time drawing new car designs or designing race tracks. It’s fun to watch his one interest filter into other avenues of his life.

  17. I totally agree that gender isn’t really identified with in young kids, and it is good for them to explore the full spectrum of experiences before the world closes in. My 5yo has really just started to come under the influence of his friends as opposed to me, and this change is starting in earnest. I always say that i don’t believe in boys or girls colours, there are just colours. Thank goodness their dad wears pink and a wide range of colours so i have some hard evidence on my side. My eldest had long hair for a while and it freaked people out and led to some unusual comments. I think it is sad that people’s worlds are so closed. Who knows what they have ahead of them, i agree that it is ridiculous that people think wearing a certain thing will make them less manly or, god forbid!, gay!

    • My understanding comes from this site:

      Trans* is an umbrella term that refers to all of the identities within the gender identity spectrum. There’s a ton of diversity there, but we often group them all together (e.g., when we say “trans* issues). Trans (without the asterisk) is best applied to trans men and trans women, while the asterisk makes special note in an effort to include all non-cisgender gender identities, including transgender, transsexual, transvestite, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, genderfuck, genderless, agender, non-gendered, third gender, two-spirit, bigender, and trans man and trans woman.

      The origin behind the asterisk, as I understand it, is a bit computer geeky. When you add an asterisk to the end of a search term, you’re telling your computer to search for whatever you typed, plus any characters after (e.g., [search term*][extra letters], or trans*[-gender, -queer, -sexual, etc.]). The idea was to include trans and other identities related to trans, in the most technically awesome way. I <3 Geekdom.

  18. As a mother to a 2-year-old boy, this resonates so hard with me. Ninjaboy loves cars, trucks, balls and blocks just as much as you might expect from an active little boy.
    But he also knows the names of ALL the main characters in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. He has almost as many ponies as trucks, and whenever we go to the store his “special friend” that comes with us is one of his ponies, usually Luna or Pinkie Pie (Luna is purple. Pinkie Pie, as you may have guessed, is pink.)
    His father and I both have long hair with dyed pink accents, and rarely follow any kind of gender-norm roles at home together. So I know it’s probably going to be a hell of a culture shock when he starts school in another few years.
    I can only hope that the time we have with him exclusively, before other people start having as much impact as us, will be long enough to inoculate him against the restrictive societal ideals of “boys shouldn’t like ‘girly’ stuff. “

  19. My 1.5-year-old is way into Dora! He would love a Dora apron no matter the colour!

    I have noticed Dora herself becoming more “girly” as the seasons progress. My little boy hasn’t noticed, but I notice the slimmed silhouette, the princess dresses, the ballet leotards. What’s up with that?

  20. I love this. I have a 2 year old boy too and am trying to raise him to, among many other things, have available to him all the colors of the rainbow, but am also aware that at some point he may get teased about it…if anyone has any book ideas on this i’d love to hear it!

  21. One of my favorite moments working retail was hearing a mom tell her little boy, “You can be a princess if you want, but right now we’re shopping for your cousin.” I loved it.

  22. I wouldn’t be too worried about the world hardening around him. I had the same concerns when my son was playing dress-up in high heels and princess dresses at preschool. The kids didn’t care. It was the parents who were mean. I knew I couldn’t protect him forever and that society may take my innocent little baby away. Man, I should have given my kid more credit. He is seven, has long hair and loves pink. This kid is totally punk rock too. So when people ask him when he is going to cut his hair he responds that he is not cutting his “Ramones” hair and that colors are not designated by gender. “Girls can like blue so I can like pink!” Yep, my kid is a rock star. Want further evidence that gender roles don’t have to define your children, no matter how harsh society can be? My brother is in the military, has a wife and kids, and is defined as “the macho guy.” Yeah, his favorite color is pink and he is not afraid to wear it. I believe that as long as parents don’t reinforce society’s admonishment (whether consciously or not), that kids will learn to roll with the punches rather than submitting. A parent’s support can go a long way.

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