I was listening to an episode of The Moth on my drive out to knitting class this evening. This episode of the podcast (which I highly recommend you download) was a story by a father whose three year old son loved pink.
The Dad declared that he wanted to be open to his children in a wanted his own father hadn’t been, but it took him a while to get comfortable with the idea that his son wanted a pink bike.
In my own life I have no problem with putting my daughter in what some people would consider boys’ clothes. She wears blue and purple, green and yellow, red and yes, some pink. We’ve even put her in frilly little dress once or twice, but usually she’s in blue jeans and a onesie or just a sleeper. I have no problem with dressing her that way and having people think she’s a boy or have to ask. She’s a baby, she looks like a baby.
The man on The Moth got me thinking, though. Something has been sitting at the back of my mind. If I had a son instead of a daughter, I don’t know if I would be as comfortable with dressing him in stereotypcal girls’ clothes. I don’t know if I would buy my son dolls as easily as I will buy my daughter trucks if she asks.
I don’t know if I would buy him a pink bike.
I’m curious as to why there’s this separation in my brain. I would have no problem if my child, boy or girl came to me and old me they were gay. I wouldn’t flinch of they told me they felt as though they were born in the wrong body. Why is this one thing about socialization so odd for me?
I think it’s because the idea of boys is so foreign to me. I grew up in a household full of women, I didn’t date through high school, I didn’t know any boys as close friends when I was growing up. The only boys I came in close contact with were brothers of friends and none of those boys stepped one toe over the line of what was considered normal or acceptable for young boys. At the same time, I was a girl who was happiest in pants, I shunned pink for black or blue or purple, I spent my time riding my (pink) bike around the neighbourhood and playing in dirt.
I shouldn’t have a problem with boys who like pink any more than I have a problem with girls who like blue, but I can’t get this itch out of my mind.