I pointed out yesterday that I don’t know what it’s like to have a son & feel the limitation of ”The Blue Corner”. My friend Natalie (maker of the most delightful clothes at Moeder Kip ), who has a son, wrote me a post.
When you’re in your own little community, it’s easy to think that the rest of the world is like-minded.
My son often wore pink as a baby, and none of our close friends would raise an eyebrow.
As a toddler, he discovered the joy of wearing skirts (and how much easier it was when toilet training!).
More recently, he’s realised that Tinkerbell isn’t out of place on the battlefield between Star Wars and Ninjago.
Now that he’s at school, he’s exposed to a lot more viewpoints. Not all of which we agree with.
And that’s ok.
For one, we don’t have all the answers. Raising a child is not simply about creating a mini-me.
And when it comes to the really important things, we have enough confidence in our parenting not to be disturbed or threatened by other perspectives.
In fact, we see it as a wonderful opportunity to discuss the big issues.
“Daddy, why can’t two men marry? Even if they really love each other?”
“Well, it doesn’t make much sense does it? We don’t really know why, but we’re working to change that”
“Mummy, is it true that fairies aren’t real?”
“Well, I know that some people don’t think so. But I believe. What do you think?”
However some questions are harder.
“Mummy, is it true that pink lego is only for girls?”
“Mummy, is it true that boys can’t wear skirts?”
I tell him no. It’s not true.
“But Mummy, what if the other kids tease me?”
What do I say?
Do I tell him that it doesn’t matter? That self-preservation is not as important as making a stand?
That’s a pretty big responsibility to lay on a 5 year old.
Do I suggest he just wear pink when he’s at home, where the other kids can’t see him?
And in doing so teach him that it’s something to be hidden away?
That’s not how I want my son to view the world.
Because it not only restricts his possibilities, but it alsoteaches him that it’s shameful to be like a girl.
And I believe that when our sons can wear skirts without shame, our daughters will be a step closer to freedom.
So when the question comes up, I guess I’ll let him know that there’s nothing wrong with it.
But I won’t shy away from the fact that not everyone agrees.
Then if he decides it’s not a battle worth fighting, I’ll respect that.
And if he still wants to wear a skirt, and they tease him?
I’ll hold him.
I’ll wipe away his tears.
I’ll tell him that I love him.
And though my own heart will break a little, I’ll know that we’re doing our best.