Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, August 18, 2017

Tonight's rant

This Clown Blasts Gender Stereotypes After Mom Won't Let Son Get Butterfly Face Paint

Across the hall from where I work is a talking dollhouse. A little boy a few weeks ago wanted to play with it, and his parents insisted it was a girl's toy and dragged him over to a dump truck, and he stopped wanting to play altogether and got really quiet and sad. :( Lots of little boys play with that dollhouse every day, but that boy's parents drained the joy right out of playing. I felt so bad for him. Don't men live in houses? Why was it so bad for him to pretend to live in a house? Why can't we just let boys and girls discover their own likes and dislikes without being pushed like square pegs into a round hole to value what mom or dad do? If the little girl wants the pink sparkly unicorn, that's fine, but why can't the boy? And yes, as the article mentions, girls who are tomboys are more normalised and not shamed to the extent boys are for their 'unacceptable' choices, so the girl with the dump truck doesn't raise eyebrows (as much). How about just valuing the idea that the child is taking his or her first steps in developing choice and personality, no matter how 'girly' or 'boyish' it may seem to us at times? Also, a child should never be ashamed because he or she likes something beautiful and natural. And last time I checked, there are girl butterflies and boy butterflies. What makes any creature of nature particularly 'girly', anyway? Funny, my middle name is Welsh for 'butterfly'. And you know what? In Wales, it is traditionally a MALE name. Gender stereotypes are different between different cultures. They're not invariable and predetermined. We should think about that before pushing our own ideas of gender specificity onto our children. And we certainly should not change or belittle them. Just let them enjoy the magic of childhood, rather the being ashamed of being themselves or made to feel like they were never really wanted as they are. I know someone who, as an adult, lives in terrible pain because he was never accepted for himself by his family. He was never the child that was what the parents truly wanted. Think about that. Think of what damage that could do. Always criticized for being yourself. And you know how it begins? By being dragged away from something you want to do by well-meaning but clueless parents who are afraid that you will somehow turn into something they disapprove off because you played with a plastic dollhouse.

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