Preschool Gender Rolls

Preschool gender rolls? Sigh. Rubs Forehead.

I’ve written about this before– not that I can find it.

Boys don’t wear pink dresses!
Let me be crystal clear about this: I could give a rat’s ass if either of my sons want to dress up in frilly pink lace, high heels, pearls, while wearing purple eye shadow and magenta lipstick.

No. Really. Do you need some reasons?

The first reason, which should be common sense, but often isn’t– wearing a dress as part of pretend play is not a peak into the future.
Here, let me put it another way– little boys don’t actually grow up to be Spiderman despite wearing a Spidey costume. Most little boys (and little girls, for that matter) don’t grow up to be queens as a result of wearing a frilly pink Cinderella dress.

Then second– and really, how can you be a parent and not feel this way? These are my children. Flesh of my flesh– two beings that I love more than anyone else on Earth. Even if the dress wearing is prophetic it not only doesn’t change my love for them. And since my opinion on the matter cannot change biology– “I forbid you to be blonde. Being blonde is a choice– change it now”– well.

Finally, I don’t wear dresses (often), and I willingly wave a weed-whacker like an illegal weapon, and I’m very much still female.

Now that I have sidelined into all of my pre- justifications, I will also admit that when he boldly looked at me right before leaving for his third day at the new preschool and announced he was going to “get to the pink dress first and put it on that my brain polarized.

–Hell yeah- way to embrace pretend play and be all antidisestablishment at the same time.”
— “Oh hell, 4.5 year old boys (and girls) are SUCH douchebags about this kind of stuff. It’s only the 3rd day of school. He’s going to be so sad if someone makes fun of him. I will be so sad if someone makes fun of him and sticks for the entire year.”

Now, what I said out loud was, “good for you– I liked to dress up like an army man when I was your age, because part of dress up is to totally pretend to be someone else. That’s a really excellent example of a great imagination, Zach. And you’re showing that Scottish warrior heritage of yours. Hey, did you know that all Scottish warriors wore kilts– which some people think are just wool skirts?”

It is with shame that I have to admit that I was prepared for that question– not because of the dozen college courses spent studying gender:

But rather from years of online debates with people whose opinions closely resemble those of:

Courtesy of Mother Jones:

Now, the resulting off-shoot tangent of trying to explain gender roles, only to stumble around, ending up with, “um, it’s complicated–even adults are often confused. But having a penis is what makes you a boy and having a vagina is what makes me a girl. Wearing (or not wearing) a dress has absolutely nothing to do with it. Oh– and while I’m at it, real men cook, clean and care for children. And real women chase voles and build furniture. So. Yeah.”

Thank goodness for the kilt-wearing Scotsmen in the old family tree. Their (bare) bad-assness is a lovely comeback for anyone questioning the appropriateness of a dress-wearing preschooler.
Take That

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