Pardon me for being a bit of a flakey, unorganized blogger during this holiday season. I’ve been very busy managing C.J.’s Christmas expectations. You see, when he was finished composing it, his wish list was two pages long, front and back, single-spaced with half-inch margins. He was under the impression that everything that he put on his list would appear under the tree on Christmas morning. I had to explain how a wish list differed from an order form. I felt like Scrooge.
Anyway, let’s get down to business…
Things that caught my attention recently:
Move over Toemaggedon! It’s time for Shoemaggedon! Yay!
Photograph Of Little Boy Wearing Pink Shoes To Preschool Sparks Heated Blogosphere Debate, Huffington Post, 12/11/12
“A viral photograph of a young boy who opted to wear pink shoes on his first day of preschool has sparked intense debate in the blogosphere.”
Read what one disapproving blogger wrote about the mother who dared to let her son wear (gasp!) pink zebra-print shoes to school.
Mom Who Let Son Wear Pink Shoes to Preschool Was Asking for Controversy, TheStir.com, 12/10/12
“I couldn’t help but feel kind of bad for the poor kid. Because…(he) wound up with people whispering behind his back and making nasty remarks about him. And for those exact reasons…I wouldn’t let my own son wear a pair of pink shoes to school. Because at only 6 years old and being in the first grade, I’m just not sure it’s fair to subject him to being bullied or treated unfairly all because most people associate pink with girls and blue with boys.”
The author of that blog post would hate my way of parenting. For sure. That’s okay, unlike that blogger, I would never ask my children to hide their likes just because they might be disliked by others. The “he’s got to man up” and “well, he’s gotta learn sometime” and “what did he expect?” attitudes of years bygone are harmful to the child who’s different. I hope more people start to realize that.
They. Are. Just. Shoes. And, you know what? There are kids in this world with no shoes at all.
Not last blog post but the one before, I announced a giveaway and called for entries. The winner gets THE ADVENTURES OF TULIP, BIRTHDAY WISH FAIRY and BACKWARDS DAY — two children’s books written for gender-independent kids and families.
And the winner is….Emily (who commented on 11/22 at 4:04 a.m.). Hi Emily, I’ll email you, check your inbox.
The final post of the year will be up next week!
Hi CJ’s Mom! I just wanted to say I really enjoy reading your blog, and that CJ obviously has amazing fashion sense, because I got those same sparkly purple shoes to wear to my office Christmas party! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Happy blogging!
I just want to say you are one of the most amazing people I’ve ever heard of. You and you son both and it’s truly touching to see a parent who exhibits such true and unconditional love. May many jewels be in your crown for the love, tenderness, and acceptance you shower on your little boy.
Blessing to you both! 🙂
As a teacher of first graders, I am exposed to the gender roles and expectations that parents have placed upon their kids on almost a daily basis. While I know it is a small pebble thrown in a big lake, I do try to give my students choices. When offering a coloring activity for students to finish when they were done with their work, I had fairies and dragons available. I did not restrict the fairies to girls or the dragons to boys, and in fact one girl took a dragon, and one boy took a fairy, because I supported that choice. When I am handing out construction paper for an activity, I offer pink or blue paper to everyone, regardless of gender. I do my best to explain that there are no girl colors or boy colors, that there are just colors and that you should be able to like what you like. For some students, it is already too late to change their minds about this, but for others…well, I can just see them relaxing in an atmosphere that is at least somewhat accepting of their preferences.
A book I have to suggest is http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5999703-what-s-a-penguin-to-think-when-he-turns-pink and http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4687657-pond-goose oh is specifically about a boy penguin who wakes up pink, and the other about not fitting in for looking different….
Reblogged this on ekhava and commented:
It’s about loving your child regardless of the world’s view.
Wonderful post. I enjoyed reading this. May C.J. have a wonderful holiday.
Thought of CJ when I read this
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Dear C.J.’s Mom,
Tomorrow 20 children will not wake up and have a choice as to what shoes to put on. If there was ever a day in history where people who love and advocate for children should come together and shout from the tops of mountains to “let kids be kids” it would be today.
If there was ever a day to step back and look with wonder at our children for the joyfully imaginative way they approach their lives it would be today.
If there was ever a day to stop and say we only have today, what a gift I have in my son or daughter, I will not let anyone or anything stand in the way of what makes them happy it would be today.
I don’t mean to co-op one tragedy to pontificate about another. I only mean to suggest that life is fragile, unpredictable and beautiful. To wring hands and gnash teeth over pink zebra striped flats is such a waste. Such a terrible, painful waste.
Tomorrow morning 20 moms and dads will wake up with out little feet to put in shoes. I don’t know what to be more broken about…the senseless deaths of 20 beautiful children or scandalous flats on a beautiful little boy!
God bless you and your family!
Beautiful post auntie. This is what’s important. Your post should be reposted on the stir, and maybe give some of those close minded folks something to think about. Well said.
I thought of you & CJ today as my little guy strolled proudly into pre-K with his Disney Princess umbrella in tow. His buddy Noah ran up, saw the umbrella and said “That is your ‘brella? why you have a …” And I caught myself cutting this 4 year old off and saying pointedly “Because that is his FAVORITE umbrella and he loves it” before dear Noah could say “you have a girl umbrella.” My son’s blessed teacher quickly jumped in and said it was a nice umbrella and Little Man could put next to his cubby.
While Little Man is what most people refer to as “all boy” and opts for toys like cars/trucks, nurf guns and trains, he also loves pink, Barbie (or “Darby” as he calls her), princesses and fairies. I allow him to like what he likes and am trying to teach him that other than biological functions/anatomy, there is no set rules about what is boy or girl “stuff.” I teach him that people like what they like and that that is okay. I just wish there was a way to get adults to stop impressing on their kids what is and is not “okay” for kids to do/be and let them just be themselves. Colors are just colors, not genders.
I hope someday CJ finds public acceptance akin to the acceptance he has at home. It breaks my heart that he already feels like he has to hide himself.
Dear CJ’s Mom. A former classmate and friend referred me to your site after posting that pic about the boy with pink shoes. The following was my response to the pic: “One of my psych classes discussed gender identity in terms of being taught. I think it was my social psych class. That, without even noticing it, most parents bought masculine toys for their boys and feminine toys for their girls (clothing and accessories, too). Well, Josh liked to wear princess dresses in preschool. I looked at one of the moms and said, “Well, if you think about it statistically, at least one kid in this class will be gay.” The look of horror on her face was priceless. Ever since taking that class, I have tried my best to let the boys choose what THEY want because I want to support them, not my own view of the world or anyone else’s. Both kids have bought things that were considered feminine, but they loved them and that’s all that matters to me!”
I was asked in the comments if I would let my son wear a princess dress to school. LOL I said that most girls don’t even wear princess dresses to school, so likely not, but if he wanted to wear feminine street clothing because that’s who he was, absolutely!!!! I’m in the psych profession and I have met way to many adults whose identity was squashed as a kid because of perceived gender societal norms. Most parents didn’t even do it purposefully. As I said in my comment, it’s often done with no consciousness whatsoever. But, what CAN be done purposefully could make the difference between a well adjusted adult and one who will be in therapy for many, many years. So, I applaud you for being one of those parents because you are a pioneer of consciousness in a world of automaticity.
Happy Holidays and you’re officially on my read list now. 🙂
Thought I’d update my earlier post. My daughter wore a headband with a small veil to school yesterday. I had to endure a 10 minute lecture from my mom about how inappropriate that was. Seems no matter what, you can’t win!
Gosh, just wow! But in a way, it’s good when things like this happen, I feel that it helps break down walls that have been there for years. It forces people to think about whether it really matters what kids wear. And no, it doesn’t.
Oh goodness me. Does it not amaze you that people have so much time on their hands that they can talk about a 6 year olds choice of footwear ad nauseum? Have they not heard about the real issues in the world, like abject poverty? Aftermaths of war? Child labour? The issue here is not that a child wore pink or neon green or any coloured shoes – it that there are uneducated (hence ignorant) people in the world. Thanks for enlightening them at every opportunity. The world shines a wee bit brighter.
FWIW, I posted on the pink shoes post, and the vast majority are in support of exactly what you are doing. That is a very good thing. Think of it as a basic American freedom that your espousing, the right to
day and do whatever you want, as long as it hurts no one else. In other words, this is what patriotism and freedom is all about. Mucho kudos.
It’s funny, CJ is rocking both those outfits! I have noticed when my son is in girl clothes he acts more feminine, when he is in boy clothes he loses some of the mannerisms. Sometimes my son likes his boy clothes, sometimes not. I wish I could delve into his little mind to understand it. Just try my best to be supportive and try not to over analyze (really hard).
I hope your family has an amazing Christmas!
I don’t think it’s wrong to think about the fact that your child might be teased for what they choose to wear or like. HOWEVER, I think it’s wrong to let that be the reason not to wear/do what one really likes. There are bullies out there. Teaching a child not to do something because they are afraid of what “might” happen is the wrong lesson, in my opinion. In kindergarten my son wanted to wear nail polish to school. Knowing that some kids (or adults) might find that strange we taught him to address ignorance rather than fear it. We told him that if someone says nail polish is for girls he should tell them it’s for anyone who likes it (kindly, but firmly). I was slightly apprehensive about how it might go at school but was privileged to watch my 5 year old handle a situation like a pro. A fellow kindergartner asked him “Why are you wearing that GIRL stuff on your hands??” My son calmly responded “Boys can wear it too!”. I wondered if the other boy would tease him but instead he simply responded “Oh!” with some interest in my son’s bright green nails and then was off to the next thing. Education is how we should be dealing with these kinds of situations, not avoidance!
I admire you so much……Happy Holidays to you and yours…….hugs to CJ
The most profound thing about the viral photo…..? LOOK AT THE SMILE ON HIS FACE!!!!! It says, “I get to be me, and I am loved for it!”. People can blog the crap out of me or my son a million times over. If I can make him light up like a Christmas tree with a simple pair of shoes??? that’s a dimension of joy that those people will never be priviledged to travel.
Bravo David! I wish more people realized that it is the feelings behind something and not the item itself. My son used to hijack his 2 older sisters play kitchen cooking set and demand I dress up so he could serve me properly. Preferably lace and sparklies and why do I not own more heels?! Heh we are not meant to know what is inside their heads, we are just meant to help them grow as people. And, in the process, sometimes we are lucky enough to grow along with them 🙂
I bet they wouldn’t say anything about my daughter who wears “boy” clothes regularly. How ridiculous!
Tell me about it, I shop in the little boys section for my daughter and not once has anyone made her feel terrible. I hate the double standard, it would be totally different if she were in CJs shoes………Children are little people with ideas of their own, likes and dislikes of their own…..they should be respected as well.
The Stir is insane. I stopped reading their entries because they were just so….off. And often quite wrong. Not just in a moral and common sense kind of wrong, but as in they ranted and raved about something they did not take the time to fact-check first. Or even fact check their own statements.
It’s just shoes. And sometimes, it’s not the wearer of the shoes that need to change. It’s the people who, like Denise said, would be such assholes.
Yep, we all nned to focus on the important stuff. Pink shoes vs NO shoes. Hmmm. Pink shoes not so important. Why anyone would really be that petty to care that a boy wears pink shoes, or a dress or whatever to me means they don’t have enough in their life to think about.
What’s interesting to me is that for the most part, the gender police only investigate and issues citations for boys transgressions in behavior or fashion. That is worthy of their vitriolic attention.
Happy holiday season everybody. No matter what you hear out there I think, as well as others that you are doing great by all your children, and as a couple. Congrats!
It’s just shoes. But, sadly, by PreK the kids have already been fed all the gender stereotypes. Funny enough, my daughter wore a headband with a veil this morning to school. As we were going, she said “Do you think I’ll marry a boy or a girl?” I said “I don’t know. I guess we’ll see!”
It is absolutely ridiculous that any ADULT would talk about a CHILD! And I must say I’m completely envious of CJ’s out, the leg warmers (which I own several pairs of) and the socks and the scarf!! So fashion forward! Oh and my husband loved pink and purple when he was CJ’s age…so what difference does it make what you wear and what color it is.
You say that you would never ask your children to hide their likes just because they might be disliked. I think that that’s a valuable lesson to learn at any age. And in a way, it’s a whole different type of “manning up” if that makes sense. Thanks for fighting the good fight!
Obviously that writer never watched the Shoes music video all about buying heels…
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Well, people will talk. Too bad many don’t think before they speak!
What gets me about all this with the pink shoes is, from what I read, the color was not the reason he choose them – he just likes zebra stripes! Kudos to the parents who let him make his choice.
At my cousin’s school there is a kid is transgender (though I can’t remember whether they’re biologically a boy but identify as a girl or the other way around). Perhaps because she goes to a very unusual school, the teacher told them all to think of xe as whatever xe wanted to be (I’ve forgotten now) and not to worry about the physical side of it. When she told me, I ended up explaining the difference between gender and sex and how some people didn’t identify as what they were born as … Something I recently explained to my dad, too, since he doesn’t seem to have come across it! For many people I know it’s the strangest idea ever, and I’m just glad that my cousin has come across it now so that she never thinks of it like that.
My daughter told me the other morning that there was a boy in her school that dressed like a girl and most people don’t know that he is a boy. I asked her how she felt about it and she said “it’s ok”. I then explained to her that his parents are good parents because they are allowing him to be who he is and not telling him that he is a bad person for being different. I told her that there was no difference between that and when she wanted pink hair, or when she wants the “boy” toy at McDonald’s. She said that is good his parents are letting him be himself and I am glad you let me be myself! I wish people would lighten up and get over all of these hang ups they have!!
Wow. Just wow – all those people who have a problem with a 5-year-old boy wearing pink shoes… have a problem. It’s that simple.
I said exactly what you said: they. are. just. shoes.
And shoes don’t determine sexuality.
People shock and sadden me sometimes…
Any parent that would whisper about a six year old behind his back is an asshole.
I like you. You cut right through the bullshit don’t you Denise. 🙂 xx
Amen, sister! 🙂
Seriously, what kind of issues must someone have that the shoes of a small child are so big an issue in their head?? I feel bad and I hope they consider therapy for whatever their true issues are.
I hate that anyone cares what anyone else wears. It just seems so ridiculous. Haven’t we got better things to worry about?
I love your son’s outfit BTW – I think he has more fashion sense than I do!!