It’s not just that my son loves Disney princesses. He loves the entire kit ‘n caboodle of what society would label (unfairly) “girly” stuff.
Purple lollipops. (Not just any lollipop.)
Barbie pink dream cars
It comes as a package. Walking down the street, he’s got a focused attention to detail that’s both annoying and astounding. He loves all dogs, but seeing a King Charles Spaniel is all the cuter. (And it’s TRUE! King Charles Spaniels are cuter…than labs or regular spaniels or golden doodles.)
It’s a fascinating cliché. Listen, I don’t want to put anyone in boxes. And it drives me crazy when people make assumptions about any of my tastes (even if they’re right.) So I try to accept that a girl can be equally inspired by Lego’s as by Elena of Avalor. (Oh, you haven’t heard of Elena? You’re missing out on Disney’s cornering of the Latina market.) And I think boys could choose a red crayon just as easily as wanting to hog all the blue Legos.
But my wonderful son in all his gender non-conformity is 100% on the predictable path of all things “girl”.
So I wonder: does he like all things sparkly/princessy because he loves those things, or because he already knows they’re “girly” and that’s what he likes?
How can so many little princess girls (and boys) be so consistent along the lines of their consumer tastes? Is it a genetic attraction to sparkles and pink, or is it cultural programming at a young age?
What came first? Princess or girl? Is it nature or nurture?
I don’t think my son’s yet influenced by his surroundings or peers. He knows that some kids say “boys shouldn’t like princesses” but he shrugs and keeps loving princesses. I’m proud of that. (Disclaimer – I LOVE that my son knows what he likes. And when I show a little annoyance that he’s so princess all the time, he’s quick to smack me down. “Daddy! I like princess! Stop telling me what to like!” Good for him. Proud papa.)
Another disclaimer – I was exactly the same way, as a kid. I wanted to love all things “girl”. How did I know? Hell. I don’t think there was an explanation. The time my dad asked me, “Why do you have to like red? Can’t you like blue?” And I responded (in the sassy way I hear from my son ALL THE TIME, now), “Fine. I’ll just like pink, instead,” because I KNEW that would piss him off to no end.
But why did I like red? (And everything Strawberry Shortcake – the original, thankyouverymuch – and Princess Leia and Barbie, etc., although I hid this attraction by kindergarten. I was far less secure than my own kid. Yay, son!)
Nowadays, I’ll flip through Netflix “suggestions” and my son will choose anything with a pink fairy/cheerleader/girly icon, even when he has zero idea what it’s about. But does he want the sparkles? Or is it cuz it’s “girly”?
It seems to me there’s a universal attraction to sparkles/pink/twirly things. But some kids diversify their interests with pink and dragons and skateboards and Sofia the First.
But not my kid. He’s full-out. And it seems to me that the gender-non-conforming boys I’ve read about and known are all full-out.
So what causes that? Their deep attractions? Or that they know they’re bucking convention and that makes them go so full-out? The same goes for boys who are 100% driven to Legos/dinosaurs/star wars/breaking stuff.
Is there a Kinsey scale of aesthetic taste?
What do you think? Why is it so often so full out?