All posts tagged: gender

Is Love for Sparkles Genetic?

Where does our draw to sparkly things come from? OMG. I can’t let that sentence stand…but “from whence does our draw to sparkles originate?” sounds ridiculous. Anyway. Why do we like sparkles? Is there prehistoric programming within us to collect sparkly things because sparkly things can be used as…currency? Or status- like the crab in Moana? Perhaps is purely aesthetics?…Zeus and Gaia and their ilk thought, “I should give these pathetic humans something nice to look at since life is so nasty, brutish and short. I know! I’ll endow  ‘em with taste!” Back in the day, did Neanderthals attracted to rainbows steer their tribes from danger? Or did they lead them straight into certain death on quixotic rainbow hunts…but have a fabulous road trip on their way to starvation? Did little girl cro-magnons (and boy cro-magnons, Gavin…don’t forget the topic of which you’re writing) decorate their animal pelts with daisies in the springtime? There was definitely an appreciation for art…just look at the Lascaux paintings in France. But were they also indulging an appreciation for …

What Came First: the Princess or the Girl?

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.) Sparkly tutus Barbie pink dream cars Cotton candy Fancy Nancy Glitter this Sequined that Pinkalicious Pink everything Purple everything 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 …

Screw Normal. Dresses are Fun.

So I wrote in another piece how I often want to say to my son, “Just be a normal boy!” (Disclaimer: I don’t actually say that to him.) And since I talk about this, frequently, with more people than the ½ dozen who read this blog, I’ve had a lot of conversations that checked/schooled/inspired/calmed me. A few that put me at ease and reminded me that my “issues” with my kid’s “issues” are really just my issues. Last year, when I visited a childhood friend in suburban Denver, I gave him a heads-up that my eldest son might want to wear a dress. So my friend gave his own three sons a heads-up: “Guys? So this little boy is coming and he might wear a dress. You guys know that’s ok, right?.” Their response? – “Duh, Dad.” (Followed by eye rolls.) I was not expecting from suburban Denver. Recently I reached out to in-laws with whom we spend a lot of time. Neither they nor their kids had ever acknowledged the fact that my older …

Label-less and Limit-less

Over the last year I’ve had several conversations about sexual identity and gender orientation, a topic difficult for anyone to grasp, let alone our black-and-white culture. It usually begins, “It’s great you’re letting your son wear a dress.” And ends, “Do you think he’s gay?” And then I go in a mental tailspin. “What does it mean that my son wants to wear a dress? Does it mean he’s gay/transgendered/confused/abnormal? No. It’ doesn’t mean anything. He wants to wear a dress. In the end, maybe he will be one of these things, and maybe not. But why label or limit him, now? He’s 5, for Chrissake.” I try to shrug it off and be Zen. Many parents in the U.S. have already tread this path….evidenced in blogs/news/facebook/life. A boy in a dress is not that big a deal. Aaaaaaand…it still scares the shit out of me. I don’t want him to be teased. I want him to feel safe. And confident. And supported. And un-boxed-in. And this all comes from my own experiences. I came …

My Son Wore a Dress for a Month. Nothing Happened.

So my son wore a dress for a month in France. Nothing happened. (Why we were in France for a month is explained, here.) I anticipated my older son (he of the “anything-princess” persuasion) would want to don frocks the entire time. So I let him. Some Americans might think of France as a bunch of WWII-losing philosophical wimps who eat cheese and are lax in the morality department (ergo they’re “kinda gay”). But in reality, theirs is a traditional, macho culture where men are men and women are objects of beauty. In some ways, the French lag behind the US in terms of sexual equality and gender identity. Gay couples can marry, but only since 2013. They do have parenting rights, but surrogacy is absolutely interdit. And little boys in dresses? That’s something you see even less in France than in the US. Further, it’s a land of conformity where people avoid bothering others. Don’t speak too loudly in restaurants, don’t touch anything in stores, don’t color outside social lines, and make sure you dress …

Dear Other Dude at the Playground…

Dear Other Dude at the Playground on Saturday – I couldn’t fight the need to write you about an incident between our kids.Remember me? I was the dad with the son wearing a pink dress. Before he burst onto the playground, and as I parked the car, he was positively vibrating. I asked, “Now…you’re sure you want to wear your dress?” He shouted in response, “Yes! Because I want to show everyone how beautiful I am in this beautiful dress!” It was a big deal for him; and for me. He hasn’t asked to wear a dress “out,” before. I didn’t fight it. Who cares, right? Or so we’d like to think. As you noticed, he couldn’t contain his excitement showing off the dress to the only two kids playing…your daughter and her friend. He skipped and twirled and chased them for ten minutes shouting, “Do you like my dress? I’m wearing a dress! Can I play with you? Will you play with me?” Remembering those ten minutes fills me with emotion…because his unencumbered joy …

Boys’ Pink Revolution?

A dear friend recently wrote to share her stress that her son wanted a pink backpack for school. Her son’s a wonderful, mathematically and mechanically-inclined little boy. Nothing “princess” about him. (I’m making myself nauseous dancing around gender cliches.) Brass tacks: he likes wearing his sister’s tutus from time to time, plays with lots of girls at school AND loves building space ships and cars –and the occasional toaster – out of Legos. So. He wanted a pink backpack for school. My friend agonized over it. Of course she’s 100% supportive of her son sporting a pink backpack and couldn’t give a rat’s ass if he becomes a drag queen or a mechanical engineer. But even she couldn’t stop herself from warning , “Okay. We’ll get this backpack…but just be aware…some kids might says it’s for girls.” “Uh-huh,” he responded, undaunted. “Because it’s pink,” she emphasized. “Uh-huh.” After she hit “purchase”, she sent me the link for the backpack. Yeah. It was girly. My friend and I discussed the backpack and laughed at ourselves about …