What if I'm just a parent who happens to have a son who likes princesses and every now and again wants to dress up as a female character?
Seriously what is it about this image that ignites such an anger into people?
What is it about this: because its a boy playing with Princess figurines? Because it is a boy wearing a dress? Because I, the adult, haven't said he shouldn't? Because it goes against the stereotypical constraints of a male? Because its not acting like a boy? Because by a boy being allowed to dress up in a costume, it will confuse him of his sex and gender? Because this is gay? Because he is being set up to be bullied? Because he shouldn't be allowed to express himself freely and explore what he enjoys? Because it doesn't conform to what it is to be male? Because by allowing him to do this-I am weakening him with a feminine side?
How is this any different to an image of a girl dressed in a cowboy or Superhero costume playing with cars? You wouldn't make a comment about a girl pictured in trousers... But a boy in a skirt and all of a sudden you're questioned as a parent or labelled as one of 'those' gender neutral ones.
What if I'm just a parent who happens to have a son who likes princesses and every now and again wants to dress up as a female character? What if I'm a parent who has the train set, cars and dinosaurs available to play in his room, but he has never asked to buy them or get them out: unless they are a part of his princess story and game. Does that mean I am reinforcing the wrong message to my child? Or that we are exploring a world where male and female coexist together?
Surely the fact that I am supportive of his decisions, his choices and allow him to not feel judged or confined to a stereotype gives him the confidence, strength and well being to be happy in his own mind and self.
Surely the name calling, judgements and bullying of others, Old and young, are the ones who need to rethink why they think aggressive behaviour is acceptable. Why is this aggression encouraged and backed by adults to say but boys are boys?
Today my son told me he wasn't strong because he doesn't like fighting or have muscles. I explained to him that strength isn't about being able to fight physically or how many muscles you have. It's also strength to stand up for something you believe in: like being kind to others no matter if others are mean, like having a good heart and helping others and sometimes being able to cry and get upset when things are hurting your feelings takes courage and strength.
Why are we so adament to teach boys that strength is physical and muscles? How does that build their self esteem and inner strength to be the best version of themselves.
My Boy Can is a page created so that we can support each other to make a positive change in the language we use towards our sons. To stop saying Boys can't do that or shouldn't do that because they are boys- and start working towards being more inclusive with gender equality. Just because a boy likes princesses or enjoys playing with dolls, doesn't mean he is 'being' a girl. He is still a boy. He's just a boy exploring different traits such as kindness, caring, empathy, sensitivity and creativity. This develops their learning experience and strengthens their understanding without being conformed within a male stereotype. And at My Boy Can we believe we should be encouraging this. Let's challenge and break down the stereotypes and work towards gender equality.