Gender Equality Starts With Our Children

Raising boys. Gender equality. Gender rolesEven before our children are born we set into motion gender identity, pink for girls and blue for boys. When we bring our babies home from the hospital, we place them in their nursery that is themed for a little boy or girl. Sometimes we might decide not to know the sex of our baby and chose to decorate a gender neutral nursery, but how long does that neutrality last? How long before relatives and friends start giving you gifts identifying gender. Girls receive dresses, dolls, and frilly pink stuff while boy receive trucks, building blocks and an array of blue clothing. Why do we do this? Why do we feel the need to prove the gender of our children to society?

I recently read an article about how Megan Fox, the actress from Transformers received a bunch of backlash when she posted pictures of her 4 year old son wearing an Elsa dress from the movie Frozen. Some comments on her Instagram account included, “No values. No morals. Promoting gay perversion.” Another comment, “It is not okay for a boy to walk around in their mother’s heels. Just like it’s NOT ok to for a child to be disrespectful.”

Raising boys. Gender equality. Gender neutrality.
This is not the only incident of mom shaming I have seen regarding a son wearing girl attire. A local women recently wrote about her experience being accosted in the middle of the street by a stranger for her son wearing a tutu.

Raising boys. Gender equality. Gender neutrality

Can we stop for one minute and think about this?

“No values. No Morals.”

Value as defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary:

Value: something (such as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable

Valuable: having desirable or esteemed characteristics or qualities

Now that we know the definition of value, lets look back at the comment that refers to Megan Fox having “no values.” Does she not hold a principle, characteristic, or quality that is intrinsically valuable to her?  I think she does.

I think Megan and every other parent who does not enforce gender roles values individuality, creativity, and perseverance.

Individuality to be the person that they want to be.

Creativity to dream big without constraint.

Perseverance to pursue those dreams and break barriers.

Morals defined by Merriam Webster dictionary:

Morals: a person’s standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do
Is it not acceptable for a mother to want their son to value individuality, creativity, and perseverance? These are traits that I value as a mother and want to instill in my own sons. However, these traits are stunted by traditional gender roles.
I know, it’s 2017 and I bet some of you are thinking there is equality between women and men, but is there equality?
Why do women still make 80 cents to ever dollar a man makes
Why does the glass ceiling still exist?
Why are we the only industrialized nation with unpaid maternity leave?
Have you heard of the pink tax? Manufacturers will make identical items and charge more for the product geared towards females.
I hate to say it but in 2017, gender equality still does not exist in America.

Why is there still a gender gap in 2017?

“Dress up is for girls.”
“Baby dolls are for girls.”
“Princesses are for girls.”
These comments are continuing to perpetuate the gender gap. Moms and dads alike tell their daughters that they can be anything they want to be. Even Disney tells your daughters to, “Dream Big Princess”. Yet boys, they continue to be told that they can’t have that “girl” toy or they can’t dress like that because it’s “girl” clothes. We can’t have it both ways; we can’t tell our girls that they can be anything that they want to be and our boys that they can only be masculine and expect there to be equality between the genders.
Let’s look at the comment that was made about Megan Fox, “It is not okay for a boy to walk around in their mother’s heels. Just like it’s NOT ok to for a child to be disrespectful.” Are you saying it’s  not ok for my son to want to be like me? Why? Because I’m a girl? Why wouldn’t I be a good role model for my son? I’m his mother.

Are you saying it’s disrespectful for my son to want to be like me?

Raising boys. Gender equality. Gender neutrality.
My son likes to put on my jewelry and shoes! Why? Because he wants to be like me. He also likes to color coordinate with me. Why? Because he looks up to me. I’m his mentor and that’s the way it should be. Why would I tell him otherwise?
Lastly, I would like to address the comment, “promoting gay persuasion.” If you do a little research, you will find that gender and sexual orientation are two separate ideas. Gender is a social construct that distinguishes between man and woman while sexual orientation refers to a persons sexual identity and who they are sexually attracted to. Having your four year old boy wear a dress is not going to influence his sexual identity because he doesn’t have a sexual identity and if he does, I would be more concerned about that than his dress.
Raising boys. Gender neutrality. Gender equality.
My son goes to daycare with two girls and plays dress up, house, dolls, and plays with glitter. He also goes to gymnastics because he is a ball of energy. He trots around the house in my heels and wears my jewelry. I would like to think I’m raising a boy who will treat the opposite sex with respect. I’m raising a boy who idolizes his mother and wants to be like her. I’m raising a boy to be an individual, to be creative, and to persevere to be whatever he wants to be.

Dream Big Boy!

Please share your thoughts on gender roles, gender inequality and mom shaming.