I am a very proud mother of a very amazing 4 almost 5 year old boy. This little boy runs my world. He is fantastic in every single way. He is loving, courageous, intelligent, compassionate, and creative.
His birthday is next week. The past month I have been a mother on the hunt for birthday presents, themes, cakes, and a card for my little boy. My little boy made a list for the things that he wanted for his birthday.
*Queen Elsa’s cape
*Queen Elsa’s gloves
*Toothless The Dragon
*Hot wheels Track
*Buzz Lightyear Costume
*RC (from Toy Story)
*The Lego Movie
*Harry Potter Wand
*Lego clock (Batman)
*How Train Your Dragon 2 (even though it is not out yet)
( and so many other items that I don’t have time to list)
I have done the very best that I can accommodating his list, getting him the things that I could find for his special day. Noting that I can’t get everything not just due to the sheer volume but because they don’t sell the Frozen, Tangled, Merida movie items for little boys. I couldn’t get the cape without it being attached to the dress. And even then it was to small for him even if i took it off.
My little boy wanted a “Toothless” party. He wanted a complete dragon party, with TinkerBell, and Sofia the first. We bought the things for a “Toothless” (How to Train your Dragon) party, and I wanted to get him a card that he could frame with one of his favorite Disney ladies on it.
While searching the cards at my local store with a friend of mine we scoured the shelves for a card that my little guy would like.While staring at the cards for children with a definite line down the middle separating the pink side from the blue side, we could not find a card that we could use for him. This came to no surprise to me, but I was still stunned that I couldn’t even find one on the “girls” side that didn’t use the word princess. Then on the “boys” side they all said little guy not taking in to consideration the little girls that might like Power Rangers, or that the little boys might want a Sofia the First card.
As a mother and a fellow person who likes things considered for the other gender I am hurt for my little boy. He is having to grow up in a world that still puts him on a side. He is still being told that he isn’t on the right side by taking him away from “girl” stuff. Just because he is a boy doesn’t mean that Elsa, Merida, Anna, Rapunzel, Ariel, Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Jasmine, Meg, Tinker Bell, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Jane, Captain Amelia, Lady, Nala, Sally, Emily, Maid Miriam, Duchess, Anastasia, Jesse, Perdita, Kanga, Minnie, Daisy, Susan Murphy, Alice, Helga, Toothfairy, Fiona, Helen, Nani, Lilo, Esmerelda, Hermione, Amelia Pond, Mavis, Astrid, Sophie, Lucille, Fran, and Sofia, as well as the many many other outstanding women in film and television aren’t people he should look up to.
There are so many other qualities that these women bring to the picture than their gender. They bring pieces of who they are and what they stand for. They have their beautiful personalities, and so much more to offer than ball gowns. They have parts of themselves that I am proud to say that my son wants to emulate. HE wants to be like these brave, intelligent, compassionate women. He wants to be like them and be friends with them. The fact that he wants to be like these women is something that I celebrate. The fact that I can’t find something so small as a card for my son. Something that just didn’t say princess lets me know that we haven’t moved very far on the gender roles front.
Shouldn’t it be okay for my son to be like these women to pretend to be them when playing in his room. It should be okay for him to pretend to be Merida standing up for herself. It is okay for him to be Elsa building her ice castle. It is okay for him to be Belle saving the Beast. It is okay for him to be Ariel trading fins for legs. It is okay for him to be Susan Murphy saving the world. It is okay for him to be Sofia saving the kingdom. It is okay for him to be the men in these movies. He can be Hiccup, he can emulate the Doctor. It is his right to be who he wants to be.
It is not the place of any mother in the store with little boys making fun of the fact that my son likes mermaids, causing him to cry, to even try to tell me that my son is wrong. When all is said and done those two little boys have no right to tell me son he is wrong, “odd”, or “weird” for liking them.
We are going to have to take responsibility for us and our kids. We have to keep moving forward, and not stay stuck where we are or kids like mine are going to face adversity for the rest of their lives. Adversity that they shouldn’t have to deal with.
To know that as he grows older he is going to face adversity for what he loves. Young girls are going to face adversity for the things that they love. that may not fit in their “gender”. I would like to hope that those of you who read this will gain some insight, and we can all leave a little more enlightened on where we should be going instead of where we are.