My son is 4. He loves glitter, high heeled shoes, getting his nails polished and his favourite colour is pink. He also loves cars, jumping from high places, Spiderman and pretending to shoot things. Does he have gender identity confusion? Absolutely not. In my opinion, he just likes what he likes, and I personally don’t see anything wrong with his love of “girly” things. In fact, I despise the imposition of others who think it's ok to make him wonder if he really should like pink. These "other" people include Grandparents, family members, friends, and strangers who will point out to him that he’s wearing nail polish (as if he didn’t know). I love the simple way he disarms them with his response of “Of course I am.”
Generally people humour really little boys (toddlers) when they express an interest in things that are “girly.” But then, as they get a bit older, it ceases to be ok. “When is he going to grow out of that?” they ask. What does it matter? You know, I am certain that there are many grown men out there that love pretty things but hide it because it’s not “manly.” Do I think this is an issue of sexual orientation? Not at all, I think that’s outrageous. I think we impose adult issues on little people. We bring our own baggage to the table: “We mustn’t let him indulge in his love of girly things too much, it might have future consequences…”
… so I refused to buy him a pink hat the other day that he really, really liked. Unfortunately, I was swayed out of concern for what people might say. Do me a favour readers, the next time you see a boy playing with a pink toy or with painted toe nails or possibly dressed in a fabulously glittery outfit, can you please not comment. It makes me feel just awful that I withheld something that would have brought him great joy because I didn’t want to him to get teased by people like you.
PS – the image used above was featured in a very controversial J. Crew advertisement in which creative director Jenna Lyons appears in a photo with her 5-year-old son, Beckett. A quote from Jenna reads, “Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink." You can read a great blog post about it here.