Boys Can’t Be Princesses: Thoughts on Gender Norms

In the last 50 years we (as a culture) have spent a lot of time trying to give girls the same opportunities as boys. I could write a whole book about all the things girls couldn’t do, and the ways were trying to extend them the same opportunities that boys have, but that isn’t what this post is about. What I’ve been thinking about lately, is how it seems like boys are considerably more restricted and restrained by gender norms than girls are, and what that might mean for their self-expression and their happiness.

I will admit, when I was told I was having a boy, one of my first thoughts was, “Now I have to learn, and worry, about all the developmental stuff for boys AND girls! How am I going to do it?!” The idea that I’d have to be an expert on what boys AND girls face growing up in this world was totally overwhelming.

It still is.

I am a woman, I know what it’s like to grow up as a girl and live life as a woman. I know what challenges girls face and I have some ideas of how to help my daughter navigate them. Despite having more male than female friends growing up, boys feel foreign to me. I am close with my father, but I didn’t grow up with brothers. When it comes to what boys need to thrive, I feel wholly inadequate. I’m paying more attention now, as I read articles and books, and I’m starting to compile a list of the lessons I will teach my son, the pitfalls I’ll try to avoid and the societal messages I’ll need to be aware of. I no longer feel as clueless as I did the day I opened the envelope and saw a circle around that tell tale piece of anatomy, with “BOY!!!!” scrawled above it.

Already I see one of the biggest challenges we’ll face in my son’s early life, and that is restrictions put on him by gender norms. In the four years since my daughter was born, I’ve never felt she has been constricted by being a girl. She loves Batman as much as she loves the Disney Princesses. I’ve been buying her clothing from the boys’ section since she was a baby. I still buy her comic book hero shirts from the boys’ section all the time. Just this weekend I got her a pair of Justice League tennis shoes. She wore them, with her Elsa nightgown, out on Sunday. It makes me so happy that she can express herself in whatever way she wants, without worrying if she’s being “girlie” enough.

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A pretty impressive amount of Monito’s clothes are actually hand-me-downs from his big sister. I never thought twice about buying her stuff from that was meant for boys. No color was off limits–I got her anything I liked. But those rules don’t seem to apply to the clothes I can buy for Monito. Not only do most of the boys’ clothes herald from a limited section of the color wheel, there are some colors that are clearly completely off limits. I’ve never seen pink in the boys’ section and purple is scarce. There isn’t much glitter, and fewer rainbows. Even the appropriate themes are limited: sports, animals, robots, dinosaurs, things that go and of course, super heros. Evidently boys aren’t allowed to branch out much.

It makes me sad to think that my son will feel that he can’t wear the things his sister wears. Even seemingly innocent articles of clothing can seem suspect. I recently ordered Osita a pair of purple, fleece lined Crock tennis shoes online. When they arrived it was clear they were too small, but I couldn’t return them. At first I didn’t even consider keeping them for Monito; purple is not a color you see most boys wearing. In the end I decided I would keep them and let him decide if he was interested in wearing them, but that knee-jerk assumption got me thinking about how limited boys are in the colors and styles they can wear.

And what if Monito not only wants to wear those purple shoes, but is also interested in rainbows and glitter and fairy wings? What if he wants to don Osita’s hand-me-down princess dresses. What if he does wear them and is ridiculed for it? Even if we support those decisions at home, he’ll certainly hear from other kids that boys don’t wear skirts, dresses or anything pink. Just recently Osita had two friends over for a playdate–a girl and a boy–and the boy refused to put on a princess dress, despite his mom assurances that there isn’t anything that he can’t wear because he’s a boy. He could not be convinced. Already, at the tender age of three, he knows that certain things are off limits, and even in the privacy of a friends’ home, with his mom gentle support, he refused to put on a dress.

Osita loves Batman and adults applaud her for it, but when boys like girl-designated shows and toys, like My Little Pony, we give them a special name (Bronies) and ridicule them. Why is it okay for my daughter to like Batman, or any other super hero, but it’s not okay for boys to like My Little Pony? It seems so unfair that my daughter has the pick of whatever toy strikes her fancy–and is even congratulated for playing with boy-designated toys–while my son will be limited to only half of what is available.

We’ve spent a lot of time and effort on tearing down the restrictions girls face, but we’ve done almost nothing to tear down the restrictions placed on boys. I suppose we don’t think playing house, or pretending to mother baby dolls, or dressing up as a princess are desirable activities, so there is no point in open them up for boys to get involved. Boys already have access to the cool stuff, they don’t need to be allowed to play with girl stuff too. I don’t know which is more alarming, the fact that boys aren’t expected to participate in this kind of play after a certain age, or the fact that we don’t think enough about it to even discuss it, let alone try to change it.

Because what if boys want to play princess and feel like they can’t? What if their desire to play dolls or dress up, or put on a tutu and throw glitter all over the faces, brings them shame? What if we can’t support them enough at home to erase the intense messages they get from their friends at school or on sports teams?

I live in San Francisco, where my son has more chance of being accepted in typical “girl” attire than he would in many other parts of the country. Still, even here it seems clear that boys are expected to act, and dress, a certain way. Not long ago we went to a Little Mermaid sing-a-long at the famous Castro Theater (the Castro is San Francisco’s well-known gay neighborhood). Many children from Osita’s preschool were there, including several girl friends of hers who were all dressed up as various princesses. There was also one boy dressed as Ariel–he even had his fingernails painted blue and purple. Before the movie, any kid in a costume was invited to be introduced on the stage. Of a hundred or so kids that paraded in front of the audience, about 80 of them were girls in princess attire, and the rest were boys dressed as Prince Eric, the chef, Flounder or Sebastian. Osita’s friend was the ONLY boy who walked across the stage in a princess dress. My guess is that in most places, there wouldn’t have been even one boy dressed like that.

This might seem like a silly thing to be worried about, as the mom of a boy; surely violence on TV and in video games is one of many more important concerns. But it is something that hurts my heart, because I hate to think that boys are pushed into such a restrictive mold from such an early age. I hope that Monito, with his big sister (and us) at his side, will feel comfortable exploring all the ways he wants to express himself, even if that includes pinks tutus and fairy wings.

Do you notice the gender restrictions placed on boys?

Do you plan to fight them, or follow them, with your boy(s)?

26 responses

  1. My son will be five in a month, and he isn’t really constrained in gender roles at all. His favorite colors are pink and purple. Two of his favorite shows are My Little Ponies and Care Bears. He also loves trucks, cars, and planes and intends to join the Navy when he grows up.

    The cool thing about raising a boy like this is that we get to challenge other people’s perceptions. A few weeks ago his best friend was having a snack with his sister. The sister insisted that she get the pink yogurt because pink is for girls. My son’s best friend countered that Gunnar likes pink, and he’s a boy so colors are for everyone.

    We like to point out to our son – and others – that a little over a hundred years ago, pink was a masculine color and blue a feminine color. Purple was the color of royalty, so clearly someone that likes it has good taste.

    • This is so awesome to hear. It gives me hope, it really does. I’m curious what his experience has been at school? Has he gotten much flack from his friends? School seems to be where kids pick up these gender norms (if they aren’t being taught at home) and I worry my son will start preschool/day care at age 2 and immediately fall in line with typical gender norms, even if we support him playing with girl-designated toys at home.

      • Honestly, the biggest problem that we had was with the teachers. I overheard a boy say to my son that pink and purple were girl colors. I looked to the teachers who were sitting right there to say something. When they didn’t, I spoke up and explained that colors don’t have gender, and then gave the teachers a very pointed look to let them know that they should have handled this.

        Now, I do have to say that my son does workshops and classes that I do not attend, but he isn’t in full time school. So the culture may be a bit different. That said, I think a large part of both his comfort level, and how accepted he is in all of his classes and activities and with friends, is because of how we handle it. We speak up, we bought him a pink boy shirt and I ironed a purple and blue car onto it. We also talk to the other kids when they question him, and we taught him how to answer (he also has a love of prints and patterns and has had to speak up to kids who think his many pairs of printed pants are pajamas – don’t even get me started on the fact that it’s acceptable for girls to wear prints, but not boys. We taught him to channel ray wise and say, “These are my rescue pants” while looking down his nose at them).

        I honestly think it comes down to being super proactive – the first parents that wanted to empower their daughters had to speak up; as mothers of sons, we need to do the same.

  2. Maybe it’s the area of the country I live in or my experiences as a child, but I would not encourage my son to dress in girls clothes or costumes in public( at home, whatever). When I was a kid (early elementary) my mom kept my hair really short and didn’t dress me femininely at all. I was mistaken for a boy all the time, even once by a teacher who said I was in the wrong line for the bathroom. It made a huge impact on me, and how I thought about my femininity. I’ve always been self conscious of my hair and clothes in front of other women, even now.

    I dress my daughter in “girly” clothes and she almost always has a hairbow and I’ll admit, it does bother me when we are out and random people think she’s a boy. As she gets older, I’m sure this will change, but I want to teach her that she can be strong, independent, athletic, smart, etc while still being feminine.

    Toys are no big deal to me at all- we have a ton of “boy” toys that Grayson never played with, so Charlotte plays with trucks way more than she plays with baby dolls. I think that making specific toys pink just to market to girls is stupid.

    • Elizabeth, Brian and I were just talking this this weekend about how damaging it was for me to be mistaken for a boy ALL THE TIME. So much so that I cringe when I see tiny boys with long hair because I know that was their parents choice, not theirs (like my short hair) and I wonder how it makes them feel to be called girls mistakenly. My MIL asks often, “wouldn’t Matthew look awesome with long hair?”. My response is a firm, “no, no he would not. That will only happen if it’s HIS choice, and it will be done very carefully if he chooses it.”. Our boys are always dressed like boys. If we have girls, they’ll be dressed like girls. I’ll be more relaxed though if we have girls. Because of what E writes above. It’s just so OK for girls to be ANYTHING they want. Except princesses. I HATE the princess thing and what it teaches these kids.

      Being mistaken for years for a boy harmed me so, SO much. I will never put that on my kids. If they want to look like the opposite sex, that’s their choice and I’ll support it. But I won’t make that decision for them and will dress them as their gender so that strangers know what they are!

      • I’m sorry you had that experience growing up. It sounds really awful.

        I don’t think my post was about pushing girl-designated clothes or toys at boys at a young age, or forcing them to wear girl-centric colors before they can choose for themselves. But I do think that what is socially acceptable for boys to wear is limiting and they register those limits really early on. As you yourself said, those limits are not so constraining for girls, and I think, for that reason, girls are more likely to branch out and experiment with things that are generally considered to be for boys, than a boy would experiment with things that are normally considered to be for girls. And I think we really have very little idea what affect that has on boys, because the assumption is that they don’t want to wear those clothes or play with those toys anyway. But how can we know that, if we type-cast them in the stereotypical gender roles so early, and so completely?

        I would also add that I think it’s a lot easier to say you won’t let your daughter play with princesses in theory than it is to actually practice that in real life. My daughter was never expose to princesses at home, but the minute she got to school she was inundated with them. There was just no way of keeping them out of her life. My hope is that by letting her have her princess thing now, she’ll be over it when she’s older. We also have conversations about princesses and who they are and what their strengths are regularly, and I plan on having lots of conversations with her about how princess are portrayed and what that says about women and how we view them in our culture, and how damaging that can be. Of course that conversation won’t be happening for a while, but it will happen.

    • I’m sorry you had that experience growing up. I can’t believe you mom made you keep wearing your hair short, and dressing you in less feminine things, even when it was making you miserable.

      I have no problem dressing my daughter in “girlie” things, in fact, I enjoy it more than I thought I would. At this point, she picks what she wants to wear, she even goes to the store and picks out the clothes I’m going to buy for her. She mostly just wears princess nightgowns when she is not in her school uniform, and she loves Hello Kitty right now as much as The Justice League.

      But she is a girl and those dichotomies are okay in our culture. No one things twice about my daughter wearing shoes from the boy section. She may be called a tomboy, but we use that word rather affectionately in our culture. Whereas, what would someone say if my son choose Hello Kitty tennis shoes? Or godforbid, Hello Kitty mary janes? People would probably assume he is gay, which is a label that comes with it’s own bucket of shame and negativity. And that is my point, that we have an affectionate phrase for girls who like boy stuff, but make assumptions about a boy’s sexuality if he dabbles in girl stuff.

      As for redoing boy toys in pink for girls, I think that is beyond lame. But at least we consider that girls might want to play with those boy toys. We don’t do repackage girl toys for boys. At all.

      • I was just sharing my experience and relating to Elizabeth! I have a whole comment in my head that actually has to do with your post, which is spot on. I don’t think you’re pushing anything. I think you’re letting your kids be who they want to be, which is all we can hope to do. I was just sharing my frustration when parents, like mine, make those choices early on for their children. I don’t care how others parent, but seeing parents make those choices for their kids (like my MIL admittedly did to her daughter nit letting her wear dresses and skirts) just reminds me of my own pain growing up.

    • Elizabeth, this is my worry about cutting my 6 year old girl’s hair (for practical reasons since she hates having it brushed and chews on it incessantly). Sigh. I wish we would quit enforcing gender so much on children. Does it matter?

  3. I read this first thing this morning on my phone, and had so much to say about it, but wasn’t going to bang it out on my phone. So here it is.

    This post resonates with me on so many levels. Many years ago, long before I was even trying to have babies, I came across a book about how we’ve turned against our boys by propping up our girls (I can’t remember the title, and it wasn’t “Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That’s Leaving Them Behind.”) I was intrigued and wanted to read it, but given that I was single, and had a load of unread books at home… I skipped it. Biggest book regret ever.

    I truly believe that we’ve worked so hard for women’s equality, and specifically the equality of girls to boys, that we’ve turned our backs on our boys. Everything in your post is true. We encourage girls to dress however they want, play with whatever they want, be friends with whomever they want, etc. And with our boys, we don’t do this. Where we’d be thrilled to buy our daughter a toy dragon (I bought one for my niece this year), we think twice before buying our boys a Barbie doll. And I’m being general here. As a society, like you say, we applaud our girls for being interested in “boy things” but cringe when our boys are interested in “girl things.” And I’ll be honest here – I don’t want my boys dressing up like princesses. As much as I despise the princess mentality and marketing to young girls, I’d let my daughter get into it if she wanted to. But I would not want my son getting into it. I feel guilty saying that.

    Before kids, we just wanted girls. Then we got boys. Then I hoped that they’d not be super into sports because we’re not into sports. Then Matthew ended up being obsessed with sports. What amazes me is the men when they see him play. At almost 3, our boy is admittedly talented at basketball and many say football and baseball. He knows all sorts of plays and plays them well. Men truly drool over him. They go on and on about getting him into this league and that league, how to coach him, how to get the best performance out of him (really? He’s 2!), etc . And when they do, I roll my eyes and think, “how would you treat him if he walked in here carrying a baby doll?” YES – I’m really proud of his basketball skills (REALLY PROUD), but it’s not everything. And what if Bryson isn’t as into sports? What if he’s more “feminine?” I struggle with this all the time. (Lucky for me, Bryson is seeming rather into balls and basketball too… he’s not 1 yet. What the hell?) How would men treat my boys if they had no interest in sports and wore pink?

    And I need to add here – we think pink is Matthew’s favorite color. He points it out all the time. Do you know what it’s like trying to find him a pink shirt? I found a salmon colored shirt and that’s going to have to do.

    I wish society was more supportive of our boys. I wish there were more toys for him than action figures and guns. I wish his closet wasn’t all blue, green, brown, and red. I wish I could buy clothes for him at reasonable prices that weren’t just stripes and solids (Gap has fabulous boy clothes but their prices irritate me).

    I wish the schools would teach in a way that boys can learn better. We gear our teaching style towards easily ruled girls who are happy to sit down and focus. Our boys are expected to do the same thing, but their bodies require more activity.

    Our boys are left behind in every imaginable way. It makes me sad.

  4. I wanted to chime in real quick and say I haven’t thought about this much yet, however my 11 month old son loves playing with my 3 year old daughters mini purse and I think it’s the cutest thing ever. Watching him with a toy that to him means nothing that it’s pink, or a purse, but something that catches his attention and makes him happy. But it does make me sad that the thought even crosses my mind that others might ridicule him for playing with it, either at this age or later in life.

  5. I think children are who they are. We raised our twins with gender neutral toys, clothes and never restricted anything. Even given that, they always veered to what was the most girl-y or boy-ish, which always surprised me. They simply choose what they like. We fight on: both the kids play with Legos and both love Frozen. But I think it’s important to let your kids make their own choices about what they like, and not force them to fit into any particular mold you are interested in.

  6. This is a fascinating post with fascinating comments. I have only thought about pressure on boys in the last couple of years as certain blog posts went viral where parents have been supportive of their boys’ desires to dress a certain way or play a certain way or identify as the other gender.

    I identify with you that I was raised with sisters. I wouldn’t know what to do with a boy! I always wanted a girl and now I have a girl. And since we adopted transracially, we didn’t think much about society and boys in general but thought A LOT about the pressures on black boys and society’s view of black boys. All of the above seems difficult to navigate.

  7. Such an important issue to look at.

    I remember as a child being so glad I was a girl because *I* could wear either a dress or pants, but boys could wear only pants. In some respect, gender equality has not come very far.

    I echo what JJiraffe says. I, too, have one of each, and even though I tried to be neutral (not sure how successful I was), they each gravitated to where you’d expect them to toy-wise, movie-wise, clothes-wise, color-wise.

    Though my boy did tell me the other day that pink is his current favorite color. Need to find him a pink shirt now (there’s always the Girls’ section).

  8. This is the hardest thing for me, and it’s absolutely other people. We have a relatively gender neutral kid in that she likes things that are stereotypically boy things and girl things in about equal measure. Before kindergarten her favorite color was red and her favorite sport was karate. Now she wants to do dance and declares she loves purple best of all only a few months later. I don’t think that either of those was her idea but that since she is worried about fitting in she adopted them. It’s interesting to me in that my mom attempted to raise me gender-neutral (so no princesses or pink or toy kitchen stuff) and it failed totally so when my sibling came along she allowed any gendered stuff my sibling wanted where I had been prohibited from having the stuff until about when my sibling started requesting it. Or really, I think my mom just decided what toys were for me and didn’t ask me what I wanted and I didn’t know I could ask, and what I wanted was very gendered stuff and it wasn’t what I got. Anyway I find the big challenge to supporting my kid’s choices is the pressure from others and including her teachers (the simple splitting the class trick is always boys versus girls or first boys and then girls so it is very obvious and enforced that everyone belong to one group or the other). For me as a gender-indecisive person it’s doubly hard in that I look very like my born gender but I don’t feel all that much like I fit but there’s no way to express that to my kids either right now (looking trans* is dangerous where we live and certainly wouldn’t get me a job so I don’t and it isn’t like there are teachable moments that come up where I could convey where I fit in the realm of gender).

  9. I will preface this by saying that I was raised in the 70s by a mother who was very conscious of giving me toys for both boys and girls. I was raised by my mother and yet didn’t necessarily exhibit all the typical “feminine” behaviors. I absolutely was raised to be a feminist. I was raised in and now live in the upper Midwest — in an urban area. My husband and I are both politically liberal, postgraduate educated… And yet, our son? 14 years old and firmly entrenched in the most difficult aspects of male culture. The rampant sexism and homophobia I am privy to because of monitoring his peers social media as well as his own. Absolutely horrifying. And this isn’t just the boys, the girls too. I read a book when he was four about raising boys and the mask of masculinity that culture expects that they wear. How damaging is for them. I talked to my husband about modeling his own behavior… Watching how he jokes, modeling talking about his feelings, the things that are a challenge for him. Our son is sensitive but I’m not sure anyone would ever know that by the mask he wears in public. Not unlike his father in that regard. I do agree that some children just are who they are… Our son was like 99% stereotypical male boy at four. That wasn’t something that we created It was just something that was in him. I find it a challenge to police all of the very difficult, entrenched behaviors that are so offensive to me as a woman, as a feminist, as someone who loves him… This is not okay to say, this is not okay to post, this is not okay for you to consume images of women as if they were commodities. Society is telling us all that we need to turn ourselves into a brand, into a commodity… And the young women and men are seeing themselves and very particular ways. It’s really challenging — I imagine you see this quite a bit in your teaching life.

    So we keep modeling. We keep telling him what we believe in. We try to counter the culture but that is the difficult part.

  10. I have a post about this very thing in my drafts. B, my 4 year old, is intrinsically drawn to “girl” things. His favorite colors are pink and purple, he loves sparkly things, and he has been asking me for 2 years why he can’t wear dresses or skirts and why can’t I buy them for him. I’ve found some pink plain T shirts on amazon (just colored Hanes Ts that seem to be for matching sports teams) but he was disappointed that they didn’t have sparkles on them. I paint his nails for him when he asks—I used to choose the blue and black colors that I have, but he asked for pink and red and I gave in. He wants to wear necklaces and jewelry and is fascinated when I wear makeup, too.
    Now, I don’t know that this means anything about gender identitiy—I just think he really likes those colors, and finds it odd that girls get to wear different, “fun” things sometimes while boys only get to wear plain ol’ shirts and pants. But the thought of dressing him in skirts or dresses (which he would LOVE) scares me. I’m afraid of what people will say, because they DO say things—they say “pink is for girls”—including my MIL. I can’t imagine the teasing he would get for wearing a dress or skirt. And I agree with him, its NOT fair, because girls can do all the boy things, and like you said, they are applauded and cheered for it, whereas heaven forbid a boy try to do a “girl” thing, and everyone gets really uncomfortable really quickly. I’m not sure how to best support him through this.

  11. I have lots to say, and lots of thinks to think but right now I can’t write it all out.
    Here is what i will say. I allow my sons to feel whatever they want to, I have dressed them in pink , purple, yellow as often as I’ve dressed them in typical boy colors.

    I talk to them about gender, how we act as human beings and yes, how boys need to treat other boys and girls in our society in order to be good humans but I also say that if they want to watch Peppa Pig more than a superhero movie (and they do) then I’m really okay with it.

    One of my twins (both boys) is extremely athletic, is very much “Boy” and sometimes shuns things that would label him as being “feminine”, however, he still picks pink candy and toys, and I think has a nice balance between the masculine and feminine sides of his innate nature.

    as for my other son, he is more in touch with a creative, dramatic side. Although he loves pretending he’s Harry Potter or Peter from Narnia. he also harbors big love for Peppa Pig and Dora, Anna from Frozen and the Pirate Fairy.

    Both boys are like that. I bought the Pirate Fairy for their Easter Baskets and they adore it. They talk about the fairies and fight over which one they’d be. Then Gio does a complete play by play of a hypothetical hockey game and Jacob learns the lyrics to “Goodnight Saigon” by Billy Joel.

    I , like you, wonder what they believe their role is in society (and because they attend a Catholic grade school, I imagine that they’ll be ‘told” soon enough) but I am hoping that the inclusive message I am sending at home..that we can all like different things and be accepted in all kinds of places is sinking in.

    really, really loved this post. Lots to think about.

  12. I didn’t try to assign gender to anything I bought for X and when he picked out a purple water bottle for school I bought it for him. However, now that he’s almost 3 I’m finding that it’s almost impossible to get neutral clothes or toys, and he looooves cars and trucks. But, he wants his toenails painted pink so I happily oblige and S gamely goes along. I think what’s more important to me is that we teach him respect and kindness toward anyone who likes opposite gendered things. That it’s not a big deal if a boy plays with “girl” toys even if it’s not his thing.

  13. This post brings up so many issues I have in my head but can never quite put into words. I have three boys, and it is really hard to make sure they know that pink is just a color and it’s ok to play with any toy that interests them. And it’s really hard to stem my knee-jerk reaction that they shouldn’t play with “girl” things, because while I KNOW it’s fine, I worry that their lives will be harder if they continue to want girl things in public.

    In some ways its easier having all boys (and me being not that into “girly” things) because everything in our house is then just a person thing. We all cook, we all clean, we all play with balls and blocks. We watch Sofia and then we watch Jake. And it’s all fine. But I do worry that while we’ve been so busy making things fair and equal for girls, we’ve let society continue it’s narrow definition of masculinity.

  14. I have thought about this topic SO much lately! I’m a single mom by choice, and have two boys. My oldest is almost 3 and obsessed with Frozen. It’s not uncommon for me to have to call him Elsa most of the day (and I usually have to answer to Anna). His birthday party is this weekend, and I went with a Jake and the Pirates theme, as for a while that was his favorite show. Then today I asked him if he wanted a cowboy dress-up costume to go with his pirate costume. “No mommy, I want a princess costume.” “You do? You don’t want to dress up as a pirate? I love pirates.” “Then you can dress up as a pirate, Mommy. I want to be a princess, because I like princesses.”

    I let him paint his nails, and encourage his love of running through the house, acting out scenes from Frozen while belting out Let it Go at the top of his lungs. But I’m really struggling with the thought of getting him a princess costume. I just don’t think I can do it. Yet, if I had a girl, I’d be completely fine with her dressing up as Spiderman, if she wanted.

    I’m not any closer to an answer, but I loved reading this post and the comments, and feel better knowing others are struggling with this (even those who have dads in the picture!)

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