10/08/2015 08:07 BST | Updated 07/08/2016 06:59 BST

Don't Limit My Sons' Opportunities Because They're Boys


Photo courtesy of Daniel Olnes

It seems there's a sexism battle still to be fought for our children - and it's not the obvious one.

Parents have already fought and won the battle for their daughters. No one would bat an eyelid now if a little girl toddled around the garden kicking a ball, played with some Lego bricks or pushed a toy car. Little girls are afforded the same opportunities as little boys, and that's a great place for us to be.

But if a little boy is pushing around a doll's pram, playing pretend shopping with a handbag, or dressing up with bracelets and necklaces, a lot of people still seem put out by this.

I have two sons and this bothers me. A lot. People think my sons should have fewer opportunities, even at the tender age of two, than if they were girls. And this is not acceptable to me.

I'm not even sure why this is the case. I've only spotted it as being an issue for men - and yes, it does seem to be the preserve of the same type of men for whom casual homophobia is part of their day-to-day 'banter'. So maybe they're scared that if they let their male children step away from stereotypical 'boy' toys then they're encouraging them to grow up gay.

But that doesn't explain why they're bothered if other people's little boys have ventured over to the pink toys.

In the lead up to my twins' second birthday, I noticed that they entered the normal phase of human development of 'playing house'. So for their birthday presents, we gave them each a baby doll (it was hard to find ones that weren't pink - another sign that a lot of parents don't let their little boys play with them). And we asked their grandparents to buy them little highchairs and beds for these dolls.

My little boys absolutely loved the dolls. They put them in and out of the highchairs, fed them, rocked them to sleep in the beds, cuddled them, and took them to bed with them at night. It was a delight for me, as their mum, to see them exhibit care for other 'people' in this way.

But when relatives and other parents asked what my boys had had for their birthday, you could see some people (again, this was only blokes, none of the women seemed in the least bothered) thought this was a crazy gift. I got some sneering comments about 'boys sticking to boys toys'.

I hope that people like this aren't ever in charge of caring for my children. It would be so easy to limit a little boy's view of the world by telling him that the things he wants to try out "aren't for boys."

I want my sons to know that the world is their oyster and inspire them to achieve whatever they want to in life. If they want to become a surgeon, a mechanic or an IT specialist, then I will support them every step of the way.

If they decide to train to be a nurse, a professional ballet dancer or a fashion designer, then I'll be equally as supportive.

But until they're old enough to fight their own corner, I will be keeping my guard up and making sure I fight it for them. Because there are too many adults who have been brought up knowing that it's not fair to pigeonhole women, but they never got the memo about applying the same privileges to men.

Read the original post here: http://www.mealsforsqueals.co.uk/blogs/sexism-against-little-boys/

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