Before our son, Joshua, was born it was so important for us that he didn’t have any restrictions put upon him by us, others and most importantly, himself. When people have children usually the main thing they look forward to is finding out whether they are having a boy or girl, and while we were excited to find out, it didn’t mean that we would rush out and buy a load of blue things. It was and still is, important for us to have a mixture of colours, toys, clothing etc and that our child grows up having choices and being freely allowed to express himself and explore the world in his own way. Just as importantly, we don’t think that him preferring any type of colour, clothing, toy or career means anything in terms of his identity.
Restrictions can work both ways; we didn’t refuse him blue things or anything typically ‘boy’ focused such as cars, just as we didn’t automatically decide to not purchase anything pink or typically ‘girl’ focused such as dolls.
When we told everyone the news that we were going to be having a baby boy, we were gifted a lot of clothes, toys and little keepsakes. While we appreciated these gifts and that people had gone out and bought things for our little one, we noticed that absolutely everything was either blue or designed/intended for a boy, and we hated it. We hated it because they bought it all BECAUSE he was a boy; not because they just happened to like it or thought our son would like it.
Joshua is almost three years old and over the years we’ve had family members refuse to buy him things because they were ‘girl’ items. For example, one person wouldn’t buy him a Peppa Pig towel (despite that, at one time, it was his absolute favourite thing) because it was pink and they tried to direct him towards a Marvel one that he hasn’t even heard of, let alone likes. It bothered us that they tried persuading him towards a ‘boy’ item, just because they were more comfortable with it. They didn’t even consider our son’s feelings and did what they preferred and as such, restricted him.
Joshua owns a wardrobe full of both ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ clothes and has a variety of toys. He wears mainly t-shirts and jeans (just because that’s what we like, as well as him) but we don’t restrict ourselves to only buying in the ‘boy’ aisle, we’ll buy whichever clothing we like. And most importantly, now our son has his own tastes now, we allow Joshua to pick out his own clothes. He owns one dress and a tutu, which he picked out himself, as well as ‘girl’ t-shirts and ‘girl’ trousers.
The main thing that irritates me about clothes shopping for Joshua is that the ‘boy’ aisle is always blue or green and the ‘girl’ aisle is always pink, purple and white. But I do understand that they have to cater for the mainstream, it just annoys me. Why are colours or material so gendered in the first place? Why did we change pink from being a boy colour to a girl one? Does it even matter? What do we gain from restricting our children?
Joshua has no idea that people label clothes, toys and basically everything as either girl, boy or unisex, and when the time comes we hope that he sees it as the silly and potentially harmful idea that it is. Children are growing up being restricted from wearing and playing with whatever they like, not only that but our children are also growing up being expected to go into certain careers and if they choose something that’s seen as the ‘opposite’ gender, people think it’s weird.
When it comes down to it, we want our son to be open-minded and not listen to any of the restrictions society puts on themselves and others.
We should teach our children how to be free, live and explore in their own unique way!
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