Working in a children’s toy/clothing boutique is really reaffirming all my suspicions I’ve ever had about the way adults treat kids and the way that it shapes gender roles. Almost exclusively, people buy clothes for girls and toys for boys. They contemplate for over an hour which dress they think a girl will like (and honestly, when was the last time you saw a 3 year old give a crap), whereas they don’t even spend a minute on which shirt to buy their sons. I just had a customer in here, for instance, who was buying holiday gifts for a ton of cousins. She said to me, “I know I should really be buying toys for the boys, but I only have today to shop, so they’ll have to make due with clothes just like the girls.” 

Such an emphasis is placed on a girl’s body and the way she looks from BIRTH. Very few people here give a flying fruitcake what onesie their baby boy is wearing, unless it has a spot of a color that’s not blue or green on it - and god forbid it has FLOWERS, I mean, goodness, we wouldn’t want the kid to turn out GIRLY now would we?! But when it comes to a girl’s clothes, if it isn’t pink and covered in ruffles, practically nobody wants it. Your child is 3 months old, why are you worried “she won’t like it”? I’m sorry, but the logic of our society is so flawed it actually disgusts me. By caring so much about a girl’s dress, and worrying over how she looks so much while her brother stands there neglected save for a toy car you’ve shoved in his hands, it is in this way that you are shaping their mindsets. Kids are so malleable. Obviously kids are gonna be who they are, but they also learn at a remarkable rate, and what they’re learning is that they are supposed to look nice - so when, one day, they decide they don’t care, they are gonna feel like they’re doing something that’s wrong, something that goes against what other kids are doing, against what is “normal.” When you give your sons things to stimulate their creativity and give your daughters nothing but dresses and headbands and earrings, it is in this way that you subtly encourage more boys to be creative and intellectual, and more girls to be materialistic and appearance-oriented.

So if you’re treating your kids this way, with the very best intentions, don’t fucking talk to me about how awful boys are and how girls are so cliquey and shallow, ‘cause you fucking encouraged it. By setting them up to lead such different childhoods, of COURSE they’re gonna feel separate from each other. By saying “boys will be boys” and discouraging girls from using physical force of any kind and from making a mess, you are encouraging the words-only bitchiness that goes along with being female nowadays. This talking-behind-your-back and giving the silent treatment sort of nonsense is limited mostly to girls because how else are they gonna express that they’re pissed, if - from BIRTH - they are taught to never get their hands dirty. When little boys are kicking each other and getting into quick scuffles and hurting themselves, and that is not okay, but after separating them you tell them “Just apologize” and then you turn to your nearby friend or stranger with a nervous laugh and go “boys will be boys!” as though your boys can’t fucking hear you. As though kids can’t pick up on that stuff. As though, while your kids are apologizing and quickly becoming friends again, they aren’t learning about what it means to live in this world, learning about how a man is supposed to deal with conflict.

YOU. ARE. ALWAYS. TEACHING. THEM. With everything you do, you’re teaching your kids what it means to be “a girl” or “a boy.”

So if you’re doing that shit? Please. Just stop. Don’t limit your kids’ options. PLEASE. Expose them to everything, and let them pick and choose.