Ballad of the Purple Skirt or Boys will be Boys?

Guest Post by Kate Golden

 

Recently my 3-year-old Michael and I were at the local laundromat enduring our weekly washing ritual. This laundromat saves any items left behind by patrons on a large back table, and if no one claims them after several weeks they are donated to the Topeka Rescue Mission. (Yay!) There is usually some pretty nice stuff there, and likely where all of the lonely missing socks go when they enter the magic portals in your home washing machines, never to return!

kidpurpleskirt

That day in the stack of clothes Michael found a pretty little girl’s skirt in three ruffled shades of his favorite color, purple. Ecstatic, he presented it to me and immediately began tugging it on over his jeans.  When he had it on I watched him “swish” happily side to side and run off to play with the toy dump truck he’d brought to keep busy.

It occurred to me that several different reactions could have come from this interaction and a point that had subtly eluded me thus far was suddenly driven home: Why shouldn’t little boys like little girl things and be drawn by and attracted to them? I mean, isn’t that the point and purpose?

treasure

Let’s consider the typical “girl” toy or item: Generally pink, purple, white, sunny yellow, maybe a neon or spring green.  Maybe even a less brilliant ruby color here and there. (Monster High toys aside, they are still kinda Goth Girly and pretty colorful in a really creepy way).  Most of these items are encrusted with sparkling rhinestones, assorted gems and jewels, sparkles, glitter, golden accents and may come with a host of equally appealing accessories. Not to mention fantastic animals! I mean, tanks, guns, monster trucks, and swords are cool but that’s nothing compared to a flying unicorn, right? *smile* (I am using wide terms here; I know not EVERY girl toy is this way.) In one sense, I have just described a King or Queen’s treasure box, or what you might find hidden in a dragon’s cave, something a pirate would be glad to risk high seas peril for. And let’s not forget the many dolls including Barbie who can be seen sporting sparkly bling on everything they own.

girlspurple

And later, when some little girls start to grow up, they may begin to absorb and display a few of the attributes of their shiny world. . .  A world that can promote friendship and teamwork as much as jealousy and division. And what of the little ones who take these characteristics into young adulthood? Perhaps frilly skirts, colorful dresses, and shiny makeup and jewelry? In general (again, wide terms here) they may become branded as the stereotypes we may all be familiar with: The Cheerleader, The Prom/Homecoming Queen, and THE Pretty One. Feminine or girly, cute or flirty, for the most part, they share a common trait: Boys love ’em!  Or at least that’s what we called it in the Stone Age of my youth before the world got so….ugh!) They chase them, talk about them, compliment them, obsess and focus on them.

unicorn

SO why does it surprise us, shock us, disturb us, or even bear noticing when a boy likes a “girl” toy or two, or their fancy colored sparkly clothes, or swishy purple skirt? It kinda goes with the girl liking territory. (Again, please note, being very general here, each kid is different).  Why was it “cute” or “normal” for me to be a “tomboy” in my growing up years, but not okay for my brother to want to play with my “girls” toys? I know there are some really archaic concepts out there that are rooted in fear and most of it comes from there. All I will say about that here. My son is fast becoming a Brony, and he’s never even seen or heard of the show, now or then. (Google it)  He does, however, dig horses, no matter what color, and especially Clydesdale’s which My Little Pony figures resemble slightly.

So all in all, we came home with a swishy purple skirt that was already forgotten in the back of the closet the next day, and will likely mysteriously vanish and reappear at the Mission soon, and Michael’s burgeoning male identity intact. So, how would you or have you responded under circumstances like these? How did your parents respond in a situation like this? What impact did or does it have on future choices and identity in your opinion?

~BTW, is not meant to begin or end a forum on homosexuality or lesbianism or lifestyle choices or give the Phelps a place to shoot bible bullets. Just real mom talk and real kid life stuff.

kate-goldenKate is a local speaker, teacher, vocalist and worship leader, part-time homeschooler, and full-time single mom of one growing boy. She owns and operates a  professional house cleaning business and spends “free” time trying to write fantasy novels and children’s books, while promoting and supporting other local authors, artists, and businesses.