Different kids want to play with different things. Some kids are into dinosaurs, some are really into cars, some are really into sports figures and baseball cards, some are into ponies, some are into cowboys and some are into princesses and medieval fantasy stuff. What's messed up is when parents try to force certain kids to play with certain things because of their gender.
From a young age, boys are often expected to play with guns and trucks, while girls are expected to play with dolls and play ovens. And while these stereotypes are less common than they used to be, they're still enforced every day. Twitter user S. S. Markarian, a children's entertainer from Los Angeles, took to social media on Saturday after a boy's parents refused to let him get butterfly face paint, with an important message on masculinity...
Hey everyone I'm a clown and I just got back from facepainting at a picnic and here's my take on male violence in America:— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 12, 2017
A 4yo boy asked me to paint a blue butterfly on his face. Then his mom told me "no, he doesn't want that."— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 12, 2017
She turns to dad, a big guy in a jersey, and says accusingly,— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 12, 2017
"Do you want your son to have a butterfly on his face?"
He says "No."
I really tried you guys, but this woman was so scared of her son wanting a butterfly she made me paint a skull and crossbones on his cheek.— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 12, 2017
I say in my kindest fuck you voice— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 12, 2017
"Oh I'm sorry, I thought this was for HIM."
"I'm his MOTHER. You need to ask me." She says.
I'm sorry that he was shamed for wanting to share in the joy that is the miracle and wonder of nature.— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 12, 2017
And it's not just boys, he also recalled several occasions where little girls who asked for more of the "boyish" face-painting requests weren't shamed as badly for wanting a butterfly as the young boy was, but they were called "kooky" for not going with something that's more "girly."
And when girls want skulls or sharks the parents shrug and laugh like "haha she's a kooky kid!" Because maleness and masculinity isn't a sin— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 12, 2017
We are teaching them that anger & violence r the only things they are allowed to experience. That to value beauty & elegance is shameful— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 12, 2017
Honestly don't even get me started on the balloons.— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 12, 2017
Think about what this four year old boy asked for 🦋— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 12, 2017
And what he got ☠️
Epilogue: the mom complained to my boss 🤷♀️— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 12, 2017
Twitter users seemed to agree, with many saying that they experienced the same thing as children, and explaining how it impacted their lives. Imagine how much different society might be if all of the boys who were taught that they had to be a mean bully that they couldn't possibly be masculine?
that's the message I got from all media: if a boy isn't tough/mean enough, he was going to get beat up and that was it— Mia Bee (@im_a_mia) August 13, 2017
Markarian explained further and started touching on some very real conversation points...
Like I saw how little respect femininity was given and I was convinced it was because women were less than and everyone knew it.— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 13, 2017
It wasn't til later I realized that the patriarchal version of "power" comes at the price of oppression. Which is why today made me so crazy— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 13, 2017
Mom thought kiddo's 🦋would make him weak. We need to teach our children to strive for other types of power beyond anger and oppression.— Sanduhruh (@boguspress) August 13, 2017
The issue seems to be widespread.
Have seen 3 and 4 year old kids self-policing which gender kid gets which colour cup— Paul D'Ambra (@pauldambra) August 13, 2017
this kind of thing got more common after the kids start nursery— Paul D'Ambra (@pauldambra) August 13, 2017
Teachers try really hard (I think) but the kids already know their roles
And I think important for kids to see adults make mistakes about this stuff, catch themselves, and correct it— Paul D'Ambra (@pauldambra) August 13, 2017
Way before kids have language we're shaping their understanding of gender... in ways we don't even realise...— Paul D'Ambra (@pauldambra) August 13, 2017
One parent explained how she's battling other parents trying to enforce stereotypes on her children.
My kids know it's bs, that's great for my kids, it doesn't change anything for their peers being raised like that.— Leslie T. (@le_bique) August 13, 2017
What do you think of this issue?