My wife tagged me in a post of the above picture on Facebook the other day. It was posted by the White Ribbon foundation, a non-profit group lead by males against violence against women. It’s certainly hard to disagree with such a group.
I found it interesting that this group would post something like this. The group asked people what they thought about the abovementioned picture. At the time of writing, the picture had 7790 likes, 1667 shares and 312 comments. Of those comments, about 50 were from ‘males’, the rest women.
To me, this post I think was designed to inspire conversation, perhaps even mild controversy. A majority of the comments were from mums stating that their sons played with dolls and they grew up just fine.
The picture is trying to link three things that really don’t mesh. To me (and I’m happy to be challenged) it says:
– People who believe in ‘gender roles’ are bigots
– People who put their ‘gender ideals’ on children are bigots
– Boys who don’t play with dolls won’t become good dads
It implies that boys need to play with dolls to be, well, women, who, inturn, make good dads.
I’m also unsure why the White Ribbon foundation, a foundation set up by ‘males’ (note, not men, males) against violence against women (not females, if you are getting pedantic about words) is now wanting to discuss parenting.
Let’s not beat around the bush. A boy playing with dolls will not make him gay. There. I’ve said it.
Sometimes I cop some flack when my boy wears his blue tutu and fairy wings. You know what – I don’t like it, but I’m not going to stop him. He’s having fun, it’s certainly not against any deep seeded values or really challenges me. I just don’t like my boy wearing a fairy outfit. Here’s the rub. I hate being referred to as a homophobe when I express my desire for him not to wear that get up. I have a daughter who’s two years older than my boy. She plays with dolls. He plays with her dolls. Do I care? Not in the slightest.
Just because a dad does not want his son to play with a doll, it does not mean that the dad is a homophobe. It does not mean that the dad is worried about his son becoming gay. It does not mean that the son’s creativity, individualism or whatever is being ‘crushed’ as some commenters of that post would suppose. All it means is that a dad does not want his son to play with those types of toys. And what’s wrong with a dad expressing his wishes on his son, under his roof?
In the end, a boy is going to play with anything he wants. My son loves playing cafes. He’ll do baking and painting. He dresses up in a blue tutu and does performances. He builds train sets and sets up soldiers. He plays lego sets, kicks a soccer ball and wrestles with the best of them.
Just don’t vilify a dad for expressing his wishes. Don’t call him a homophobe. Don’t label him as living in the 50’s. The last thing you want to do is disengage a man from being a father, stating that his dreams and desires for his boy are wrong. Let a dad be a dad. Let a son be a son. Let them grow in their roles, their love, their mateship, their relationship, their dependence and independence of each other in their own place.
I know this post has been a bit ranty and no, I’m not apologising for that.