Well guys, it happened.
Almost two years day for day, I wrote a post about how Charles enjoyed “girl” stuff. This is how it ended:
I love the fact that Charles is still young enough to not even be aware that any stereotypes exist. In his mind, boys can love pink and nail polish and princesses and girls can totally love cars and monsters and Batman. And that’s the way it should be, right? I know that eventually someone will come along and burst his bubble. I only hope that when that day comes, he’ll be able to defend his interests, no matter what they are at that moment.
Unfortunately, that day has come. I touched on the subject on Twitter, but I’m going to write about it again (apologies to those who caught my thread on Friday).
When Charles disembarked from the bus on Friday, I knew something was wrong. His head was down, he was avoiding eye contact and he was walking towards the house very slowly. His whole demeanour screamed that something was wrong.
“What’s wrong sweetie?”
It didn’t take him long to spill the beans. During his whole bus ride home a kid from his class had teased him about his painted nails. He just kept calling him a girl over and over again.
“What did you do?”
— I told him to stop calling me a girl, but he continued.
— I told him that he was hurting my feelings, but he continued.
— I told him that anyone could wear nail polish as long as they liked it and I was wearing it because I liked it, but he continued.
— I told him to leave me alone, but he continued.
My sweet boy was on the verge of tears. The bus ride home isn’t long, but when you’re being teased relentlessly, it can seem like an eternity – especially when you’ve never been on the receiving end of such comments.
I hugged him and we had a chat. I told him that he did everything right. I told him that he was lucky because he had parents who allow him to love what he wants to love. I explained that perhaps the other kid just didn’t know that it was ok for boys to love nail polish. I asked him if he wanted me to remove the polish. He said no. He told me he wanted to keep it on because he liked it and didn’t care what the other kid thought.
I’m extremely proud of my son for being able to stand up for himself. I’m very proud that he has the confidence to express his personality without putting up gender normative barriers.
At the same time, the situation pisses me off. It pisses me off because it’s not the first time that someone (adult of child) has commented on his love of pink or nail polish:
- It happened when we went shoe shopping over the summer and he picked pink shoes. The salesperson told him that he had picked girl shoes. When he asked her why they were girl shoes and she told him it was because they were pink, he looked her straight in the eye and said: “well I’m a boy and I like pink”.
- It happened at his parkour session, at a pool session, at a gym session, in his classroom. He was told that he couldn’t wear nail polish by other kids. He always answered simply by telling them that he could if he wanted to.
It pisses me off because he’s only 6 years old and he shouldn’t have to put up with this type of stereotyping. He shouldn’t have to deal with it from other kids his age and he certainly shouldn’t have to deal with it from adults.
I’m happy that Charles is able to stand up for himself and not allows others’ opinions to have an impact on expressing himself fully. I can only hope that he won’t have to go through another round of being called a girl by the kid on his bus. However, if it does happen again, you can bet that Mama Bear is going to find a way to have a discussion with the parents (don’t worry, I’ll remain civil). If that doesn’t work, then I’ll see what the school or bus company can do.
Charles, my sweet boy, your father and I have got your back.
Has your child had to stand up for themselves? What happened? Do your children enjoy things outside of the norm?