Posted by: DD | October 10, 2006

no. 290 – Boys Will Be…?

In the mornings on the way to work, I listen to a radio talk show. What I enjoy about these two guys is that even though I don’t necessarily agree 100% with everything they say, I appreciate their honesty and how they take very liberal stands on many things most Nebraskans (which they would never, ever admit to being) are firmly entrenched against, including gay and lesbian rights.

They invite this guy on to do the sports nearly daily. He’s so conservative, I swear he probably squeaks when he walks as I’m sure he doesn’t even have an asshole. Travis’s opinions and views on things are challenged nearly daily by TNT.

When I tuned in this morning, one of the guys (T) from the show was telling Travis how he inadvertently thought of him the night before when T’s two year old son was playing dress-up with his sister. At first he didn’t mind when his son wanted to wear the dress and walk around in heels but as T thought about it, he admitted that he wasn’t comfortable and ended up making his son take off the play clothes.

Travis chimed in and told T that it was best that he not have his son play that way since that could affect his sexuality choices later. Yeah. He’s one of those assholes. Now T did say he doesn’t feel that sexual orientation is something that is learned, but that we are born with that. I tend to agree. I also understood how seeing his son play dress-up in girls’ clothes may have made him uncomfortable. I watched it in my own husband.

X was always with me in the mornings when I would get ready putting on make up or fixing my hair. He would play with my make-up brushes and pretend to curl his eyelashes or put in contacts. It’s make-believe and that’s all. Children play to learn. He would trip around the house in my red mary-janes and put lip gloss on his lips. Mr. DD at first worried about how this may impact X and I assured him that X imitates me during my morning routine just because it’s probably more fun than imitating his, which was to sit at the kitchen counter, eat toast and watch the news.

The thing is, it NEVER once bothered me that my son would play with my makeup or barrettes. What bothers me is that this assumption that boys must be boys at all time and it’s ridiculous. Travis even made the comment that even though he has two girls and a boy, the boy never played with the girl-things. I wanted to shout through the radio, “It’s because you probably belittled him whenever he came close to it, you homophobe!"

And why is it that it’s the father who has a harder time with their son’s cross-gender play, then women? And why do you never hear fathers getting upset because their little girl is out playing catch with their brother in the back yard? Women are certainly the more emotional sex, but lord help anyone who gets in between a father and his son while he’s playing with dolls…oh, excuse me, “action figures.”

As for my son, even though I never discouraged or encouraged his playing with my makeup – unless you count me telling him sternly that he is never to play with it when I’m not there – he no longer sits on the bathroom floor with brushes and he no longer wants me to paint his finger nails when I paint mine. I’m sure he still thinks Mommy’s pretty cool, but HotWheels’ cars are waa-aa-ay cooler. And as long as he’s happy, I’m happy.

I feel sorry, and angry, for Travis’s children. Travis may be just one man, but he will pass on his narrow-mindedness and intolerance to at least four more innocent minds and everything will perpetuate. I guess I can hope that his children or even his grandchildren will realize that what he or she has learned isn’t necessarily right. It happened for me; it can happen for them.



  1. Great post. The Boy said this morning that he wants a Care Bear. Dad told him that they are mostly for girls. It’s a friggin stuffed animal, for cryin’ out loud. I have said on more than one occasion, “You wouldn’t object if The Girl was out back playing in the sandbox with Tonkas. What’s the difference?” The Boy clomps around in my heels all the time. It doesn’t make him any less a boy. In fact, it may make him appreciate women all the more because they can actually walk in the damn things.

  2. Ugh. I’ve seen guys like this who are so afraid for their sons to be play with any gender specific “girls” toys. As if it makes them gay by extension.
    It’s true we can’t make our kids gay by allowing them to play with toys not made for their gender, but we can absolutely make them homophobic by allowing them to witness us behaving that way.

  3. Heh…my brother is like Travis. I used to let my nephew play with my make-up and jewelry just to mess with him. Andy used to walk around with one of my purses all the time. Heh. Now if HE ends up being gay, my brother will blame it on me.

    We do worry about it with our #3 child, though. Not in a ‘OMG, our kid might be gay!” kinda way – we both are accepting of the gay lifestyle and know we’ll just deal if that happens to be the case. It’s more of worrying abut him, and what will happen, in a world where not everybody is as accepting as we are.

    Oh, and I used to listen to T&T too, but sometimes they just annoy the crap outta me.

  4. Ah, what an issue! I have 2 girls and a boy (not trying to rub anything in y’all) but the boy is the youngest. It is quite evident that he gets along better with girls outside of the home. But he definitely enjoys having the company of another boy to play with.

    He used to have tendencies to want to play with girl toys, such as dolls (girl dolls), strollers and such. He has pretty much out grown it now that he’s in school interacting with other children. Plus he LOOOVES Hot Wheel cars…(dozens strewn across the floor right?) But what can you expect when his two closest role models are girls? Quite frankly I am glad to see that he gets along so famously with other girls. I think it’ll do him good when he gets to the dating age.

    As for when he asks for a blatantly GIRL toy, I don’t scold him for it, but encourage him with other toys that I know he’d like which are more boy-oriented. I try not to say “it’s for girls” or “you don’t want a girl toy” but I know it comes out sometimes. I think we all grew up pretty gender controlled and it’s instilled into us. But I do remember playing with Tonkas as well as Barbies when I was little 🙂

  5. I don’t know what it is about men that makes them do that to their sons. Some people wonder why we can’t all get along–it’s because of people like Travis. Intolerant, unaccepting, and ignorant. I hope his children learn the correct way to treat others and are able to overcome their upbringing.

  6. Where’s the mom in all of this or did I miss it?
    When LW’s dad started that crap when my son when through that stage I set him straight.
    Now it’s funny that L wants to look through mommy’s magazines and he is 5 and ALREADY checking on the chicks in them!

  7. I always thought that it was great the my son and daughter, being twins, have always had both the “boy” and “girl” toys growing up. They both play with the train set, kitchen, cars, vanity, baby strollers and tools.

    They each have their preference but that is expected.
    My son has had his nails polished and makeup on, just like my daughter. It bother my husband in a way where he isn’t comfortable with it, but we are careful what we say and act like when he dresses up. We don’t want him to think it is wrong, because it is not.

  8. I hope the assholeless man has homosexual and/or transgendered children… just cuz.

  9. I’m always amazed by those with rigid sex roles for kids.
    I bought my Goddaughter a dump truck for her 4th birthday and her grandmother was appalled. Yes, appalled.

  10. It’s sad, but it happens all the time- narrow-minded people raising children. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take a degree to be a parent. It can happen to anyone. I hate to see parents forcing gender roles on children based on their own narrow beliefs.

  11. My husband and I have this little “theory” about those that can reproduce and those that can’t and this example fits right in. You see, why is it that the good looking, physically fit, intellegent, and deserving folks who would be awesome parents can’t have children? Reverse Darwinism is our explanation.

    People like this make me so mad.

  12. Ex had a fit when I painted the toenails (transparent peach, barely visible) of our 2yo son while he was away on extended business. Was adamant that I never do it again. A month later when I was doing my toenails, my son came and asked for me to do his, so I did it again. My husband was livid, but I held my ground.

    My son also went through a Barbie phase, had probably six. Ex didn’t like it, but J was very hetero about it. I know he liked the adult female form at a very early age. His Barbies would pile in the Jeep with all his GI Joes and go have parties. I think that even relaxed ex a bit, not that he deserved it.

  13. Amen!

    My God I love this post.

  14. You have red Mary Janes?! No wonder X wants to play with them.

    Nicolas plays with my shoes and carries “purses” all the time. And you know what? I think he would make a fabulous gay man.

  15. Miss V. likes to paint her father’s toenails and he LIKES her to do it. Hm, should I be worried now?

    I think it’s true though that generally people have a more difficult time letting their boys play with traditional “girl toys” than the other way around. Somewhat related, Mr H mused one day if he could be as affectionate with a little son as he is with his girl? the notion of “boys need to be tough” is definetely out there.

  16. Sexuality is definetly something you’re born with rather than something that is learned. The world would be a much nicer place if more people understood that.

    When we were picking out carpet for our house, my son choose a light green. My husband was SO weired out that it could have “meant something”. It was green. GREEN. I guess I missed the memo that said we could determine our child’s sexuality by what color carpet he chose.

    I blame his mother.

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