“Let the boys be boys.” You’ve heard this phrase before. Often repeated by parents regarding their little boys. So what makes a boy, a boy? Rambo like characteristics? Muscles? Short hair? Wearing blue? Wearing T-shirts and jeans or playing with sporting equipment? Well last I remember, the main characteristics boys shared were penises. The role gender association play in the lives of our children can sometimes affect them negatively. The messages that gender roles send, is that in order to be part of society, you must fit into the norm or the status quo or most importantly what society
deems as acceptable. But all the while, trying to incorporate individuality and establishing ones sense of self. Two conflicting ideas that can confuse a child and also alter the way they live their lives.
There are two colors that are designated to babies that serve one purpose and one purpose only. Most infant boys were the color blue and girls wear pink. Seeing that it is difficult to determine the sex of an infant without general exposure to the genitals, most parents choose to clothe they’re young child in the respective colors so people will know whether it is a boy or a girl. After all, what male infant wears pink? When the children grow older, do they still continue the practice the color identification game? This is wear it changes. When boys reach the age wear they start dressing themselves and start buying their own clothes, they will continue to wear the
blues and the greens and even yellows and reds, but not pink or violet, cause those are “girly” colors. Girls on the other hand, when they reach the same age still continue to wear the pink and violets and can even wear the blues, yellows, blacks, and greens. So why can girls make the “cross-over” without being teased or mocked but boys cant without being called a gay or a fagot.
The clothing issue goes farther than that. The fashion industry does make boundaries with clothing. There is women’s clothing and men’s clothing. Women can wear men’s clothing, and at times its the stylish thing to do. Young girls can dress like boys or wear boys clothing and at times will only be called a tom-boy, but that is acceptable to society. Let’s see a man in public wearing a dress, and we stop and go out of our way to break our necks just so we can get a good look....
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...d am able to observe what is going on and what can happen. I’m am in no way implying that making your infant son wear blue is bad and if he wears pink as he gets older, it your fault. I know that I probably wouldn’t be to happy about the fact that my little boy is wearing pink either, but its how you approach and deal with the situation the can have an effect on your child. Many parents would probably tell their children this type of situation, “ Pink is for girls, take it off. What are you gay or something. Are you a sissy? Act like a boy.” (Finaut) It is brought upon so negatively and makes the child feel low and incompetent, especially if they are told this by their fathers. Not everyone will agree with my point of view and that is something I understand, but its all about being open-minded which is obviously not the message gender roles send.
Finaut, Jim. Personal Interview, 11, July 1999.
Hales, Dianne. Invitation to Health: Power of Prevention, eighth edition. California: Brooks/Cole, 1990.
Richards, Orland. Personal Interview, 13 July 1999.
Tannen, Deborah. You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. New York: Ballantine, 1990.
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