Last night, while Sass was watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates (For those of you who have never seen this show it is about 3 children in Neverland who have adventures and are constantly harassed by a very toned down Captain Hook. Disney basically took out all the darkness, the fear, and the sudo-pedaphilic undertones, slapped some racially obscure kids on the front and let ‘er rip. Sass can't get enough.) and marching around in nothing but his red bandana and a Pull-Up, he declared that “Mommy, you be the pink one. The pink banana girl.” (He has some trouble with “bandana”.) “Okay, I do like pink. Do I get the boots too?” I asked. “You get Pixie dust, mommy.” And he stopped for a second and thought and then said “I get Spiderman Pixie Dust.” Because regular Pixie Dust is for girls, you see. And only to use in emergencies like mace or bear horns. So he had to man it up with some Spidey? I guess so. But the dude wears spandex and stays a virgin for how long? He is a nerd with anger management issues. He wears SPANDEX... but I digress….
But you can see his junk...
What does this mean? My little man doesn't want anything girly because “I’m a man, Mommy.” (yes, he has said that.). I was concerned in the beginning. He regularly identifies anything pink or sparkly as “princess stuff” or “Dat’s for girls!”. He has a group of boys that he rough houses with now at school instead of girls (like at his old school … *ug. Hipster jeans*). He knows there is a difference… Does he equate girly with weaker? Lesser?
As I watched him squash his sister flat and then get squashed in return I realized that, no, he doesn't think of girls as lesser or weaker, just different. He has no compunctions whatsoever with flattening a girl. He isn't “man-ing up” he’s just putting people into categories. “Boy” doesn't equal “better” or “stronger”, in fact, this boy refuses to touch bugs, snakes, lizards, and pumpkin guts. (You should have seen his face when I tried to get him to help me gut the jack-o-lantern. I thought he was going to puke. All this while his sister is busy filling her gullet with grass and who knows what else she’s ripped up from the yard.) Different is okay. Different is good. Because we are different. He is starting with the largest grouping – male vs. female – and putting his world in order. Order is good. Understanding is good. Defining is good. We are going to have to work on the pink stereotyping though cause, honey, that boy (with his bright blue eyes and his peaches-n-cream complexion) looks fabulous in a pink polo shirt….