Parents of little kids tell stories about gender stereotyping and bullying

Here are some more stories from parents of little kids to Reel Girl about gender stereotyping and bullying.

From Isaac:

My 5 year old daughter and I were reading a comic book which had an ad for Avengers shoes. She excitedly pointed them out.


I asked her if she would want to wear Avengers shoes. She said yes, and then she paused for a second before adding that her friends would say that they were boy shoes. I asked her how she felt about that, and she said that she would tell them that clothes are for everyone.


It’s so messed up that she’s aware that wearing something she thinks is cool is… a political act. It doesn’t faze her but she knows it’s screwed up.


From soymilk:

We first ran into gender conformity when our 3 1/2 year old son went to kindy, and was told his purple hat was a girl’s hat. He was confused and we had a talk about it and he told the offending child the next day that it was his hat and he was a boy so it’s a boy’s hat.
In school he’s faced being called a girl for choosing to have a butterfly painted on his face on fair day (instead of a spider or something scary like the other boys). He’s recently (at the age of 8) started getting into painting his nails, so he had to deal with being told that he was a girl for doing it. But he stuck with it, with support from home and understanding teachers, and now everyone in his class enjoys seeing what colour his nails are this week, and he has boys telling him that they think it’s silly to say some things are for girls and not boys.


From Elizabeth:

My daughter had a similar experience with being teased for wearing “boys” shoes and even though she *gets* why it is happening, it still hurt and made her more wary of her choices. This stuff is so limiting, and I get beyond frustrated when people say it doesn’t matter. It matters a lot.


From Anne:

I’ve been reading Ramona the Pest to my 5yo and it sparked a great conversation about this the other night. Ramona gets very upset that she has to wear brown ” boy” rainboots instead of the red or white boots the girls wear. My son was very puzzled and troubled about why red boots were ” girl ” boots. We talked about how silly and arbitrary these distinctions are. He said he still didn’t wan t to wear pink to school, but he did say he liked pink.

From Maritsa:

A 10-year old son of my friend war wearing his fuchsia shorts all summer long and loved it. But, in September, he refused to wear it at school arguing the other boys would laugh at him…


This is so sad and the thing is, my 4 yr old daughter is not a huge Star Wars fan. She could go either way with her shoes, pink and princessy or ‘boy’ shoes. It’s not like she is passionate about her choice and totally committed. And that’s why this is so frustrating, or part of the reason why. Our children’s “choices” are so limited and shaping who they are and who they become.

Please keep telling your stories to Reel Girl. No videos yet, but I’d love to see them! Watch my daughter talking about getting bullied for ‘boy’ shoes here.

2 thoughts on “Parents of little kids tell stories about gender stereotyping and bullying

  1. I notice the bandaids at Target are marked “boys” (trucks or something,) and “girls” (I forget, but you get the idea). Let people be all uptight about stereotypes on their own, don’t help them!

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