My daughter teased for ‘boy’ shoes on soccer field

Today, during a soccer game, a kid on the opposing team made fun of my four year old daughter’s ‘boy’ shoes. I am so sick of this shit I could scream. It is crazy to me that people actually say, actually believe it’s “natural” for girls “want” pink stuff. My God, I’m honestly surprised my daughter has stuck with her Star Wars shoes for this long. As I’ve blogged, she isn’t even a big Star Wars fan, fighting for her passion with these shoes. She just bought a pair of shoes. I really feel like she could go either way, or one of many ways, pink and sparkly or action hero or something else, but everything out there is telling her which limited “choice” to make.

So after my daughter leaves the field, crying, which, by the way, I was totally bummed about. We’d rehearsed other responses, “I like my shoes” “There is no such thing as boy shoes,” so many times, but still, of course, I comforted her. I said I would talk to the girl. Her father, a nice guy, happened to be sitting right next to me. First, he called another kid over, asking her if she’d made fun of my daughter’s shoes. Both that kid and my daughter denied she was the one. Then the guy calls over his daughter who admits it was her, and my daughter seconds that. “I’m so sorry,” he said to me, after making his kid apologize. “I don’t know where she gets it.” I told him preschool, probably. And then he looks at his daughter and tells her: “Star Wars is cool. Star Wars has Princess Leia and she’s beautiful!”

Is that a bummer of a response or what? Here is a dad trying but totally missing the point. So I said, “And Leia is smart and brave and powerful, too.”

“Yeah,” says the dad.

How many times, do you think, in one day– from people telling them how pretty their dresses are or their hair or their shoes, to TV shows and books and movies and toys— little girls are shown that what they look like is the most important thing of all? What do you think they are learning to value most, their actions or their appearance? Where do you think they are learning to focus their efforts, concerns, and ambitions?

Here’s the video of my daughter talking about being bullied for ‘boy shoes made a couple months ago. Please share your stories so parents start to understand the epidemic that gender bullying has become, in preschool and beyond.

9 thoughts on “My daughter teased for ‘boy’ shoes on soccer field

  1. Pingback: The week in inspiring females – Lauren Cochrane

  2. Go check out with your wee geekling. Loads of awesome gals who LOVE Star Wars and all things Sci-Fi. The blogger behind it all often highlights and sends massive internet-hugs to young girls who are getting teased for the things they love.

    • Thanks Zea, will check it out. It bugs me that I have to search for this stuff, like its some lost, hidden, or harder to find special interest genre while the gender dichotomy is pushed in our face everywhere you look.


  3. I read this over on Jezebel, but thought I’d reply here. Please tell your daughter that I think Star Wars is awesome. My 26-year-old (smart, talented and, yes, beautiful too) daughter is dressed as a Jedi knight for some very fancy Halloween parties this year. I don’t think anyone would have questioned her wearing Star Wars sneakers 22 years ago — and she would have if we had ever seen them. Try reading Patricia C. Wrede’s Dealing With Dragons books to your daughter. The protagonist is a princess who hates being a princess and runs away to establish her own life. I can assure you that she does not get rescued by a prince.

  4. I am now 62 and my entire life I have been told that I should care what other people think about me. I remember being about your daughter’s age and telling the bullies I did not care what they thought about me. I remember them complaining to my parents when I said that to them.

    All that matters is what your daughter thinks about herself. She liked those shoes, so you bought them for her because you liked them too. That’s all that matters.

    The educator, comedian and actor Bill Cosby has a great come back for a child who is insulted by another child. He suggests they say, “SO.”

    Imagine if your daughter had said that to the girl who was jealous of her shoes and instead of crying when that brat said, “You have boy shoes,” your daughter had said, “So.”

  5. You know, what’s even worse: when you’re a grown up but you have to wear pink shoes because the colour of shoes you like are only available in men sizes. *heavy sigh* Not even kidding. I bought brand shoes and the only difference between the shoes for women and men … are the colours. Otherwise it’s the same shoe. What the heck. Well, I don’t care if the shoes are pink but it’s crazy that you can’t get much of a choice … unless you can wear men size shoes. Which I can’t. /: Meh. (Also, sport shoes are often seriously ugly, omg. Then again, I know nothing about shoes.)

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