Tag Archives: sexism and children

Boys Can Sew

I was at a store today, a store that sells a variety of things; clothing, toys, hats, suitcases, mislabeled shoes that say they’re size 11 but really are not. I went for a specific item, which I found, then looked for a bra but there was a giant gaping hole on the rack where the 36As go — is there some kind of factory shortage of this size or are there suddenly a million small-breasted women out there? I don’t understand. I was at a store last week and there was the same dearth of 36As.

Anyway. At the core of me I know I am privileged to have small breasts and have the option to go braless because the stores don’t want to clothe me. Etc.

After I found the thing I wanted, and not the bra I wanted, I wandered over to the toy section because Christmas is coming. There I overheard a small child and his grandmother, chatting about toys.

“Wazzzzat,” said the child, pointing at the shelf.
“That’s a box of something,” said his grandmother.
“I like dat!” said the child, pointing at a different shelf.
“Oh, that’s a sewing kit,” said his grandmother, “That’s for girls. It’s not something you would like. Carla would like that…”

You’ll be pleased to know I burned a hole in her with my eyeballs of fiery doom. She now resembles a slice of Swiss cheese.

It’s one thing to have your children be poisoned by other children’s opinions. And yes I know that a diversity of opinions is important for everyone to encounter and I don’t really mean poisoned but I kind of do. For example my own children play with and worship a neighbour child who has many good qualities and also is a girl-hater (yes he’s 7 but he is weird about girls beyond the usual cooties thing and has been for two years now) and when they play with him long enough I hear things like “that’s a girl song,” or “no way am I ever touching anything pink because that’s a girl colour” and I have to do damage control and re-assert our family values ie: there is no such thing as a girl toy and there’s nothing wrong with girls FOR EXAMPLE I AM ONE AND I MADE YOU and stop criticizing Ani DiFranco, asshole. Fine. That’s part of my job as a parent, to provide the more diversity of opinion and attempt to explain my values which I think are the best values. Obviously. As they are mine.

But if you have a child who is simply interested in the thing on the shelf, WHY do you have to go out of your way to tell him it’s not for him, that he won’t like it. Clearly he fucking likes it: he just said I LIKE DAT. So not only are you denying him what he thinks, you are telling him to be something else entirely, setting up gender boxes that didn’t exist for him a minute ago, and then stuffing him in the boy box.

And no, I’m not in favour of buying uninterested boy children sewing kits and then parading them around going “loookeee my BOY and his SEWING” but I would never, ever say, “you can’t have that, it’s for girls.” Unless it’s a tampon.

Fuck. Little dude wants a sewing kit. You don’t have to buy it, but watch your mouth. Your words have meaning and you just poisoned a nice, clean well.

And PS? Did you notice that half the designers of the clothes in this store are dudes? MICHAEL FUCKING KORS, whose pants you like. He’s a dude with a sewing machine. Well probably he doesn’t do much sewing anymore but you take my point. Yes you do. You take it.

All shopping shall be online from now forward.