My baby boy is 3! It seems like yesterday, when we brought him home from the hospital. On my way back, I had butterflies in my stomach as I was expecting a huge welcome by my extended family on reaching home. They were all super excited to welcome my son into the family. As we enter the house, I see colour stereotyping stamped all over the decorations done. It was mostly blue! The house was lined with blue balloons, with ‘It’s a Boy!’ written on them. Numerous gifts from many a relative were waiting to be opened. Cars, toy guns, super hero figurines, blue clothes!
On his first birthday, similar gifts came in. The pattern continued for his second and again today for his third birthday. However, now my son has started showing his likes and dislikes. He has asked me to get him a Barbie Doll. He likes pink. He wants to wear bright colours and is not interested in toys that he is “supposed” to play with. He has been given a playschool assignment to dress as his favourite cartoon character. He wants to go as Dora. He likes her pretty pink dress and her adventures make him giggle with so much delight.
What would you suggest, I as his mother do? Do I condition him in stereotypical gender identities that the society ascribes to? Do I teach him from this tender age, how a man is to behave and what he is to like and not like? How do I explain to a 3 year old that by making this choice to dress as Dora and wearing pink he is breaking free from the shackles of age old masculine identity that the world will want to condition him to adorn? Or maybe, I should just let him follow his heart and grow? What do you think?