This is what we should be saying to our kids. Instead of forcing stereotypes.
A book to show children that you don’t have to be who your gender colour says you should be and that it is ok to be whoever you want to be.
I have often heard parents describe their disappointment over having to explain to their little ones that women can be doctors too or that men can be secretaries. I’ve also met many a frustrated parent who is tired of dressing a newborn girl in pink or watching their boy being told he can’t play with dolls because that is too girlie.
I’ve had my own frustrations with gender stereotyping and its effect on my daughter. Among many was the coat incident during her first days of kindergarten. I’ve told this story many times and will probably tell it many times again, for I seem not to be able to forget this. At around the age of 3 she really liked a certain children’s show. Some days she was the girl in the show, dressed in pink and danced around. Other days she was the hero, dressed in blue and saved the day. Whatever tickled her fancy. Then for her birthday her grandmother let her pick a new winter coat.
She chose a blue one with the hero’s face. She was ecstatic. She was so proud of her hero coat as I walked with her to kindergarten. When we reached the kindergarten a boy asked ‘Are you a boy?’ to which the reply was ‘No’. He then said ‘You’re not allowed to wear that coat. You are not a boy.’.
The following days I could not convince my daughter to wear her blue coat. No matter what I said she refused. The power of social pressure was stronger than mommy dearest. Stronger even than her own thoughts and beliefs. It took weeks before she made peace with her blue coat.
It has taken years and I still haven’t made peace with that memory. Maybe that is why this book was born. I don’t know if it does the subject justice. But I hope it pleases those who share my belief that children should just be allowed to be children. Not gender stereotypes.