Boys and Princesses

The moment during your pregnancy that you learn you’re having a creature with a penis, all dreams of tea parties, doll play and magical princess moments goes floating right out of the glitter spackled window.
Why? Because we’re taught, or maybe it’s ingrained in us that boys are “not supposed” to play with dolls or girly things- and for the most part, they don’t seem to want to. Progressive parenting would tell you not to encourage social norms on kids and just let them march to the beat of their own drum- but even being lax on gender specific toys, somehow boys still gravitate toward actions heroes and matchbox cars and girls gravitate toward dolls an other things of the frilly pink nature (I have two boys, I have trouble coming up with more examples as I am completely out of touch with what little girls like these days).

When it comes to taking your little boys to Disney, you quickly realize that you’re getting the short end of the stick. There is so much there seemingly directed at little girls and princesses and things you wouldn’t expect boys to be interested, that you feel as though it’s unfair. What are the boys going to do? Why is there SO much for girls, SO many more cool experiences (like eating IN Cinderella’s castle), while the boys get what? Stuck with Mickey, or an incredibly expensive opportunity to have a pirate makeover?

My boys LOVE Disney movies, but when it comes to the princesses, not much of it piques their interest, so even though I could easily force them to stand in a 45 minute wait to meet Cinderella (while the line for Mickey was 10 minutes, wtf?), what would be the point? And how would they even be treated if the princesses are there almost solely to keep little girls with princess dreams happy?

Lo and behold, along came Tangled. A princess movie with a boy-oriented swashbuckling twist on the storyline, or that’s what the ads for it said anyways. I wasn’t quite sure, but once we all saw it- we ALL fell in love. The humor, the sword fighting, Flynn “Eugene” Ryder, Maximus, and of course, Pascal. It became a favorite, even over Cars (GASP!)
When I heard you could meet Rapunzel at Disney last year, we hadn’t seen it yet so we weren’t interested in the horribly long wait- but we HAD to go this year. If there was one non-fuzzy headed character to meet, this would be it (even though we were disappointed to know there was no actor playing Flynn this time around).

The wait was horribly long. HORRIBLY. And my boys were the ONLY boys in line, so I actually became nervous of how it would go down. Would Rapunzel give them weird looks, or just not care as much as the little girls obsessed with BEING her?

Let me tell you, I have been wrong before (NOT often, but it HAS happened. DOUBLE GASP)- but never this wrong.
Once it was the boys turn to meet Rapunzel, and they ran to her and were met with a huge warm smile and open arms, all the stress I felt over the boys not being treated the same while doing something “girl oriented” was washed right out of the window.. or.. castle. Whatever.
It was a VERY special moment. She engaged them in conversation and made them feel like they were Flynn Ryder.
I dare even say that it was even a special moment for her, seeing two little boys so excited to meet her, probably because it happens so infrequently

Parker wore the lipstick print on his cheek ALL day with pride- I dare say it may have been his favorite Disney moment; and to think we would have missed out on it had we followed the “norm” and just saddled with taking him to be a pirate instead (which he also would have loved, i’m sure). 
And we can’t forget meeting Aladdin and Jasmine
Parker just can’t resist a pretty lady, and apparently
the feeling was very mutual.
Had I listened to the nerves or heeded the odd looks we received by getting in long lines of little girls in costumes, we would have missed out on all of these special experiences had we followed the “norm” of Boys- Pirates, Girls- Princesses. 
The fact of the matter is, they can do both- and why not nurture that? Why not let them branch out and experience new things, even if it’s something people might tell you “only little boys play with!” or “that’s a girl’s toy”? 
Who knows, they might just be met with open arms and create a special memory to last a lifetime- and those moments should be treasured, not passed up because of stereotypes. 
Posted on March 26, 2012 by Holdin' Holden 17 Comments
Holdin' Holden

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  • This by far is one of my most favorite blogs you’ve ever done. My boys watched The Princess and The Frog today and loved it. They also enjoy shows like Jem and Strawberry Shortcake. Gender stereotyping is so stupid. Children should be able to enjoy what they enjoy and not worry about social consequences..again awesome blog!

  • Good blog. I think it may be different when you just have boys or just have girls. My girls like tools, nerf guns, cars, and pink, princess (well they are too old now), and frilly. But my boys also like pretty, they like to play with my shoes, etc, and they like cars etc. I’m glad the boys had a good experience with the Princess!

  • Please tell me they have someone dressed as Tinkerbell. My daughter will die if there is no Tinkerbell. My little guy is Mickey Mouse obsessed. So he would be happy! LOL Parker is absolutely adorable with the princesses. Next time he’ll be trying to get phone numbers.

  • My youngest son has “special needs”. He doesn’t understand the difference between boy stuff and girl stuff. When my fiance’ and I first started dating, my daughter came out and announced “Princess Christopher” My son walked out in one of her pink tutus. I quickly turned to Jack and growled at him not to say a word. Birdie had the biggest smile on his face. I know one day he’ll learn that he’s not supposed to wear pink tutus, but until then I’m happy to have a Princess Christopher.

  • awesome. the pics of the boys were adorable!!

  • So sweet! Good for all of you!

  • Perfect! I say go where your child leads you! My boys would LOVE to meet Rapunzel (or Punz, as my littlest calls her!), and I would happily wait in a line full of girls to make them happy! Crazy stares and closed-minded comments be damned! No one thinks twice when little girls want to meet “boy” characters, so why this is an issue to some people I will never understand! Your photos are adorable! 🙂

  • Its great to buck the stereotype and show that not everything has to be specific to one gender – I have three girls and one boy. When my third child (girl) turned four she asked for a digger that goes like this (then she mimed digger arm going up and down) and a wheelbarrow, I loved the fact she knew what she wanted so she got both.

  • This is awesome I have been torn on whether to take them to Disney for this reason alone now not so much 🙂 thanks for sharing…. This has to be one of the top 10 favorites of your blogs…. 🙂

  • I love this blog! Munchkin is all about airplanes, space shuttles, the Saturn V rocket, legos, and she likes girlie things. If I was to tell her that girls don’t surf, skateboard, climb trees or play with “boy” toys she would be crushed! I do not stop her when she wants something that the norm says is for boys I laugh. I had a sales clerk in Target tell me that I have a very lucky SON, because I got 4 nerf guns and replacement “bullets”. I informed him that they were for my daughter and me his jaw about hit the floor. I am not good at the conforming to the norm.

  • This is so fantastic! What a great wake up to just go ahead & do it all…let an experience be an experience for a kiddo & let them be the judge of how it went for them. Thank you for sharing this, chica. Fabulous! (And we all love “Tangled” here, too!)

  • I have 3 boys (and now a baby girl) when the boys were growing up they were faced (immediately and too early) with the gender stereotypes by their father and his parents. I was steadfast though. When they showed signs of being interested in something that was coined “girly” and said they wanted it, I bought it for them (not without catching a ton of flack though). I remember my eldest son’s 2nd Christmas- I had just had his baby brother a couple of months prior. Needless to say, I was constantly cleaning…you know-the whole new baby in the house, paranoid cleaning. My eldest was always trying to help me. He always wanted to sweep, push the vacuum, load the dishwasher, etc. When it came to mommy taking care of baby brother-eldest displayed a keen interest and love for taking care of him too-feeding, bathing, etc. Anyway, that Christmas I bought him a kiddie cleaning cart (the red devil kid set)-it had the cart that came with a broom, mop, dust pan, vacuum, and various other accessories. In addition to that, I bought him a complete babydoll set-it came with a bottle, diapers, bib, towel, wash cloth, pacifier, washtub, etc. When he opened his presents on Christmas day, his face was was so animated and priceless. he squealed with such excitement. He was happier than a pig in poo. From that day forward, I vowed to never force gender or race stereotypes on my children. Now that I have a baby girl-my boys are so very gentle with her, so loving, so compassionate, and so concerned. Would they be this way anyway? Sure, but not to the degree that they are if I had gone along with stereotypes and not let them play with and care for their babies like mommy did them. We are raising my daughter the same way. Well really, she didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell to avoid “boy” stuff-she has 3 brothers, LOL! She loves every bit of it too! She loves getting in the dirt with them, playing with their cars, playing with bugs, etc. She likes her “girly” stuff too. Children only know bad things if they are taught them-they are so innocent in regards to these things. To manipulate and/ or rob that innocence is extremely unloving, selfish,unhealthy, and down right unfair. Let them love what they love. Let them be what they want to be. Mold them yes, but don’t enforce and encourage hate and stereotypes. Love the pictures and the blog!

  • I have one of each, my son being the older. My daughter came into this world knowing all variety of “boys toys”….my son learned to play with “girls toys”. They alternate between playing Mummy and Daddy, rockstars, superheroes, motorbike racers. It’s important that kids be kids, regardless of what people think of what they like. I have some stunning photos of my son wearing his sister’s skirts and hairclips, and my high heels. And my daughter is the first one to go thru the clothes my son no longer fits, to pick out all the clothes she wants (first day of school she was wearing his hand me downs – navy trackpants, motorbike t-shirt, monster truck hoodie).

  • Brilliant! I’m so glad you did that. I have 2 boys and 2 girls, and you are spot on about what they usually like. Your boys probably felt like they had just met some of their most favorite celebrities, and how cool is that? Interestingly, my younger son has always liked hangin’ with the ladies, and my youngest daughter would probably prefer the pirates. I’m glad you stuck to your beliefs and didn’t give in to peer pressure. What an awesome MOMent.

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