Boys will be boys. Or girls. And the whole gender thing is rubbish.

Recently I have been thinking about parenting.  Particularly about anti-racist parenting and teaching feminism.  I even asked people on Facebook to suggest good books.  No one did… so, if you have any ideas, please leave them in the comment section.

Then, today, I posted this to my Facebook:Photo: Amazing Gloria Steinem!!!

And as soon as I had posted it, I felt guilty.  This isn’t enough. I want to talk about raising kids. I want to sort out my feelings, learn to recognize better ways, and learn how to raise my daughter to be whomever she wants to be.

And, I recognize, that it is easier for her to act like a boy or act like a girl, to straddle both worlds of culturally defined differences.

Then, tonight, as I watch my daughter sleep, I caught up on some blogs that I read.  Dresden, who I have been reading since back when she was Calliope, talked about her son wanting a skirt and then wearing it to school. She talked about her struggle to talk to him about kids being mean and how to respond that anyone can wear anything they want. She got help from other people who gave great advice.

What perfect timing. Just the push I needed to say publicly that 1) I want to think and talk about this more and 2) I want to blog about it more.

Today, my daughter wore a multi-layered pink tutu like skirt.  I have come to accept, that I need to support her in all her clothing choices— from more boyish (which perhaps I am more comfortable with) to pink, frilly, sparkly, and shinny.  Her choices. Her representations of self. Her person to discover.




  1. I agree, this is something that needs talking about. My mother raised me to be a feminist, which I am grateful, however I am sad that being a stay at home mom is not considered feminist. Raising my daughters is the most important thing I do.

    My girls have a lot of barbies, but they also have farm toys, dinosaurs, building blocks, and stuffed animals. And when my youngest was four she lived in pink fairy outfits, now at eight she never wears dresses.

    I think raising them to be confident in their own choices is the hardest part. My oldest just wanted to be like everyone else, and refused to speak English in school. My youngest loves speaking English in school. (I speak English, but we live in Chile). I don’t know if it is because we raised them differently, or just different personalities.

    I will be following your discussion on this topic.

    • I think that some feminists have come to reject things that were imposed in the past: the color pink and not having a career as two examples. However, it is my belief that the beauty in feminism is how it supports women to be and do what they want and this SHOULD be extended to caring for kids.

      • I agree. My daughters and I went through some of their books to see what we had. It is surprisingly hard to find ones about girls.

        Here are some of their picks:

        Rabbit Mooncakes, by Hoong Yee Lee Krakaur
        Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp, by Mercer Mayer (one of mine 1976!)
        And one that I really like, (but wasn’t hugely popular with my girls) is
        I Look Like a Girl, by Sheila Hamanaka.

        The last pages are:

        “Throw out those glass slippers.
        Send the fairies to sleep.
        No prince is waiting for me.
        For if you look twice, past the sugar and spice, the eyes of tiger you’ll see.
        I just need the forest, the mesa, the jungle, the stars over the sea,
        To free what is wild, in the heart of a child – so I can be me, just me.”


        (Hope the publishers don’t mind)

  2. How about Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein? I’ve been looking for good resources on this topic too. I haven’t found much either!

  3. I agree that gender roles are taught. They are not natural. If my husband has his way our little girl will be a tom boy, which is fine with me if that’s who she wants to be.

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