Have you been to a big box store recently? You know, a store like Target or Walmart? There’s usually a pink aisle in the toy section. This aisle is not technically called the “pink aisle” or the “girl aisle” but it’s pretty much where the toys meant for girls, toys which are typically pink, or maybe a shade of lavender, are grouped together.
What happens when a girl doesn’t want a toy from the pink aisle? Is it okay for a boy to want a toy from the pink aisle?
The toy department isn’t the only place in a store where you’ll see vast differences between products intended for boys and those intended for girls. The clothing department has vast differences too.
Clothes for little boys are often a shade of blue or green, and they have dinosaurs or trucks on them. Meanwhile, clothes for little girls are once again in pink and purple colors with glitter and ruffles on them.
Then we get to the shoes. There is definitely a much bigger variety of shoes available for girls. There are lots of sparkly dress-up shoes as well as tennis shoes with hearts and flowers and once again, colors like pink and purple. Boy shoes are a lot more…drab is the word that comes to mind.
Christina Hise-Johnson and her husband Josh don’t think that boys and girls should have to stick to the toy aisle, clothing department or shoe section designated for their gender. They have three children, and they are raising them to choose the activities that interest them and the clothes that they like based simply on what they like, not on whether they’re a boy or a girl.
Their oldest daughter, Ashley, is 19. She used to be a girly girl, but she has recently taken a liking to “boy clothes.” Her parents are completely fine with that.
Their oldest son, Jacon, is 14. He enjoys typical “boy” things right now, but there was a time when he had long hair and was more into girl things.
Their youngest child, 5 year old Chandler, is the one who is currently defying gender norms the most. He doesn’t realize this. He’s only 5, and he’s being raised by parents who want him to simply enjoy what he enjoys.
When Chandler was 2 years old, he begged his parents for a pair of pink shoes. They let him have the shoes. Since then he has taken a fancy to other girly items like purses and pink clothes.
Chandler is currently being homeschooled, but he has a group of friends who don’t care what color he wears. However, his parents have received quite a few negative comments from strangers.
For example, sometimes a stranger will say something like, “What a beautiful little girl.” When Chandler’s parents tell the stranger that he’s a boy, “they shake their heads and walk away.”
Christina has also had many adults ask her if she’s worried that her son will be gay. She’s completely baffled why anyone would think about sexual orientation when they’re talking about a 5 year old. She’s simply letting him enjoy the toys and clothes that he enjoys.
Christina says, “Gender neutral parenting for us is allowing our children to make choices based on things that interest them. We do not limit those interests based on what the media says is ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ related. We teach that clothes, colors, and activities are not gender related.”
What do you think of gender neutral parenting? Do you think it’s okay for boys to wear pink shoes and girls to play with trucks?