I have two sons. They are handsome and smart and sweet. They are curious and honest. They are silly and naive. They play light sabers and princesses. They draw butterflies and ice cream cones, space scenes and robots. Their birthday cakes have been rainbows and airplanes, pink snowmen and blue pigs.
Just a few weeks ago, they insisted that I paint their toenails a soft shade of blue and I obliged. Because painted nails are a treat that no child should be denied.
And despite their bookish tendencies and confusion as to why girls get to wear all the cutest clothes and be princesses, they are all boy.
Not just part boy. All boy.
Boys can, in fact, be nurturing and kind. They can abhor violence. They can be sensitive to others and they can have little interest in karate chops and shooting bad guys.
Somewhere along the line, that fact has gotten lost. Somehow the definition of “boy” became very limited. Somehow it became okay for girls to wear boy clothes, to play on boy teams, to have boy names. Girls can be girly-girls or tomboys and that’s cool. They are free to be themselves. They are encouraged to do anything, to be anything, to dream big and to challenge limitations.
But not boys. Boys have to be more careful. Ballet lessons are suspect. Pink is off-limits. Ponies are for girls only.
The wider the door opens for girls, the narrower it becomes for boys.
Boys who disdain pink and opt to play with guns and swords over dress-ups and wands are said to be “all boy,” but where does that leave those who have no such reservations over the color of their clothes or the toys they play with?
Guess what: they are all boy, too.
And before I go, can I tell you a secret? Pink is a really nice color. Actually, I shouldn’t have to tell you that. Even my 3-year-old son knows it.