Gender discussion "you look so pretty".

Before becoming a brand owner I was a teacher. When I went to teaching school we talked a lot about gender norms and how we raise our kids within them. One thing in particular stuck with me. Many adults (not all) do this without even thinking of it...

"You look so pretty today"

"Wow how cool is that sweater"

Now, pair those two sentences with the gender of the recipient.

Adults do this a lot. I did it before it was brought to my attention. We want our boys and girls to be free of norms of "a typical boy/girl" but we start from a very young age to enhance them by telling them these things. What we are saying when using this terminology is girls should be pretty and boys cool. I don't believe the answer is to switch the two and tell girls their outfit is cool and the boys they are pretty. There should be no two sides. It should be one. Kids should be able to be who they are and get compliments based on THAT, not what gender they are. We should enhance their personality and not gender normative stances.

Another thing that stuck with me is when my son was teased at his preschool for wanting to wear a dress for our Swedish traditional Lucia celebration. I was devastated seeing the sadness in his eyes and as if the innocence was being slowly taken away. I promised myself there and then that my brand would try to make a difference and the difference does not start with the kids. It starts with us parents. It starts with us trying to change our normative behavior in which we have been raised. Why should any kid be sad because of what they want to wear?

What am I doing to change this? Well, the biggest thing is to try and use my platform to talk about it, try and raise awareness. Because that's where this starts. We can learn together. I want to learn more and do better and better all the time. For our kids sake. 

1 comment

  • I LOVE this!!!! My 4&1/2 year old son also likes to rock dresses and skirts AND his traditional “boy” clothes. When I stop and really think about, I’m dumbfounded that colours and cuts of fabric were ever gendered in the first place. I do still get nervous when he wears a dress with friends who haven’t seen him wear one before because of course I want to protect his feelings. However, I never want to hide his light under a bushel. I believe that if I were to let my anticipatory worry about the trauma society could inflict on him for wearing a dress keep me from fully encouraging his style and/or identity expression, as his mother, *I*would now be the one inflicting the trauma I was trying to spare him. Does that make sense?


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