2008-02-10

Princess Barbies


Yesterday I had the honor of babysitting my new brother and sister. This was my first time having both of them together. My plan was to keep them distracted all day long. I figure a trip out to the mall and lunch would be the ticket. Lunch was the basic McDonalds, my siblings are very cheap dates. The mall on the other hand proved to be difficult. They wanted everything!!!!!!

My little brother caused me some distress though. He found a princess Barbie and was in awe with it. He begged for it. I was about to buy it and my husband gave me this evil look of death and suggested I call my mother before making such purchases. I called my mother only to get voice mail. I then went back to my little brother and told him maybe, let's shop some more and then think about it. Well my husband pulled me aside and told me point blank not to buy the boy the Barbie. He was like let's not facilitate him getting made fun of. I personally was thinking he is 8, we shouldn't box him into standard ideals of gender. Let him explore, but let me get permission from the parents. Later on I asked my mother, she like me, and didn't think it was a big deal. My father on the other hand was like "Hell To Tha Naw!!!! That boy is not getting a princess Barbie!!"

I was perplexed, I know my brother although toddler aged used to play with my cabbage patch dolls and I was definitely a tom boy, I played with trucks, played war, football (first tackle, then touch, then my father forbade me around the time he realized I was getting fondled).

It dawned on me. He is a bit older, he is 8, and he is let's say one to like girls better than boys. He enjoys doing my hair. He likes putting on lip gloss. I personally think it is because for most of his life he has only been around girls. This is the first time he has had a father, and two older brothers to give him an example. In my husband's opinion though he might be gay, and he is under the impression my father thinks so too, and is not trying to suppress said gayness, but not encourage it either. Personally to me it doesn't matter, and a princess Barbie won't make him gay or straight. Why do we restrict the definition of male and female anyway?

I guess I will post more on this later, because I am in the process of reading some great books about the male role in American society. One is by Robert Jensen, self proclaimed feminist, "Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity" where he describes gender roles. Jensen identifies himself as straight, but admits in his college and high school years having physical relationships with other men. Maybe his perception is "tainted" due to those experiences.

Maybe I am being too liberal and per my husband having a "hippie" moment.