Friday, September 14, 2012

Pretty Toes

Not too long ago, there was a big uproar about an advertisement where a mom was painting her son's toe nails. So many people felt that this was an issue important enough to publicly complain about it and even demand that the ad be removed. What is the world coming to, when you can;t just not look at the ad if you don't like it?! Why is it such a big deal to people if a little boy wants to wear nail polish? I thought the hoopla surrounding the advertisement was nuts.
The other day, Liam saw my blue painted toes and asked if I would paint his for him. I said, "Sure." To which his daddy admittedly disagreed. He made a comment like, "Boy's don't wear nail polish, that's for girls!" This was infuriating to me. Maybe it's because of all of the family/child/gender studies classes that I took in college, but I could see that my husband was imposing a horrible stereotype on my son right in front of me, and I was having none of it.
When Liam went to bed, we talked about it. Soon Joe agreed that it really isn't an issue if he wants his nails painted, but he said that he still just had this inner voice telling him it was not ok. It was then that I realized how ingrained these gender stereotypes are. He was firmly against it earlier in the night without really knowing why. It was just the "feeling" that he had when it was brought up.
I think that it is so strange that when girls like "boy things" (trucks, climbing trees, playing sports) it's not "proper", but it's ok. She's just a Tom Boy, but when a boy likes "girl things" there is something wrong that needs to be fixed. Liam's favorite toy from his first birthday on, was a pink shopping cart that he picked out with his birthday money from his Great Grandma D. Even then, Joe was unsure of this being an acceptable purchase.
It will take a lot of time, but I hope that we learn to reprogram ourselves, so this isn't as much of an issue as it has been. Liam is a boy, who plays with "boy things", but I believe it is perfectly normal for him to want to play with any toy. We are the ones putting the gender label on it, to him it's just a toy. To end this post, I will share that Liam got his painted toe nails. They are red (the color of his choosing), and he is quite proud of them. Telling everyone he sees that he has "pretty toes!"


  1. Well done standing up for Liam's right to have his toes prettied. If you didn't do it he would probably colour them with ink or paint anyway. Give him a few years and he won't go anywhere near nail varnish - unless it's to customise his truck!!

  2. Thank you! I really don't understand why this is such a big deal for some people. But thank you for your support and understanding.