Burqas. Stonings. Lashings. Acid attacks. These are some of the things some of us at NRB think about when we hear the term “gender apartheid”. When we read stories like this one at Salon claiming that a parent’s refusal to dress his son in pink is “gender apartheid“, we must ask the obvious question. Are there no serious people on the Left with whom we can have a mature conversation about Islamic gender-based killings and tortures? Though I hesitate, I’ll meet a Leftist where he is and offer my top three reasons that I will not dress my boys in pink.
Having two sons and two daughters, and being the only girl among my parents’ six children, I have a bit of experience on gender issues in families and society. I was quite the tomboy growing up and invariably preferred my male playmates’ trucks and guns to the baby dolls my mother bought for me in vain, hoping that I might play with them. Because I was never into frills and ribbons, I would never claim that all girls should be wearing puffy pink sleeves or that all boys should be in blue jeans and dark earth tones. Still, there are certain realities that give parents good reason to stick to more traditional clothing as a general rule.
Reason # 3 — Peer Ridicule
The question of peer ridicule does not readily apply in the case of an 18-month-old boy, but for older children — say, elementary school age — it is certainly an important point to consider. Even if my sons, at that age, had wanted to wear something that is traditionally feminine to school, I would not have allowed it because I think it is wise to spare them the ridicule they would experience from other children. Good parents do not allow things that would cause their children to be placed at risk for ridicule.
Some might argue that it is “unfair” for kids to ridicule other children for their fashion choices. Of course it is unfair, but the reality is that other children will ridicule them. Parents should not encourage their kids to be “social pioneers”, especially at a very young age. Kids have enough on their plates already, and frankly, so do their teachers.