Boogermonkey told me yesterday that his shoes were too tight. So we went around the corner to the local kiddie boutique, where shoes were on sale today, but no luck. After asking twitter for local shoe store ideas, we headed to Burch’s.
There, on the sale rack, sat the most perfect pair of shoes my five-year-old son had ever seen. Glitter. Hearts. Rhinestones. A rainbow on the toe. When they didn’t fit, he was crestfallen. Lo, another pair. Silver. Glittery. Lavender. With a chihuahua charm on the lace. Again: too small. Third time? Mary Janes. Sparkly. Pink.
Are we seeing a theme?
In the restroom, for Gurglebutt needed to use the facilities, I had a chat with son-the-elder about this sparkle attachment. I told him that loads of people don’t think it’s ok for boys to like pink or sparkles. He didn’t understand. Why not? He loves pink. He just wants the sparkly shoes.
In the end, he got “boring” navy trainers, but the very kind salesman found sparkly silver laces.
“I like gold sparklies best, but I’ll take these,” he conceded.
This concession came, incidentally, after a long back & forth over how disappointed he was that NONE OF THE SOCKS WERE SPARKLY.
I live in Eugene. Long hair, dresses on boys, whatever. No one here cares. And if they do, fuck them. My son likes pink. But in that bathroom, I had bit of inner turmoil. My sociology self, the one who recognizes gender constructs as bullshit, fought with all the voices of all the people who don’t understand that. Over all of them came MomVoice, the one who asked, “what harm will it do if he wears pink shoes?”
The answer, of course, is none. But all those Other voices are real, too. The voices who don’t think it’s ok for him to have long hair or wear a tutu. The voices that say those things are “for girls,” implying girl!stuff is lesser-than, not good enough for boys, are somehow emasculating.
He’s five. Pink won’t hurt him. Sparkles won’t hurt him.
And women aren’t lesser-than, thankyouverymuch.