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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012
Wow.  I thought girls had it rough.

I have dipped my toe into boy world and I am stumped.
Now, it isn't like I have jumped into the deep end~ I am just dabbling in the shallows.

I can't count the number of times mothers have asked me to consider making clothing for boys.
And I run and hide behind the twirl skirts.
But one of my resolutions this year is to make the foray into making some items for boys.
I knew whatever I might make would have to meet my clothing credentials: comfortable, natural fiber, free-sizing to allow for longer wear for better value, and patchy (I love my patchwork!).
So I got that part sorted.

Then came the fabric shopping (I love my fabric shopping!).
Holy cow, it was rough!
Is this too girly?
Is that dot pink or red?
Is there anything that isn't all baby or all 'big boy'?
The boundaries around what is 'boy' have gotten pretty slim, haven't they?
In part, perhaps to girls encroaching and poaching on their styles (and names, says the mother of a female Rowan)?
But I think there is more to it.
Something to do with re-defining boys (and therefore men~ or is it men and therefore boys?).
Something to do with making sure, above all that whatever that definition may be, it is definitely 'not-girl'.

And so I find myself sitting down at my work table and agonizing over lime green dots and birdhouses.

And then thinking, "this shouldn't be so difficult!".

For if nothing else, I believe colours have no gender boundaries and it enriches all of our children, boys and girls, to have full access to whatever colours they love... not JUST pink and purple OR green and brown.

Now this is not mind blowingly insightful, I know.
And I know lots of boys love colour and their moms (and dads!) are not afraid of purple or peach or whatever and what it says about their child's gender.
And this is just one teeny tiny speck of snow on a giant iceberg of gender issues.
But it really did shock me to find how much thought I was putting into making sure that my boy stuff was boy enough.

And in that, I realized in a way I hadn't considered before,  that as much as we girl moms have alligators to wrestle when it comes to our daughter's finding their identity as girls, the boys have their own critters to tackle in becoming confident, self-assured, comfortable in their own skin boys (and men).

So {darn} the torpedoes!
I am making boy clothing with lime dots AND birdhouses.
And I think the trees have a spot of peach on them.

{{Come on boy moms, tell us about it...!}}♥♥


Anonymous said...

Indeed! We mothers of boys have it tough in certain respects. We nurture our sons' sensitive sides, tell them they can like dolls, pink, sparkles, ballet, playing house, or anything at all, knowing all the while that they may be ridiculed or abused someday because of it. In those little day-to-day decisions about clothing we are constantly asking ourselves if this or that is "boy enough" or "too girly," and that we ask these questions weighs heavily on our minds—what does that mean to us? Why should we be concerned about trivial things like this? Shouldn't they be allowed to like strawberries and unicorns and daisies? Shouldn't we be past all this gender garbage by now?

We like to think we are. And while it's mostly OK for a 1-6 year old to wear rainbows if he wants to, any older than that and he begins risking so, so much.

When sewing for my sons, I try to take their interests and favorite colors to heart. I find that fabrics with stripes and polka dots and like those you've chosen work well for young boys' shorts or lightweight summer pants (usually paired with solid colorful t-shirts). Or for pajamas. If I'm sewing pjs, I don't concern myself quite so much with whether there is a spot of pink in the fabric. At home they are free to be whoever they are, whoever they may become, forever.

MamaWestWind said...

I love the bear's picnic! And I would put my boy in bird houses and I think he'd like them!

sheila said...

I think you've got until mid-kindergarten until the gender stereotyping becomes an issue. Before that it's cute to have boys in all kinds of things.

We homeschool but I didn't find that extended our time period much: the fact remains, my boys like colours but not prints. Print = Girl Territory. Unless it's a stripe or one of those rayon shirts with fruit or cars on it, lol. Oh wait, I forgot the Angry Bird t-shirts. Put a few blue, yellow, black, and red birds on a t-shirt and associate it with an app game and suddenly it's COOL.

This used to bother me but you know, I'm okay with it. Think Ma Vie En Rose: if my 15 year old boy was into creative patterns and bright floral colours I'd probably worry about what the meaner sides of life might hold for him.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I know this should have been obvious to me, but it was a revelation of life on the flip side! ♥

Lovebird said...

My son is three and his current favorite color is pink. Dark pink, specifically. He wears pink shoes - I think the name of the color is "beet root purple" - on which he gets TONS of compliments. He has a second grade friend - also a boy, also loves pink. AND he recently requested that I make his next pair of under pants "pink and purple with saws all over."
Fine with me! I'm not particularly fond of pink, but I sure am happy that he is confident in his preferences.

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