“Mommy, can mans wear make-up?” This is what my six-year-old son asked me a few weeks ago. I looked into his little face and he looked so confused and in that moment I wondered how best to reply. His question was prompted by my watching one of my favorite youtubers who is a man. So I told him, “Of course men can wear make-up! And they can wear skirts and dresses if they want.” He accepted that answer after first proclaiming that he has no interest at all in wearing make-up but I knew that questions like those were definitely going to be asked again. At this age, kids are SO gender specific. I constantly hear my kids battling upstairs… “You can’t do that! That’s for girls…!” And so on and so on. So how do you handle it?
The simple answer: tell them the truth. No matter if you agree with it, the truth is that as human beings we CAN do anything we want. Short of things that are harmful or hateful, no one has the power to stop us from doing anything. So yes, mans can wear make-ups. Now, as a proud supporter of the LGBTQ community and a passionate advocate of human rights, my opinions may differ from yours. But in our family, we fully support those that are different than us. We do not discriminate and we will not teach our children to do so. In 2017, we are seeing more and more trans genders, gays, interracial couples etc., becoming more mainstream. To a six-year-old, it may be difficult to understand why two daddies are holding hands or how two mommies can have a baby and be married. He has asked these kind of questions before and my four-year-old was absolutely blown away when I told her that two daddies can be married. Her response? “Well, who carries the baby?!” I am so fascinated by their curiosity and their unique perceptions but I often struggle with finding an appropriate way to respond to their questions.
For me, a man in make-up is not out of the ordinary-for them, it’s a whole new world. I am not sure where children learn to place themselves into specific gender roles, but somewhere along the line it happens. Last weekend at Bryce’s football game, Brooklynn wanted to know if she could also play football. I told her that if she really wanted to then she absolutely could! Bryce was in outrage. “Mommy! Brooklynn can NOT play football. That is for BOYS. She could get hurt. She should be a cheerleader.” A CHEERLEADER he says. Why? I understand that they are young and with age they will come to understand that girls and boys can in fact participate in the same activities. But as they grow, how do I explain things to them? When Brooklynn screams out at the park, “OMG those two mommies (to them every woman is a mommy and every man is a daddy) are KISSING!!,” how do I explain to her that that is perfectly natural and okay? In this ever changing world, we strive to teach them to kind, to be loving and to be open to new ideas. I want to teach them that love is love no matter the color, the race or the gender. I want them to always accept people that are different than them, to love people for who they are and not what they are. All that we really want is for our babies to add just a little more love and acceptance into this world. We are hoping that what we are teaching them is right and that they will always have open minds and open hearts. I am also so excited for their generation because I truly believe that they will be the most open minded of them all….their generation is going to make some major history and I just hope I’m around to witness it!
Tell me, how have you handled similar questions? Have you found it hard to find the right words? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time, keep smiling.
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