How to tell when your child really loves a book, and parenting Fail viz gender stereotypes

My seven-year old has decided that he will have two children, Sapphire and Andrew. Last night he was deciding what he should take from our house to pass on to them (I had to write down the list)....and one of the first things to come to his mind was Swords, by Ben Boos (my review). "I think Sapphire and Andrew will like that," he said. And I was pleased that little Sapphie would get to share in the sword part of life.

But then my son got all squirmy and blushed a bit, and whispered, in a sickened tone of voice, "I think I'm going to have to buy Sapphire a .... Barbie."

And next came another blow to my hope (which was a pretty forlorn one already) that I'd raised gender stereotype free boys. "And I'll take the triangle mirror," he said, "So that Sapphire can look at herself and brush her hair." It's not even as though I model that behavior very much myself...

Grandma will just have to buy Sapphire a nice sword, and fencing lessons. And a doll for Andrew.


  1. So funny! But perhaps he would be relieved if you suggested Sapphire might prefer to play at sword-fighting instead?

  2. Too funny! (I tried NOT to buy my girls Barbies, but they still seemed to migrate here anyway. Don't know how that happened. Still, we balance princess dresses with digging in the mud and fishing for tadpoles, so I guess we're all good.)

  3. Very cute! Oh, the ubiquitous (had to check spelling) Barbie. Maybe there'll be a sword-wielding Barbie by then. And thanks for stopping by my blog. I already get yours via RSS but hadn't commented yet.

  4. This was such a funny post, Charlotte! Your son is so cute. Not only does he have names for his future children, he already has plans on what he can give them.

  5. Truly Sapphire has come alive in my mind, Chachic, as I've listened to him talk lovingly about her, very shyly and tenderly. Poor Andrew is a bit of an after thought, but then, he is the younger child.

  6. Oh, the sickness which is conveyed just by being around people, eh? You can talk and talk about things, but society just ... conveys these things.

    You might have them play around with Project Implicit, to reveal to themselves their prejudices. Or, you might do so yourself - it's quite revealing (and disturbing).

    As to Sapphire: I'm sure that grandma will succeed in allowing her to be who she wants to be, regardless of whether she's exposed to Barbies early in life, because grandma will have the good sense to mock the unreality of her body shape and any number of other attributes. :)

  7. Hahaha, sounds way more like societyfail than parentingfail. Too funny.


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