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A Boy and His Princesses
“But isn’t that a little girly for him?”
It’s been said to me in glances, in uncomfortable laughter, and even directly — from (open-minded?) family members and strangers.
There’s something about seeing a toddler boy play with a pink-and-purple LEGO Cinderella castle that unnerves certain people. Or seeing him walk around with a fairy wand, sprinkling pixie dust and magic spells with a wave of his arm. Shouldn’t it be a sword? Or at least a Wizard’s wand?
Sometimes it’s a sword that he carries around with a makeshift shield (a la Sleeping Beauty‘s Prince Phillip) and sometimes it’s a Superhero wand that he waves while wearing his cape — but not usually. Usually he’s a fairy. With princess figurines scattered around the house, typically in his hands.
But just because he loves princesses (and princes and villains and fairy godmothers), that doesn’t make him a “Princess Boy” — a term floating around the Interwebs in the last few years, stemming from moms opening up about their little boys who only love “girly” things. Little boys whom, they wonder, might possibly be gay.
The division of boy vs. girl toys isn’t something that needs explanation — it’s been discussed ad nauseum, in my opinion — but there’s no division in my son’s world. Right now he’s sitting 10 ft. away from me with Princess Aurora in one hand and a Buzz Lightyear in the other. He loves fairy wings and princess crowns as much as he loves construction vehicles and tool kits. His two favorite shows are Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Doc McStuffins (although the latter is clearly his top pick). He doesn’t see a world where this is for “them” and this is for “me.”
Not yet, anyway.
I’m always worried that he’ll overhear a family member’s hushed teasing over his “girly” interests, or that an older kid will come over the house and mock his pink-and-yellow doll house. That someone, somewhere, will tell him that he should put down the princesses and pick up a ninja. And that he will.
His love for princesses isn’t about superficial beauty or an underlying sexual orientation. It’s about magic and imagination and fairy tales. It’s about him being him — singing songs and saying spells.
It’s about untainted, unapologetic happiness.
And that’s something that should cross all gender lines.