Category Archives: L'il Boo

If you Hit my Daughter to Show her you like her…

I will beat you to a bloody pulp to show you how much I love you for it. Deal?

Thought inspired by this:

I am sure every girl can recall, at least once as a child, coming home and telling their parents, uncle, aunt or grandparent about a boy who had pulled her hair, hit her, teased her, pushed her or committed some other playground crime.

‘I will bet money that most of those, if not all, will tell you that they were told “Oh, that just means he likes you”. I never really thought much about it before having a daughter of my own. I find it appalling that this line of bullshit is still being fed to young children.

‘Look, if you want to tell your child that being verbally and/or physically abused is an acceptable sign of affection, i urge you to rethink your parenting strategy.

‘If you try and feed MY daughter that crap, you better bring protective gear because I am going to shower you with the brand of “affection” you are endorsing.’

Read the rest by Queen of the Couch here.

Just to be clear, if you hit my son for the same reason, I’ll extend the deal to you, too.


School: aka ‘Patriarchy Indoctrination Centre’

You know that last post, the bit where I posited that ‘this will change too, too soon’?

Four days he’s been there. Four frickin’ days.

And a Barbie advert comes on the TV. And ‘that’s for girls’.

His exact words.

Three years of constant, unceasing vigilance undone in four frickin’days.

Watch me while I weep


Gender, My Arse: Part II

Hanging out with Hello Kitty

In much the same way as I hesitate to describe Boogie as transgender, I similarly hesitate to describe L’il Boo as such. Partly, this is because he’s so frickin’ young still and I find it hard to believe that kids even do gender at his age (a grand old three).

I know that they do ‘do’ gender in the sense that they’re massively aware of it, if only in that they understand there are ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ and that this distinction, whilst still fuzzy for them, is incredibly important. I know this because Cordelia Fine told me; all hail The Fine! And seriously, if you haven’t read Delusions of Gender yet, why the hell not? It’s informative, funny and the only book you need to understand how the Patriarchy fucks us from the moment we’re born. What’s not to like?

But ‘do’ do gender? I don’t think so. He’s still at a stage where, while he’s figured out there’s a distinction, he’s no real idea where the lines are drawn. So whilst he may shout ‘I’ll crack you like an egg!’ as he launches himself off the sofa at you, he’ll still cry if he can’t find his kiwi Pinypon doll. Course, as he’s just started school, this will all change too, too soon.

But there’s no two ways about it. If you take a literal translation of transgender – ‘denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender‘ – then that’s what he clearly is. Because he’s, like, a real, actual human being and not a cardboard cut-out of Batman.

All of us, but especially kids as young as L’il Boo, are at least a little bit transgender, aren’t we?

Because not a single person on this planet ‘conforms unambiguously‘ to notions of gender. Show me somebody who does and I’ll show you an unhappy liar.

I, for example, get all teary over Dogs Trust adverts, but can assemble flat pack furniture like Bob the Builder’s show-off sister.

The BoogieMeister can watch sport – any sport – for 7 hours straight, but can rock a scented-candle-lit bath like a fragrant porpoise.

And L’il Boo? Well, the poor schmuck’s all over the place gender-wise. The poor little sod still thinks he can just be who he likes, do what he likes and like what he likes. ‘Gender confused‘ is what he is.

He’ll learn, bless him.


Boy in a Dress: How it Ends

There is no answer, is there?  There is no consensus on whether I should allow my two-year-old boy to go forth wearing a dress.

So you know what?  I’m just going to let it happen.  If he asks for a dress, he’ll get one.  If he wants to put it on, he can.  If he wants to go out in it, he can.

If there’s no right answer?  Fuck it!  Let’s do it. I’m not going to get all Aunty Mabel on his arse because he happens to want to wear fabric swishing around both legs instead of one at a time.

It’s as good an answer as any.


Boy in a Dress

L’il Boo wants to wear a dress.

If I were a different kind of person, I would get all panicky and start throwing Tonka trucks in his general direction, but I am not that kind of person.  Not least because I know where this desire has come from.

Every evening, to avoid school morning meltdown, I ask Boogie the following question: ‘Skirt, dress or trousers?’  She picks one, then I get two of the chosen items out of her wardrobe and she points to the one she wants to wear the following day.

Whilst largely not being arsed about clothes, Boogie is very specific about what kind of clothes she finds acceptable on her skin at any given time.  Some specifications are long-term, non-negotiable (buttons, frills), others are entirely arbitrary and fleeting (‘today I will scream if my jeans are in the wash, tomorrow I will tremble at the very mention of the word jeans’).

Given that this has been the case since she first turned two, the current system (after much trial and error) really works for us both; I get to take the ring road round Whinesville in the mornings and she gets to feel she ‘chooses’ from a choice simple enough that it doesn’t overwhelm her. Happy smiles all round.  By a conservative estimate I reckoned it’s saved me approximately eleventy million whining hours. Good times, eh?

L’il Boo, ever the copier, has now started to display random, fleeting likes and dislikes to items of clothing (dear god, no!).  So random in fact that I have no idea what he’s objecting to in any given case.  I very much doubt he knows either.  He’s just seen his sister do it, and that’s good enough for him.

He’s also, of course, seen that his sister gets choices he’s not offered.  No ‘dress, skirt or trousers’ for him.  Firstly, he gets offered nothing because I’m desperately trying to convince him he doesn’t have any preferences whatsoever.  Secondly, of course, because boys just don’t get the same choices, do they?  It’s ‘trousers or trousers?’ for them.  Or maybe ‘trousers or jeans?’ if I’m being creative.

The boy wants the option.  Practically, I can give it to him because I have enough of his sister’s old clothes in boxes to find something that fits.  But should I?

My first instinct is to say Fuck it!  The boy wants a dress, he can have a fucking dress!

Two things about this: I know enough to know that ‘Fuck it!’ is my first reaction to most things and to far too many things than can actually be good for me.  I also know the way the world works and it does not work well for boys who wear dresses.

He’s two.  Wearing a dress, he would be entirely unaware of any statement he’s making.  I, on the other hand, would be acutely aware of the statement he’s making and, because he’s two, it would be a statement about me more than him.  I’m already known as the resident weirdo feminist amongst both friends and acquaintances.  L’il Boo rocking a dress will do naught to lessen this reputation.

I will be accused (just ask Storm’s parents) of using my child to make a political and social statement, one which, bless him, he can’t possibly have had a say in.  That he chose a dress will not be a defence, merely another example of my man-bashing indoctrination of my children (y’know, like we feminists do).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with any of that (Fuck it! I say – see?)  If anybody has a problem with me letting my son wear a dress, it’s just that – their problem.

But, though L’il Boo’s only two, he understands shock, and disgust, and horror and disapproval.  He understands all that just by looking at people’s faces.  Just like we all do.  And he will not understand that those faces are in reaction to his clothes, not to him.  And – have I said he’s only two? – he’s too young to have that explained to him.

Why would I want to put him through that?  It’s been bad enough when he goes forth wearing pink trousers (which, along with green trousers, are currently top of his ‘like’ list).  Trust me, people do not like being flummoxed when trying to assign children to a gender box.  On the other hand, why should I restrict him in an entirely unnecessary way?  My only stipulation for Boogie’s clothing choices are that they be weather-appropriate and even that’s fairly laxly enforced.  Why should it be different for L’il Boo?

Is he too young to wear a dress? Or I am just copping out, bowing to The Man?

And if I do cop out here, where’s the fucking line?  What do I compromise on next to stop bigots looking sideways at my children?

Answers on a postcard, please.


This is not about Teh Menz

It’s about women.

But it really, really is about men, too.  Because, for me, this is about L’il Boo as much as it is about anybody else in the whole world.

I have a daughter and a son; if my feminism isn’t about the men as well, what am I saying to him?

I’m saying, you don’t count.  You, yes, you little boy with the Y chromosome, you, who is going through a phrase of such overloading cuteness I have the constant urge to squeeze you till you squeak, you don’t count.  I don’t fight for you.

Well, fuck that.

And no, this is not a please-go-gently-into-the-night with those poor, timorous menfolk, poor things can’t handle having to share their sweeties plea.  Fuck that, too.  Men will, I’m afraid, still make up the majority of those lining up by The Wall come the revolution (The Wall, of course, being the name of the buildings which will be established to teach feminism to the unsuspecting masses).  And if those men have to be brought kicking and screaming to The Wall (and they will), so be it.

But you know what?  My anger comes from a place of love, my friends.  Yes, indeedy.  I have always truly believed that feminism will free us all.  Not just women, everybody.  Advanced theorists may want to turn away now, because this shit is the 1 in ‘Feminism 101′: the gender binary hurts us all.

See?  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

L'il Boo

L’il Boo, who as you can see from the accompanying photo is cute as smush even from behind, is (to use a phrase from I Blame the Patriarchy somewhat inaccurately, but accurately in spirit), ‘my Nigel’.  He counts to me.

And I see him now, at 2-and-a-half, still largely innocent of what’s expected of him as a boy.  He is still, to himself, just a child.

A child who happens to like (in no particular order): his sister (copying? sometimes I think he’s the victim of a particularly successful cloning experiment); Kung Fu panda, making tea, cabbage (uh-huh, you heard that right), practising karate with his sister (see Kung Fu Panda), football, hair accessories, cooking, green trousers, pink (seriously, it’s the kid’s favourite colour, I don’t know where I went wrong) dresses, fire engines, glitter, his sister’s friends (due to second child neglect syndrome, he has few of his own), Tangled, trains (though Thomas bores him, so he has some taste), slam-dunking his parents when they’re least expecting it, chocolate buttons (but only those that come with a monkey on the packet), Octonauts.

He is, in short, very ‘boyish’ in many ways.  And very ‘girlish’ in many others.

My god, what does this mean for his future??!

Well, nothing much I suspect.

But what is his future?  In the short term, I can tell you that it will include a period of being INCREDIBLY LIKE A BOY.  He will be so like a boy that I will be able to present him at an MRA conference and they will appoint him their mascot and shower him with plastic trucks.

Whilst he’s so far been seemingly unaffected by the gender mores he will be absorbing at nursery and elsewhere, make no mistake, the seeds are being planted each and every day.  Some time soon, we will see them grow and they will sprout with such speed that it’ll take my breath away.

He will come to an understanding of what it means to be a ‘boy’.  He will figure out the sheer, over-whelming importance of gender and he will do his damnedest to fit himself into that straightjacket, because that’s what kids do.

And it will break my heart.

I know all of this because I’ve been through it all before.  Boogie went through a phrase of being INCREDIBLY LIKE A GIRL.  Some time around turning three, she morphed into a fully-formed stereotype before my very (observant) eyes.  Her favourite colour turned from blue to pink, girls didn’t play football and princesses were delightfully-dressed goddesses.

Christ, that was a tough stage of development.

But we’re through it and out the other side and Boogie is, once again, a wonderful mix of girlish and boyish.  Which is to say she is a wonderful example of herself.   She’ll try and kick the crap out of you as soon as look at you (oh, the martial arts!  Martial arts is her new god!) but she’ll do it in a princess dress.  Seriously?  She rocks on so many levels, I cannot imagine trying to change her, trying to damp down certain aspects of her personality.

I will do my utmost to ensure that L’il Boo comes through similarly unscathed (I mean, it’s all relative, amirite?)

And L’il Boo?  Well, he’ll probably try and kick the crap out of you, too.  Whilst rocking a pair of multi-coloured fairy wings.

This says nothing much about my children.  It just says we’re feisty down here in Boogieville.

Which we are.  They get it from their mother.


So this is Christmas?

Yes, it was and I’ll tell you now things may be slow posting-wise for a while longer because I moved from the darkness into the light.  I embraced a whole new dawn of technological creativity and bowed before a god whose design aesthetic is mind-blowing.  Yes, I changed from a PC to an iMac. Am I lovin’it?  Well, yes, yes I am.  I love even just staring at it when it’s turned off.  I am totally in love with it.

So, yes, Christmas.  Over and done with and I’m nursing a sense of anti-climax.  Having got myself spectacularly well-organised in the run up to the event, I was busy hugging  myself with glee and anticipation when I came down with tonsillitis.  Again.  Which was bad enough but then a day before things got seriously weird when I started upchucking blood.  I know it was blood because I put some in tupperware and showed it to my doctor, heh, heh.  Never say I don’t know how to make somebody’s Christmas.

Enough about blood vomit; I can sense you really want to know what the children of a feminist get for the big day.

The short answer is: pretty much the same as every other spoilt Western kid, only in reverse.

L’il Boo got a cooker and a tea set.  Boogie got a secret agent HQ and a pair of MMA/boxing gloves.

And yes, for the record, Boogie would never have got the cooker.  I am that kind of mother.

I tell myself that I simply buy what the children want; or what would seem to be something they’d enjoy given who they are right now.  And to a certain extent, that is absolutely true.  Boogie, for example, has for some time now, dressed almost exclusively in black because ‘that’s what spies wear‘.  And she’s so into her martial arts at the minute that when L’il Boo launches himself at her (to hug her? to headdbutt her? to rugby tackle her? – it’s impossible to tell until it’s all over bar the shouting), Boogie will sometimes reflexively move her foot in a perfect roundhouse kick and fell the poor child before even he’s made up his mind.  Obviously, I say, no,don’t kick your brother, but it’s quite beautiful to watch, this absolute unerring sureness in her body’s ability to protect itself

And L’il Boo is forever putting plastic food items in the washing machine at nursery and refuses to leave the place before he’s offered, and made, multiple ‘cups of tea’ for me and every member of staff there.

So I have no difficulty in saying ‘I got what I thought they’d like.’  I did, it is true.

But it would be totally untrue to say that ‘I got what I thought they’d like without any consideration of the wider implications of what they might like.’  Because I didn’t.

Because for a start, Boogie likes every single bit of plastic tut she so much as glimpses on the TV.  And I mean everything.  She is an advertiser’s dream.  She even professed a desire for the new ‘girl’ version of Lego (for which you’ll have to visit Reel Girl all by yourself because I have yet to figure out how to copy a web address on this ‘puder), which she has as much chance of getting from ‘Santa’ (i.e. her miserable, fun-eating feminist mother), as I have of getting a boob job with industrial-grade silicone implants (thanks PIP – again, you’ll have to figure that link out for yourselves). Because, just in case you were confused, the new ‘girly’ Lego is an insult of quite epic proportions to girls everywhere.  And by extension to women, and I don’t take these kinds of insults lightly.  Bastards.  FUCK LEGO AND THEIR BEAUTY SALON SHIT.  Phew!  Glad I got that out of my system.  And if one more fucking company wheels out insulting eye-searing pink toys and then waffles on about ‘honouring girls’ play patterns’ I am going to go bat shit fucking crazy.  Even more so than normal.  Girls: taught to play a certain way since birth, toy companies then look at them playing that way and use it as an excuse to serve them more of the same shit.  Arrgh!

So there were lots of things Boogie professed a desire for which, whilst they may have made it on to her Santa list, were never, not in a million fucking years, going to appear under the tree on Christmas morning.  Unless, of course, I was dead and my mother – or any number of annoying relatives and in-laws – had taken over the Father Christmas role.  And even if I were dead, there are legal instruments in place to prevent that very thing.  I really am that kind of mother.

And yes, you can accuse me of brainwashing my children as much as you like, but it is just me; just little old me against a muti-billion pound industry feeding my children gender stereotypes until they’re sick.

Trust me, I can live with the accusation.

And so, is this Christmas?  Of course not; it’s actually New Year now.  And judging by the amount of vino I have already consumed on this yes-you-can-start-drinking-at-noon-it’s-a-special-day day, I will, once again, fail to see in the new year.  So I shall wish you all a good one and hope for you all a year filled with small victories and big, big memories.


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