My brother recently came back from Respite. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a place disabled children can go for a certain amount of time so family can have a break from caring. So literally, they can have respite.
So, Harry came back yesterday and told me excitedly that he had worn his Frozen socks at Respite. Harry is a big fan of Disney and the Frozen film, so last Christmas I had bought him a pack of Frozen socks from H&M. They were pink and blue with frills at the top and small pictures of Anna and Elsa. He loved them. Naturally, he was going to show his socks to his carers. He thought it was exciting.
And what did they say? He shouldn’t be wearing them because they are girl’s socks.
How dare you! They are not girl’s socks. They are his. He wears them and he is a boy, so it is boys clothing. Even if you don’t need me to clarify, who cares? He can wear what he damn well wants to.
I was absolutely fuming when I found out. Harry spent the next five minutes questioning me whether he should be wearing them. If I ever hear they’ve said anything like that, I will complain because he loves those socks and suddenly he’s unsure whether he should wear them. And this isn’t the first time this has happened.
Harry used to have a Frozen lunch box. It was purple with a picture of Anna and Elsa. Tom didn’t have one; he had a Monsters Inc. lunchbox because that’s what he wanted. Whatever my brother’s want, I will get them. In summer play scheme, one of the carers came to me and told me he had taken someone else’s lunchbox and they had told him off for it. It didn’t sound like Harry and she passed me his Frozen lunchbox.
Well, for starters, it has his name on it. So that kind of gave it away immediately. Secondly, why is it unbelievable that he has that? He’s allowed to like Disney and to listen to the music but as soon as there’s tangible evidence he likes something classed as ‘girly’, it’s not right. I haven’t got time for this. Why do some people find it hard to believe that he can have princess merchandise? He’s even recently got a sparkly, pink seashell cushion because it reminds him of The Little Mermaid. He also wants a big summer hat from H&M and he likes to wear my heels.
I don’t want anybody reinforcing gender roles on my brother and they shouldn’t feel the need to. Why can’t someone enjoy what they want to?