What Do Feminist Preschoolers Think? The Boys Don't Wear Installment

Yesterday, which happened to be my eldest’s 17th birthday (pause, yes, WOW, move along) he and I went to pick up Saskia at her pal Addy’s house. Saskia and Addy made felt crowns during their play date. Given the birthday in our midst, I suggested to Addy, “Maybe you want to make Ezekiel a crown.”

She wrinkled her nose. “Boys don’t wear crowns!” she exclaimed.

“They don’t?” I asked. “Really?”

She looked at me as if I had missed an important—and so obvious—memo about boys and girls and who does what.

So, not wanting to stop there, I suggested she make a crown for Declan, her baby brother. And you’d think she saw me as a lesser, stupider person just then. “Declan’s a boy!” she reminded me. “He can’t wear a crown.”

“What if he were king?” I asked. “Then he’d get a crown.”

“He’s not a king!” she insisted. “He’s a baby.”

Saskia did not weigh in on this one. I imagine she’d have Addy’s back, though. I tried to think of a better next line, but instead I went back to the other room to report this breaking gender news to Addy’s parents—and the non-crown wearing birthday young man. I think I should make him one, just because. I wonder what I should have said, if anything.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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