The much needed profiling of boys who dance and wear dresses

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

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As a dad to daughters, I’ve spent a lot of time writing about the stereotypes my daughters encounter.

  • You must like princesses.
  • You must like pink.
  • You must hate sports.

The list goes on as we all know. Some of these things my daughters do like. They both like princesses, they both like the colour pink. They also love the colour blue and they also love baseball and holding worms in their hands. They love watching Star Wars and they love watching My Little Pony.

What I can now say about young girls is that they like different things and that the things they like don’t define them.

So, should the things boys like, limit them?

Thinking.

Thinking.

Thinking.

No.

And here is a photographic series, #aboycantoo, that shows all the ways boys can be boys.

Boys can be boys by digging in the mud. Boys can be boys by playing hockey. Boys can be boys when they go fishing for crawfish.

Boys can also be boys when they dance. Boys can be boys when they figure skate. Boys can be boys when they wear their baby doll.

Kirsten McGoey of Trinity Design in Whitby, Ontario is lending a visual voice to boys who break gender norms to pursue their true passions.

“#aboycantoo started as a love story of sorts for my middle son who has inspired us with a love of rainbows, his constant twirls and whirls evolving into a love of dancing, singing and the stage. As parents we try to provide all our three boys a place to choose the adventure they feel fits their own interests. So alongside LTDP soccer practices we also attend dance open houses; soccer balls litter the back yard and we host dance parties in the living room. Not long after I decided to pursue my first personal photography project I knew it had to shed light on these amazing boys who in the face of strong societal gender norms are embracing a strong sense of self worth, self confidence and providing inspiration for other #aboycantoo boys all over the world.” – Kirsten McGoey

yes_aboycantoo-montage

Fo rme, this series brings attention to the not-as-often-thought-of other side of gender neutral steps taken in stores like Target. When we think of this, the picture that comes to mind is often of the girl warrior who runs around with a sword or a cape and eschews the colour pink. The other side of this is just as important. Not all boys fit the same mold and many will be chastised for their choices.

These boys are amazing and these boys are boys.

A young boy with long hair smiling

a young boy in a dress dancing

an older boy teaching a younger boy how to dance

A young boy resting his head on books

I strongly encourage everyone to take a look through this series as she continues to add more pictures of boys being boys. I know I’m anxiously awaiting a dad version of #adadcantoo where we start tackling all the nonsense around dads wanting to protect their kids from prom dates.

9 responses to “The much needed profiling of boys who dance and wear dresses”

  1. Cathi W says:

    I have been following #aboycantoo since inception. As a mother of two young men I have encouraged them to be themselves along the way. I am delighted that Kirsten’s wonderful photographic skill has captured real boys being boys in their own individual light and congratulate the parents who have embraced their childs own unique and beautiful nature.

  2. […] published on Puzzling Posts. Photo credits to Kirsten […]

  3. […] Check out #aboycantoo — a fascinating photography project documenting boys who like dancing, dolls, and dressing up too. (Top image © Trinity Design/Aboycantoo) […]

  4. KY says:

    I love this. I have two (soon to be three) kids. My daughter is a “tomboy” who hates pink and dresses, likes comfy clothes and video games, and loathes sparkles. My son loves his doll house, playing house, wearing princess dresses, and taking care of baby dinosaurs. They like what they like and I try not to interfere with that too much. (though I’m caught telling everyone to be so much gentler allllll the time.)

  5. Crystal says:

    I love love love #aboycantoo.

    I was honoured to be asked to be a part of it. My son had a great time showing off his dresses and working with Kirsten. It’s an amazing thing 🙂

  6. Jason says:

    I think that this is a wonderful idea as not everyone fits the same mould and society needs to realize this! Boys can have baby dolls and girls can play with Batman toys. Who says that they can’t? Besides the haters if course. It’s a shame that in this day and age that people feel the need to judge children now too. It’s time for society to take a step back and realize that it’s none of anyone’s business unless it’s their children and even then, these kids should be able to be kids without the worry that someone’s going to say about what toy they’re playing with or what color they like.

    Great post!

  7. […] is dehumanizing them.”  This is why, as Mike Reynolds has written, it’s important to celebrate boys who love to dance or wear dresses or play with dolls or do anything that challenges the gender norms placed on […]

  8. […] at Puzzling Posts highlights a photographic series by Kirsten McGoey called #aboycantoo in “The Much Needed Profiling of Boys Who Dance and Wear Dresses, and we’ll leave you with this […]

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