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

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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