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Dear Amy,

By chance I have found your great site. I am a 100% feminist and I hate stereotypes and gender roles that boys and men benefit from. I have a 9 year old son and I raise him both as a boy and as a girl. He gets girl toys to play with and sometimes he also wears girl's clothes. He also has typical girls' hobbies

I want to make sure he learns that boys can also play with dolls or wear dresses or skirts and that girls can also work and earn money or play with cars. I want to know if you think that I do the right thing?

Best regards,



Dear Marlena,

I think that there are plenty of ways to influence your children when it comes to equality and feminism and, yet, there is always a need for more ways. In general, I think it is our own examples that have the greatest impact on our children -- what we do, compared to what we want them to do.

My concern with your approach is how your son is treated when he embraces girl things compared to when he dons male things. I think that we have to understand where society is and while continuing to challenge it make sure that we aren't also setting ourselves up for more ridicule.

I worry that when your son does female things he is less valued and he feels that and therefore, when he is given the chance will choose male things. Perhaps this won't be the case, and better that it isn't. But, I think that we have to be sensitive to not set our children up to reject the very thing we want them to embrace.

Good luck,


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