When you walk down the aisles of your local Wal-Mart or Target, you see that there is a separation between the girl and the boy sections. This is not only true in the clothing department, but it is also seen in the toy department as well. Typically, the girl items are pick or lavender and the boy items are blue, or another ‘masculine’ color.
Sometimes, however, the girl does not want a pick toy, or perhaps a boy doesn’t want a toy from the ‘girl aisle’. Something similar may happen in the clothing department as well.
Those blue or green clothes with trucks or dinosaurs on them will sometimes appeal to little girls and sometimes, little boys might like ruffles or glitter.
Shoes are another department where there is a lot of variety that is often separated by gender. Girls tend to choose from the pink, purple or sparkly shoes with flowers and hearts. Boys shoes are often just plain.
Christina Hise-Johnson and her husband Josh are not of the mindset that little girls and boys have to stick to their designated aisle at the department store. Their three children are all individuals that have clothing or other items that are of interest to them and it doesn’t always fit into what society says is right for their gender.
Ashley is their oldest daughter. She was always a shy girl but recently, her taste in clothes has changed to include liking ‘boy clothes’. Her parents don’t have a problem with it.
Their oldest son is 14. Jacon enjoys typical boy items now but when he was younger, he enjoyed growing his hair long and usually wore items that would have typically be reserved for little girls.
Then we come to their youngest son, 5-year-old Chandler. He is the child that tends to color outside of the lines the most, although he is really too young to realize it. His parents just want him to enjoy what he enjoys.
Chandler was 2 years old when he begged his parents for a pair of pink shoes. Rather than forcing a drab pair of ‘boy shoes’ on him, they allowed him to wear the pink shoes. Since then, he has started to enjoy wearing pink clothing and carrying a purse.
His friends don’t really care what he wears. At this time, he is homeschooled but when they are out and about, they sometimes run into strangers who offer negative comments.
The conversation may start out with the strangers saying: “What a beautiful little girl.” After Chandler’s parents let them know he is a boy, ‘they shake their heads and walk away’.
Some adults have gone so far as to ask if their son will be gay. She is shocked that they would be concerned about the sexual orientation of a 5-year-old child. She is just letting him enjoy the clothes and toys that are to his personal taste.
Christina says, “Gender neutral parenting for us is allowing our children to make choices based on things that interest them. We do not limit those interests based on what the media says is ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ related. We teach that clothes, colors, and activities are not gender-related.”