Pigtail Pals: Where We’re Going

Now that you’ve gotten the full story of where I’ve been, I’m really excited to tell you about where we’re going. I say “we”, because this isn’t just me. It is my giant community of parents and caring adults who elevate the conversation every day among their groups of friends and family. You all help me to get people thinking. As you know, once you see this, you can’t unsee it.

And so it goes with me. I see it now, all of it. Pigtail Pals is no longer going to be “Pigtail Pals”. It can’t be. It has to be more.  

I had my daughter first, then my son. I have spent all my life as a girl, so it was easy for me to see and become passionate about girls’ issues. I had read several books about issues with boys, but it didn’t click with me like things did with girls. Until last summer. My son Benny was three years old, and we were at the park having a big playdate celebrating his successful potty training. Not long after we had arrived, a boy who was not with our group came up to my small son, put a plastic toy gun to his head, directly to his temple, and said “Boom! I just blew your f*cking brains out.” The other boy was six.

Benny didn’t understand what had happened, but his big sister did. I stood there in shock while Amelia marched up and read this kid the riot act. I went up to the boy and demanded his gun from him. He had four more stuffed in his shorts and socks. I told him to get the hell away from my kids. I was really disturbed by that incident. A friend I was with asked the boy’s mom to leave with her son, and then my friends and I sat and talked about raising boys. I was pretty quiet during that conversation. I just remember thinking, “Is this how it is? With boys?” Later that week I was out buying Benny some more big boy underwear (we call them “spanky pants”) and I couldn’t find anything that didn’t have a steroid-ridden super hero on it, skulls, guitars, or footballs. My kid was three. Where were the kites and ice cream cones? Or zoo animals. Hippo spanky pants would be pretty cool.

You all know Benny pretty well from the stories I share on the blog and facebook. He is a sweet boy. He loves his mama, reading, art, cooking, Angry Birds, and wrestling with our dog. Mud seems to have a magnetic pull on him, and he loves working on building projects and using tools. He loves the color pink and having his toes painted. He doesn’t really understand sports yet, but he plays a mean game of tag. 

I started paying more attention to what was being marketed to him and what I was buying for him. I realized unless it came from Pigtail Pals, all of his clothes were shades of blue, gray, or green. When he turned four years old, his party guests brought him paints, an Angry Birds tee, a dinosaur water sprayer, and a sprinkler. I was relieved there were no toy weapons. The other boys his age that he is friends with are all equally sweet. Then I think about the boys in Amelia’s kinder class. A lot of them have lost the sweetness. Several of them have been in trouble for violence at school. One has stuck his hand up a little girl’s skirt. Several of them have sworn in class, including dropping the F-bomb. These boys are all six years old. Six years old, and acting like miniature ill-behaved men. Where was boyhood?

Benny is sleeping next to me on the couch right as this moment. His tiny chest moving up and down under his mint green shirt. The other day we were shopping for his grandma’s Mother’s Day gift, and he was very intent on finding her “dee mose breautifrul ting” in the shop. I always want him searching for and finding beauty. And love.

I get asked about boys a lot, and tried to make a shift by developing the Curious Crickets line. I made sure the Full of Awesome designs had a design that would also work for boys. But let’s be honest – that really isn’t enough. I really don’t have a lot of references for parents of boys asking for a group like what Pigtail Pals is for boys. My go-to answer is always Achilles Effect. I started to feel like I was so focused on Amelia and girlhood, I had ignored, maybe willfully ignored, Benny and his boyhood. I just kept thinking, I have time, he’s just a baby. The kid is now four, time is up. I realized I had to get over some of my own stereotypes about men and being a male. Not having ever been one, it took me being the mother to a boy for a couple of years to get it.

I got it.

Pigtail Pals is now going to be known as “Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies: Childhood Inspired”. I can’t only fight for one side of childhood. Aren’t I the one who always says, “there is no girl side or boy side to childhood, there is just childhood?”  Yes, I am. And I was starting to feel like a hypocrite. Because everything I’ve been talking about with girls ALSO impacts boys. Sexualization. Body Image. Gender Stereotypes. Color Washing. Violence.

So everything is changing.

Actually, that’s being a bit overly dramatic, but it feels like a big change to me. Absolutely nothing is going to change with the work we do for girls. All of that is still going to happen. We’re just going to expand our focus to boys. Everything we’ve done for girls, we’ll now do for boys. The look of the store is going to change, the header on the blog will change. ALL of the designs in the shop will remain. We’ll add boys to the conversation on facebook. Mr. Pigtail Pals is going to start blogging for us, and I want to add the voices of more dads/men.

Pigtail Pals will always have our roots in the girl empowerment community. Truly, that is who I am, a champion of girls. But I am also the mother to a son. I need to act like it. Now I will fight for both of my children.

It is the right time to change. Here’s the new look, and I hope you stay with me as we continue on this journey towards a healthier childhood for our children. Our children have a right to chidhood. They’ll be teens soon enough, there’s no need to rush them there. Today they are our little boys and girls. 

Tomorrow I’m going to release a new line of designs that show boys and girls playing together. When’s the last time you saw that on a t-shirt?

But for today, I’d like to introduce Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies.

 

Comments

  1. I have tears in my eyes! I’m so excited for you. For us. Most of all, I’m excited for our children. Mine, yours and ev’rbody elses…….I love these changes!!

  2. *standing ovation* This is a dream come true for many of your followers. I appreciate every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears that you have put into this mission and I support you fully! Talk about hitting the nail on the head! Childhood. Inspired. And FULL of AWESOME! *tears*

  3. Jill S. says:

    I love it! It does seem like a natural evolution for you. I don’t have a son, but I have a nephew, and friends who have sweet boys who are still sweet. I hope they stay that way!

    Thanks for all you do!

  4. Lindsay says:

    Thank you so much. I have a 4 (almost 5) year old boy and a 2 year old girl. I appreciate everything you’ve shared and and inspired regarding my daughter, but I often feel it’s my son who gets short-changed. I grew up in a house full of girls who played barbies and ball. We were just kids and encouraged to do and play how we wanted. I already feel confident I can do this with my daughter.
    Like your son, mine is a sweet soul, but personally I feel like there is so much more pressure for him to be a “typical” boy. I want him to be able to play baseball AND like the color pink. I’d like to change the definition of “boys will be boys.” Here’s to raising a generation children with the freedom to be who they are!

  5. Jennifer says:

    Yeah! As a mother of boys and girls I understand where you have been and what this means (to me). Thank you. Maybe someday I’ll share what my first son wore for big kid underpants.

  6. Valerie says:

    Awesome! I’m very happy, because I’m in a similar situation. My 10 yr old dd is pretty strong and I think we’re doing okay in keeping it real (so far) but my 6 yr old boy is facing some pretty strong stereotypes at school (I was so sad the day he came home and said purple is no longer a power colour and pink is just for girls – and refused to wear his sister’s skirts for dancing any more). The toy and clothing segregation impacts both genders – I’m happy to see you’ll be fighting for both. :)

  7. Richele says:

    Melissa, you rock! I think this is a great forward step!

  8. I love this! I too started out writing and researching the girls side of things, because I have 3 daughters. But the more I learned, the more I realized that boys need us to fight for a healthy childhood for them as well. I am so excited about this, and I’m so proud to be your ally!

  9. Joanna Pitt says:

    6 thumbs up from our house. Have you checked out Lisa Bloom’s books, ‘Think’ and ‘Swagger’? In a recent article, she described a similar lightbulb moment about boyhood after focusing on girlhood initially…

  10. As a mom of all boys I have loved you and your values and your company and I am THRILLED at where “we” are heading. :)

  11. LOVE this, Melissa! I also had a daughter first (she’s about to turn 3), and I now have an infant son. Your anecdote about the park was terrifying. I want to change the world for BOTH of my kids.

  12. Kari Campbell says:

    I’m so excited for you! As a mother with one son, no daughters, I have been looking for more of your ideas for boys. I have loved your ideas for girls and am so excited to see your boys line expanding!

  13. Ruthann says:

    Let’s rock this boat!! My daughter Clare is 6 (almost 7) and my son Eliott is 3. I am so SO with you on this!!!

  14. Jessica says:

    I have boy/girl twins who will be 4 in July and I care about the future for both of them. Looking forward to what you share with us next!

    Jessica

  15. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I found your site around the time my daughter turned one. I quickly devoured your past blog posts and I remember turning to my husband with tears in my eyes saying, “It’s like she’s saying everything I have been thinking and fearing about girlhood.” You gave me a place to realize that I wasn’t wrong to refuse to have my duaghter in anything princess. You tuned me in to a whole conversation that I didn’t even know was going on. Though I have always been an outspoken person, your work has made me even more bold in standing up for girls. I know my husband feels the same way.

    I am now pregnant with a little boy. Since finding out, I have started to really think about boyhood in the same way I have always thought about girlhood. Your “change” couldn’t come at a more perfect time for my family.

    I can’t thank you enough. I look forward to seeing where this next step takes your company. My family and I will be following you and rooting for you every step of the way.

  16. Hell to the yeah! There are so many things that we do to boys in our society that we don’t even realize. They deserve a uncommercialized too. :)

  17. I have to say that I am so proud to see this change! I have often thought about this the very same sterotypes with my son (who’s 6). Mainly while shopping, because he is a child that LOVES to cook and do art projects. Try to find something that is not all glitter and pink in those “pink isles” is nearly impossable. To the point that he has said mom why do all the boxes have ONLY girls on them. But, as I tell him “it’s ok we will not be keeping the box so just get the one you like.”
    Keep up all the wonderful work!!!

  18. Jenny McCann says:

    THANK YOU. As you know from my posts, I have a kindergarten boy, Alex. I actually worry less about his sister, than I do him. I am a girl. I went to an all girl’s school. I am known by many men as a “bitch” because that’s what they call women like me, you know, strong, intelligent, determined, and not LIMITED. So I know how to raise and protect my daughter.

    My son? Oh God. Everyday is an angst filled day for me. He is sweet. Sweet. Children’s author Lynne Cherry came to his school. She gave a talk about the environment, and he broke down in tears about how litter can hurt birds. She called him up on stage and talked to him, gave him a patch, and when I sent her an email to thank her for her kindness, she told me that it was a privilege to meet my son.

    No one EVER forgets meeting my son, because he is (brilliant-seriously gifted-kinda creepy and challenging) and because he is so sensitive and kind.

    A first grade teacher came up to me and begged me to ask for her as Alex’s placement because he is so sweet and kind. The bus driver had to pull two girls (a kindergartener and first grade girl) apart, banning them from sitting with him, because they both “wanted” him.

    There have been literally 6 different people/couples who said, after meeting Alex, I wanted my own. I know this sounds like bragging, but it isn’t.

    The other day he was balling his eyes out because he was happy. He said, I just can’t be any happier than I am right now.

    And all I can think, is how can I get him to stop crying, so he won’t be made fun of? How can I nurture that beautiful loving spirit and teach him how not to be hurt so easily? How can I make him the kind of man that will honor his beautiful spirit and that will fit in enough with the world that he isn’t ostracized for not being a steroid induced asshole?

    Thank you for the shift. Benny boy and Alex are so deserving just as OPP and Gigi!

    • This made me think of my wonderful brother, now nearly 60, who used to cry with happiness and cry with concern about just about everything. I think he cried more than I did and I was known as “too sensitive”. Wait, I still am sometimes. I just want you to know that my brother grew up to be such a wonderful man, husband and father. He still cries because he has a tender heart. It was rough for him at times. He just kept on being himself. He’s musical, he’s artistic, he’s well-spoken and most of all, he is generous and genuine. I share this only to let you know there is room in the world for the tender-hearted boy and girl in this life. We struggle sometimes, but with support and love we make it through. By the way, he has a son just like that who is now a philosophy professor at an excellent school. Congratulations on your sweet son. May he always have empathy for the world around him.

      • Jenny McCann says:

        Thank you. He is so tender hearted even more so than my husband. But thank you for that! HOPE!

  19. Excellent. :-)

  20. Sue Carney says:

    Awesome. While there seems at least to be a growing awareness of these issues and how they impact girls, there is comparatively little being written/discussed regarding boys. That makes me, frankly, even MORE worried about my son than my daughter. When I post resources/links/stories, etc. on the Targeting Teens FB page, I find that boys are sorely underrepresented. The problem is practically invisible. We need more people bringing boys into the discussion. Yay you!

  21. Well, what do you know. Your spirit that shines through your writing brought tears to my eyes again. I love,love,love where WE are all heading and I have many young boys in my life whose moms and dads will be happy to get stuff from the new company. Love the logo and the happy kids!!

  22. So excited for you. Find the fight to keep my little boy little is as tough as my fight to protect my girls. Delighted to jump with you and continue our quest to raise families of Awesome:) xxx

  23. I could not be more thrilled. I have liked so many of your articles and valued a lot of resources but have desperately wanted something similar for boys. In fact, I re-posted your latest design about more than one way to be a girl and said that I’d cry tears of joy if there could be one that showed boys in tutus playing with dinosaurs and boys doing art and boys stomping in mud and boys playing with dolls. The accepted roles for boys are incredibly, ridiculously constrained. I have found them so much more constraining than the roles for girls. Yes, there are lot of issues related to how we deal with girls but there is at least a frame of mind in our culture for “tomgirls”. There is nothing like that for boys except, “Yikes, he’s probably gay.” Which is, obviously, insane.

  24. Lorena B says:

    I am so estatic! This is wonderful being I am a Mom of three boys. I can’t wait to see all the new designs. Congrats Wardy Family!

  25. YES!!! YEHAAA!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!

    As the mama of boys, I have been following this website for years, reminding myself that just because I don’t have a girl, it’s still my responsibility to teach my boys the correct way to treat women/girls etc and I am trying my best to raise a sensitive pair of boys (Ewan who is 3.5, loves Octonauts and Angelina Ballerina equally) and can’t WAIT to hear more! YAHOOOO!!

  26. Yes, yes, yes! I’m the mom of an 8 year-old girl, and I couldn’t agree more with you. Gender stereotypes are damaging whether you’re a girl or a boy. Shopping at Toys R Us, or any store really, makes me think, when do kids get to be just kids? You’re the best, Melissa. Let’s all work together to make the world a little more sane.

  27. Melissa,

    I’ve been a fan for a long time, and a passionate supporter. I have a daughter and a son–close to the same ages as your kids. As the mom of kids who are biracial, can I also just say that I love the girl with brown-er skin and curly hair in the new logo? I have to work hard to find visual representations of my kids, and I was thrilled to see that in your new logo!

    Warmly,
    Ann

  28. Fantastic! I think I always assume that fighting for girls, has a direct, positive effect on boys anyway, but this is great news. : ) As pro-girl as I am, I’m a mom to a boy, so this all makes sense to me! Can I share this blog post that I wrote a while ago, which ties in to your wonderful news…it’s about why some of the issues we care so much about are so important to the future of our boys. http://mauvedinosaur.blogspot.ca/2011/10/about-boy.html

  29. I must have been channeling you today as I sat down to write my blog (http://kidcrazy.areavoices.com/) about how it isn’t just the girls we need to teach! What a horible experience for you all but so awesome to hear about your daughter standing up for her brother! Thank you for all you do AND for including boys, all I can say is it’s about time :-) Keep up the great work!!

  30. Yippee! I was hoping this was going to be the big change! Having followed you on FB and your blog, it doesn’t really seem like a big change, because this is so clearly where you are coming from. But it certainly is an important acknowledgement that ALL children deserve a childhood without limits!

    Much love, Laura

  31. Oh Melissa. Every time I think you can’t possibly get any more awesome – there you go again. Loving the newer bigger dream! <3

  32. Joyce Atkins says:

    You have hit a homerun! Having raised sons and a very strong daughter, I often wondered when Ben would bring the balance. It was inevitable. I saw the look on your face when someone told your then 3 year old to “man up”.Maybe he was even younger, but you were livid! I was told decades ago that I was not raising my sons right because they did not own a toy gun. So it was given to them by a relative. They preferred to have forts, hours in the sandbox, co-ed Hot Wheel races down the drive way, and adventures with their older sister. They turned out to be fine successful young men. Years later in grad school I was introduced to a wonderful book:”Real Boys”. There are many wonderful books now available on raising healthy, emotionally healthy boys who see girls as just another kind of people. It is Thursday and I have Bragging Rights: my daughter, Melissa…her vision and her passion!

  33. This is great news for me since I have both a boy and a girl. And like many others here, I have a sweet and sensitive boy (now 7) and I worry about what our culture is teaching him. He came home asking if he was “half-boy/half-girl” one time because the boys at school told him he was because liked pink and purple. He doesn’t really like Legos because other kids fight with them. And the tears this boy can cry. I really do fear that he’s the perfect bully target simply because he’s sensitive. And yet, I would take that over cruel and callous any day. His teacher wrote on his report card that he “is such a responsible and kind child.” I hope he remains that way always. I’m looking forward to the conversation on how to do that well.”

  34. As a mother of two sons( and one daughter), this brought tears to my eyes. Love it!

  35. Shannon says:

    LOVE!!!! :)

  36. So excited for the expansion. I’m a mom to an 18-month-old boy and hope to have a girl in the future. I’ve been reading a lot on boys and their issues (“Why Boys Fail” by Richard Whitmire was particularly insightful) and how to channel their “boy-ness” into healthy and productive avenues. I also read “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” with horror and resolve to make sure my kids of both genders have a healthy upbringing. Your blog has been incredibly thought-provoking and insightful as I’ve begun this parenting journey. Good luck, and thanks!

  37. Hi Melissa, I am so excited to hear this! Your community has really opened my eyes and put concepts around some things that I have long been super uncomfortable about. I’m also the mum of a girl and boy and realising each day how much these issues effect boys as well as girls. I was so disappointed to shop for togs for my 6 and a half year old son and find only offerings in navy blue, dark green, grey and black with skulls, road vehicles, and inappropriate words on them. My boy loves loves loves bright colours.

    Some reflections on your new name and logo… I would love to see the girls in your logo dressed in some colours other than pink and purple! How about one of the boys wears one of those colours and one of the girls wears red or green? Also have you thought about a name that doesn’t separate out the genders. Something like Full of awesome!

    Anyway just a few thoughts. It was awesome to read of your journey to where you are and I look forward to seeing the next stage. You are an inspiration, thank you.

  38. Willa and Henry are nearly the same ages as Amelia and Benny.

    Recently, and older boy cousin took a baby doll out of tender Henry’s arms, and handed him a play sword. My heart broke a little when I saw his confused face. As I swapped them back, I realized how much I had taken for granted about the future of his childhood.

    Thank you for taking on this parallel path. It’s very necessary and important work.

  39. Catherine says:

    I LOVE IT! This is a perfect extension of what you have been doing. I have been seeing the same issues affecting my son, and struggling about how to handle it. He is a 6-year-old who loves building, cooking, water play, and occasionally a barrette and painted toenails. Why should his sisters have all the fun? :) I did find a pink polo shirt for him at Lands’ End recently, and he was so excited to finally have a pink shirt. Thanks for everything you do!

  40. Very happy, and very proud. Can’t wait to see the new stuff!!

  41. I think I would put a backwards ball cap on the girl in the dress and put the purple shirt on one of the boys. Mix it up a little! :)

  42. maxanyamom says:

    A great move, and a natural evolution. The entire gender thing is completely intertwined, as you know well. I’m another mother of a son and daughter. I feel really lucky to be in the mid-coast region of Maine. It’s ~1 hour to drive to Waterville where the fabulous Hardy Girls Healthy Women organization is located. And it is ~1 hour to Portland where another fab organization focused on boys is located, Boys to Men. I know my daughter will willingly engage with HGHW when she’s old enough. She’s 4 now, but I can already see she is much more forward than her 9 year old brother. He’s very sensitive…in an anxious way. He is a terrific kid, but when 2 slightly older girls on the bus called him out 2 winters ago for wearing a winter hat that was 2-toned: midnight blue & dark plum…”You’re wearing purple. That’s a girl’s hat!”…he told me he couldn’t wear it anymore. I didn’t push it, except to ask him to consider how ridiculous that opinion really is. I want to get him directly involved with the Boys to Men organization in Portland…I just don’t know if he will be willing to participate.

    There are so many cultural messages aimed at our boys that are completely devastating to them. So many commercials depict what I’ve heard called the “Man Police”…’That’s the 2nd Unmanly thing you’ve done today’…how about the ones where men sit around a big table drinking beer and deciding if the Book of Man Rules should be modified (this one featured Burt Reynolds holding court at the head of the table). Of course, there are all the commercials that are soft porn, objectified women which tell our boys that women are commodities. Yikes! There is a book that I want to get and read by Niobe Way called Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection. She’s been studying friendships between boys and tracking how they change from the tween years through the teen years and into early adulthood. She describes a crisis that occurs in their teen years when boys break away from the dearest childhood mates because they think this is what they need to do, according to the cultural messages they’ve absorbed…and to avoid the label of being girlish or gay. Their suicide rates jump way over their girl peers in these years, and the best antidote is to have them surrounded by as many adult male friendships as you can find. I worry about my son…my husband is a typical loner guy. He has male friends, but none close by, and he doesn’t leave the house much (telecommuter). So, I’ll look to other resources for him to bolster this need…I’ve just found an awesome martial arts program headed by a lovely, approachable man who my son admires, as do I. Of course, I am nurturing his friendships as best I can.

    Boys need us every bit as girls do.

    And…as a confession of sorts…my son dropped the F-bomb at his beautiful Waldorf preschool when he was 3 or 4. Yeah. Not my proudest moment…it was my fault, not my husband’s. Sigh. When I list the key points that, to my mind, make the kind of parent I want to be, I do pretty well. I keep media exposure to a minimum; I read to them a lot, I cook dinner and we eat together as a family almost every night, I don’t over-schedule their time giving them lots of time to do what they want…but, I do lose my temper and have used very bad language in front of them. I do better these days…the kids are older and I don’t feel as overtaxed and stressed…but what’s done is done. I say this because I want you to know that just because a young boy drops an F-bomb in school, it doesn’t make him completely bad. You already know this, but it bears repeating…it really isn’t his fault; it’s his parent’s example that is at fault. And, I am still working on this issue with my now 3rd grader. In fact, I had to have a discussion with him last month that he can’t say “You’re really pissing me off!” to his classmates when they upset him. We explored other options he could use in that situation.

    This motherhood journey is a complete trip! So many pitfalls, so many joys! I’m excited to have found you (I was hooked by the Full of Awesome post), and I’m thrilled to see go with you down this new path. (Sorry for such a rambling post!)

  43. Brittany says:

    Thank you, you do wonderful work, as a mother of a son who follows you, I appreciate your transformation.

  44. Oh my God!!! I am sooo excited!!!!! I have a 5yo girl and a 9 month old boy, and I have been desperately looking for clothes/advocates for him as well as my big girl. Thank you so much Melissa, you are doing a great job. THANK YOU!

  45. Michelle says:

    Thank you Melissa!

    As a Mom to two boys – aged 5.5 and 3 – I have more than once despaired about the clothes and toys being marketed to my sons. I work hard to buy them clothes in bright primary colours, and I balance the robots and Lego with books and art projects – but it’s damn hard.

    I am so looking forward to your new look, philosophy, and products…..

  46. Have you been reading my mind rather than my blog? Just a couple of weeks ago I was complaining about the lack of a double-sided view of the issue and the fact that the most active writers seemed to have girls only or boys only as children, but not both. Not until your last posts I realized I had erroneously assumed you have a daughter but no sons.
    As a mother of both a girl and a boy, approximately the same age as yours, I immediately realized that the extreme genderization of everything was not only bad for both my children for the messages it delivered but for forcing them apart, robbing them from their childhood and their brotherhood (and sisterhood) at once.
    I’m glad you realized it too. Good job!

  47. Courtney says:

    Ok, when I first started reading I was a little dissapointed. It’s true, there are some issues that are harder for young boys than girls (guns/violence/war toys) but it’s girls who have been ignored. We focus on girls because the focus has been on boys (and men) for SO long. Personally, I feel like there is some pushback in my own life when I talk about feminist issues people want to say, “what about boys? what about men?” Focusing on women’s/girl’s issues doesn’t TAKE anything away from boys or men.
    That being said, I respect your evolution as a mother and it does seem natural. I am VERY happy to hear about a tee-shirts that show girls and boys together. Some of the problems with our children is that they are not encouraged to play together with other genders. The pink/blue toy sections make that clear enough.
    I’m with you, Mama. Let us know if we need to ‘like’ a new Facebook page. GoodLuck.

  48. Christine C. says:

    Love it! I only have girls, but they will be going to school with boys and eventually wanting to date them, etc. I would love it if our boys were groomed to be men instead of overgrown bullies/thugs. :) Way to go!

  49. Samantha W says:

    YES! I have one spunky 20 month old boy and another on the way. I still read you because I think that stereotypes are horrible and I want my sons to be sweet, kind, sensitive, and polite. I have been called radical, because I refuse to put my child in cartoon characters, screen printed, camo, violent, typical boy clothing. It means I have to look harder, but it is worth it.

  50. Yes! Yes! Yes! Very excited to hear this! I have a four year old daughter and I can teach her and encourage her but in reality it takes both boys and girls to make a real change, together. We were recently shopping at Target. My daughter loves, “Thomas” and dinosaurs. A boy in the same toy aisle (probably around the 8 yr range) actually said to me, ” I can show you where the girl toys are because these are for boys.”. I was flabbergasted! Stunned! I simply told him that boys and girls can play with all toys. He starred at me like I had a third eye. His mother was in the next aisle over and I so badly wanted to say something to her, in a kind, share the enlightenment sort of way…. But I truly didn’t know what to do or say…. I just had a great conversation with my daughter. But couldn’t help but think about how what I say and do could potentially be blown to bits by incidents like this…. Thank you, thank you for all you do and for all you will do!!!

  51. Thank-You, Thank-You, Thank-You! I have loved reading your blog the past several months and it has made me think alot! I don’t have any daughters though but I do have a very sweet and energetic 15 mnth old boy! He is all boy too constantly on the move, stubborn, loves mud, trains, trucks, blocks, birds, turtles, his Daddy and Mommy too. What he doesn’t yet know about are guns and violence, he gets very upset if he thinks anyone is getting hurt, he is still innocent and full of joy. The world can leave my kid alone because I intend to keep it that way as long as we can. I want him to have a beautiful childhood. I wonder when do boys get these negative stereotypes? When do they learn these things? and From whom? Unfortunately as I look around I can see it surrounds us in the media and from other children and sadly from their parents too. He is starting to get into bigger sizes now and it’s getting harder to find clothes as you said without, skulls, guitars or superheros or some commercialized cartoon character. He doesn’t know about any of that? Where can I find the train shirts that are not Thomas? or How about one with a Dog? Thank-You for your company, I will be looking forward to seeing your line of boys shirts.

  52. Gosh. I love this SO, SO much.

  53. I could not say anything that has not already been said, so I will simply say CONGRATS and PROST!! Love the new logo and thanks for all of your hard work for our children (and all of us)!!

  54. Alexandra says:

    Thank you very much! I have been reading your blog for several months and was missing the boy part a bit. I have a boy (7) and a girl (4), and I so understand the boy issues. My son loves to play the violin, fingerknitting, art and origami and playing “house” with his sister, but he equally loves dinosaurs, knights and foam sword fights. His birthday party guests will be mostly girls upon his request. He has been complaining about the fact that boy clothes are boring and so he has taken to wearing two differently striped colorful socks that he picks out carefully every morning… but it’s not about clothing, it’s about the way parents raise their kids, and about awareness on gender issues, thanks for raising questions. I am every time appalled when I go to Target and wander through the toy section. Why does there have to be a blue and pink box of Legos? “Girl” toys are sweet, “Boy” toys are brutal. I am from Europe, and it’s a little bit different there, so we are trying to purchase more neutral stuff, and we are shopping when we are in Europe.
    My son is now in first grade, and a boy said to a girl that she looks “sexy”. We had a long talk at home about this when my son asked about what it means. The F-bomb? I don’t think my kids have ever used it, but it does escape me on the rare occasion (last night, after the third time being woken up by a kid who refused to sleep in his/her own bed and having to go to work early in the morning after three nights of the same thing) and I hope that they don’t use it, parentingn is not always easy. Keep up the good work, sorry for rambling.

  55. First of all, that story of what the 6 year old boy did to your son on the playground is horrifying. Coupled with what the 6 year old boys in your daughter’s class are doing, and I’m doubly disturbed. But as the mom of a 21 month old girl with another baby on the way, I am THRILLED by the new look of Pigtail Pals! Thank you!!

    • Hooray for babies!

      The incident at the park was horrifying, and Amelia definitely has some challenging classmates. But to be fair, she has has four really good buddies that draw her pictures of rainbows and play beautifully with her afterschool and are kind to Benny Boy and are overall fantastic boys. My hope is for us to focus on raising boys like her buddies. :)

  56. Congrats, Melissa! This is such an exciting, appropriate development for your business. I cannot wait to see what this next wave will bring. We are lucky to have you to challenge us to think differently about the socially constructed constraints on childhood!

  57. Gragedanwyn says:

    LOVE the new look! I am blessed with two daughters, no sons – but both sexes are affected by the media, stereotypes, and culture. Can’t help one without helping the other as well. Kudos to you!

  58. I love your store and blog because I am very interested in girl empowerment. But always felt vaguely left out as a mom of two elementary aged boys. How will our girls grow up to be leaders and independent thinkers if we don’t raise our boys to respect and encourage the girls and women in their lives? My boys are not only being inundated in the media by images of violence, fighting, guns, etc., but they are also seeing all of the images that are being pushed on our girls. I don’t want them to see girls that way. The girl toy aisles at Target are so *pink* and *sparkly* that they won’t even venture down them to see what is in them. Why are we subjecting our children to this polarization? So, I am excited for the new direction that Pigtail Pals is taking and can’t wait to hear more and see how it develops. Good luck!!

  59. I’m a little late to the conversation Melissa and I apologize–no time for social media lately. I love the message in this post and in the decision to include Ballcap Buddies in your business. I read some of the comments on Facebook and have to say that I don’t understand the people who feel you have betrayed girlhood by making this change. This us-vs-them attitude is part of the problem. If gender equality is the goal, then we need to raise children of both genders to appreciate each other and understand that the traits that make a child different from the gender “norm” are not wrong, just simply a sign of that person’s individuality. The lines between each gender can be so rigid in childhood–it’s nice to see you bringing boys and girls together in a positive way. Congratulations on your bold new step!

    • This “This us-vs-them attitude is part of the problem. If gender equality is the goal, then we need to raise children of both genders to appreciate each other and understand that the traits that make a child different from the gender “norm” are not wrong, just simply a sign of that person’s individuality.” Well said, Crystal, as always :)

  60. Kristina says:

    I’m so happy about this too. And really, it’s all connected. You can’t change the world for girls unless you change how boys are brought up too.

    I’m also the mother to a son and a daughter. I have loved your blog and followed it since discovering it, and I am so happy that it will now include issues about raising our little boys as well.

  61. I have been reading your blog and following you on Facebook for a few months now and think that this new change is fantastic. Girl issues with stereotyping and sexualization have always been on my radar because, like you said, I’m a girl. But after I graduated college and started teaching at the early childhood and elementary level (I work with kids infant through kindergarten) I am noticing and taking a new interest in the way that childhood is being marketed to boys now as well.

    It makes me feel less worried to be a teacher and to someday have children knowing that there are people like you and companies like yours out there. Thank you.

  62. Tonya C. says:

    I’d love to see girls wearing ballcaps and boys wearing pigtails in your new logo!

  63. Hi Melissa,
    I think your new direction is a natural progression of your business. Boys and girls need to have a healthy childhood in order to grow into mature, productive, healthy and respectful members of society. I’ve been following you since the early days, and have told lots of people about your work. You are doing good things.

    I love the new logo, but do agree with some others that the kids are too skinny! Love all of the colors and smiling faces, and love where you are going with your brand.

    Keep up the good work! You are making a difference.
    Michele
    Owner, IzzyBelle’s

  64. Richele says:

    I have been resisting saying this because I didn’t want any confusion over have absolutely awesome the changes you’re planning are… but I can’t help it: I would really love it if you could switch the green and purple shirts. I was surprised to see that the girls sport the “girly duo” of pink and purple. (I am a HUGE fan of the “colors are for everyone” shirt, haha.)

  65. Thank you thank you thank you for this!! As a mother to an almost 4yo son issues like the one you wrote about have become almost daily events in our life. I struggle daily with the balance of a having a sweet little guy who seems like he is being forced into a BIG boy world.
    I am VERY much looking forward to this new chapter of the blog!

    xo
    Darbie

  66. Hats off Melissa your blog is wonderful. My oldest, 3, is my daughter and I have two sons after her, ages 2 and 10mo. You inspire me to raise my daughter to be an awesome woman. My husbands Aunt said something to my daughter yesterday about being pretty. She said Aunt Linda, I’m always pretty, doesn’t matter what I wear. It was the first time all the words that are constantly coming out of my mouth stuck to her. She is realizing you are pretty all the time, not just when you have a dress on or your sparkly shoes. You are pretty inside and out and with the words you speak she says. You inspire me to keep going and can’t wait for the inspiration for my boys. Reading your story makes you seem more real. Congrats on your success!!

    Sarah

  67. As mom to three small boys and one tiny daughter and long time mostly silent fan of your site, I gotta say thank you. From day one with my oldest son, I have known this in my soul; society is as violently stereotypical towards boys as it is towards girls. There are boys stuffing their emotions at age three and four in order to be ‘tough.’ There is a dearth of colour on the boy side of the kids clothing store. There are confusing messages about sexuality, body image, and consumerism on both sides of the coin. The first time I saw my oldest boy ‘hold in’ his tears after five years of wide open, authentic emotional expression, it killed me. I wanted to light myself on fire to stop the madness.

    My little girl benefits from your advocacy work a thousand percent. And now, so will my three small boys. One of whom owns a beloved collection of my little ponies and adores the colour pink, and anything sparkly.

    I feel like I’m the only one who even cares or notices that pink on pink is the only fashion available these days for little girls…
    Keep up the good work, it helps me not feel so alone!
    xo

  68. I too love what you are doing, but why are the girls in purple and pink and the boys in green and red. Isn’t this exactly what you are talking about?

    • Hi Nicole –
      Thank you. PPBB is about kids having choices, not about girls never wearing pink. We tried to get colors that would attract the viewer to the logo, and keep their eyes moving around the logo. I’ve actually tweaked the logo to change the girl’s berry colored dress to a deeper shade of red. I need to do a post about it, and hope to next week.

      Thank you for being a part of our community!

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