Riffing off a conversation here: "Breaking the Cycle."
I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed a scene like this:
little boy, well under ten years old, crying; parent (sometimes dad but, I gotta say it, also sometimes mom) dragging him along by the arm, all the while scolding:
"Stop crying! What are you, some kind of -girl-?"
...or words to that effect.
In a bookstore. Older woman browsing the kids' section, catty-corner to where I'm browsing. picks up, I think it was, "Olivia Saves The Circus." cartoon, right? the woman's clearly torn by doubt; as people sometimes do, she starts sharing her thought processes with me, the stranger: basically, she needs to get a present for a little boy, but, oh dear, she can't get this, can she; it's for girls.
I say, no, just because it's got a girl as the hero doesn't mean it can't be for boys. that's supposed to be a good one. get it for him, why not?
more nervous laughs, sets it aside, heads away, no doubt in the section for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Testeroblobs Kill The Bad Guys" or something.
more recently, a similar encounter, Dad and little boy; little boy wants some book, Dad is adamantly (and rather harshly) trying to talk the kid out of even wanting it; that's "for girls."
i mean jesus fuck, you people. yes, we all know that too much tenderness or pink or sparkly things or (heaven-forbid) girl-positive stuff can make a boy a big ol' homo ("if I give yer mum the wool, will she make me one too?"); and, as we know, this is a fate worse than death.
but I mean. shame your boy for having any feelings except anger. refuse to get him anything that might allow him to identify with a girl. repeatedly say things that lead him to believe that being a girl is really shameful and icky, treat him harshly and even violently when he cries or shows weakness, thus showing that being vulnerable just gets you smacked, and deserved, too...
and then, when Sonny Boy grows up and is being hauled to court for abuse of the girlfriend, wring your hands, cast your eyes to the sky and wonder, why o why? where could he possibly have learned such behavior? he was such a good boy.