The Mamafesto: 10 'Gender warriors' you should be following in 2016
"Let kids be kids" is a simple saying, and yet it seems like at every turn there are people, companies, media and more trying to push a specific gender script on children. But most parents get that girls can like getting muddy and being active just as easily as boys can love pink and princesses. Thankfully, there are a bunch of fabulous folks and organizations that push for a more inclusive, wider experience when it comes to kids and gender.
When it comes to navigating all things kids and gender — toys, clothes, media — these are the folks to follow!
Amy Poehler's Smart Girls. Actress Amy Poehler and her friend, producer Meredith Walker, started this organization to help "young people cultivate their authentic selves." Their active social media presence promotes the diverse stories of young girls doing all sorts of amazing things. Follow them on Twitter at AmyPoehlerSmartGirl.
Brown Boy Genius. Brown Boy Genius is a site started by L.A.-based writer Britni Danielle. Its goal is to highlight the stories and voices of boys of color that don't get very much positive media exposure. For positive, inspirational posts, follow BrownBoyGenius on Twitter.
Cheryl Kilodavis. It was her young son Dyson that inspired Cheryl Kilodavis to start talking and writing about kids and gender. Dyson's love of all things pink and princess inspired Kilodavis to write her first children's book, My Princess Boy, that tells the tale of a boy very much like Dyson. Follow her on Facebook at My Princess Boy.
Crystal Smith. The Achilles Effect is Crystal Smith's space on the Internet to discuss boys, masculinity and gender stereotypes. Smith challenges stereotypical gender norms surrounding boys and supports an expanded definition of masculinity. Follow her on Twitter at AchillesEffect.
Doyin Richards. While he may not have "Gender Warrior" in his bio, dad and UpWorthy staff writer Doyin Richards definitely infuses his social media with tweets and stories that break the traditional gender stereotype mold. Follow him on Twitter at DaddyDoinWork.
Gender Diary. Ros Ball and James Millar make up the parents behind Gender Diary. Their Twitter account offers insight into their daily lives and how people treat their daughter and son differently based on gender. It's an engaging way to shine a light on the gender divide and how it impacts children. Follow them on Twitter at GenderDiary.
Julie Tarney. Julie Tarney shares the story of her genderqueer child Harry on her site, My Son Wears Heels. Tarney writes and tweets about raising a gender creative child (who is now in his mid-20s!), and offers support to other families in similar circumstances. Follow Tarney on Twitter at MySonWearsHeels.
Man vs. Pink. Stay-at-home dad and blogger Simon is the man behind Man vs. Pink. He writes about raising his young daughter, their love of all things sci-fi and superhero and their struggles against "pinkification." Follow Simon on Twitter at ManVsPink.
Melissa Wardy. I first heard the sentence "Colors are for everyone" from Melissa Wardy, owner of the company Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies. Melissa pushes back hard against traditional gender norms when it comes to kids, and offers up many suggestions on how to provide space and support to allow kids to be themselves. Follow her on Twitter at PigtailPals.
Princess Free Zone. Michele Yulo is the force behind Princess Free Zone. Yulo was inspired by her daughter Gabi, who wasn't into princesses and pink as a young girl. Princess Free Zone isn't anti-princess, they just feel that girls should have more options! Follow Yulo on Twitter at PFZinc.
Dr. Rebecca Hains. Author of the recent book The Princess Problem, Dr. Rebecca Hains takes on the topic of kids and gender with authority. Her social media feed is a great mix of academic and pop culture critique when it comes to gender. Follow her on Twitter at RCHains.