As a population, we are generally all stuck in this awful habit of putting people into a box to make sense of their decisions.

But our bias of what we think fits in that box or what we deem "normal" depending on gender isn't something we should force upon others.

One of my sons is into all things pink, unicorns, rainbows and mermaids.

For Christmas all he wanted was a mermaid Barbie. Being on Santa's nice list, he received one and promptly called it Rainbow. He adores it.


When it was time to choose their lunchboxes, he wanted the rainbow unicorn print and you guessed it, he got it.

He is 4 and is starting to express his own preferences which are different to his identical twin brother.

I've loved seeing their individual personalities and unique expressions of maleness and Hunter's is very compassionate and nurturing.

I posted a picture of Hunter with his new items to Instagram and I got a flurry of comments and messages about how great it was to see me letting my little guy express this side of himself instead of trying to redirect his interests.

Hunter with his mermaid Barbie, Rainbow. Photo / Supplied
Hunter with his mermaid Barbie, Rainbow. Photo / Supplied

It's 2018 and I think it's totally fine for little boys to be interested in these things.

I have a husband who 100 per cent supports this and isn't stressed that our son likes some "girls' toys" (don't even get me started on those gender stereotypes).

But what saddened me were the private messages from mothers who had sons who were partial to a playdate with Barbie, but whose partners absolutely did not allow it. My heart broke for them. The reasoning behind it was fear of "what does that make him?" or that it meant he was a "weak sissy".

Fear is the root of evil. Don't let a normal developmental stage scare you into trying to change who your child innately is. We should be changing the way we think.


Shouldn't a little boy who is exploring that side of his personality be allowed to explore it? As lots of people like to point out, "it may be a phase". Or it may not.

I'm sad that a kid just being who he is and embracing the exploration of his little world isn't celebrated - instead of being a source of major curiosity.

The world we live in is changing, and the role men play in today's society is very different to the role they played in the past.

I see Hunter exploring the nurturing side to his personality, and that will set him apart from the rest when he is older. One day he will be, as I imagine, a tall and strong man but also extremely caring and empathetic, and that's the kind of man I want to raise. Shouldn't we all?

• Anna Reeve is a mum, model, blogger and Insta-famous personality. In her monthly column for indulge, she shares reflections on her life in the Bay of Plenty.