In a viral Twitter post, a YouTube mom, Jessica Ballinger, made a passionate plea defending her son and what he likes, including dressing up and more.
Ballinger and her husband Christopher have a popular online following. On YouTube, where they have over one million subscribers, they share the adventures of their family.
In October, she posted the original image and caption of her son, Parker.
Over the weeked, she re-posted it to Twitter with the caption: ‘Apparently this needs to be said again. Xoxo’
It swiftly amassed over 25,000 retweets and 110,000 likes.
Unconditional love at its finest
‘This is my son. He loves lots of things,’ Ballinger began the post.
So what things does Parker lover?
‘He loves dressing up and dancing and science and gymnastics and his family and @itsjojosiwa and Mickey Mouse and makeup and Peter Pan and drawing and math and he currently plans to marry his best friend and loves to play family with her and laments that his body can’t carry babies, but he dresses up like he’s pregnant anyway.’
Then she explained why she felt compelled to make this post.
‘I frequently see questions online asking if he’s gay or trans or why does he dress like a GIRL????’ she wrote. ‘My answer is that he is five and he loves a lot of things. If you see a boy in a dress, or playing in a traditionally female role, ask yourself— “if the roles were reversed, would I question it?”‘
Pointless gender roles
Ballinger continued her post:
‘When you see a little girl playing fireman/policeman/soldier/any previously male-only role or wearing pants or dressing like a favorite super hero or male celebrity, do you question it? Do you ask if she is gay or trans or imply that she is wrong for having the interests she has? NO, we rightfully celebrate their desire to be and do ANYTHING.
‘We call girls strong and celebrate it. Why don’t we do that for boys? We limit boys by only allowing them to love what we think boys should love.’
She wrote specifically about Parker and how she’ll love him no matter what.
‘I do not know what the future holds for our child. I will love him however he identifies. But right now, he has heroes who are girls. I celebrate that. And I think it means a lot for women. We SHOULD be heroes to our little boys. By not allowing boys to dress like the women they admire, you are telling them that being a boy is BETTER. That it doesn’t matter if that girl is brilliant, fierce, and his hero— it will make him “less” to idolize her. It doesn’t make him less to admire women. It makes him MORE. More willing to express what he is passionate about, more respectful of the women in his life and more open to believing women can be heroes.’
Ballinger’s tweet received many positive responses.
People wrote it was ‘sad’ this needed to be said at all and expressed their support for Parker.
i’m sad that this has to be said not only once but AGAIN, but i’m happy that someone like you is speaking up about it. i really do want to be parker when i grow up
— kailey (@kaileyxcmb) February 17, 2019
as much as i love this its sad this needs to be said in the first place. parker is perfect
— suzy (@Suzyxcmb) February 17, 2019
People also praised Ballinger’s parenting and Parker’s spirit.
I just want to say I LOVE that you give this opportunity to your kids and accept them so openly. I see so many parents having all these "expectations" of what their kids should and shouldn't do and it breaks my heart that society puts labels on kids like colours and toys!
— alex (@cxtyofstars) February 18, 2019
Finally, people also shared photos of their own sons who love what they love.
I tell my princess loving, pink wearing, sparkle enthusiast, rainbow fan son this type of message daily. To never change. To know that he is absolutely perfect no matter what. Stop the damn gender stereotypes already. It does nothing but harm these beautiful children. pic.twitter.com/MBqPXQsViE
— Promoting LT (@JeannieM28) February 18, 2019