Monday, March 13, 2006

William's Doll

There currently is a thread of messages going through the Yahoo DSR_Discussion group regarding Women (SMCs or Lesbian Couples) raising sons alone. The consensus seems to be running along the lines that many of the women have friends or family that would fill the male role model position where there is no father (in this case by choice). There were a few wild comments that if a boy was wearing mom's shoes and enjoying it that usually there would be a dad in a traditional family to provide a re-direct into more traditional roles which I found a bit overprotective.

My own kids (a boy, 4, and a girl, 2) both love pushing strollers with babies in them and both love playing with the large dollhouse that sits at their cousin's house (who are both girls). My son will occasionally sit down and "feed" his sister's babies and is generally very protective of his own stuffed animals very often assigning each a mommy animal. Do I make it a point to re-direct him after seeing him participate in these activities? No, I do not.

Whenever I hear this topic and especially regarding parent's fears of boys playing with dolls I immediately go back in time to when I first heard the song "William's Doll" from the Marlo Thomas and Friend's album "Free to Be You and Me". That whole album was great in that it made it clear that kids and anybody should be allowed to be themselves and that role models did not necessarily have to fit stereotypes. I still can hear Marlo and Alan Alda singing that song and the lyrics say it all:

ARTIST: Mary Rodgers and Sheldon Harnick
TITLE: William's Doll

[Adapted from the book "William's Doll" copyright 1972 by Charlotte Zolotow. By permission of Harper & Row. Performed by Alan Alda and Marlo Thomas]
When my friend William was five years old
He wanted a doll, to hug and hold
"A doll," said William, "is what I need
To wash and clean, and dress and feed

"A Doll to give a bottle to
And put to bed when day is through
And any time my doll gets ill
I'll take good care of it," said my friend Bill

A doll, a doll, William wants a doll
Don't be a sissy said his best friend Ed
Why should a boy want to play with a doll
Dolls are for girls said his cousin Fred
Don't be a jerk, said his older brother
"I know what to do," said his father to his mother

So his father bought him a basketball
A badminton set, and that's not all
A bag of marbles, a baseball glove
And all the things a boy would love

And Bill was good at every game
Enjoyed them all, but all the same
When Billy's father praised his skill
"Can I please have a doll now," said my friend Bill

A doll, a doll, William wants a doll
A doll, a doll, William wants a doll
Then William's grandma arrived one day
And wanted to know what he liked to play
And Bill said, "Baseball's my favorite game
I like to play, but all the same

"I'd give my bat and ball and glove
To have a doll that I could love"
"How very wise," his grandma said
Said Bill, "but everyone says this instead"
A doll, a doll, William wants a doll
A doll, a doll, William wants a doll

So William's grandma, as I've been told
Bought William a doll, to hug and hold
And William's father began to frown
But grandma smiled, and calmed him down

Explaining, William wants a doll
So when he has a baby someday
He'll know how to dress it, put diapers on double
And gently caress it to bring up a bubble
And care for his baby as every good father
Should learn to do

William has a doll, William has a doll
'Cause someday he is gonna be a father, too

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