Gender-based issues can be a common theme with a set of boy-girl twins in a family.
Gender-based issues can be a common theme with a set of boy-girl twins in a family. iStock

Man nails gender ignorance with one comment

AREN'T we supposed to get wiser as we get older? And shouldn't wisdom bring with it a healthy dose of tolerance?

Taking boisterous three-year-old twins out in public is an easy way to discover people's true colours.

I love them to death but their antics can test even this loving Nana's patience so I can genuinely appreciate the sideways looks as they spill a drink or the muttered comments as they step in front of people as they rush closer to whatever's caught their eye in a shop window.

When you are looking at the world through a toddler's eyes you don't see the judgment; and you are too busy to hear the whispers.

But sometimes people take it upon themselves to intrude on their innocence.

Recently my daughter and her twins were out shopping and stopped to look at a display of nail polishes. As they were searching for all the colours of the rainbow, an elderly man leaned in close to my grandson and gruffly told him "that's stuff only for girls, son".

So, according to his view of the world, my grandson should not be looking at nail polish colours because that's just for girls. Gender-based issues cut much deeper than a comment about nail polish but they have been a common theme since we welcomed a set of boy-girl twins into our family. One man's comment about nail polish won't change my grandson's life, or my granddaughter's either, but I don't want any of my grandchildren to think they can't do something because of their gender.

I appreciate the world was a different place when this man was a boy but we no longer live in a world where your gender defines what you can and can't do, even if it is something as simple as what you put on your fingers and toes.

Of course this man is entitled to his opinion, and some will argue he was just being friendly, but he has no business telling someone else's child their gender defines the things they can be interested in.

My daughter was too shocked to say anything and it's a shame she didn't make him stop a little longer so he had a chance to notice the freshly painted fire engine red polish on my grandson's toes. I can only imagine what he would have had to say about that.

If you ask my grandkids, getting their toe nails painted is one of the best things about going to their daycare mum's house. But there's one thing he and this man might agree on - pink is just not my grandson's colour. He much prefers shades of blue, green and red.