The mother of a young son who loves dance, Barbie and princesses. Sassy started a social movement after her then 4-year-old son quit dance because he’d been told that only girls and gay people dance. Now, My Boy Can is supporting boys and their parents as they challenge gender stereotypes that so often hold boys back.
“I didn’t want my son to feel he couldn’t do something because he was a boy, because society deems certain activities ‘for girls,” Sassy says. She wants all children (and adults) to be able to freely participate in activities they enjoy, without being subject to stigma or shaming.
One of her first projects was organizing a photo shoot of boy dancers in her hometown, Portsmouth, England, to help the boys realize they are not alone. “Initially, I thought there were about 20,” she says. 140 boys, ranging in age from 3-21, responded to her call. On the day of the photo shoot, boys connected, shared stories and realized they had much in common.
“A community spirit naturally grew, and we realized the power of coming together,” Sassy says.
And this, Janet says, is how change happens.
In this episode, Jen, Janet & Sassy discuss:
- The power of parents to challenge stereotypes
- Supporting boys’ interests
- Online dance classes & makeup classes for boys
- Why (& how) to make space for boys to talk about what they care about
- Building boys’ resilience & mental health
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
“My Boy Can” Parenting — our first ON BOYS conversation w Sassy
My Boy Can web page — includes links to virtual dance classes and the My Boy Can dance contest
My Boy Can – FB group (check here for info about dance workshops)
Yes, Boys Can Dance –– Building Boys blog post referencing the Prince-George-dancing situation referenced at 4:58
Kids From Wisconsin – Wisconsin-based organization that gives young performers (singer/dancers and musicians) training and performance opportunities (mentioned at 17:54.) Fun Fact: the photo accompanying Yes, Boys Can Dance (blog post listed above) is Jen’s oldest son performing w Kids From Wisconsin
Supporting Boys’ Interests — our ON BOYS conversation w Jeremy Neves, which includes his story of navigating his son’s Barbie & princess obsession. Fun Fact: we connected Jeremy & Sassy after this conversation.
STAY CONNECTED WITH JANET & JEN:
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