I had a conversation over dinner with my BIL that I'm a little bit stumped about and wanting to hear your perspectives as women and feminists.
The topic of what my husband calls my children's "propaganda" books came up (stuff like the beautiful "My Body is Me") and I mentioned one I would like to read to my nephews - "I Love My Purse". It's basically about a boy who takes a ladies purse to school. Over a few days, various people tell him that boys aren't supposed to carry purses and suggest other boy things he can do, and he is just like "idgaf I like my purse." Eventually they are all inspired to start expressing themselves in ways they've been afraid to. My husband hates this book because the dad starts wearing Hawaiian shirts to work and he is totally offended by the idea of not dressing properly at work. But it's just an exaggerated story for kids, lol. The general message is great.
Anyway, my BIL was really bothered by the premise of this book. Basically, he thinks that while we should all be more accepting of gnc behavior, if he lets his sons go to school in feminine clothing and they get bullied for it, then he will just be throwing his own kids to the wolves, sacrificing them for the greater goal of a more tolerant society. So he doesn't let his kids wear anything that is not stereotypically boyish. He often makes my SIL return clothes she has bought for the kids if he thinks they're too girly. I've met his parents and they are ridiculously conservative wrt gender roles (offensively so, imo) so I can really see where he gets this fear.
What do you think about this argument, forcing your kids to confirm to gender norms to protect them from bullies? I've heard it a bunch of times from other people, often stated as an obvious fact that parents should never let their kids, especially boys, do things that might get them bullied. What do you think is the feminist perspective on this?