Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Girl-Time in Kindergarten

10154486 I attended a public co-ed grammar school starting in kindergarten in the fall of 1956. My kindergarten class had two female teachers ― one middle-aged and one twenty-something.

For play time, the class of about 30 students was divided into five unisex groups. Each group took turns each day playing in different play areas: sandbox, toy blocks, art, play house, etc.

When it was my group's turn to play house, us boys played at being mommies, never daddies.

Some the male mommies donned frilly aprons and "cooked" in the play kitchen, while other male mommies tended to the babies ― bottle-feeding Betsy Wetsy dolls and changing their diapers after they wet. When Betsy was dry, male mommies could push their babies around the classroom in doll carriages.

In addition to the frilly aprons, there was a toy box containing pocketbooks, high heels, lady’s hats and adult-sized dresses. There were not enough items to completely outfit each mommy, so we would select just an item or two for our femulations. (I usually tried to get a pocketbook and a pair of heels.)

None of the male mommies, at least in my group, rebelled at being feminized and some of us really got into it by affecting “female” characteristics, such as speaking in a higher pitch and using female mannerisms.

Initially, I felt embarrassed playing a mommy, but it did not seem to bother the other boys, so I played along like a girl with the rest of the boys. 

And so it goes.


Source: ShopBop
Wearing J.O.A.



Kosima, an early 20th Century professional femulator.


  1. At a meeting on transgender housing discrimination Monday night one of the people there was a mother that I have known for over five years whose daughter transitioned pre-kindergarten and the daughter is now in fourth grade.
    What would our lives been like if we could have transitioned at that age?

    1. I can only imagine, Diana!

    2. And do you know what the school told the mother when she said her daughter is trans?
      "We will support you 100%. Let us know what we can to help."

  2. Hi Diana, I'm certainly pleased to know that the school reacted in that way, but I'd hope that were it in the UK, all schools would do the same.

    Could I use this platform to draw followers to this programme which was on BBC Radio 4 this evening, called "Becoming Myself: Gender Identity"? The link is here


  3. Diane SmithJanuary 21, 2015

    I envy your kindergarten experience, Stana. When I was five (that would have been 1962), I attended a summer day camp that met in a local church basement. There were various play areas including a "dress-up" section with donated adult clothes, strictly gender segregated. One day, I got it in my head to check out the girls' side. I barely got the high heels on my feet before a teacher swooped in and told me in no uncertain terms that boys weren't allowed to wear the girls' clothes. It was apparently a major breach of discipline, because I was sent home for the day, and my mom withdrew me from the program altogether after having an argument with the administrators about it. It was proabably the first (and for many years the last) time I ever publicly displayed my cross-gender inclinations. It sounds like your school was much more tolerant of gender flexibility in those days, and appropriately handled your explorations as the harmless play they actually were. I'm glad to know such places existed even back in those "dark ages." - Diane

  4. The entire patriarchal concept that the emulation of female behaviors harms a male child is pure bunk. Any boy who is allowed to pretend, no matter the image, is more likely going to be ahead of any boy who is held back from imaginative play time! Your kindigarden was way ahead of times.!

  5. This is very heartening to read (as are the comments). I don't remember much about my early school days but my observations of my children tell me that 'traditional gender roles' are taught rather than implicit. Also, I'm enough of an historian to question the use of 'traditional' too.

    It sounds like you had a lot of fun. The principal take-away for me, however, is that the rest of your unisex group probably aren't femulators today but, at least, were able to make that choice. I think it's a lovely thought that any person, of any gender or inclination, gets to realise that the identities we create can be created by us as human beings. You know, rather than prescriptive ideas that we sign up to or reject.