An Indiana woman who captured her son playing with his favorite doll in a viral photo shoot is receiving plaudits for her progressive take on parenting.
“Thanks for raising your son to view the world with an unconditional love with BOLDNESS & not by gender, race or through the judgement of other’s expectations, instead, through his own amazing, unconditional loving & sweet heart,” said one commenter in reply to a photo posted to Facebook last week by Ashley Fitz.
Fitz, who works as a professional photographer, told POPSUGAR that the origins of the shoot stemmed from a trip to Walmart while her military service member husband was deployed.
“My husband is in the military and when he deploys I like to take our boys to Walmart to get them something special to brighten their day or make them feel a bit better,” she said in an interview with the women’s lifestyle outlet.
As Fitz and her children were perusing the “boy toys” department, her son Jynsen wandered over to the doll section of the store.
“He told me he wanted a baby doll, and pointed to Three — the name of his new BFF — and even picked out a stroller and some bottles for her,” she said.
Some time after the trip, Fitz said her son requested a photo shoot with his new doll.
The response Fitz received when she posted images from the shoot online was mostly positive. However, she said there were some “negative comments and even messages about him playing with a doll — and a doll of a different race.”
“Toys do not have genders. Girls should be allowed to play with trucks and get muddy, while boys should be allowed to play with kitchen sets and dolls, if they choose. I hate that a lot of people have standards on what is the ‘normal,'” she told POPSUGAR.
“I am teaching him to love no matter the color. I am teaching him to stand tall when you need to,” Fitz added.
Gender conventions in 2019
“Creatable World™ gives kids a blank canvas to create their own characters,” Mattel’s website says. “Switch long hair for short hair—add a skirt, pants or both. It’s up to you! Mix and match, swap or share.”