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Meet TikTok’s Mother-Son Stars Who Break Gender Norms: “I’d Never Wanna Cut His Wings”


California mom and social media star Dani Schaffer and her son Brody, 5, have gathered millions of fans on TikTok and Instagram for their fun and touching videos documenting Brody growing up in a childhood without gender stereotypes.

Their videos of Brody dancing freely, wearing dresses, and chatting happily with his parents defy decades of restrictive standards – but for Brody, it’s just “having fun,” Dani said.

“He’s a kid and he’s just exploring,” Dani Schaffer told CBSN on Monday. “I feel like the minute you let go and let your child be is when they’re going to thrive anyway. And I would never want to cut off their wings.”

“I just want to be the bridge to get it where it needs to be, instead of the roadmap, dictating the way forward.”

According to the family website Parents, children benefit from gender-neutral toys and activities as they promote experimental thinking, introduce children to very science, technology, engineering, arts and math. early and reduce reinforcement of gender stereotypes.

Schaffer thinks it’s important to really listen to how kids feel, especially for parents confused by norm-defying kids like Brody.

“Maybe just asking you what your child likes? How can I support you? How can I help you?” she offered.

And Schaffer, who admits she’s become more open-minded “after having four children and learning about each one,” knows it can be difficult for parents to know what to do.

“I have hundreds of messages from parents that say ‘I don’t know what to do, I can’t discuss this with my friends. We never discuss it. But my child also loves to dance and explore.’ They are just children after all, ”she said.

Some of the things Brody loves, the toddler happily told CBSN, are “dancing, and I love singing to music, and I love playing with dresses and playing with my mum with dolls. And I like to sing to music. love to play jumping on the couch. “

“Yeah no. No to sofa hopping,” her mom added.

So far in his childhood and exploration, Schaffer said Brody has encountered “more support than you can imagine” – but knows it might be different for him to enter kindergarten this year.

“I can’t put it in a bubble. You know, every kid has their own trip. But what if I don’t let them take that trip?” Schaffer said.

The TikToker later said that when “99%” of people supported Brody, “that 1 percent, I’m not even worried, really.”

“My four children are different and it’s important to support that,” she said.

As for Brody, Schaffer called him a “natural performer.”

“He just loves to play and I love to document. I’ve documented my whole life. It’s in my blood to document my children. They were all born with a camera in their face,” she joked. . “Brody is pretty much in front of the camera and my daughter is really starting to like the camera too. It’s new to her I would say.”

She said she supports whatever her kids want to do, on and off camera, and she thinks they support each other as well.

“They see what’s going on with their brother, and they support him, and – at first they got teased too. Like ‘Your brother this, your brother that.’ And they defend it. So that’s a beautiful thing. “

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