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When I Was a Boy

Dar Williams is an American singer-songwriter who writes about issues of adolescence, gender equality, loss, and misunderstood relationships. She has said in interviews that her writing grows from her personal experiences; in When I Was a Boy, Williams sings about her experiences as a tomboy as a child and how people reacted to her as she grew older. The last verse muses on how limiting gender roles for children -- both boys and girls -- results in limited adults who have a harder time relating to one another.

Notes for Parents: The lyrics of this song are suitable to all ages, but the concepts about gender typing and how it limits a person's growth are probably most understandable to girls 8 and up. Tweens are also likely at the age where behavior against their gender roles is being more actively discouraged, as Williams references in her song when a neighbor is upset about her riding her bike shirtless. Parents of boys will be pleased to note that Williams addresses the reverse situation of boys being discouraged from traditionally "feminine" behaviors. The video is fan-made and sets the song to a variety of images reflecting feminism and gender equality.

Lyrical Notes: None   Video Notes: None


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Product Details

Album The Honesty Room
Artist Dar Williams
Duration 4:44
Release Date Oct 6, 1997
Genre Folk
Music Themes Growing Up, Individuality/ Independence, Self Worth / Confidence, Strength / Courage, Women's Rights / Equality
Label Razor & Tie
Recommended Age 8 and up