Princess Boy

I was expecting this to have so much fail and was actually pleasantly surprised.

A 5 year old boy in a red dance-style frock and veil with sparkly accessories

Dyson begged for Cinderella. [His] worried mum made the purchase and made sure his private school was aware of his costume choice.

In solidarity, three “stereotypically macho men” who work at the school dressed up as ballerinas

There were parts however that had me going “huh?”

Online radio blogger Lashaun Turner, the 46-year-old California mother of three grown children (including two boys), was taken aback by Kilodavis tracing Dyson’s fashion sense to age 2. “I mean it’s just crazy. Your 2-year-old is picking out pink colors and wanting to wear pink dresses and so therefore you start buying him dresses? I mean a 2-year-old has not a clue as to whether they’re boy, girl, fruit, vegetable or a rock.”

If a two year old doesn’t have any clue as to whether they are a boy or a girl then what the hell does it matter what colour or clothes they wear? As long as they are comfortable and warm in winter and not going to get sunburnt in summer does it really matter?

Warning: there is some fail in comments, although the first three I read were cool about it all. The fourth claimed to have studied gender at Uni and to therefore be in a position to state that letting small children dress up as they please could lead to gender confusion later in life. Yeah. All I can say to that is that this tomboy was pretty damn sure about who she was when the hormones hit in puberty. But then I had the full weight of societal expectations backing me up, so no wonder it was easy for me.

Categories: gender & feminism, Life, media, parenting

Tags: , ,

5 replies

  1. Good on her for working through her own discomfort to support her child’s agency in his choices. It’s an appalling double standard that girls generally get approval for being tomboys appropriating male-coded signifiers, while boys who want to be janegirls appropriating female-coded signifiers get so much shit for it.
    IBTP, of course – for somebody to want to take on signifiers of a superordinate social status is considered natural, a cute fantasy to be indulged (at least while they’re still children). For somebody to want to take on signifiers of a subordinate social status is viewed as upsetting the natural order, a perversion to be squashed (make a man out of him).

  2. My youngest, Tom, never asked us to buy him dresses of his own (but then we didn’t buy much new stuff for him anyway, he got Dave’s hand-me-downs), he just stole his older sister’s clothes and dress-ups, which I used to find somewhat frustrating because we’d go to get her dressed up for a special occasion only to discover that Tom had worn all her good dresses during the previous week and everything was in the wash! He was very put out when, shortly after he turned 3, he grew bigger than her and couldn’t fit into her clothes any more.
    Tom spent most of his preschool days (3 and 4 years old) dressed in a light blue satiny formal dress that lived in the dress-up box at preschool. He’d make a bee-line for it on arrival most days. No one ever expressed anything to me about it other than affection for him and pleasure in his enjoyment of the dress. It was way too big for any of the other kids so there was never any competition for it 🙂 I strongly suspect that the only reason he didn’t ask to wear dresses to preschool from home was that we didn’t have anything that competed with the blue dress. On non preschool days he tended to be variously Snow White, Wonder Woman or maybe a pirate fairy.
    He is discomforted by being reminded and by photos of all that now (it first came up as an issue when he was 7), but we’ve talked about how the photos represent memories of him having lots of fun and that he shouldn’t let what other people might think about it take the enjoyment of those memories away from him.

  3. @mimbles: that is awesome you were so cool with letting your boy decide what he liked to wear. It’s unfortunate that peer pressure and the pressure of media and societal “norms” have possibly caused him to feel embarassed about something that made him so happy.

  4. “I mean a 2-year-old has not a clue as to whether they’re boy, girl, fruit, vegetable or a rock”
    I’m just still boggling at this part! Has the speaker ever actually, you know, _met_ a two year old? Talked with one? Wow.

  5. Has the speaker ever actually, you know, _met_ a two year old? Talked with one? Wow.

    Oh, m3 t00. Words fail for that level of not-paying-attention.

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