Boys will be boys. Except when they act like girls, that is.
I'm not talking about seeing an icky spider and shrieking in terror like a 6-year-old girl. I'm talking about dressing the part. The recent NY Times article "What’s So Bad About a Boy Who Wants to Wear a Dress?" takes a hard look at a seriously tough topic for parents and boys living in today's hetero/homo/metro sexual society.
The article discusses a number of examples of boys as young as 3 or 4 years old wanting to dress up like girls. Dresses, makeup, high heels, etc. Now, from the dawn of Prada time, little boys have wanted to dress up like their moms. Or at the very least, try on their shoes. Come on, it's like a walking roller coaster, how could they not want to?
Today's problem for parents, though, revolves around boys going way past just trying on mom's pumps. It's boys not wanting to be labeled as boys or girls, but just being themselves. They wear dresses and braid their hair with girls, but they also go play video games and superheroes with boys.
I have two sons. To the best of my knowledge, they have no desire to dress up like girls. They scream in horror when they see Dora on TV, and constantly tease me that I want to go play with Barbie dolls. But what if they wanted to start wearing dresses? What if they wanted to shatter the very idea of compartmentalizing genders? What if they just want to be "human" and dress and act like a girl, a boy, a kid?
I guess what I'm asking myself is: Would I let my boys wear dresses and makeup? I'm honestly not entirely sure what I would do in this situation. If they were playing around for dress-up, absolutely. But if they were talking about a whole lifestyle change and wanted to dress and act like a girl at school, then I honestly don't know.
I'd definitely be unhappy about it, but I'm also unhappy that I'm even thinking that way. I want my kids to live happy and healthy lives no matter what. If dressing like a girl, doing their nails, wearing necklaces, and playing with My Little Pony dolls make them happy, then I'd want them happy. But society overwhelmingly would look down upon that.
Life would be incredibly tough for my boys and they'd be the eternal subject of ridicule. Therein lies the dilemma. The only way to change society's overall view is to be accepting and embrace how brave my kids would be for daring to be different. But by doing so, they'd go through a ton of pain. No parent wants that for their kids.
At their age, I still think my kids are too young to really know what they want, so for now, I'd have to say no to wearing dresses to school. When they're older and a bit more mature, it's up to them. I don't even want to think about some of those parents who are getting their kids puberty-blocking hormones in anticipation of their kids doing a full-on gender switch.
Would you let your son regularly wear dresses?
Image via Leslie Duss/Flickr