Why Yes, I Let My Son Dress Up in Girls Clothes

Being a Mom 70

boy in tutu We were at Target this weekend (also known as My Social Life) (also known as My Boyfriend) buying both groceries and pants for my middle child. The groceries, I should clarify, weren't strictly for Alex, but rather stuff that we could all safely enjoy. Deliciously, even. Especially Uncrustables, which are pretty much heaven in a wee package.

Alas, I digress.

In the children's section, I happened to come across a shirt for my daughter that I found to be the proper amount of sass-a-frassery AND adorability, and as such, I picked it up and exclaimed to Alex, who happened to be in the cart I was pushing (yes, we take two carts) (no, we don't FILL them both), "Oh! Look at this cute cupcake shirt for Your Sister!"

Upon examination, Alex said, "I want a cupcake shirt for Alex!"

What went through my head was this:

"Oh shit, Dave will kill me. This is a BABY FUCKING BLUE SHIRT with a frilly blue collar. And look at the cupcakes! They're SPARKLY. I mean, there is not a single doubt that this shirt is for a girl. You couldn't make this shirt more girly if you tried."

"But I mean, he's 2 years old! How the hell can you possibly tell a 2-year-old that he can't have a shirt because it's for a girl? This is probably the most manly 2-year-old boy ever. His second word was penis. Who gives a shit if he wears girls' clothes? He's a baby! HE'S STILL IN DIAPERS. I will CUT someone who looks at him funny for wearing girls' clothes."

So, I looked for the shirt in a 2T and I handed it to him. He grabbed it, hugged it, and said, "I love you, Cupcake Shirt."

Dave glared at me for a second before bursting out laughing because, really, what the hell can you do? The shirt is pretty damn cute. I kind of want one in my size.

A couple of months later, upon seeing a particularly expensive -- yet adorable -- kids' Halloween catalog, I showed it to my middle son, figuring he'd fall madly and deeply in love with the rocket ship costume. He's kind of a space guy and that seemed right up his alley.

However, he took one look at the selections and said, "I'm going to be a butterfly." And it was final, that would be his costume. Whether or not I sacrificed a kidney to order one from that particular catalog, he would be a butterfly. If he had to make one himself out of construction paper, the kid would be a butterfly. That's just how he rolls.

The butterfly costume, I should add, was designed strictly for a girl. It had an adorable tutu, wings, and a wand all in a majestic fuchsia. It was quite possibly the most girlish thing one could have chosen from the selection of costumes in the ridiculously overpriced catalog.

And I ordered it for him without hesitation. At 3, I'm not about to inflict gender stereotypes on someone whose first word was "penis." If he wanted to be a "beautiful butterfly" (his words), then a beautiful butterfly he would be.

My 9-year-old whispered in my ear as Alex twirled and whirled in his costume, "Mom, that costume is kinda ... girly," and I nodded as I told him not to tell his brother.

Because while he twirled and whirled and preened in his costume, it turned out he'd been right the whole time -- he was a genuinely beautiful butterfly.

And I cannot wait to show his first girlfriend the pictures.

Now I'm curious: would you allow your boys to wear girls' clothing?

kid clothes, siblings, toddler development

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nonmember avatar DJ

Me, maybe. My husband, not a chance. He freaked out when I bought ds a purplish blue shirt from old navy. *shrug*

_Cade... _Cadens_Mommy_

Sure! I don't see a problem with it.

Mama2... Mama2MonkeyBoys

I feel the same way about this. Babies don't know the difference, and they're just completely, innocently, expressing what they like. I'll draw the line at what they wear to school - but that's because I don't want them being made fun of, which is inevitably going to happen - but at home? Halloween? Playing? Absolutely, dudes, express yourselves.
My dad and I got into it over this one - the boys wanted their toenails painted, so I painted them the colors the boys chose (blue, black and green, by the way - the boys decided for themselves that "pink" is for girls, lol). He basically said I was making them gay. So...that didn't go well.


But good for you! Let that baby rock that butterfly outfit!

acrog... acrogodess

No. I've never let my son wear girl clothes. Not because I was into gender stereotypes. I let him play with his sister's baby dolls, even got one of his own so he could play daddy. I have bought him purple dress shirts and polo shirt from them boys section. He is starting to wear men's clothes and for my best friend's wedding, I'll probably by him a hot pink dress shirt with a black tie. With his current tan he'll look pretty handsome too.

Ashleigh Munson

I totally would...I have a girl, and I know the stereotypes aren't as strong the other way, but I would and HAVE bought her a pair of shorts and shirts, right off the boys rack because they were...well, awesome! And she owns sports jerseys from our beloved Red Wings and Detroit Tigers. I, too, would CUT someone who dared make a comment. :-) Let 'em be free!

nonmember avatar Gertie

At two, probably wouldn't have cared.

However, now I have four year old... and I would worry about him being subjected to teasing and being laughed at. Sure, in theory you should just be yourself and not care about such things but my inclination would be to protect my son and guide him in a different direction. Maybe I would suggest making him a butterfly costume and make it look more monarch butterfly... less princess butterfly.

Roniq... Ronique1989

Nope. We'd never allow our son to wear girl clothing. Call us old fashioned, I guess.

PonyC... PonyChaser


To me, this isn't so much about "gender stereotyping" and letting a boy wear "girls clothes" as it is about a mom unable to tell her little boy "no".


He's TWO. Just because he likes a shirt, doesn't mean he has to have it. It would have been just as easy for you, while you were in Target, to say, "no, you don't need a shirt right now, you have plenty. We came here to buy a shirt for Sister." He learns a lesson that sometimes, stuff is for him, and sometimes it's not. And it's not at all about "you can't have a girl's shirt! Gasp! What will the neighbors think???" Because really, on that point, you're correct. He's 2. Who cares what the neighbors think.


As for the butterfly costume, I see nothing wrong with a boy dressing as a butterfly, it's a natural creature. I, personally, wouldn't go the "princess butterfly" route, though. But then, that's me, and I make my own.


I think this whole thing is YOU, not society, fretting about "gender issues". Although, as he gets older, it will be an issue if he continues to want to dress that way.


And to directly answer the question, no I wouldn't dress my son in girl's clothing. i would have to tie him down, gag him, and after dressing him, place him under house arrest to keep him dressed that way. He'd fight me tooth and nail. Kid's "all boy".


Kaila... KailaCheyenne

I disagree with the comment that says it's about the mom not being able to say no. She got her daughter a shirt, why should her son not get one? That would have been unfair. I don't have kids, I'm only 17, but I won't have a problem if my future children want to wear the opposite gender's clothing for a day. My two year old brother just wanted me to paint his toenails with glow in the dark green, and I did. It's not going to "make him gay" or get him made fun of. He thinks it's awesome when he turns out the lights, and that's all that matters- he's happy.

justa... justacherry

If my son wants to wear his sister's playtime dress, I let him. As for will impact his later in life preferences, I just couldn't care less. I really couldn't. I'd love him to pieces regardless of whatever he turns out to be. Same goes for my daughter.

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