For the chosen people, this week is one of those "fun" holidays, in contrast to the forgiveness-asking, fasting, and all-around guilt-feeling ones. This Thursday is Purim, where kids and adults dress up, act unusual, drink, and dance. (Grape juice for kids, let's keep it clean people.) At my almost 3-year-old's Jewish pre-school there will be a carnival and all kinds of fun and games to celebrate what is actually kind of a bloody holiday that somehow now translates into "Let's dress up and party!"
One of the key figures in the Purim story is Queen Esther. The most beautiful lady in the land, Esther dazzled the King (a non-Jew) and he married her and treasured her. Then his henchman Haman decided it was time to kill all the Jews. So Queen Esther gets to "come out" to her husband as Hebrew, and there's kind of a happy ending. Well, after the initial slaughter is over.
The point is Esther is the hero in this story, and naturally my son wants to be her on Purim. No big deal, right?
Not to me. And most likely not to anyone in his school. I have no issue in pulling out one of his older sister's princess dresses and seeing if he can wear it to school for the festivities. But I'm sure someone out there will. Someone who sees boys playing with dolls and screams, "Homosexual! Sinner!" Someone who is obviously not very enlightened and filled with hate, but hey, we all have our faults.
But the fact of the matter is, my toddler has a big sister and has always been subjected to girly dress-up and play (see above picture). It is, in fact, one of my favorite things about having a girl as the oldest child. She can model behavior for a boy that isn't all tackling, hitting, and spitting. I want to raise a more sensitive boy, and this is going to be a challenge given his penchant for punk rock and throwing things.
So if the kid wants to put on a dress and go to school, I say more power to him. Let the haters hate, as my hip-hop friends say. I can't control your bigotry any more than you can control my son's desire to be the hero in the story.
Would you let your son wear a dress to school?