Posted by: itslikethatweb | October 20, 2012

Boys In Frocks

If there’s one thing I love to talk about, read about, think about, and write about, it is gender. Gender is such a fascinating concept, and in my opinion, definitely a social construction. I like to tell people that when they get irked about using the bathroom of the opposite sex, even when it’s a single room with a door that locks – it gets some laughs on the West Coast, but definitely did not fly in the South.

A truly fantastic example of differing opinions on appropriate gender boundaries was published on mommy blog Nerdy Apple a couple years back when the author’s 5-year-old son, Boo, dressed up as a female character from Scooby Doo for Halloween (many of you probably have already heard of this, it got a lot of media attention). Here’s Boo:

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A tiny deconstructionist in action. You can check out the full article here, but to give you a quick summary, Boo asked to be Daphne for Halloween, and his mom bought him the costume without a second thought. When they got to school, several parents of Boo’s classmates had a total cow, imposing their biological essentialist bullcrap on his mom and causing her to write this post. One of the most compelling points she makes is this:

If my daughter had dressed as Batman, no one would have thought twice about it. No one.

That one really echoed in my head. I’ve spent a lot of time considering what limitations we place on little girls as far as what is and is not acceptable for them to wear, do, be, etc. But little boys face plenty of their own limitations. My question is this: why is it that a girl dressing as a boy is more socially permissible than a boy dressing as a girl?

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Responses

  1. I remember this story, and it’s always struck me as strange that the other mother’s couldn’t accept Boo dressed like a girl on Halloween – the very day that everyone, especially children, is allowed to be something or someone they’re not. It doesn’t bode well for the boys who like to wear ‘girl clothes’ on other days of the year. There was a nice story recently about a father in Germany who wears skirts in solidarity with his young son. After the story went viral, he posted a response you can read here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nils-pickert/skirt-dad_b_1911444.html?utm_hp_

    I love one thing he says in particular: “It is not OK for anybody to mess with my son about his outfit. Hence I wear dresses and skirts so that any person who has a problem with that and feels the necessity to express his or her resentments can mess with me.”

  2. The Huff Post article linked to the story of “American mom Cheryl Kilodavis, who wrote a picture book called “My Princess Boy” about her son Dyson, went on The Today Show in January 2011″ http://moms.today.com/_news/2011/01/03/5738901-the-mom-of-a-princess-boy-speaks-out?lite
    All of these people are amazing, brave, and loving parents!


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