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Thursday, January 06, 2011

My Own Princess Boy

Yesterday Lucas came downstairs wearing one of Kayla's princess crowns. I smiled at him and said something like, "are you wearing Kayla's crown?" He nodded his head and with a big smile on his face he said, "Boys wear crowns." I told him, 'yes they do!' (think kings and princes).

Seeing him in this pink crown reminded me of a news clip I saw the other day.

The story is about the Kilodavis family and their 5-year-old son Dyson. Dyson likes pink. And sparkly. And dresses. He doesn't just wear dresses inside for dress-up play, but as his every day clothing. He calls himself the "Princess Boy."

His mother had a lot of (understandable) reservations when he first started dressing like this and tended to redirect him to more traditional 'boy' things like trucks. For Halloween he wanted to dress up like a princess and her older son said, "Why can't you just let him be happy?" That was the turning point for her. Dyson's father is just as accepting of his son's choice of wardrobe. He says he's just a little boy. "He likes checkers, climbing in a tree, but he likes to do it in a dress ... big deal."

I think it's awesome his parents are supporting him and letting him wear what he prefers. As parents we encourage our kids to be independent and part of that is letting them choose what they wear. How many kids do you see out wearing crazy, mismatched outfits ... but are perfectly happy and fine with it because they got to pick out their outfit?

Is it such a big deal for a little boy to wear a dress? Why does society have to care what this child is wearing? He's not hurting anyone, he's not running around naked, it shouldn't cause grief for anyone else.

How do we, as a society, come to determine what is 'gender-appropriate' anyway? Wasn't there a time when only females wore earrings? And when males started to wear them it was only in 1 ear and that became acceptable because only females wore them in each ear. And now? Its common to see guys with earrings in one, or both, ears. Guys now carry 'satchels.' Guys are ballerinas and cheerleaders. I'm not saying that this is going to cause a huge change in fashion where dresses will be designed for boys, but times do change.

There have been a couple other stories I've read on blogs over the last few months as well. Another involved Halloween and a boy who dressed up as Daphne from Scooby Doo. His mother received negative comments from other moms about her son's choice of costume. Another one was about a girl who is a big Star Wars fan and was taking a Star Wars water bottle to school ... and was teased about it because 'only boys like Star Wars.' (I have a blogging friend whose daughter dressed up like Darth Vader for Halloween - good for her!)

And why is it generally more 'ok' for girls to play with/dress like etc more 'typical boy' things?

Lucas is only 2 and right now he loves to do anything Kayla is doing. Which means joining her in dressing-up. It also means if she has a barrette or ponytail in her hair he wants one too. He thinks its something neat she gets to have. He watches me put on make-up and wants the powder brush to dust his cheeks. He wants his nails painted too.

So far all of this has remained 'in-house' except one time. There was one time we were going out somewhere and he wanted to keep that clip in his hair. I tried telling him 'boys don't wear barretts' and he replied, 'yes they do!' He didn't have an "I'm-so-upset-I'm-not-getting-my-way all out temper tantrum" but instead he had a crushed look on his face as the tears fell. He genuinely thought it was neat to have that barrette in his hair and had his heart set on wearing it. So I let him. What the heck, we were only going to the post office, what did it really matter? And it was a small clip. And the top of his hair fell over the clip so you couldn't really see it anyway. Obviously I still had a small hang-up about letting him where that barrette out in public and didn't want it too noticeable :)

Watching this mom talk about her son's preferences for pink and dresses makes me question my own acceptance. On the one hand I applaud the Kilodavis's but on the other I think, "wow I really don't know if I would be comfortable letting Lucas out like that." Any why would I not be comfortable? Because of what people might say or think? Because of how it would look? It would definitely take some getting used to that's for sure!

Mrs Kilodavis wrote a book - My Princess Boy to teach children (and adults) to accept and support children for who they are and how they wish to look. She says she hopes that this year, 2011, is the year of acceptance. Acceptance for differences. Amen to that.

Your thoughts?

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Cindy said...

I don't know, this would be a tough one for me. I would probably let my son wear dresses and barrettes at home, but not out in public.

Anonymous said...

I think that when something happens to your child that you have no control over it's a different process of acceptance than when your child evolves in a different way and then we feel/believe/have the illusion that we can shift the way that child is so that they blend in better! Funny isn't it? I think the roots of acceptance is about who the child is not what they do and ensuring that they know that you love them no matter what.
Gender identity measured by clothing/behavior etc can evoke strong feelings of discomfort in most people. It's a challenge and different folks have different ideas about what is acceptable and what they should be doing about it.
The bottom line is that, if a child is gay or has a significant gender shift in some way outside what we consider the mainstream position than there is not a single thing that you can do to change that in my opinion (but I know some disagree) without grave cost to their psyche. However, a child wearing clothes for dress up or hair stuff that is practical and like his sister is not that kind of kid!

Lacey said...

I totally remember this on the Today show the other day. I was thinking that was a great book, and that kid was stinking cute!

Adoption of Jane said...

I think the more we make an "issue" out of what our kids want, the more they are drawn to it. If we want to raise strong individuals we need to let them be individuals. Of course its a situation that until it happens to you your thoughts may change. But I'd like to think I would let my kids be themselves. The Suicide rate is devastating in children who do not feel accepted. I may use this clip on my 2011 Suicide Prevention Day Blog post.

Shelley said...

Great clip - I hadn't seen it before - and Dyson is very cute. I think the book sounds like a great idea.

Anonymous said...

seems like I might be the only one with a different opinion here.

I think parents should direct boys to things that pertain to being a boy.

I saw the clip from Today show on another blog.

But, I am not any mother's judge on what she allows with her children. I am mother myself and it is not an easy task raising children.

I do believe children should be allowed choices and self-expression. I also believe that they are children and as their parents we must train them in the path that is right.

I am not anyone's judge here. This is my opinion. And I don't have a son. But, I am big believer in son's having a positive male figure in their life to show them how to be males