Originally Posted by erigeron
I don't care if people have negative opinions, but I just wouldn't want to send him out unprepared for that possibility, kwim?
Agreed. Telling someone that people may be mean to him for wearing a dress isn't squelching his gender exploration, it's preparing him for the reality of the world (depending on how you do it, obviously). It also gives you a chance to assure your child that if people treat him badly, you'll support him and be there to help.
Honestly, he'll know people will think he's a girl- they already do. We don't correct them right now because, mostly, we don't know which way we actually need to correct, it's totally possible our baby is a girl and those who think "boy" are the ones who need to be corrected. When our baby can communicate, I'll ask if he minds being called a girl and also if he minds being called a boy, and go from there.
Originally Posted by OrmEmbar
I'm curious about this too! When we started EC'ing our daughter I realized the genius of those baby gowns with a drawstring or elastic at the bottom. Then I thought this might be one reason for boys historically dressing in gowns until they were old enough for "short pants". Long pants would be worn once they were old enough to not rip the knees of their pants . . . or that is my personal theory. I wonder if the gowns were for ease of taking little ones to pee? Historically, kiddos were out of diapers much younger than these days . . . around 16 months if I remember correctly.
So, yes, my baby boy wears "dresses" - they are infant gowns. I was stoked to find one that goes up to a 12 month size. I pull it above his knees when I put him down to crawl. I love the idea of a kilt when he is walking. Does anyone know of a good source for knee hi wool baby socks?
I do think that the biggest reason is diapers, or lack thereof- like you thought. If I understand right, diapers only started really being developed in the 19th century, disposable diapers developed in the 20th century, and boys in 'dresses' were not uncommon until the 20th century. I think there was also an aspect of thrift- if all kids wear the same style clothing, you can easily hand clothes down from one to the next.
Part of the extreme gendering of baby clothing was the invention of ultrasounds. Before it, parents dressed babies gender neutrally because you couldn't know what you were having and so, at least at first, the clothing and furniture you had would basically have to be neutral as there was a 50% chance you'd guess wrong. Once parents could tell the gender, the idea of getting girls and boys clothing developed and companies leapt at the chance for more sales.