Would you let your son wear a dress/skirt? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 12:38 PM
 
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They actually went to preschool so I think their gender roles were set pretty early so I never had to worry I guess.
Wow.
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#62 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 12:39 PM
 
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No, never. I don't have a boy though . But if I did, I wouldn't. I don't let DD go out in inside out, non-matching, or non-season-appropriate clothes either. I think presentation is important and I would like to present my family as typical of our culture's values and norms and appropriately dressed for the occasion. I don't like the idea of other people judging me and I also want my kids to feel like they 'belong' and are like everybody else. Clothes are shorthand for strangers about who you are. I'm all for fighting the patriarchy but I'm picking my battles. Strangers thinking my kids are weirdos? Nope. DH making dinner and getting up with the baby? Check.
I just found this interesting - these are pretty much exactly the reasons I would have for trying to provide space for my child to dress the way he wants (and to know how to dress to fit in if he needs to do that, as well). That is, if he wants to present himself as a guy in a dress to strangers, I would want him to be able to.

It's interesting!

BTW I work in a fashion-related industry. Irony.
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#63 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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I would let my boys if they wanted to. it's just clothes.
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#64 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 12:46 PM
 
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Sure, in the context of men's clothing, like a kilt.

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#65 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 12:46 PM
 
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At age 2, I let DS wear his big sister's hand-me-downs (or clothes from their current closets!) if he wanted to. He was too young to care. He even wore a dress to preschool once when he was 3 (but he did come home in the "boy clothes" I packed for him.)

Somewhere around age 4 or 5 he picked up on the idea that "other kids care about this boy/girl stuff, and I should keep the girly stuff at home so I don't get teased." I never enforced that, except to gently remind him "are you sure you really want to go out wearing that?" after he'd already made the connection.

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#66 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In the future yes, right now no.

If when DS is old enough to understand the difference between gender appropriate cloths and cross dressing he makes a conscious decision to cross dress then I will support him. However, I do not want to waste half my clothing budget buying 3yo DS sparkly pink high heeled shoes that neither fit him nor go with any of his other cloths.

Are you sure that pointing means he wants one?
I never said anything about spending a wad of money...nor did I say anything about sparkly pink high heeled shoes

And, yes, I know my son...pointing to himself is his way of saying that he wants it for himself (he doesn't speak very well, so I've had to learn his body language).
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#67 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If people think he's a girl, that's fine. He doesn't care. If people think we're odd, that's fine too. We are.
Yup, took the words right out of my mouth
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#68 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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After reading what's been said so far, what pops up in my mind is how did pant-wearing become normal for women in our society? It didn't just happen overnight...some bold, daring women had to decide they were going to do it no matter what judgments they were going to inevitably face by society. That got the ball rolling and helped less daring women feel comfortable with "dressing like a man". I see the same thing possibly happening with traditional girl clothing--the more boys and men want to wear feminine clothing (and not just in a "cross-dressing" context, either...wearing them as a part of every day life) the more acceptable it will become over time. I'd imagine this would be quite a bit more difficult for males since the ridicule of a boy being "gay" or "girly" seems to be much more intense than it has been for girls being "manly" or "butch" or what have you. That could just be my perspective, though.
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#69 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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some bold, daring women had to decide they were going to do it no matter what judgments they were going to inevitably face by society.
My great grandmother was one of those women! we hear the stories all the time and my DD was named after her!

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#70 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 02:01 PM
 
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I just found this interesting - these are pretty much exactly the reasons I would have for trying to provide space for my child to dress the way he wants (and to know how to dress to fit in if he needs to do that, as well). That is, if he wants to present himself as a guy in a dress to strangers, I would want him to be able to.

It's interesting!

BTW I work in a fashion-related industry. Irony.
Not ironic at all Perhaps you think of clothes as a means of expressing your personality, which is totally appropriate to your industry! I don't think of clothes that way; I have a hard enough time pulling together something that looks appropriate without worrying about expressing how I feel on the inside.

BTW, I work in the television industry and limit TV. Hey, if I worked in a brewery I wouldn't get my kids drunk.
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#71 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 02:02 PM
 
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I would and I have. My son wore a dress practically the entire summer he was four. He looked adorable.

He's nine now and more of a pants and shirt type of guy.
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#72 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 02:04 PM
 
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For those of you who say, "no" how do you explain it to the little kid?
When DS is trying on all the pink sparkly shoes, I simply say "You are not old enough to understand the repercussions of cross dressing." Of course once he is old enough to understand, then if he still wants pink sparkly shoes, I'll help him find a pair that fit and don't have too high heels.
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I never said anything about spending a wad of money...nor did I say anything about sparkly pink high heeled shoes
Yes, I know, but DS has no interest in having a dress, but tried to convince me to get him some once, and I said no.
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After reading what's been said so far, what pops up in my mind is how did pant-wearing become normal for women in our society? It didn't just happen overnight...some bold, daring women had to decide they were going to do it no matter what judgments they were going to inevitably face by society.
In ancient Rome, pant wearing for men was considered something only Barbarians did.

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#73 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 02:21 PM
 
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You know what's funny? If you look at older artwork, from times when gender restrictions were even more defined...toddlers of both genders wore long gowns. I have even seen artwork with older boys (looking to be 4-6 yo) wearing dresses. The one in my son's curriculum, it was a boy wearing a dress, carrying a sword.
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#74 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 02:48 PM
 
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A two year old boy in a dress isn't likely to be made fun of by strangers, 99% of them will just assume the child is a girl and go on from there. And friends get used to it pretty quickly

And at 4 years old my son was perfectly able to understand the consequences of doing something outside of gender norms. He didn't want to cut his hair and I didn't want to force/bribe him into doing it, so he had really long blond, curly hair and everyone who didn't know him assumed he was a girl (regardless of what he was wearing which was mostly typical "boy" clothes). When he started to notice that people thought he was a girl and seemed to be getting upset about it, we talked about it a lot and he decided it didn't matter to him, he liked his hair. Six months later he chose on his own to get his hair cut with no big drama. I asked him why, he said it was hot and got in his eyes too much when he was swimming. He still likes to wear his pink shirt with the shiny butterflies on it.

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I am very sure I will not allow my sons to wear female's clothing. I've allowed nailpolish when he was under the age of 3, but that's actually something I feel weird about now.
I do not want my children thinking that whatever they want to wear is fine with me. Because it's not. Just because its out there, doesn't mean its for everyone's body. My teenage daughters (when they get there) aren't going to be able to tell me they want to wear little tanktops, tube tops, short shorts, skirts, or dresses. They will be dressed in clothes that are appropriate for age/weather/modesty. I'm not a terribly modest person, but...my children won't get to chose to show off body parts that don't need to be advertised.

My sons--they won't get to wear big huge baggy pants that show their bums (or boxers...whichever they decide). They won't get to wear clothing with chains, cuss words, or negative messages on them. They will wear nice clothes and look respectable. I'm firmly in my thoughts that your kids wear what you buy and that's what's acceptable to them. You don't have to give a very long explanation as to why they can't wear something. My 5 year old wants to wear girls heels. I said no. He asked why. "Because those are for women to wear with their pretty clothes. You have nice shoes to wear with your handsome clothes." the end. And if he asks again, it gets repeated. No big explanation on why the feminist movement happened, no burning bras conversation, nothing other than "Those are women's. your sisters won't wear your dress clothes, you don't wear theirs. the end"
I wouldn't let my son wear short shorts, tube tops or inappropriately short dresses either. Or let my daughters (if I had any) wear pants that were so low that their underwear showed, or clothes with inappropriate messages on them. And I wouldn't let a 5 year old child of either sex wear heels. You can have boundaries about what is appropriate clothing without them being based on arbitrary gender roles. For example I don't buy clothes with characters or logos on them.
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#75 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 02:52 PM
 
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My reason for not wanting to allow my teenage daughter to walk around topless have to do with the unwanted attention she might get from men in our highly sexualized culture, not because I think there's anything "wrong" with women being topless (particularly since it's perfectly acceptable, culturally, for men to be topless). So, if you don't want your son to wear a dress, because you are worried about unwanted attention, teasing, etc., I can understand that--it's not where I choose to draw my line, and I think the general observance of rigid gender norms is harmful, but I can understand, even if I don't agree. But if you don't want your son to wear a dress or a pink shirt because you think those things are "inherently for girls," then I don't get it. Nothing is "inherently for girls" or "inherently for boys"--we choose, culturally, what those things are, and what we choose is constantly in flux.

But, personally, I simply don't agree that there is "gender-appropriate" clothing. I know some people do, but I don't. What about having a penis would make a skirt inappropriate? It might still be cool and comfortable for a boy to wear. Nothing about havin a vagina makes pants inappropriate for girls. Girls and boys are much physically similar than they are different, so I think it is quite reasonable that some boys would prefer skirts as more comfortable, just as some girls do--and just as some girls find pants more comfortable.
I'm under no illusion that there's some kind of innate universal standard that says dresses are for girls and pants are for boys. Obviously it's totally random that these rules developed in our culture. There's no article of clothing that's inherently gender-appropriate. The culture we live in determines what's appropriate. I don't assign some kind of moral judgment to kids wearing inappropriate clothing. I just prefer to dress my kids in clothing that doesn't draw unwanted attention to them. And if I'm going to subvert the dominant culture, clothing standards is not a battle I find particularly productive or meaningful.

And really, everyone follows cultural standards sometimes. So I find it disingenuous to say that of course it's fine if boys wear dresses because that happens in other cultures, but then you wouldn't encourage your kids to follow the accepted clothing standards in other cultures when it comes to certain other articles of clothing, or lack thereof. I understand the argument that topless girls have a sexualized connotation in our culture....but don't boys in dresses also have a sexualized connotation to some people?

I don't really have much invested in this issue, I just find the debate interesting. And I'm not raising my kids with overly rigid ideas about gender, for goodness sake. I've thought through the issue, and for our family, I prefer if our kids stick with clothes that are appropriate for their gender in our culture.

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#76 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 03:00 PM
 
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Hmm, I think it would depend on his age. Right now if my son (who's 4) would want to wear one around the house I'd be fine with it, however outside of the house I'm not sure. I would be afraid of some one making fun of him and making him feel bad. "Girly" shirts or pants would be ok I guess. He really does like butterflies and you don't EVER see those on boys clothes. When he is older and can understand what his decision might mean (I don't know, I guess 8??), then I'd say go for it.

He has asked to wear nailpolish once and I said no, its for grown-ups only. But that was b/c I really didn't want to put those chemicals on his body.

But this discussion is completely mute in our house. DS could care less what he is wearing. Clothes are just something that interferes with his nakedness LOL
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#77 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 03:24 PM
 
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My 7yoDS wears dresses all the time. Everyone in our family is comfortable with it, including relatives and his friends (all girls, FTR). He only wears them around the house and wears them for fun (as in he is aware of gender roles). Otherwise he wears and prefers boyish clothing for going out. My 4yoDD often wears his clothes and they pretend to be each other. Sometimes they both wear princess dresses. I have no problem with it. He also has long hair, which I have no problem with but DH has a problem with that as people think he's a girl. DS knows he's a boy and IMO has the right to choose what he wears.
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#78 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 03:24 PM
 
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They actually went to preschool so I think their gender roles were set pretty early so I never had to worry I guess.
oh, good thing.

seriously?
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#79 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 03:46 PM
 
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I let DS wear his sister's dresses and skirts, but he's mostly just worn them around the house. I feel weird about taking him out in public in a dress, but I'd also feel weird about telling him he absolutely couldn't wear a dress.
Ditto. DS2 has never worn a dress out of the house, but he did wear a satiny, pale purple nightgown, with flowery trim at the neck as a shirt when we went out to a homelearning meetup. He told me it was his "chainmail". I didn't mind.

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My son ran around the house in princess costumes for a few weeks when he was 3 or 4. Other than that, no, I wouldn't let him wear skirts or dresses if he asked (he never asked). Is there something wrong with boys being boys and girls being girls?
My boys are boys, no matter what they're wearing. My girls are girls, no matter what they're wearing. I honestly don't even understand this sentiment. Dresses are about fashion, and cultural requirements/stereotypes, not about inherent gender differences. (I do believe there are some innate differences between genders, but I also believe they apply in general terms, not individual ones.)

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#80 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 03:49 PM
 
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ds has a equal number of "girl's" clothes and "boy's" clothes. He doesn't at this time have any dresses, but mostly because I haven't come across any that he likes. He'll be 2 in a week and has NO IDEA that he is a "boy".

He has long hair and is "beautiful" and people often think he's a girl, and that's fine, because there is nothing wrong with being a girl, sometimes people think he's a boy, and that's fine because there is nothing wrong with being a boy.

I am not going to teach my child that he can't do something because someone might "make fun"of him. If that were the case we would never be able to leave our home! He lives with 3 gay men, so should he not be able to spend time with them because "someone might say somethign MEAN to them?" Or should he not be able to spend time in public with my mom and her wife because, gasp, people might be rude! One of our house mates is black, should ds never be in public with him lest someone say something racist? My other housemate is Latina and often works with immigrants, oh no don't let ds out with her someone might have *something* to say about that!
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#81 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 03:56 PM
 
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I'd be fine providing dresses jewlery heeled shoes whatever in a dress up setting but no I wouldn't allow it as part of there regular going out clothes.

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#82 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 03:57 PM
 
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No, never. I don't have a boy though . But if I did, I wouldn't. I don't let DD go out in inside out, non-matching, or non-season-appropriate clothes either. I think presentation is important and I would like to present my family as typical of our culture's values and norms and appropriately dressed for the occasion. I don't like the idea of other people judging me...
People judge. I know just as many people who are down on conformist clothing as people who are down on weird clothing.

And, fwiw, my dd1 used to go out in totally bizarre outfits - princess dresses with a Tae Kwon Do helmet and boots, with a glove on only one hand, for example. The only visible reactions she ever got were smiles, approving looks and positive comments.

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#83 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 04:24 PM
 
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I just found this interesting - these are pretty much exactly the reasons I would have for trying to provide space for my child to dress the way he wants (and to know how to dress to fit in if he needs to do that, as well). That is, if he wants to present himself as a guy in a dress to strangers, I would want him to be able to.

It's interesting!

BTW I work in a fashion-related industry. Irony.
It's also the reason we do the same. DD is allowed to pick out/make her own clothes. She has, from an early age, chose not to conform. Because of that people, especially her peers, seem to know that she doesn't do something just because everyone else is doing it. She has been judged, but she has also learned how to accept that not every likes the way she dresses. She's even been told she needs to be more feminine (her responce has been posts on MDC before... "I'm a girl, how much more feminin can I get?")

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#84 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 04:29 PM
 
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I'd probably have a discussion very similar to the one we had about nail polish when he was 4.

DS: Will you paint my nails
Me: Sure

The next day when he had daycare in the morning

Me: Do you want me to take the nail polish off.
DS: No
Me: Do you want to wear it to daycare
DS: Yes, I like it
Me: You may get made fun off (brief discussion about why and what types of things people might say)
DS: I like it. I don't want to take it off
Me: Okay. Lets talk about some ways to handle it if someone makes fun of you...........

I'll admit we still paint nails but now it's usually toe nails during the winter when no one will see or we take it off before school. He's six now.

He did say at four that the other boys thought it was cool and it was the girls who made fun of him. While he decided in the future to keep the painted nails private he said that the day wasn't even that bad since he was ready for it had responses ready to possible comments. The other parents of boys admited to me that their boys also liked painting their nails.

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#85 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 04:39 PM
 
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Ya know... Somewhere along the way someone had to be willing to take the drastic step of letting their young son wear pants instead of something more like this

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#86 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 04:43 PM
 
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I am not going to teach my child that he can't do something because someone might "make fun"of him. If that were the case we would never be able to leave our home! He lives with 3 gay men, so should he not be able to spend time with them because "someone might say somethign MEAN to them?" Or should he not be able to spend time in public with my mom and her wife because, gasp, people might be rude! One of our house mates is black, should ds never be in public with him lest someone say something racist? My other housemate is Latina and often works with immigrants, oh no don't let ds out with her someone might have *something* to say about that!
To me, those senarios you've decribed are important to stand up for and defend when/if other people make fun. To me, boys wearing dresses in public is not AS significant. If my son (who is 4) was adament about wearing a dress in public I would let him but if I could, I would try to redirect to try to protect him from the idiots. Though I'm sure (and hope!) when he is a teenager, he'll be wearing whatever he darn well pleases.
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#87 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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I'm not sexist, and I certainly don't believe in discriminating against my own child based on the sexism of others, so yes. His body, he can wear whatever he likes on it.
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#88 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 04:48 PM
 
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Haven't read the replies, just answering the OP.

In theory, yes.

In practice, I'm not sure. I think it might depend when/ where.

DH wore a kilt in our wedding, he's getting a utilikilt for XMas, so DS will see his dad in his very manly "skirt" and may want one. That is fine.

But if he starts liking his baby sister's very girly skirts and dresses and wants to wear them? I am not sure. I'd probably let him and see what happens. If he wanted to wear it to regular daycare where he's been for 2 years, no problem.... they know him and one would care. But the first day of his new preschool? Maybe not.

This would have everything to do with protecting his feelings and being mocked and nothing to do with his actually wanting to wear the dresses. That's fine with me. It's other people and children being mean and making him feel like he's done something wrong when he hasn't that would be upsetting.
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#89 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 04:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
And, fwiw, my dd1 used to go out in totally bizarre outfits - princess dresses with a Tae Kwon Do helmet and boots, with a glove on only one hand, for example. The only visible reactions she ever got were smiles, approving looks and positive comments.
I think people are generally more approving of wacky than just... boy in dress. Wacky sort of makes its own sense. A boy in a dress is just confusing to a lot of people, it seems.
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#90 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 04:51 PM
 
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To me, those senarios you've decribed are important to stand up for and defend when/if other people make fun. To me, boys wearing dresses in public is not AS significant. If my son (who is 4) was adament about wearing a dress in public I would let him but if I could, I would try to redirect to try to protect him from the idiots. Though I'm sure (and hope!) when he is a teenager, he'll be wearing whatever he darn well pleases.
Who says standing up for boys wearing dresses isn't as important? Not all of those who are boys physically are actually boys. If we stand up for a boys right to wear a dress in public, we stand up for the right of transgendered boys and men to dress in the way they are comfortable with. Should I not let my children go anywhere with their transgendered honourary "aunt" because someone might make a rude comment about dresses being for girls?

malesling.GIFMutant Papa to DD (12)hippie.gif and DS (2)babyf.gif, married to DHribbonrainbow.gif
If it looks like I'm trying to pick a fight... I'm not, I'm rarely that obvious.hammer.gif
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