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

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#1 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 10:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son (2.5 yo) has recently taken an interest in dresses...whenever he sees a little girl wearing one he points to himself, which is his way of saying he wants to wear one, too. I haven't gone out and gotten him one yet, but I'm planning on it soon. At first, though, I felt kind of weird about it because of the obvious social stigma with boys wearing dresses or skirts. I talked about it with DP and he says he doesn't care what he wears, but DP is laid-back like that, anyway. I remember seeing a picture from a fashion show recently of a teenage boy wearing a skirt (not a kilt). It was manly enough, but of course the responses to it were mixed. I liked seeing that, though, because it shows people are starting to wake up to the fact that it's okay to be how you are, no matter what set of genitals you have

What are all of your opinions? Would you let your son wear a skirt or dress? Why or why not?
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#2 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 10:48 PM
 
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My son wears dresses. He's 4. He doesn't wear them out so much anymore I don;t know why it just changed.
He used to wear a very cute snoopy dress all the time. He looked very cute in it.
Now he mostly wears dresses just for dress up play with DD (his older sister)

I also let him paint his nails. He likes rainbow colors.

BTW..Whenever DS was in a dress in public I felt very judged. It was very uncomfortable for me but I let him anyway. I never corrected strangers who called him a girl but we often frequent places where everyone knows he's a boy, The library . the Y all the usual places where people know you.

Some people I think thought I was trying to be cutsie with him and others just thought we were crazy.
I always just said, "I'm not arguing with a 3 year old over clothes"
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#3 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 10:53 PM
 
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My son(s) will have to ask to wear clothing that is specifically "female" just because I don't want to deal with any BS about "making" them wear a dress.

But skirted male clothing from various cultures will be a part of their basic wardrobes.

ETA: If they asked, they'd be allowed to wear whatever they wanted, I just wouldn't be buying/making female clothing for them by default the way I'm definitely making yukata and such.
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#4 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 10:56 PM
 
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My son is only 6 months old, so I don't really have a real-experience perspective, but I would say yes. I think people should be able to wear what they want. Everyone self-regulates their clothing choices and I think kids should be able to do that without having to factor in their parent's preferences and biases in addition. If he wears a dress and finds that kids tease him or people mistake him for a girl, then he'll learn to deal with it one way or another.

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#5 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 10:57 PM
 
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Ive thought about this recently after watching a couple of shows about gender identity. Honestly, no. I wouldnt let my son wear a dress as his regular clothes. DS, 5, has and does sometimes wear his siters dress up clothes here at home as part of a game. That's no big deal.

Part of my reasoning is that at a very young age he doesnt realize that he's opening himself up to negative responses from others. I feel like I can easily protect him from that by giving him guidelines about acceptable/unacceptable. When he's older and makes choices knowing the possible outcomes thats different.

Second, I firmly believe in inate differences between genders. I accept that some are born without a clear gender identity or born into the wrong body. However, the vast majority of people are born in one camp or the other. I feel like in our desire to be an accepting/open society to those who need it, we are blurring lines that dont need blurring for others. My boy is a boy. Why tell a boy who is firmly a boy that it's ok to be like a girl? Or my daughter that it's fine to be a boy?

Oh, adding, I too see a big difference between Male clothing that includes a skirt/dress like item and Female clothing.
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#6 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 11:03 PM
 
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I would let DS wear skirts or dresses if he wanted.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#7 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 11:10 PM
 
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That's a tough one. DS likes to look at DD's dresses and has asked to wear some, but he is bigger (2.5) and she is a small 1 y.o. so there's no way he would fit in them, and he accepts this explanation without conflict. However, on our next shopping trip (he's due for cold weather clothes) I might just look for a dress for him. DD will eventually grow into it anyway, so it wouldn't be "wasted". I think it would only be at-home clothes though. And only when DH wasn't looking; he is adamantly against it and I wouldn't want him shaming DS either on purpose or accidentally. (DS is very sensitive.) But I might let him try it out for a morning. Or maybe not; it might confuse him. I don't know. But I do let him wear nail polish (very light) and he gets a spritz of body spray now and again; he definitely likes being "girly".

I do also agree that there ARE differences between the genders and we shouldn't encourage kids to totally disregard those. Maybe see how it is and let them have fun with it but not totally throw the standards out the window. ITA with the previous poster who said stuff about letting them wear skirts/dresses but not GIRL clothes. It's hard to explain but I get the idea and I agree.

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#8 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 11:32 PM
 
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I have no problem with it. My son asked for a dress and I got him one; he hasn't opted to wear it out of the house yet but he can wear whatever he likes. He likes nail polish, so he wears that about as often as I do (4x a year ).

Even if certain things are innate to sex/gender (which, as research is showing, is way more complicated than a binary male/female model once you get into genitalia vs. chromosomes, etc. - http://www.scq.ubc.ca/genetics-of-se...nder-identity/), I do not honestly think that pink, bows, skirts, etc. have anything to do with it... have a look at different get ups historically across cultures. All that is imposed from our culture.

I do want my son to be aware of cultural norms and - he is. But I support his exploration however he wants to do it.

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#9 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 11:42 PM
 
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sure, why not? i doubt that it would really be the cause of any gender confusion, as it seems some are suggesting.

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#10 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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I don't have a problem with it. I'm sure that in my house full of pink dresses from two older sisters, that one day DS will want to wear one.

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#11 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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Let him wear a dress.

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#12 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 11:55 PM
 
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Absolutely. End of story.

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#13 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 11:59 PM
 
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I would, for sure. And I just asked my boyfriend, and he said he wouldn't have any problem with it either.
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#14 of 183 Old 07-23-2009, 11:59 PM
 
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Absolutely! Or pink ... or whatever else.

I'd take him to SA or Goodwill or yardsales and let him pick them out himself....

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#15 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 12:05 AM
 
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My oldest never decided he wanted a dress, though he spent time running around in my heels and playing with my makeup. He went the route of "most colorful plumage" and selected the brightest clothes he could find. He still likes bright colors, though not as high voltage bright as they used to be.

If my youngest decides he wants a skirt or dress to wear, I'm all for it. Clothes are just pieces of fabric sewn into a shape that we then don. Clothing makes us neither male nor female. Danny will be a male whether he's in jeans and t-shirt or dress. The various kilts, wraps, sarongs, robes, and other skirts that are worn by men are just culturally acceptable expressions of one simple fact... Skirts are fun to wear! They swish against your legs, they're cooler than clingy pants or shorts, and they twirl like crazy (if you get the right kind). What's not to like?

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#16 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 12:06 AM
 
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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. What reason could I give that wouldn't basically be telling him (and my daughter) that it's shameful to be like a girl? It would be one thing if it were just as socially unacceptable for girls to wear "boy" clothes, but it's not. I have a hard time imagining that anyone here would tell their daughter she wasn't allowed to wear her brother's outgrown clothes.
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#17 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 01:23 AM
 
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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?
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#18 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 01:26 AM
 
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my dad is scottish.
there is nothing more manly than a kilt
also he used to live in south asia and north afrida so the boys regularly see their grandpa in his 'man dresses' and have their own.

a skirt or dress is a very fun freeing outfit.
I might suggest if its a public thing getting a kilt (they have some cool plain army green ones) or a more costumish african, arab outfit.

8 might be enough
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#19 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 01:34 AM
 
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No problem with DS wearing a dress. Why do women and girls get to own dresses and skirts? You can be a boy and wear a dress with no confusion about yourself what so ever.

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#20 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 01:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ackray View Post
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?
If girls can wear pants and still be girls, then boys can wear dresses and still be boys.

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#21 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 01:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ackray View Post
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?
What about wearing a dress makes a boy not a boy?

Anyhow, yes, I would let my boys wear dresses. Interestingly enough, I also let my daughter wear pants.
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#22 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 01:52 AM
 
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This is a conversation 4 year old ds had with me the other morning...

ds: [totally out of the blue] Why don't boys wear dresses?

me: [thinking, man, I've never limited what the kids wears...and trying to think of an answer] Well, boys and girls wear different things in different cultures. In our culture, boys don't usually wear dresses, but that isn't true everywhere.

ds: But why?

me: Right. Well, I am not really sure...I think...

ds: [Hopping in with a different question] What boys wear dresses?

me: [I don't think well on my feet.] Well, they don't call them dresses or skirts, but in Scotland, traditional clothing for men includes a kilt.

ds: For Christmas, I want to wear a kilt.

me: Okay.

ds: And today, I want to wear a pink dress.

me: Honey, I am not sure we have any pink dresses, but we can look and see what we have in your size.

dw [calling from the other room]: No, he's wearing overalls today. We're going over to ___'s house to work in the garden.

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#23 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 03:20 AM
 
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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?

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#24 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 05:14 AM
 
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Yes, I would let my son wear a dress. Not that any of my boys give a damn what they wear yet, mind you.
I wouldn't buy one based on pointing, though. It's possible to admire something and not want it for your own, you know?

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#25 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 06:07 AM
 
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sure. he's never been that into dress/skirts, though he did like pink a lot when he was younger. in fact, on of the walls in his room is painted a bold, bright pink (the other walls are green, blue, and yellow)
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#26 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 06:28 AM
 
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Nope. For us it's a religious issue, with distinct gender differences. *In this culture* skirts/dresses are still female attire, so our boys won't wear them.

If we were in a culture where distinctly male attire had a skirt element to it, I wouldn't mind my boys wearing that.
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#27 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 06:35 AM
 
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yes, no question. I would discuss it appropriatly of course to help them understand that there may be a negative reaction. I have no issues with gender identities, whatever floats your boat- who ever my child is i will support them.
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#28 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 06:51 AM
 
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I would let him wear dresses. No problem.
I would talk to him about him - probably 2,5 years is a little to young.
But I would recommend you to let him be and wear what he feels like.
Soon enough his gonna have to find his spot in the society and most of the time those spots are not voluntarily chosen.
Let it be!
Have a good day!
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#29 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 07:47 AM
 
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I'd let him wear one for dress-up in the home if he asked but as far as going out and buying a dress specifically for my son, no. Btw, my son is 14 now and is all boy, but he did play with dolls, dollhouses and other girl toys when he was a toddler and I saw nothing wrong with that at the time. We even bought him a nice play kitchen back then and he played with it for several years. He's always loved to cook, still does.

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#30 of 183 Old 07-24-2009, 08:08 AM
 
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Sure I would.

With a younger kid, nobody cares. (And if they do, they know where to stick it.)

With an older kid (like 9 and up), I still would allow it, but I'd probably have a gentle talk about how it's unusual, people might make comments, etc. There are ways to warn them about that without saying that it's wrong.
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