The moment this question came up, I knew that this was a good question for MDC. You folks are diverse enough in your thinking and your life experiences, and kid-centered enough, to respond to my question in a thoughtful way.
My son, now in fifth grade, decided last year that he wanted to grow his hair, to be like his best friend and many of the other boys in his elementary school. He has succeeded in growing his wavy light brown hair to his shoulders. It is extremely pretty hair! It has blond and red highlights, it waves around his face and forms curls at the bottom.
It's just long enough for a ponytail now if we form the tail high on his head, but that makes him look like he's wearing the hairstyles that were popular for little girls when I was one. (Little ringlets come out around his face.) He doesn't like to wear it pulled back because it doesn't all fit into the ponytail evenly.
My parents think he looks like a girl. He has always had a very sweet face--long eyelashes, large eyes, and so on. I think probably a lot of people misgender him. He's not a super athletic boy, but he likes computer games and fart jokes and chess and superhero comics and physics and water balloons, so all his friends are other boys and I never have the sense that he's secretly a girl. (Not that a girl can't like fart jokes and physics, of course.)
My parents started to give me a hard time about his passport photo. They are worried that if his long hair isn't somehow pulled back or hidden, he will be misgendered in the airport. Not that they used that word, of course.
So! Do you have a boy with long hair? Have you ever taken a trip requiring a passport with a boy with long hair? Has your boy with long hair later regretted ever having had long hair? I am entertaining my parents' issue seriously. Is this really a problem? Do I need to find a way to clip my son's hair back for his passport that makes him look more butch? I really don't want to make him cut his hair.
Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
My son has long beautiful hair. Sometimes people say, "what a beautiful little girl" and he just says "I'm a boy." He doesn't make a big deal and we don't make a big deal. It's really not a big deal.
If my mom or in-laws had an issue, it would be THEIR issue, not my son's. He knows who he is. :-) I would be pretty irritated at them if they gave my son a hard time for what he chose to do with his body.
Wife to one amazing husband , SAHM to DS 10/09, DS 10/19, one furbaby , and lots of !
I also get tons of pretty little girl comments. Most are innocent enough and sometimes we tell them he is a boy and sometimes just say thanks and take the compliment. We have had some rude comments but just ignore them.
I had that long hair causes so much of a gender issue. It is just hair! The only thing I do is tone down how he wears it when out so it is not too " girl " looking for most people but at home we have a blast with it!
No regrets here so far. Loving every minute
My mom just called. She admitted that she and my dad just don't like the long hair. I told her not to worry about the passport thing. She said, "Your father thinks he will get teased." I said, "Well, if he got transported back in time to 1946, he'd definitely get teased, but in his school this year, he's one of many boys with long hair."
I said that I was sorry she didn't like his hair, but that there were lots of other things I had to say no to him about, and this doesn't have to be one of them. I also said that if my kid wanted to shave his head, I'd probably allow that, even though I wouldn't like it. (But he'd have to wear a hat in the winter!)
I think sometimes my mom doesn't understand that children are separate human beings from their parents.
Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
My almost 7 year old had long shoulderish hair until last spring. He hated it 'short' and has since been growing it out. I just support and encourage my kids to express their style. Almost all young boys around here have short short hair and my step dad loves to constantly remind my son of this. Admiringly my son sticks his ground and says he doesn't want to be like everyone else.
2 of my boys have long hair and nobody bothers us about it more than stupid comments like, "Those locks are wasted on a boy!" or "If he were a girl that hair would be adorable!"
Personally, I'd tell grandma and grandpa to stuff it. But then again, my filter is broken and I don't give a rat's rear end what people think of my kids or their hair or their clothes any more. Especially nosy family members.
I wouldn't think anything more about it. If it bothers your son enough that he wants to change it, he'll change it. If not, no need to go out make give him something to be self-conscious about where he obviously doesn't feel any right now.
Peaceful, homeschooling, UC/HBing, select vaxing, breastfeeding, intactivist mama to a bunch of small people.