Boys wearing dresses in public. - Page 9 - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-24-2005, 09:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetest
Are babies born knowing what airplanes and cars are?

Or does our own social conditioning see these things as "masculine" and attribute an affinity for them in a male child as something inborn and look at a love of flowers/dresses in a male child as "feminine" and outside of what he "should" be attracted to.

I just think they like what they like and its when we as a society tell the child that the behavior is not appropropriate for thier gender the internal conflicts start.
That wasn't the point. Of course he wasn't born knowing what airplanes and cars are, the point that I was making was that he was attracted to big machines and things that move around in circles from his first exposure to them. The fact that we see these things as masculine is hardly relevant; I'm saying that yes, I do believe that in my son's particular case the affinity for large, moving machines was inborn. I didn't tell him that it wasn't appropriate for him to like flowers (who would bother sending such a message to a three month old?) but I didn't tell him that it was inappropriate to like airplanes. He likes what he likes-- large, moving machines. And while he does appreciate beautiful things, like flowers and trees, he seems to be drawn more strongly to large, moving machines than anything else.

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Old 09-26-2005, 12:17 AM
 
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You know, I've spent some time thinking about WHY boys would be attracted to machines and large fast vehicles, biologically. All I can come up with is that some of our prehistoric ancestors needed to chase down some big fast mammals, and the ones who did it were male. But I don't know. It's not THAT good an explanation. (What about the tribes who fished? Why aren't little girls obsessed with "gathering" and agriculture?) I can't think of any other even remote possibility that would explain the putatively "biological" male preference for such things.

For what it's worth, my 20mo girl loves all "things that go" as well. I really think it's mostly that big machines that go are cool, and that consciously or not, we reinforce that natural interest more in boys than girls. (Think just even about--well, clothes. Whose clothes are covered in cars and trucks and boats from birth? Kids notice these things.) I don't completely rule out some biological thing, but I think that influence is minor.

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Old 09-26-2005, 03:58 PM
 
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Jumping in a little late here, but just a few days ago ds decided to go out with his big sister's dress on under overalls, (they had been dressing up before we went out and he was insistent that he did not want to change) then the overalls got spilled on so we went to the store with him in a purple dress and his sister's pink and red sweater, and people were asking about my girls (ds's hair is to his middle of his back) and I had to explain that he was in fact a boy in his sister's clothes. Fortunately it was at a co-op where that kind of stuff is a little more accepted, lol.

He plays "princess" with his big sister and loves his baby doll, but he LOVES trucks, chainsaws, tools, etc in a way that we have never encouraged, despite have the same toys his sister has. I have no questions or concerns about how my son gender-identifies. He is the first to tell people that he is a boy. I actually think allowing children or adults to be comfortable about exploring gender-roles helps them be more comfortable and at ease with their own role.

About instinct, I think there is some sort of biological impulse for boys to use tools and technology to manipulate their environment (not implying that girls aren't attracted to technology), and that today this manifests in their love of machines and vehicles. I hadn't thought of the speed connection before.

I also have experienced little girls gathering impulses. My dd and her friends often are seen with pouches, purses and bags loaded full of their stuff, hauling around, and I wonder if it is some throw back to a gathering instinct. I don't think this means that we are limited to our gender roles, or that we should overtly encourage our children to be one way or another, but I have found that being aware of the differences between genders to be helpful in my parenting.
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Old 09-26-2005, 04:45 PM
 
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We've never pushed our kids toward liking or disliking any particular thing because of gender. That's why my 3 yo. ds likes to play princess and mommy with his 5 yo. sister, for example.

I have noticed a difference in them, though. I used to think that those differences were entirely a social construct until I had one boy and one girl of my own. My boy is pretty emotionally simple, for example. I don't have to guess around at what's bugging him, his moods and what he wants and needs are all pretty right out there. Then he's over it, on to the next thing. He kind of "plods" along, and is very very physical and not too verbal. (Has a TON of energy, tho, I might add )

My girl was born very emotionally complex and "moody", for lack of a better word. There is always soooo much going on in there that she doesn't express, that I need to guess at and question and analyze and such. She is very verbal and less physical than the boy. They learned how to ride two wheelers at the same time!

The boy is a HUGE risk taker and already shows off his physical prowess in front of other boys, esp. those older than them. Scary, dare-devil type things that make me fear a heart attack one of these days. The girl is more cautious and analytical, taking time to fully think things through and digest the pros and cons of each action.

They were birthed, nursed, and raised pretty much identically. They share a love of dress up - which includes fancy dresses and high heels - but that's where the "gender similarities" end. (I put that in quotes because everyone prefers bright, beautiful colors to drabby ones, whether they are male or female, but this particular "gender difference" is strictly societally and parentally enforced.)
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Old 09-28-2005, 05:00 AM
 
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I am going to flip the coin and say no. I agree and understand what you are all saying but my son has blond curls and is way too cute to be took out in public in a dress. There are sick people out there who might get their kicks by seeing a little boy in girls clothing. I wouldn't care if he were at home because we are his family. I think for safety sake no.
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Old 09-28-2005, 05:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by madtan
I am going to flip the coin and say no. I agree and understand what you are all saying but my son has blond curls and is way too cute to be took out in public in a dress. There are sick people out there who might get their kicks by seeing a little boy in girls clothing. I wouldn't care if he were at home because we are his family. I think for safety sake no.
With all due respect, anyone who would get kicks out of seeing your beautiful little boy in a dress would get the same kicks from seeing him in jeans and a t-shirt.
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Old 09-28-2005, 10:54 AM
 
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Old 09-28-2005, 11:53 AM
 
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depends on where we were going. but mostly probably not. though I'd certainly never presume to tell anyone else what's ok for their kids to do as long as it's safe.

I guess I'm a little overebearing in the fashion department. I know & understand why others don't care what their kids wear or look like in public but... I do. at home though, whatever.

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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Old 10-01-2005, 07:30 PM
 
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Sure he can wear a dress if he wants, I don't care. Sometimes that's all I can find clean for him anyways... :LOL People seem to laugh at me and my family all the time, might as well give them something to laugh about!

I don't care though, whatever he likes, I like.

my kids are 10, 7, and 4. i'm due any day now
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Old 10-13-2005, 09:09 PM
 
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Why should boys have to become a pope or a judge before they are alowed to wear a dress
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Old 10-13-2005, 10:20 PM
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Old 10-14-2005, 12:28 AM
 
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i'm about 1/2 way through with this thread & i've gotten some great insight on both sides of the issue. thanks mamas!

had a thought yesterday- i was looking through a magazine & there was a picture of Jackie Kennedy, John Jr. & his cousin who were about 4 or 5 at the time. they were in shorts, shirts and shoes that were very Mary Jane-ish (i think my mom calls them Buster Browns). I was thinking how you'd never see a boy in those today b/c they'd be considered too girly. How did all of this evolve???

BTW, checked out the utilikilts & boy would dh's legs look great!
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Old 10-14-2005, 12:31 AM
 
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Inside our house? sure.

In our yard? sure.

Outside in public? yes and no, it depends.

I dont think I would let him wear a dress out of the house, in our neighborhood down the street where people or other children might know him and who might later tease him.

If we were going somewhere outside of the neighborhood where only strangers were around, and only strangers would see him, then sure, why not?

However, my 2 sons never wanted to wear dresses, so it never came up.

On the other had, when my daughter wanted to wear pants, I let her wear pants in our neighborhood, down the street, to school, or anywhere.
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Old 10-14-2005, 01:54 PM
 
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Ha, I was just thinking of this thread today when I saw a nice little skirt at the used clothing store and thought about how well it would work with the baby legs I just ordered for easy diaper changes! Didn't buy it yet, but I think I'll go back...

Hell yes, I would DEFINITELY let ds wear whatever he wants. ITA Mike on the pope! That is some fancy, fancy drag.
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Old 10-14-2005, 01:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike
Why should boys have to become a pope or a judge before they are alowed to wear a dress
What other motivation would you use to get them become pope or a judge? If you start letting them wear dresses whenever before you know it all of the popes and judges will be women.
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Old 10-14-2005, 03:00 PM
 
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Sorry to be OT, but did you know that many (including me) believe that a woman did actually make it into the papacy once? Pope Joan, in 855-858. She inspired the "check-n-make-sure" chair in which an incoming pope must sit to get felt up. To the best of my knowledge it is still in use today. It was pretty embarrassing for the church when their leader died in childbirth. Not gonna make that mistake again!

Or perhaps this isn't that OT after all...

I cite as my source The Legend of Pope Joan by Peter Stanford. Henry Holt and Company. 1998. The Catholic Church denies the existence of a female pope.
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Old 10-14-2005, 05:31 PM
 
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That's funny I was going to say, except for Pope Joan in my post.
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Old 10-14-2005, 07:16 PM
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Just adding another Yes. My ds has worn his sisters clothes and she has worn his. Dresses, pretty shoes, Princess crowns, flowery shirts, lacy pants, etc.
If ppl called him a girl, he was quick to say he was a boy. Well, more his sister spoke up for him. :LOL
She still does. Sometimes to his detriment, as he needs to learn to speak for himself, especially in the classroom.
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