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My 4 year old son is frequently assumed to be a girl. His behavior and clothes are typically "boyish" but he has long hair to his waist and this seems to cue most people to say "she". I say "he" when introducing him and most people continue saying "she". I've never been particularly bothered by this and as a result he mostly takes no notice.<br><br>
Comments have been getting more intense lately though - yesterday a woman said "you are actually telling me that this is a boy I'm looking at!?" and then persisted (in front of my child) "that could not be a boy I'm looking at!". And this happens relatively frequently.<br><br>
Usually I respond with "Well, he is a boy with long hair" or "Yes, that is my son". Often the comments feel downright hostile, and this is my concern. My son loves his long hair and is very gregarious and interested in interacting with other people. He is obviously aware of the comments now and is confused.<br><br>
Do you think I should just pay no attention? What would you say, and how would you explain to your child?
 

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We get the same thing, everywhere we go! Sometimes it bothers me, but I have learned not to take offense. Most people just automatically assume long hair = girl. And that there is no such thing as a pretty boy. I would think my son was a girl too if he wan't mine, KWIM? Take it as a compliment, you have a looker! And remember, if he sees that it bothers you, it is going to start to bother him as well....
 

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That is absolutly appalling and I am so sorry you have to endure it! My sister had very SHORT hair when she was 5. However, she had her ears peirced and wore relativly girly clothes. Nothing frilly or sparkly, but YKWIM. People STILL referred to her as HE and I seriously wanted to throw down. It was SOOO ANNOYING!! I hate the stigmas that go along with short hair for boys and long hair for girls. GAH!
 

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We went through this with our boys alot. Right now, they both have very short hair and no one ever says anything.<br><br>
I'd honestly probably walk away if someone started arguing with me. We always corrected people and then dropped it.
 

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Thanks for the sympathy! It is getting to me...<br>
I hate to think that he will want to cut the long hair that he is so proud of just to make other people more comfortable. Argh.
 

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Oh I definitely know what you're talking about! DS has long hair, ringlets! And everyone assumes that he's a girl. It drives me crazy...he's wearing a "big brother" t-shirt, and you still can't figure out that he's a boy? Lol. DS loves his hair too, he's very attached to it. I mentioned to him once that people think he's a girl sometimes because they're used to girls having long hair, and he told me, "That's okay Mommy, it doesn't bother me." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> So maybe your little one is a tried-and-true hippie like mine and very sure of himself!
 

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If it's a one time comment, then you correct it, that's fine. It's just part of life.<br><br>
But, the woman who actually ARGUED with you?????? LOL... My comments would have been loaded with sarcasm. "Do you need to see his penis?"
 

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On the other side, some church friends cut their daughter's long hair into a boy's cut. She wears pink shirts, but basically looks exactly like a boy in girls clothes. She gets the same thing. "You're a girl?... really?" She went on a mission trip to Honduras with her family, and the kids niknamed her "It'sPat" because they couldn't tell if she was a boy or girl.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>nextcommercial</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15391029"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">"Do you need to see his penis?"</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/spitdrink.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="spitdrink">
 

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FWIW I do find that many little boys with long hair look like little girls as they don't yet have the masculinizing effects of testosterone. of course, I'd never argue with you about that... sheesh, some people <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"><br><br>
However, I think you should be neutral about for comments like this. If you son has the mainstream physical appearance of a little girl (ie. long hair), you're going to get comments. This is the same reason that many people pierce the ears of little girls when they have short hair. It's just a signal to society at large.
 

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I would respond firmly (and as though I am talking to a child) with "He is four. Take your put downs somewhere else" or "This is what we do in our family." Then walk away. That is just uncalled for and I think that modeling how to deal with bullies is very important, especially when you are allowing your child to be themselves. My dd used to get comments about dressing up in costumes to go out, being carried, jumping instead of walking, etc... I found that being firm and modeling boundaries stopped ongoing criticism and it has helped my dd to become a child who knows who she is and doesn't let other people coerce her into changing.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>nextcommercial</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15391029"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">"Do you need to see his penis?"</div>
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Ha! Awesome!<br><br>
My best friend's 7.5 yr old ds (who is also my dd's best friend <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> ) had long hair until very recently. People ALWAYS assumed that he was a girl, and yes, my friend did sometimes have people ARGUING with her that her son was a girl. Totally crazy!!!
 

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My son just recently cut his long hair, and we were quite accustomed to the comments.<br><br>
I think if anyone went so far as to doubt me (!!!), my response would be, "He has a penis, and if you keep persisting, he'll probably show it to you."<br><br>
I hate gender norms, and don't teach them to my children . . . I'd find comments like you described REALLY annoying.
 

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We just cut my 5-year-old's long hair a few days ago. People always assumed he was a girl, despite being pretty stereotypically "boyish" in his interests, clothing, et cetera. His name is Sam, and we even had people frequently ask, "Is that short for Samantha?" or just call him Samantha.<br><br>
We just laughed about it. It's funny, because a girl at school told him that his pink shirt was a "girl shirt," and it bothered him (he didn't want to wear it again), but it never bothered him that his hair was long or that people mistook him for a girl (in fact, it was my idea to cut it--mostly because of summer, and because he hated washing/brushing it).<br><br>
I would talk to your son about it, about why people assume that and how that's sort of silly. If it seems to bother him, I would ask him if he'd prefer to cut his hair. And then I'd be supportive of whatever his preference was. If he is upset by the comments, but doesn't want to cut his hair, I would talk to him about what he wishes he could say to people, or maybe you could give him some suggestions for ways to respond, et cetera.
 

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my friend's 7 year old.<br><br>
he loves answering.<br><br>
'yes i am part french and part cree. in my culture short hair means mourning. that my parents are dead.' this usually shuts them up.
 
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