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My 2 yr old ds seems to have a natural love for all the things intended to be loved by little girls- princesses, fancy dress up girl shoes, dresses, and prefers female images in movies, stories and magazines.

I've been trying to just go with it, but I am starting to feel like I'd like to open up his interests. He used to have broader choices in play and games and subjects to draw. Now it's all princesses and fancy things and playing going to a ball.

Has anyone else or is anyone else dealing with this? I wouldn't feel comfortable with his wearing a dress which he likes to dress up in out of the house but I don't know what to say. I hate to enforce gender roles on one so young and open but I feel like he is leaning so heavily that he isn't appreciating his own being a boy.

Please help!
 

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my son also wears his skirt on occasion... i think it's sweet, but the few times he's wanted to wear it out of the house i've managed to convince him that pants would be more practical..
not sure what i will do if he has this particular fancy later on in life..

maybe your son is gay? just a thot.. (and no weirdness intended..)
 

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Alexis, Keep going with it.
When children are young, they like to explore the world around them. One of the areas that they explore are gender rules/roles. Tell him that dress up clothes are for playing with inside, and enforce that rule for all of his dress up clothes.
I am a Lesbian and I have been one for all of my life. Your son may be gay, or he may be straight, or somewhere inbetween. My parents had a difficult time accepting me for who I was, and we very nearly lost contact. Please love your son for who he is, and love him always.
There is a great orginizaion for the families and friend of gays and lesbians. http://www.pflag.org/

Kirsten
 

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maybe it's that he has seen girls getting preferential treatment and is just trying to get some special attention.
or it could just be that "girly" dress up clothes are way more interesting and attractive than "boyish" ones.
maybe you could find some books that talk about how special and wonderful boys are, i know there is a book available called "great books for boys" and there are several others along the same lines i just can't recall the exact titles right now.
 

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My lifelong best friend has a cousin who was like this as a child. He has an older sister and a younger brother. His sister is not a prissy girl and his brother is very athletic. We always said that if he grew up to be homosexual we would know without a doubt that it is genetic. What happened in reality though was that he lost interest in girl stuff about the time he started school. You would never know he was Snow White for his 4th Halloween now.
 

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My son is six years old, and we play dress up, he wears my shoes, he puts make up on me, and wants me to put it on him, We go all out when we play dress-up.

Now what i do that is different because I do not want him to just identify dresses with home making, is then after being all dressed up we do go outside and "fix" the car, shovel the walk, take the garbage out. Don't get me wrong we cook together too , when all dressed up, but I do not want him to think that is what wearing a dress is.

He has two friends that are boys, who also dress up when they get together. Also he is the only boy in a family of 13 (when we are all together).

I think it is so good for them to learn young that they can be what ever/who ever they want to be, and not be burdened with having to do the "male" right thing.
 

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My son refused to where a dress when I suggested he dress in one last halloween. But now he's more interested in dress-up in general, so I should get some.
I'd definately not try to discourage it too much, or it could turn into something bigger than normal. Although it is a tricky one about them wanting to go out in a dress. And as for suggesting pants as more practical, would the same apply to a girl?
I once actually heard a mother tell her daughter, who asked to go outside and play with a bunch of other kids at a party, 'no, your wearing a dress.' I felt a bit sad for them.

Gender steriotypes are so tricky, and one of my biggest pet peeves. My son had long hair until he was 2 1/2 and absolutely everyone thought he was a girl. I have a lady who works at the grocery store who still calls him a her after almost a year of short hair. And my son is a boy's boy, all cars, trucks, dirt, really deep voice. That's just him. I'm actually glad he is starting to branch out a bit into dress-up and art. ( dh and I are both artists and have both been known to dress in drag.)
 

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mamarosa,

you're right, gender issues are tricky, and annoying. (i mean, that they exist at all)- i'm pretty much a "tomboy", like as in i identify as being very balanced in my femaleness and maleness. i have long hair, but i also, personally prefer to dress in more (traditionally) male type clothing - i rarely wear skirts, tho i have nothing against them really...

as for skirts also being equally "less practical" for girls.. that's a good question. i mean, that's not the ultimate reason i've distracted him from wearing his skirt.. it's to save myself from having to explain to people that he's a boy, and avoiding weird looks, and possibly embarrassment.. tho, that would be a fun experiment, wouldn't it!

in my house, anything goes. i have no problem with my son wearing a skirt, and would have no problem if he were gay, but unfortunately, society is not so openminded.. boys have it hard.. girls can wear whatever they please, but there is still so much damaging sexism toward boys (and men).. worse in alot of ways than girls and women have it.

by the way, i just cut my son's hair last week. it's been long since birth, and many people also thot he was a girl..
 

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I was amazed that peopel actually said "he's probably/might be gay" for goodness sake, he's 2 yo and just being a kid!
First off, don't "worry", where will that get you? It's funny how we are conditioned to assume "gay". And if that were true, we are conditioned to think "gay=bad, horrible life". If I am correct, less than 10% of self-identified "gay" males appear "feminine" and many people put feminine or "cross dressing males in a category amongst itself. Point is, if your son slept with a football, sorrounded himself by all boys, wanted nothing to do with females, he'd be assumed straight, isn't that ronic?!?! Yet if he loves all thing female and sorrounds himself with women, he's assumed gay? What is wrong with that picture?!?! LMAO We live in a society with very contradictory message about sexuality in general. Heck, I was told DD will be a lesbian

because I BREASTFED her!

Society wants to be able to easily identify people and put them into categorize, but reality is not that simple~

So love your son, support him, and be the good Mama you are! in reality, he is probably just an average boy with a loving Mama who isn't pushing roles on him. This is probably a stage thatjust happens to be frowned upon in our culture.
 

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bebesho2,

i'm not really assuming he's gay.. i think i probably mentioned this because i saw a documentary a while back on boys who were born feeling like they were meant to be girls and vice versa.. and they were tortured all their lives because everyone tried to force them into their gender roles..

i guess i'm just trying to emphasize tolerance and exceptance. it's very likely this is just typical boyhood exploration, however.
 

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Does he have a Dad to identify with? Does he play with other boys mostly or girls mostly?

I think these types of things have so much to do with what toys and cloths a 2yo identifies with than being a role idenity problem.

My 4yo love his super man dress-up cloths (old holloween costume from a neighbor). The long cape flying behind him, he spends hours in it, running through the house.
 

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I find I'm really taking issue with this thread. Not with your original question, Alexis, but with the tenet of the replies.

There's the assumption that, when a 2-year old plays with "girls" stuff, it could mean he's gay. With the "evidence" of some gay men saying they played with girls' stuff as kids. I have a couple of real problems there:

1: how about gay men who played with footballs but also felt different? how about straight men who played with dolls ~ oops, we don't hear from them.

2: more importantly, why do we connect dolls and dressup with girls? isn't one of the most important things that feminism has done for us, showing us that women can play soccer and men can be caregivers? But then, as soon as we see a boy in a dress, the insinuations about gayness come up, and with them the implicit assumptions about gay men being "less male" and dressup in general being less appropriate for males.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against homosexuality. Actually, the opposite, though I'm in a heterosexual relationship myself. I just find it very problematic that child's play is immediately interpreted in sexual terms.

My daughter is 3, and only now she's starting to develop ideas about gender roles. And they're not very traditional at all, though it's hard to show that females don't have to be caregivers to a child who views the world in terms of mamas and babies
. I think we're waaayyy off if we attribute such distinctions to a 2-year old in a dress.

Isn't it more likely that he just likes all clothes, including dresses? And including sports jerseys with trains on them? I know, and have read many times here, that many mamas secretly want to have a girl to play dressup with. Why wouldn't a 2-year old boy want to play dressup?

And Alexis, why do you think he's not appreciating his boyness if he plays princess and fairy ball games? Do you believe that a "real" boy just doesn't do that? If he were a girl, would you have the same feelings? He's only 2, what makes you believe he won't outgrow it? I sure hope he won't turn out to be gay, he'd make an excellent partner for my dd
if he stays that sensitive ! I understand you want to open up his interest, but I bet he'll do that all by himself when he's ready.

Of course I can't speak for mamas of sons, 'cause I only have a daughter, but I'm pretty sure I would let him go out in a dress if he wanted to. My dd has often been mistaken for a boy (we've even elicited comments like "wow, they even put boys in pink dresses nowadays" :LOL). What's the problem with it? What other people think? The messages he'll get? The worst that will happen is that he learns that most males in our society don't wear dresses ~ and isn't that the message you wanted to get to him, anyway?

sorry if I sound terse. I don't mean to. It just really really really ticks me off to see how insiduously homophobia and gender roles can make an appearance, even in such an innocent picture. The only way for children to find themselves is by letting them be themselves, whatever that is.


and ps have you ever thought that you are probably the reason for his "sissiness"? After all, you are his main female role model. Maybe he just loves femaleness because he loves you so much!!!

(edited to shorten. Imagine how bad this post was before .....
: )
 

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We had several heated discussions about it. She even went so far as to say that she knew he was gay already, at age 2! (basically insinuating that I had "ruined" him in some way)


Anyway, all it came down to was that my son has 2 older sisters and he just wanted to play too. He did what he saw US doing, as any child would. I am in no way worried about him loving a particular leopard print headband! lol

If he's a teenager and still doing the tutu's and the leopard print headband... maybe then we'll have a chat about how he feels, but not until then.
 

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Simonee-my point exactly! I wasn't pointing anyone out, I just find it interesting how we equate boys who love stereotypical "girl" stuff as gay, thta in itself is an oxymoron.

I have a male cousin who was the 3rd child with 2 older sisters. The ywere close in a ge. I wasa young teen and would do the girls hair/make up and by the time he was 3 he was crying for make up/nail polish/and his hair curled. So I have the pictures of his hair curled up and more! lol HE is nowa roug hand tough teen boy with a very sweet demeanor. And his little brpother, born years later, has all his older sisters and brothers toys now too!

Also, we were shoe shopping for DS's shoes yesterday. HE is 1 yo. the store had mostly "girls" shoes, pink with words liek Princess on them. he was going nuts over these pink light up princess boots and Grandma almost bought them for him, before she saw the price! lol I was shocked coming from my Mom!! He ended up wth the $5 digimon pair instead. But being he has an oldr sister I almost expect him to prefer what she has, which happens to be alot of pink princess crap! The ylook up to their older sibs and Mom. Also, oif you hada DD who was preferring trucks and sports, most peopel would say "how cute! A little tomboy!" Still annoying, yet accepted a rarely looked at asa sexuality issue!
 

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ramdom quotes:

"I find I'm really taking issue with this thread. Not with your original question, Alexis, but with the tenet of the replies.

There's the assumption that, when a 2-year old plays with "girls" stuff, it could mean he's gay.
But then, as soon as we see a boy in a dress, the insinuations about gayness come up, and with them the implicit assumptions about gay men being "less male" and dressup in general being less appropriate for males.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against homosexuality. Actually, the opposite, though I'm in a heterosexual relationship myself. I just find it very problematic that child's play is immediately interpreted in sexual terms.

sorry if I sound terse. I don't mean to. It just really really really ticks me off to see how insiduously homophobia and gender roles can make an appearance, even in such an innocent picture.

equate boys who love stereotypical "girl" stuff as gay, thta in itself is an oxymoron."

i just woke up, so i'm gonna do my best to articulate what i want to say.

1. i am not homophobic. my best male friend is gay, and i have several other gay friends. also, i think i might be bisexual.

2. i love when my son wears his skirt. i think it's very sweet and he looks adorable. my comment about embarrassment is about the sort of comments or looks we might elicit (i live in a *very* unevolved city) and is related to my own lack of confidence at being able to shake it all off, and protecting my son from the mixed messages he would recieve.

3. three of my exboyfriends wore skirts in public, and i loved it.

4. i wasn't assuming the boy in this particular case was necessarily GAY, i was making a lighthearted joke, and it was just a passing thot. like i said, i intended no weirdness.. my intention was to get the mother to think along the lines of "he *could* be gay, and how would i accomodate this?.." her post sounded somewhat worrisome and i just sincerely hope she's able to let her son *be* her son, whomever he is, gay or not.

like someone said earlier, gender issues are tricky and elicit all kindsa reactions. please understand that i am only discussing one angle.. but i believe it is one to be considered, openly.
 

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thanks for hte explanation, mamabeard. I really didn't mean to single you out. To me, gayness or straightness is just not something that comes into the picture. I absolutely do not see how the way a toddler plays and dresses could have anything to do with whom he prefers to have sex with when he grows up.

but it's absolutely not personal. And accept my sincere apologies if that's how it came out


anyway, where's alexis? did we scare her off ?
 

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I agree that it is stupid that sexuality even comes up when dealing with gender stereotype things. The fact that it is a stereotype means it is something that isn't necessarily as big as people make it out to be. (does that make any sense?) It is an assumption that is very loosly based in reality. A self-fulfilling prophesy. We say 'girls play with dolls' so we buy them dolls, so they play with them, and what we said becomes true.
I know we have lots of stuffed animals around the house, but my son plays mostly with cars/trucks or builds with blocks. If we never bought our son any cars/trucks, what would he play with? ( I kind of hate the car/ truck idealization for other reasons, too. Mainly environmental.)

Just recently, my son, whose three, has been agressive with insisting that he doesn't like things that are stereotypical girl things. Like a toy catalogue we were looking for, and we got to the page with the doll house, for example. He goes to day care one day a week and is with my fairly open-minded mom one night a week. I assume that his attitudes, and recognition of these stereotypes is coming from one of these sources, since I am VERY aware never to lable things boy/girl. In fact, I have made an effort since I had my son to call things 'she' instead of 'he'. If you notice, the world generally asigns masculinity to gender neutral or even inanimate objects. So I am countering that. As my son goes out into the world more without me, he is picking up more of the 'he' habit, but he still calls all bugs she.


But if he is acting agressively, (like playing 'shooting', 'bad guy's' etc like he has started to do) is this because he sees other boys doing it and thinks that's what boys do? Or is it a natural outlet for agressive behavior? Is agression a 'boy' thing? Not always.
But traditionally as humans we had hunting as a constructive outlet for physical and emotional tension. In many cultures it is the men who hunt as women are taking care of children, but often women and children have a role in hunting by flushing out the animals, and/or women are free to hunt if they choose, and if they have the time. (I'm an anthropology major, so have read a lot about this.) But in our culture, the only physical outlets are sports and fighting, which can be constructive or destructive, depending on the attitudes.

This is all a bit off topic from the original issue. Perhaps a gender roles discussion group would be interesting.
Will any off you actually read such a long post? Anyway, gender issues are strange.
 

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P.S.
I too love men in drag, that's one of the things that attracted me to dh. (not the full on drag queen, but tasteful 'gender neutral' drag, if that can exists.)
Maybe we should start making boy skirts all the rage. Plain black, navy, gray or green cotton skirts, mid calf length. There is a bit of a kilt revival going on. Hmmm, the market might be ready...
 
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