Fight Stereotypes. Wear a Dress. My Son Does.

July 25th, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized

Recently, The Communicated Stereotype re-posted clips of a Huffington Post Live Interview the Stereotype Guru had about boys wearing dresses. I participated in this interview because I am a stereotype scholar and because my four year old son occasionally wears dresses. When I think about my son wearing dresses two seemingly mutually exclusive ideas come to mind.

On the one hand, I am reminded that my four-year old son is carrying out the simple idea of a Switcheroo. Switching something up is not unusual. It’s a fairly mundane thing to do to attract some attention. Check out some Switcheroo images to see what I mean. As you look at the photos consider how superfluous clothing is to the person wearing it. When you see enough of these photos it’s almost annoying. Watching them, I found myself saying, yeah and? What’s the big deal? It becomes obvious after seeing the photos of these people that clothing is rather superfluous to “the content of their character.”

Switcheroo

On the other hand, I am regularly reminded that my four-year old son is an educator and an activist. For example, just this week my mother-in-law explained how she thinks differently and with a more open mind about homosexuality, cross dressing, and gender roles since my son has taken on this habit. Recently, a child had a problem with my son wearing a dress. It wasn’t just an innocent question out of curiosity, which you can imagine that he gets a lot. It was a definite problem elevated through systematic channels. I am astonished and proud that for those adults and educators involved, the issue was a no-brainer. My son has a right to wear dresses if he wants to. It is his expression of who he is. He has that freedom of expression just as much as anyone else.

These two seemingly mutual exclusive ideas come to mind when I think of my son wearing dresses.

For my son, his choice to wear dresses is a simple one. He wears dresses because he is stubborn, persistent, particular, opinionated, and entirely intentional and confident in what he wears and does. He’ll need to be if he is going to wear dresses in public school pre-k this September.

Most importantly, though, he wears dresses because “he likes to.”

Whether the reason is a simple switcheroo, an educational and activist opportunity, or just because you want to, I encourage more boys and men to wear dresses if they want to.

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