Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I put my son in a dress. So what?

Maybe it was to challenge myself more than my family or society. Maybe I just wanted to buy something pink and frilly for a change. Either way, here's how it went down:

While H and I were visiting family, we went to Target with my grandmother, mom, aunts and cousins. Of course we all went to the baby section to look at cute clothes and the clearance racks were packed full of good stuff. Woohoo! After meddling through blue shorts, cute polos and overalls, I got distracted by an ADORABLE purple tutu with sequined trim. Hell, I would have gotten one for myself if they would have had them in the women's section.

Anyways, I spot this tutu and think "you've totally got to get that for H. He doesn't have anything sparkly or purple like that! Why can't he have sparkles?!"

I put the tutu down and walked away.

Then I started perusing through the other "girls" baby clothing and everything was adorned with pink ruffles, purple butterflies, lace, sparkles, and more.

I picked up two outfits--one was pink, orange and brown with little layered ruffles and the other had  varying hues of blue and purple with a ruffled trim. I carried them around. I thought about how cute H would look in these outfits. Then I started hearing the voices of the nay-sayers "it's not fair to impose your crazy feminist beliefs on H. He'll be traumatized if you put him in GIRLS clothes. He's a boy. Dress him like one." and so on and so forth.

Then in comes my hyper-critical feminist self telling me "screw that! WE (society) are the ones that label these "girl" clothes. We don't flip out when we put little girls in jeans anymore so why can't a little boy wear a dress?"

I kept pacing, and eyeing even more frilly clothes to buy. But then I settled on it. Just like that. I got the dresses. The next day I put H in one of them and he looked so cute! And of course, because he's a baby, he didn't care what he was wearing as long as it was comfy.

Since the day I put him in a dress, I've been wondering why I had the urge to do it. Was it more than just wanting to buy something pink? Am I using H to make a statement on gender roles and expression? Why haven't I put him in that dress again? (He hasn't even worn the blue and purple one I got him.)

Perhaps it was a combination of all of the above. I wanted to test myself.  Was I going to be a hypocrite who expounds how fucked up our binary gender roles are one minute while putting my son in what society deems as "boy" clothes the next minute? Or could I fill his closet with whatever I thought was cute?

Honestly, I played it safe. I put him in that dress and we stayed home and played. I'm sure my grandparents thought I was nuts. I didn't take him in public so there was no worrying about how to respond when someone said "aawww how sweet! how old is your little girl?"

And--he's actually been mistaken for a girl a few times when he's worn blue jeans and a green shirt, and we just play along. He's just a baby. Who cares?

Here's the thing: it's a piece of cake to put a girl in "boys"clothes, but this country is so fearful of the feminine that we do our best to keep anything girly within our own pre-determined boundaries, only allowed for those with a vagina. Just think about how ridiculous that is.

Skirts and dresses are SOOO comfortable. In fact, during the summertime you'll be hard pressed to see me in pants. If I were male, I'd love the option of wearing a dress or skirt. Feeling the breeze between your legs on a hot summer day is heavenly. Doesn't the scrotum deserve some breeziness?

I'm not sure I will put H in a dress again, but if/when he starts to pick out his own clothes and wants to wear something pink, ruffly or otherwise girly--I won't stop him.

1 comment:

  1. This is so lovely.. such a good description of the experience of experimenting outside the gender binary... and how cute is your baby?