P1060096People say to my son often, “What a cute little girl!”  When I tell them he is a boy, the response has more than once been, “Oh.  It’s a shame to waste that beautiful, curly hair on a boy.”  Really?  I was walking near where I live the other day and a woman in her seventies said that in front of him, like he doesn’t have ears.

It is a curious thing, raising a child.  People are so ingrained in their ideas of who a child should be.  Boy is ____. Girl is ______.  My son’s hair is down to his shoulders if not a little longer.  The deal I have with him is that he has to keep his hair out of his eyes.  Baseball hat. Hairclip. Headband.  The choice is his, but he has to choose one.  I know that when I put a clip in my son’s hair that this invites confusion.  I really don’t care.  I have told M that we can cut his hair when he is ready.  He is quite attached, so we have decided to give him that choice.

I am curious to see how M is effected by other people’s comments as he gets older.  I wonder if there will be a time when he decides to cut his hair to look like the other boys or if he will be like a twelve-year old boy we know who wears his hair in two braids that hang down to his waist.  Will he be offended to be called a girl?  Will we be able to convince him that being called a girl isn’t a bad thing?



6 responses to “Hair

  1. I think it’s awesome that you are letting him decide when to cut his hair. There is not reason he should have to be a stereotypical boy. For goodness sake, who cares about gender anymore!? Is it really as relevant as everyone makes it out to be? I sure hope not, because my kid is playing both roles and I am actively parenting to that.

  2. Such a cool parent you are. Keep it up. 🙂 x

  3. I hate when people say things in front of children that they wouldn’t say to an adult. You would never walk up to an adult stranger man in the street and say ‘wow, don’t you think your hair is too long? I couldn’t tell if you were a man or a woman?’ so why do it to kids? It’s like when people go on about their size ‘ooo isn’t she tiny’ or ‘shes chunky isn’t she?’ you would never say that to an adult! It really winds me up!

  4. Besides the fact that we should just give up the gender stereotypes, lots of boys/men have long hair these days! Does he do ponytails?

    My cousin had hair of a similar length until he was 13 or so, and often wore headbands, which he called “boybands.” Granted, he grew up in NYC, but he didn’t seem to get too hassled. He only cut it when he got tired of having it in his face all the time.

  5. I find the comment “Who cares about gender anymore” so interesting! I care about gender. I don’t care so much about gender stereotypes in philosophy, but in real life, I sure as hell care! And I care for my son…and how he views and therefore treats women. And I care for myself, and how I am viewed and treated in America and other countries. I care how my son views me as a woman and a mother. Gender matters. Lots.

  6. Yeah. My son is 7. He got teased (once) in kindergarten about his hair. We trim it once a year and that is it. If he wants it cut, it is up to him, but I hope that his choice doesn’t come because of people teasing him. I feel that at least through middle grades, at his school, this will be a non issue. But he still gets mistaken for a girl. He lets it roll off his back. I hope he is able to continue this attitude as he grows older.

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