This is my son, Chester, who is nearly 4. He was invited to his friend Chloe’s birthday party today, the theme was prince and princesses. He asked if he could go as Sleeping Beauty, so I bought him a dress and put a cute little clip in his hair.
We arrived at the party to the following comments from the adults present:
“Oh that is just cruel.”
"Why did you make him wear a dress?"
"Poor little man, what’s your mummy playing at?"
"He’s going to hate you when he grows up."
"No way I’d let my son dress like a girl."
The fact is, Chester is almost completely gender neutral. I let him wear what he wants, be it boys or girls clothes, and he plays with whatever toys he likes. This usually involves him holding tea parties while wearing his pink Minnie Mouse top, jeans and a tiara. The guests are more often than not a mixture of Winnie The Pooh characters, dinosaurs, Barbie, Dora and solders, and they’re usually transported in his favorite fire engine.
When my husband arrived at the party later on, he was subjected to endless ridicule from the other dad’s present about how I must keep his balls in my back pocket because otherwise he would have put his foot down and not allowed Chester out like that. Oh, and by the way, our other son dressed as Ariel. When my husband pointed out that the boys were happy, and the mother of the birthday child made a point of saying how wonderful she thought it was that we allowed them freedom of choice and expression, they then stopped talking about it to our faces and started muttering about us behind our backs.
Interestingly enough, not a single child said a word about their choice of costumes, other than to compliment Chester on his new dress.