It’s the blog post that showed up three times on my Facebook feed this morning, and everyone is talking about it. Blogger Nerdy Apple Bottom, a mom in Missouri, wrote about her son choosing to dress up as Daphne from Scooby-Doo for Halloween, and the nasty reaction of a few other moms, who believe she’s leaving her son open to ridicule. The mom blogger rightly points out that a girl dressing as Batman would be no big deal, but it’s heart-breaking for her to realize that her son, who had last-minute doubt about the costume, has already internalized the message that a boy in drag = not cool.
(And to be clear, she’s not outing her son -- as the headline might imply -- but poking fun at the idea that a Halloween costume can make a 5-year-old gay – and she wouldn’t care even if he was. In an interview on CNN this morning, she said she chose that title to get a reaction but also to describe her son’s happiness in the photo.)
I think many moms struggle with this conundrum: let your kids fly their freak flag freely, or prepare them for the cruel real world? My dress-wearing but jungle-gym-loving daughter now refuses to wear the cute, less revealing “boy short” underwear I bought her because she’s sure the other kids will laugh at them. I cringe knowing that, at age 5, she’s already so aware of crossing perceived gender lines.
What do you think about this little boy’s costume? Do you encourage your kids to be whoever they are, even if that involved a big orange wig?
P.S. Pop Culture blogger Shawn Beans is delving into gender roles too, after absentmindedly telling his son he’s “being a girl” – and he didn’t mean it as a compliment.