We try to make clothes just clothes in our house. Effort is made to not gender stereotype anything. If Alice wants to wear a top with a tractor or digger on (which is regularly) that is fine, it’s her choice. If Joseph wants to wear a tutu to the shops then that is fine, it’s his choice.
It is hard though, balancing letting your children choose their clothes and deciding what they like and don’t like whilst living in a world that doesn’t support that.
We have been very lucky that we have had most children’s clothes donated to us by cousins and friends. We’ve not really bought much and so we’ve picked what we are happy with them wearing from the bundles we’ve received. The children then choose what to wear each day.
We make sure that the clothes they have are functional and because we’ve not spent lots of money on them, we don’t mind them getting muddy or stop them from doing what they want outside.
Today my eldest son got dressed himself as normal. He chose his jeans, a t-shirt, hoody, wellies and…a tutu. It’s his tutu. I had bought his sister one from a lady who makes them in the village and he asked for one too. I won’t lie, I hesitated. Boys don’t normally wear skirts let alone bright green and red tutus. But I said yes because otherwise I’d be being hypocritical.
We went food shopping today and he has some smiles, a few comments on his attire but generally it was fine. On the way to the car he said, “mummy, two people were laughing at me”. I didn’t see this happen but I could see it had affected him.
Out on a walk later in the day a man stopped us and said, “I thought you were a boy! Why are you wearing a girls skirt? Are you a girl?” I stepped in and said, “It’s ok. He likes it and it doesn’t matter what he wears.” Joseph was looking confused and said, “I am a boy!”
It is such a difficult situation. We don’t want to make him ashamed of choices he makes, be stereotypical and gender specific with clothes because clothes should just be clothes at his age. If he wants to wear a green tutu because it’s feels nice when he spins round and the material makes a good scratchy sound when he rubs it together, then he should. He is four. But at the same time I feel he should be protected against comments like that and one way to do that would be to not allow him to wear a skirt over his jeans.
It is something we will talk to him about and assess. I don’t know the answer and think it is such a shame to live in a closed minded society but it is the society we live in and it might take small boys in skirts and girls in blue tractor t-shirts to make a little difference.