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AIBU? Why can't people think before they speak? A gender rant.

(128 Posts)
babarthefuckingelephant Tue 27-Oct-15 21:45:38

My son is 2. He's obsessed with trains, cars, trucks, diggers and running at the speed of light into things, climbing trees, you know the usual.
He is also just as obsessed with glitter, dancing, swirling, singing, sparkly, pretty, colourful, dolls, literally just as much as the usual boy stuff. Nothing has ever been particularly encouraged one way or the other, he has never been pushed towards cars or glitter, and some days he favours one or the other. But he does what he likes and he likes what he does. (Which usually brings meltdowns when getting dressed in the morning if an outfit isn't colourful enough).

He's been wearing a purple tuelle tutu skirt for the last two days. Literally every waking moment. He was dressed for bed last night and then undressed himself and went and put the tutu back on. He wanted to wear it again today.
He put it on with some grey leggings underneath (that had nuts and bolts on), a t shirt, some chelsea boots and a navy blue wooly hoodie.
Nursery are great with this stuff so no problems there. We got to playgroup afterwards and comments from everybody there were like "Oh whats her name?" and when I told them and said He's 2, they would say "Oh, well good for him, I just assumed because of the girls skirt that it was a girl" (He otherwise looks like a boy, short hair ect), "You do whatever you want theres nothing wrong with wearing a girls skirt", that kind of thing, generally making quite a big deal of it.

Afterwards we went to the farm with his friend, Where there were more comments asking what her name was (I know an easy mistake and not what got to me in the slightest) but the reaction when I said "He is ..."
One woman even looked at him and said "Oh, well your little friend and your little sister, you're surrounded by girls is that why you're wearing girls clothes?" and another woman saying "You wear that girls skirt, my son liked things like that but everyone skitted at him"

I mean I know people are just rude sometimes but why make a huge point of it being girls? Why can't people just say "oh thats a nice skirt" or say nothing at all? His friend is the same age and a girl, and I'm pretty sure had she been wearing it nobody would have said "oh what a lovely girls skirt you have on"
It made me feel so cruel for letting him go out with it on, but what message is it giving to society by telling him not to? Ive never looked at a young girl with a football shirt on and said "what a lovely boys shirt you're wearing".

Why is it such an atrocity in this day and age to comment on anything at all that a woman or girl shouldn't do or have, but boys are just as equally stereotyped from infancy about what they can and can't do or like. Why can't people just smile or look the other way? Why does it have to be such a big thing. And now I've ranted on AIBU like it is a big thing but I just don't know why people have to put outdated ideas into tiny heads like that?

TeamBacon Tue 27-Oct-15 21:50:16

I really really don't get why anybody else gives a shit about what a child wears, and why they can't just stfu and keep their opinions to themselves.

Baffles me, it does

DS often has a pink dummy, when he was smaller he has a lovely fluffy coat. Everybody commented about it, asked what her name was, looked confused when I explained that he is a boy confused (he's very very obviously a boy fgs)

nocabbageinmyeye Tue 27-Oct-15 21:55:35

I think yabu, people can say nothing these days ffs, look they clearly thought your child was a girl and felt awkward and had a bit of verbal diarrhoea when you corrected them, it's no big deal. Skirts are generally worn by girls, is it wrong for a boy to wear them? No of course not but when a lot if babies look like they could be either a girl or a boy then if it's wearing a skirt you could assume it's a girl. They were making conversation, people should just give up cause there is always someone out there waiting to be offended

MissBattleaxe Tue 27-Oct-15 21:58:05

I don't think they meant to be offensive, they were just making small talk.

AbbyCadabra Tue 27-Oct-15 21:59:03

They're obviously not living in MN world, where every little lad runs around in a tutu.

(Wonders why it is always a tutu?)

Only1scoop Tue 27-Oct-15 22:01:23

Just making small talk they couldn't really care less I'm sure.

It's done to death to be honest.

"My ds loves a pink Disney costume"

"Oh mine loves a sparkly fairy costume with a glittery wig and pink pony wellies"

Shakey15000 Tue 27-Oct-15 22:01:43

I don't think they said anything untoward, from what you've conveyed? confused

Also, if your DS doesn't care, and you don't care, why are you caring so much about people's perceptions/comments? I'm a bit confused tbh.

Only1scoop Tue 27-Oct-15 22:01:58

I know Abby

It's always a tutu

DickDewy Tue 27-Oct-15 22:03:50

Agree, it's always a tutu, and only on MN.

Bellebella Tue 27-Oct-15 22:03:58

It sounds as if you have made it a bigger thing tbh. Nothing they said sounds offensive to me, more small talk.

My son likes all sorts of things and I have never paid any mind to any comments like that. I don't care what he does so why would you even think about their comments.

babarthefuckingelephant Tue 27-Oct-15 22:08:09

But i don't understand why people are bothered, I think my point is that if he were a girl, people wouldn't take the piss and make a point of saying things.

You have an item of clothing, and a gender.

And if he was a girl people wouldn't say anything to him at all, why upon finding out he is a boy does that mean there has to be justification for his clothing choices.

It is harsh when you can see it confuses him when they say things like that, but he is happy as larry at home.

If he were a girl and people were saying things about what she shouldn't be wearing because of her gender there would be uproar. Why can't people just mind their business or think, oh theres a 2 year old with a smile.

VashtaNerada Tue 27-Oct-15 22:08:39

YANBU for being fed up with the constant comments, particularly when he can hear them, but I suspect it's partly to cover their embarrassment at assuming he's a girl.
And the "only on Mumsnet" comments are so dull. Of course there are boys who like skirts in RL. My DS was never one of those boys who liked princess dresses but he does like Barbie, baby dolls and pink. It's not that unusual!

NothingNewUnderTheSun Tue 27-Oct-15 22:09:10

Small talk - nothing more, nothing less. It's you making the huge big deal out of it - and whilst you may balk at his head being filled with out of date ideas it's probably as well for him to learn that rocking up to his first day at Goldman Sachs/Sandhurst/Sports Direct in a purple tutu probably won't go down too well.

MissBattleaxe Tue 27-Oct-15 22:14:29

You wear that girls skirt, my son liked things like that but everyone skitted at him This actually sounds like quite a sympathetic remark to me.

If your boy wears a tutu, there's nothing wrong with that, but you can't change the fact that it is unusual and there are more boys not in tutus than there are in tutus. People may pass comment or look twice. That's just how it is.

If a little girl went out in a Darth Vader outfit, she would get remarks because there are not many of them.

Floggingmolly Tue 27-Oct-15 22:15:43

They weren't saying he shouldn't wear it; just saying good on him for wearing a girl's skirt. Because, although I'll be shouted down immediately for saying so - a tutu is a girl's skirt.
Male ballet dancers don't wear tutus. But little boys can, and nobody said otherwise. Relax.

ottothedog Tue 27-Oct-15 22:17:07

Its very old fashioned to have decided his gender already anyway, i learned today on mumsnet, so you should stop telling people he is a boy

Jaxsbum Tue 27-Oct-15 22:17:15

wow mountain out of a mole hill
sounds to me like you are more concerned by it than you think

longdiling Tue 27-Oct-15 22:17:17

But people aren't taking the piss are they? I kind of see what you mean that they're commening on it but they probably feel a bit backed into a corner. They mistake him for a girl, feel embarrassed and try and dig themselves out by saying 'good for him' etc so you don't think they're judgy arseholes. If they mistook him for a girl and then said nothing, I can't help but wonder if you'd mistake their silence for silent judging.

BathshebaDarkstone Tue 27-Oct-15 22:18:27

I understand the OP's point of view. DS 4 has opted to go trick or treating as a witch this year. I'm worried about the "who's this little girl, where's your DS?" comments, then having to explain that it's him in the rainbow-coloured dress. hmm

larrygrylls Tue 27-Oct-15 22:20:28

It is always the embarrassed small child who has to pay the price for the politically correct parent. Maybe, in an ideal world, we could all wear anything, or even nothing, at all times.

I can totally see why dressing a girl in comfortable trousers and trainers is sensible. In fact I cannot stand toddler girls dressed in outfits totally unsuitable for play. But a boy in a skirt or tutu: just no. Parenting involves teaching a child to be comfortable in society as it is. They can choose to stand out later, as an adult choice.

In the interim I suggest dressing boys in trousers and sending your husbands, who understand the consequences, to work in a tutu.

longdiling Tue 27-Oct-15 22:23:05

Why would people ask that bathsheba, unless it's a magic dress in the style of Clark Kent's glasses and his face becomes instantly unrecognisable?

Perhaps people will disappoint surprise you and not say anything?

DickDewy Tue 27-Oct-15 22:29:34

Between the ages of 2 and 3, my son was never without his Fizz from the Tweenies doll (archaic now - she was very pink). This, coupled with the fact he liked to push her around in a buggy and that he had a head full of ringlets, tended to make every stranger we met think he was a girl.

Meh. Who cares?

babarthefuckingelephant Tue 27-Oct-15 22:32:32

londiling I see what you mean, I definitely wouldn't be silently judging anybody else because I don't think anybody else noticed, and if they did just looked at him and thought "oh he's having fun" kind of thing. Im just irrationally pissed of by the justifications when girls are told they can do and be anything. Maybe I am way more put out than I should be, I just don't want him to take any of it in. I just want him to either wear it because he wants to, or not wear it because he doesn't want to, not to feel self conscious about it.

Larry thats just ridiculous, I could see your point if I had taken a boy or a man out in a tutu and they hadn't made that choice for themselves, but he is 2, and he made the choice himself. I don't think a 2 year old in a tutu is really the same as a grown man is it. A 2 year old is a 2 year old. He also likes running around trees in circles over and over again, eating things off the floor, talking to inanimate objects and putting cars in cups and serving them to me with a plate of fridge magnets. He's not going to be doing those when he's 30 either is he.

Sparklingbrook Tue 27-Oct-15 22:36:03

Tutus are a bit impractical for nursery and visiting farms.

VashtaNerada Tue 27-Oct-15 22:38:24

Parenting involves teaching a child to be comfortable in society as it is. No, no it doesn't.

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