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Would You Let Your Son Wear a Dress?

Parents want their children to be happy, but what if wearing a dress is the thing that made your son's day?

Sarah Hoffman wrote about her conflicting maternal instincts to encourage her 4-year-old son, Sam's self-expression and protect him from ridicule.

Her poignant article, The Pink Dress is in this month's Cookie Magazine. She wrote:

I'd wanted to think that this was just a phase for Sam, but I was beginning to understand that it was not. My son wanted to wear a dress—for real, not for dress-up. He wanted to show the other children in his life, in preschool—the place where he expresses himself publicly—his true self. The pink-sundress-wearing self. And I was going to have to figure out what to do.


Join The Conversation
sfoerin sfoerin 5 years
The idea that gender roles are linked to anatomical sex and/or sexual orientation is as obsolete as the idea of an earth centered universe with all the other celestial bodies orbitting around it. Some of the most intelligent, courageous, compassionate and creative people I know are those who have dared to express gender traits not normally associated with their biological sex. Many of these kids probably have stronger senses of self than their gender conforming peers. Perhaps it's not the kids so much, as society that needs to stop kicking and screaming.
Nicole1963 Nicole1963 5 years
As I read through a vast amount of the comments I find my mend a bit perplexed at the hypocrisy that seems to be accepted as the status quo in society. If girls are on the receiving end the world get in an uproar but if the discrimination and hypocrisy is directed toward a male it is readily accepted by a large section of society as so called (truth, natural, etc, etc. etc) If a girl wants to wear levis boots and a tank top and baseball hat we have no problems at all with her doing so. If she decides she wants to wear boxers rather than panties nothing is said and many think it is kind of cute in their own way. However, if a boy asks or even shows interest in wearing a dress or something that may be described by parts of society as feminine we immediately get up in arms and declare it as unnatural and psychologically damaging to the child. This is just plain unsubstantiated rhetoric and stereotypical rubbish. Most of the ideology behind the hypocrisy stems from the subconsciously accepted belief of many individuals that masculinity is a higher state of respect and ability then femininity. Thus it is basically acceptable for girls to appear boyish or even a bit masculine as society in many ways instills the belief and understanding that by doing and acting so she is excelling and striving to achieve a higher sense of power. Likewise if a boy shows some softer traits and prefers more feminine clothing and appearance we quickly deem them gay, disturbed, perverts, mixed up, ect, ect, ect. Without consciously understanding why they are doing so society carries out a type of persecution against these males. We immediately question their manhood or sanity. Much of this rubbish stems from the idea that by desiring to act or dress in clothing that has been deemed by modern society as girls clothing(feminent) they are in essence stepping down to a lower less powerful existence in society. Thus there must be something wrong with them because everyone knows it is desirable to advance and climb but undesirable to retreat to lower levels. It took some years for woman to be accepted in society wearing pants. But in time it did become main stream because of the advancing status notion of society where woman were advancing in equality and controlling more of their destiny. Yet it is funny to see individuals get all up in arms when a male child desires to wear softer styled clothing and textiles. Society screams how dare he wear a dress. Yet when we look in earlier history men did not wear trousers but rather they wore clothing that resembled what in modern times one might call a dress. GO FIGGURE.
bjaxt bjaxt 8 years
My 3 Year old boy dances ballet he is in love with hannah montana and wears his sisters clothing including skirts fancy shirts and yes even dresses we have tried many times to get him to stop this but nothing we say or do will stop him from doing it after a while I decided that enough was enough why change who he is why try to make him different he wants to dress up in girls clothes and listen to "girly music" and dance and sing why stop him I was made fun of in school for being over weight and for not wearing tight clothing like all the other girls did then i lost weight and started dressing more like a girl and i ended up very popular but to me i felt like I was still that girl why? because i lost weight and dressed better just to make people like me why please anyone else yes i like most mothers dont want my son to be gay but he is 3 years old he is expressing himself and being who he wants to be not who everyone wants him to be its not fair to make his decisions for him my job is to keep him safe and teach him to be a good person whoever that person my end up being he is my son i will love him no matter what who am i to force him to be a person that he is not i can try my hardest to steer him in the right direction but the reality is he will go wherever his heart takes him and i will be by his side the whole way so to answer the question yes i think that you should encourage your child at no matter what age to do what makes them happy and live life to the fullest and be who he is not who everyone wants him to be isnt that called peer pressure?
kiki2007 kiki2007 8 years
We have a kid at our school who wears dresses. He is three and his mother just finds that she has to 'pick her battles'. While I admire that she wants to give her 3-year old some freedom and 'not supress' him, I find that it affects the other kids around him adversely. They ask me if he is a boy or a girl and he gets upset when he is confronted by a child or an adult about his dresses. They don't want to play with him because they are confused by him, which, in turn, affects him negatively. At this age, gender roles are really established and wearing a fluffy, flowery dress does not help his sexual identity, even if it makes him feel more independant and free to choose what he wants to wear. I encourage him to dress more like a boy, reacting positively even to a pink boyish shirt. I have no issues with 'female' colors, or even if he wore a kilt (because men wear kilts) but flowery female prints should not be worn by boys in school. Leave those at home and stop buying them specifically for him.
pifrond pifrond 9 years
Hi to all I fell upset when I read the most commens on this post about most people that are gainst the fact that a boy can wear dresse skirt or whatever they like . Sorry for my english I'm French . But I like to says to all those who are against : go to buy a brain in the supermarket if it was possible !!! Girls can wear what they wants pant skirt and boys don't so be logical a little and how do you want a society will change in a postive way and learn from each other if they all stays in their own certainty ? humm tell me !!! After that woman complain about the fact that man are not these or that not enough sensible an does not pay attention to their need ,Now you have a chance to change things so think about it for a minute !!! Let people try what they want to be end do . Woman complain also I notice that boys like girl only for their appearance or their look and not the fact thay can be clever it's quiet normal if you think just a second most mother don't let boy to learn girly thing and it's like because they want to mark boundaries on what is male and what is female . Of course kids need boundaries but I note that it's most uncomfortable for the adult because they are mostly formatted .Also most parents repeat the same pattern of what they have learned instead of thinking ; They worked like a RankXerox photocopy machine and that' why things change very slowly on many important thing about human behaviour .
faithlove faithlove 9 years
I met this guy who is fit and is built lean with muscle and got to know him as a friend. He is not gay and told me that he loves to wear womens panties, he dresses like a normal guy but wears these super silky full cut nylon panties and silky panties with them he said the feel is wonderful. He said he just loves women and every thing about them.
faithlove faithlove 9 years
Rosa-D Rosa-D 9 years
I foend that when my son decided to wear dresses we bonded very strongly. Maybe it is not such a bad idea.
asco00 asco00 9 years
Without question I would. Children need to know that they can be exactly who the want to be and can express themselves how they want to. Past that as parents they should have the ability to trust us to love and support them for exactly who they are. Like the woman in the article I would be clear to let him know that not everyone is as accepting. Let's keep in mind history shows us that guys wearing dresses isn't a new thing after all lol :)
live-4-gossip live-4-gossip 9 years
i would swear i was QTPIE as everything she said i was thinking. My son Loves my shoes and daddy's too but he understands boys and girls are different. He says pink is for girls but he has a ken doll and sometimes barbie comes over but mainly no. He is 4 by the way.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
No, I don't believe what I said was a contradiction. Socially, it's unsuitable for males of any age to wear dresses, even if it is tolerated... Unless they're a drag queen, which certainly isn't the message I'd want my little boy broadcasting. Telling a boy that girls wear dresses and boys wear slacks isn't a view of sexuality, it's what's more socially permissible. Maybe others would disagree, but that's my opinion.
1QTPIE 1QTPIE 9 years
My son wants a purple shirt only cause he wants the black, purple and blue jordans that my brother-in-laws both have. I'm willing to get him a purple shirt to match the shoes just not a dress.
1QTPIE 1QTPIE 9 years
No I wouldn't let my son wear a dress. I have 3 kids. My oldest, a boy, 3 years old. A one year old daughter and a 6 month old son. I don't stop my son from playing with my daughter and her dolls or her princess stuff, but I will not let my son wear a dress. That's just me. He understands the difference that boys have "weenies and girls don't." He knows that "pink" stuff is for sister and mommy and "blue" stuff is for him, dad and brother. He knows that he gets superheros and sister gets dolls. That doesn't mean he can't play with sisters toys and sister can't play with his toys. My daughter got a cheerleader doll for Christmas that my son just loves cause it says it's gonna "beat the whooptie out of you" and he'll run around making it dance and he'll even dance to it. My point is there are just some things you have to draw the line at. Sorry my sons will not run around in dresses. I will not allow it nor will my hubby. Sure I've put a pair of my sons old, but in good condition, sweat pants on my daughter but that's understanding. They were a pair of black sweat pants. Not a Pink Dress.
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