Of long hair and assumptions
Sunday, 15 September 2013
The Husband has long hair, as in I'm jealous of it , yes...that type of long. Regardless of beard status he's never been mistaken for a woman (good job, he has crap tits) The Toddler however, must be a girl because evidently boys simply don't have long hair. His hair is gorgeous, like spun golden silk and reaches to his mid back. I'd sell internal organs to have hair like his. Despite his love of nail polish, makeup, heels and tutu's he's also very stereotypical boyish as well loving the usual cars and fire engines and what have you. When out and about he is dressed either boyish or gender neutral yet Thing Two who is a girl adores pink, purples, flowers, butterflies and glitter so it's not as if they could label us one of those families that insist on gender neutrality. I'd like to think it's his devastating beauty that marvels people and skewers their judgement but we've been here before, with Thing One. He too had long hair until he started school as the thought of glue, paint, food and nits outweighed the pro's of keeping his lustrous locks. However, we aren't at all offended by it, so what if they think he's a girl, it's usually commented on in a complimentary fashion accompanied by a comment on how beautiful he is, so really, what's to be offended about? If it's a health official or whatnot we do correct them however, often correcting some random just makes them feel bad all for the sake of a label, and not even a derogatory one at that. We merely accept the compliment and smile certain that when/if The Toddler wanted to he wouldn't be shy of saying 'I'm not a girl!' something, as of yet, he too hasn't felt the need to interject with. If that isn't being comfortable in your on skin, what is? Then we get to My Father, he who was utterly horrified when at Thing Two's birthday, The Toddler took possession of Thing Two's new pink haired doll and has similar distaste when The Toddler chooses to dress up Thing Two's princess dresses, play heels and make-up. It's as if he takes personal offence at The Toddlers lack of society defined masculinity. This is the same man who for years has refused to kiss and hug Thing One and insists on just shaking his hand. Yes, really. Out in public should anyone dare to refer to The Toddler as a girl, he feels the undying need to immediately correct them in a reprimanding tone, and to what purpose really? Surely a compliment is a compliment?
It would appear that he is terrified that liking anything stereotypically girly would turn him gay. As if you could turn or make someone gay, he fails to accept the notion that people are who they are and will be who they will be. If someone is gay, they'd be gay regardless of whether they played with dolls or trains. Then there's the big, so what? Being a serial killer or rapist would be a problem. Abusing animals would be a problem. Being a fascist bigot would be a problem. Being gay? Hardly a problem. Oh no, my child has decided to be himself! Call the parenting police. Gay or straight, blonde hair or brown....whatever. He's THREE years old and enjoying exercising his natural curiosity and freedom of choice. Hopefully with this organic curiosity and choices our funny, cheeky, imaginative little cretins will simply grow up to be emotionally healthy adults.
If I got a pound for every time he asked when we're getting The Toddlers hair cut, I'd be rich. Thing Two could demand a short back and sides, insist on wearing a football kit all the time and be obsessed with cars and it would be cute and quirky, The Toddler having long hair and occasionally having fun with his sisters toys however is obviously an utter catastrophe and the end of the world as we know it. Hair is just hair, toys are just toys as I previously ranted at length about (Does Pink Stink?)
We're not even keeping his hair long to make some grande social statement, we're not doing it to purposefully make people reassess their stereotyping, we do it because we like it, he likes it and it looks cute.
However, on the flip side, I have to ask myself would I be so laid back if it was Thing Two in question? In the name of honesty I have to shamefacedly admit, on some level, I'd be a tad miffed should someone assume Thing Two was male. Why is that? Would it really be such a sleight on her beauty? Can't boys be beautiful too? Is it a greater faux pas to overlook femininity in gender identity than to overlook masculinity? Is mistaking or removing gender stereotype as potentially dangerous as enforcing it?
All I know is that as The Toddler lies blissfully asleep next to me with his gorgeous long locks mermaided around his cherubic face, I will miss his hair when it finally gets chopped off (for the same reasons as Thing One) but he'll still be the same beautiful little boy....because it's only hair.