Of long hair and assumptions

Sunday, 15 September 2013

If ever there's two false assumptions that are made by Joe Public about The Toddler it would be that he is a girl and that he should be at nursery.  The prior based merely upon the fact he happens to have long hair, not anything as extraordinary as him possessing a vagina or anything.  The latter being based purely on the fact he's over three and I shall rant about this in my next blog post.

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.


  1. Tom was a girl today, I know this because he was wearing his favourite fleece and it's got bright pink spots on ;)

  2. I am totally cool with boys with long hair. DS's hair just doesn't seem to grow however (seriously! We left it be for a year once and it only just made it past his ears!) so the issues you've had have never really come up here. He has plenty of long-haired friends though.

    I do find it interesting that you felt the need to cut your eldest's hair for school giving reasons of nits, dirt etc. yet didn't feel the same need with your second..... The girl. I'm guessing her hair is tied back for school, couldn't you just do that with the youngest?

  3. J> Neither of my boys will tolerate having their hair tied back :( Thing Two had her hair cut to shoulder length because she abhors having it brushed and the nitty gritty became a right palava. Unfortunately many of the parents at school don't seem to treat nits, so it's an epidemic that drives me batty. It's now shoulder length and I still insist on tying it back every day and drowning her in tea tree oil spray!

    Thing One would like long hair again, we have said when he's old enough to look after it himself, then he is welcome to grow it as long as he wants it.

    I think the other reason we cut Thing One's hair was whilst that age, no matter what his opinion may be, the main decision to have long hair was ours, so should he have been the victim of bullying because of it (did i mention we live in a shitty area?) as half the boys round here look like mini-asbo's he really would have stood out for something that was essentially our choice, not his. He did have it long at first in pre-school but the practicalities of it were a nightmare as he hated us doing anything with it.

  4. Urgh I feel your pain on nits! We had a spate of them where every Fri (after forest school) DD would come home with them and I'd spend all weekend combing them out only for her to get them the following Fri! Luckily only she would get them and tea tree oil really helped to repel them but the problem finally went away when one child (obviously the source!) left the group.

    Was Thing One happy to have his hair cut? Just curious as if the Toddler totally objects he may end up with long hair still anyway 😉

  5. We get this all the time with A and R. Comments on how pretty R is. A goes to school with nearly shoulder length wavy hair and so far (as far as I know), he's not had any issues or stick for it. We asked if he wanted I cut and he said very firmly NO!

  6. We get this all the time with A and R. Comments on how pretty R is. A goes to school with nearly shoulder length wavy hair and so far (as far as I know), he's not had any issues or stick for it. We asked if he wanted I cut and he said very firmly NO!

  7. Great post. I found your blog after you responded to my Twitter shout out! I have nominated you for a Liebster award! The rules can be found on my blog at www.cookiesandcwtches.com. Have a great day and keep blogging!


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