An acquaintance of mine who shall remain nameless, told me I was a bad mother and was behaving in a reckless manner in regards to my then seven year old son. Why you ask? Did I leave him stranded in a dark alley filled with child predators? No. Did I force poison down his gullet? No. Did I raise a hand to him to discipline him? No. So, what was my transgression? I allowed my seven year old to don a wig and a princess dress of his own volition.Oh and the worst part about my action according to said acquaintance, I posted this picture on the internet, where it will live on in infamy.
In other words, according to said acquaintance, by posting a picture of my son dressing up in a feminine getup I have essentially besmirched his reputation for eternity. I guess if my son ever wants to be an executive at a Fortune 500 company (perish the thought) a physician or just a regular upstanding citizen this picture- which will now live forever on the internet- will gravely affect how he is perceived and might ruin his chances at a normal, stable adulthood.
Of course when I snapped the photo of my boy donning play clothes- this was the furthest thought from my consciousness. I was merely freeze framing that evanescent period of time when my son can express himself and freely imagine and play with no abandon and no sense of recrimination or pressure. I love this age- I adore his spirit, his silly side, the fact that he doesn’t think anything is icky or too babyish. My boy is still so uncluttered and free-thinking and why this relative would want to impose their own values and mores on my young, innocent still untainted by society’s prejudices son is truly beyond my comprehension.
I’ll be honest- I don’t know what would happen if my son decided he wanted to dress up like a girl every day. And like any other parents- my husband and I would cross that proverbial bridge if we needed to- I am confident- in the same way we’ve both encouraged our son to freely flex his imaginative play muscles. My husband, the ever conservative manly man- did not feel threatened by my son’s choice of costume whatsoever- and his attitude and willingness to be open to our son’s normal childhood exploration and expression is one of the reasons I am so madly in love with him. He gets it. He doesn’t feel this pressing need to influence his habits and likes with strongly masculine proclivities- he just wants a boy who is happy. He wants a son who feels comfortable in his own skin and of course as his mother that is precisely all I could wish for as well.
As far as this acquaintance of mine, who feels unhinged by this picture of my son, I say, perhaps the problem is with you- and something you need to address. My son, and all boys his age, should luxuriate in their freedom of expression and imagination and really shame on you for projecting your own prejudices and uneasiness onto him.
Do you agree or disagree?