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When a Boy Wants to Wear a Skirt to School

An Eagle Rock mom wants to know how to handle people who frown upon the sight of her son dressed in a skirt.

From an Eagle Rock mom:

“I have a 4-year-old son who attends a local nursery school where the teachers are caring and compassionate. Lately, my son has been lately experimenting with his clothing. He wants to wear skirts and dresses to school.

“The teachers have been raising their eyebrows at this and asking if anything is wrong at home. I don’t think that’s cool. What do you think I should say to them?

“The same thing happens whenever we hang out in Eagle Rock and my boy is wearing a skirt. I see kids point and giggle (my son, despite his interest in girls’ clothes) looks very much like a boy, with short hair (he wants to grow it long) and more masculine features.

“I think we need a one-size-fits-all comment that is diplomatic but firm and responds to all the haters. What would you say to people who have made it clear that they are not into a little boy wearing girls’ clothing?”

Bill Fishman November 23, 2011 at 04:16 PM
Check out http://raisingmyrainbow.com/
Joe Walker November 23, 2011 at 04:50 PM
How about.."My son likes to dress that way" and leave it at that. You and him know he will experience a lot of reactions, which may be part of the reason he does it. Who knows? However, make sure he gets good counseling so that he can be prepared for the certain attention that is coming.
jayres November 23, 2011 at 05:01 PM
First of all, if this is how you want to raise your child, then tell people to mind their own business. As far as the snickering goes, that comes with the territory. If you do not want to set gender specific boundaries for your child, doesn't mean other people will see that as normal/good parenting/socially kosher. Maybe you need a little of that Hester Prin steely resolve, because I can assure you it will only intensify with age for your child and certainly how people view you as a parent. Good or bad that is just reality.
Joe Walker November 23, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Telling a person to mind their own business is the worst answer possible. There are certain norms in society and a boy wearing a dress will push people's comfort levels. Instead of acting confrontational, act like its okay and the little boy will not feel so marginalized.
John Goldfarb November 23, 2011 at 06:09 PM
I'm all for freedom of self-expression, but this little boy is going to be the target of hateful comments and possibly violence if he persists in cross-dressing at school or in other public places. His mother is doing him no favor in conveying the message that this is acceptable and that other people's reactions are their own problem. It's one thing to make it safe for him to cross-dress in a private setting, but she might as well paint a bulls-eye on his chest if she allows him to go to school in girls' clothing.
Joe Walker November 23, 2011 at 06:21 PM
John,,,I agree. I am also curious about something--is this a real story about an ER kid or was this just modified to generate interest and discussion? I would like to hear from the mom or someone at the school--assuming they even exist.
Allison November 23, 2011 at 07:33 PM
These are constructive comments and insights, thanks! I especially think the advice to simply say, "My son likes to dress that way," is especially on the mark. It communicates exactly what it needs to communicate. Joe, yes, a local mother asked me to post this question about her son, who is adorable, both in skirts and pants. ;-)
Nelson R Grande II November 23, 2011 at 08:03 PM
"My son likes to dress that way" is definitely the way I'd go with this. But I think it's important to take John's comment into consideration as well. If the child wishes to dress in that fashion (no pun intended), then Mom/Dad should definitely have a talk with said child to let hir know that there will be people who will ridicule, point fingers, or just be downright nasty. Let the child know that s/he can do as s/he wishes. But prepare for all things, positive and negative alike. One thing is for sure, though. I would NEVER tell this child s/he is doing something wrong. We are all individuals and we all have a right to be that individual, no matter how socially unacceptable it is.
Elijah H November 23, 2011 at 11:44 PM
Agree with Nelson. I applaud the mother for being brave enough to show support for her son, in the face of ugliness and bigotry. Unfortunately, the world is not kind, and those who don't fit in with "certain norms in society" as Joe calls them learn this sooner than others. This is an excellent opportunity for an early lesson on human differences that don't fit "certain norms" and acceptance of all shapes, sizes, and expressions of humanity.
rebecca niederlander November 24, 2011 at 07:01 PM
The boy is FOUR YEARS OLD! Good grief! He needs neither therapy nor a strong talking to from his family. Who knows either how long this particular activity will interest the boy, nor what he might be like in the future. At four my daughter dressed as all sorts of things, plenty of them not gender-informed nor appropriate. I am perpetually nauseated by the gender definition adults displace onto minor children. If I was the Mom, and felt required to answer, I would laugh off any disrespect the boy is shown with a warm smile and a casual "he's so awesome" or "he's having a fun day" or some such loving remark that indicated a total love and admiration of her son. He won't take the giggles to heart unless they affect his parents since he looks to them to set the larger tone for his understanding of the world. And to the Mom with the question, plenty of preschools and nursery schools provide gendered clothing for dramatic play and find both sexes exploring it. This is natural and healthy.
Blake December 31, 2011 at 03:36 AM
Im a straight male with kids and so on,not that has anything to do with me wearing a skirt.I dont think there is anything wrong a MALE wearing a skirt AT ANY AGE.I wear a skirt Monday thru SundayI.At work or any place else.I havent worn pants in a long time.I feel completely at ease when im out or at work in a skirt.For me,wearing a skirt is as normal as brushing my teeth.Dont give much thought.These are pleated skirts, just about 3 inches or so above the knee.When im out i get some good comments if they say anything at all. I dont like the word "cross dresser" sounds creepy.Prior to WWII women could be arrested and jailed for appearing in public in pants in most U.S. States.With the onset of the war women went to work in the factories, dressesd and skirts were not practical and sometimes even dangerous. So women began wearing pants to work and it grew from there. So it has only been for around 70 years.When a women says she want to wear a pair of pant, society celebrates her right for equality, but when a man say he wants to wear a skirt, his gender identity is brought into question. No one says a woman is crossdressing in pants, no one says that she is a lesbian, so why do we think these things of men. Females adopted the SKIRT from a males wardrobe,along with other things as well........so guys,wear your skirt out (like you would in jeans) and go about society.Its really not that big of issue...
Joe Walker December 31, 2011 at 04:49 AM
I still am doubtful about this whole story. Thousands of readers viewed this and dozens commented on it...and not one person verified if it was real. If it was indeed a little boy who was going to XXX school, (I inserted the X's, no censorship here) they why has not a single person stepped up and said they know this family? Call me skeptical...
Blake January 04, 2012 at 01:53 AM
To Joe Walker, Well this is a true event..you dont guys wear skirts or ?? Well im a guy that wears a SKIRT not a KILT.And i make it know if people ask me.Prior to WWII women could be arrested and jailed for appearing in public in pants in U.S...When a women says she want to wear a pair of pants, but society celebrates her right for equality, but when a man say he wants to wear a skirt, his gender identity is brought into question. No one says a woman is crossdressing in pants, no one says that she is a lesbian, so why do we think these things of men. Attitudes towards men’s fashion is extremely sexist and restrictive.Skirts like pants are not “gender specific” like a bra thus are largely unisex! Anyone can wear them but of course there are styles better suited for men and women. Ever notice how women in pants still look like women yet a guy in a skirt will be accused of “cross dressing” or worse yet it is IMPOSSIBLE for women to “cross dress” because they already wear everything from the mans side of the wardrobe. The word should be banned as sexist.

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