Wedding Woes

"Thanks! I think he's beautiful too!"

Dear Prudence,

People often comment on my son, saying, “Oh, what a beautiful little girl!” I usually respond cheerfully with, “Thanks! He’s a boy, but I understand why you say that—he’s really pretty!” He is almost 2, and I don’t dress him in especially girly clothes. His hair has gotten long, so we put the bangs up in a small ponytail on top of his head, which he loves. Is this OK for now? We aren’t anchored to gender stereotypes, so we don’t mind if he looks ambiguous as a toddler. But will he mind getting called a girl at some point? Should I dress him in more standard boy clothes or cut his hair or have a stronger response to strangers’ comments?

—Cute Toddler Problems

Re: "Thanks! I think he's beautiful too!"

  • He's 2.   You can correct people and move on and take his cues if you want how he has his hair styled to be his choice.

    FWIW people called Chiquita a boy at times too.   

    People are also idiots. 
  • Your response is fine, and keeping your son's hair long is fine as long as he's comfortable with it. If he asks for a shorter haircut at some point, or for different clothes, respect his wishes.
  • BabyKitten was often mentioned as a boy when we went out and she was in - what often is considered - gender neutral clothing.
    People: oh he's cute
    Me: I think she is too
    *subject dropped*

    One baby on my mom group, between his face and lashes, he gets often noted as a girl {she puts him in neutral colouring, because she likes the stuff}

    Whatever. I think until about 3, most kids are pretty gender neutral.
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    This really is so stupid. 

  • I want to eyeroll at LW, but honestly, this is why transgender people take so much shit. 

    IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT'S IN YOUR TODDLER'S PANTS.  LW's response is fine.  Cutting the kid's hair when he wants is fine.  Talk to your danged kid and protect him and don't worry about the rest of them as long as you can.
  • It really doesn’t matter what strangers are saying to you is passing. They’re making a guess and they’re wrong. So what? Either correct them or not but this is taking up too much of your energy if you’re writing Prudie about it. 
  • I also think the LW's response is fine and is thinking WAY too much about it.  I think @mrsconn23's is a great example.  Dressed and did DefConn's hair the way he and they wanted it.  Changed his hair when he requested it.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Just correct the pronoun and move on.  "Thanks, I think he is beautiful too!"
  • somewhat related, someone I know had a boy and gave him a name that was predominately male in the 1800s/early 1900s UK/Europe but is feminine in current time. They also dress him in a lot of pink/purple to defy gender sterotypes with clothing although I imagine it brings up a lot situations like what LW mentioned
  • People will say what they wanna say, in the end it's up to you and your son. I know situations where its particularly tricky. Some of my friends are Sikh (from the Sikhism religion), and they're not allowed to cut their hair, including the boys. When the boys get older, they wear turbans to secure their hair, but as children and toddlers, they might just keep it open. At that point, they're not going to listen to their neighbors telling them to cut their sons hair because he looks like a girl. So think of it that way, whatever anyone else may say, the final decision is yours and your sons. And if it doesn't bother either of you personally, I don't see any point of cutting his hair.
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