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  1. #1
    Senior Member Nonpareil's Avatar
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    Default Dressing up for Halloween for children

    So today, I was listening to the radio and they were talking about a caller who had called in about his four year old son who wanted to dress up as first a fairy for Halloween. The father didn't know how to tell his son that that was a girl's costume so he told the boy that it wouldn't fit him and to pick something else. He showed his son pirate, ninja, king, etc outfits but the boy didn't like any of it and then picked a princess costume. The father not knowing what to do, left the costume store without buying his son anything. So he was asking the people on the radio for advice.

    What do you think?
    If you had kids or if you have kids:
    - Would you allow your son to dress up as a fairy, or princess or ballerina? Why or why not?
    - What if it was your daughter, would you let her dress up as a pirate or ninja or prince charming? Why or why not?

    Do you think it is appropriate for us, as adults/parents to tell our kid (who may be too young to understand gender roles/sterotypes) to tell our kid what is for a boy or girl?

    Personally, I think I would have a problem if my son wanted to dress up as a girl or as something very feminine (such as a fairy or ballerina). But then, I was thinking, that's not really fair and yet I can't change my opinion on that. Is society's pressure on what our gender roles are and how we should act/dress so deeply ingrained in me?

    Do you think it's a double standard for us when we would most likely allow girls to dress up as guys but yet not let guys dress up as girls?

    One more thing, does the age of the child matter? For example, would it change if the kid was 3-7 or 8-12 or 13-17?

    I'm wondering because I might have a harder time with a young boy wanting to dress up as a girl but if he was a teenager (and was trying to be different or cool at school) and wanted to dress up as a girl as a joke - I would probably be okay with my teenage son wanting to be a girl for Halloween.

    I just curious what the rest of you think. Parents?
    Sorry for any typos, spelling or grammer errors but I'm a bit preoccupied planning my wedding.
    Or if you want to read more about me and help me gain more insight to your world (I do need more experiences in life), feel free to skim through my blog.

  2. #2
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I'm not a parent, of course, but I'm pretty sure I would encourage it actually, it'd be a bit more interesting at least than the regular old costumes.

    I have a feeling that older/more religious/more traditional people would have more of a problem with it, in general.

    Although if he wanted to wear a dress to school for day-to-day stuff, I would probably strongly discourage it, if only because of the inevitable teasing.

  3. #3
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Would you let your kid dress up as something stupid on a normal day just because he wanted to (Big Daddy style)? The parent may just be trying to save the kid embarassment. The kid may think it is a good idea at the time when he is only judging it with his own opinion, but he may regret the decision once he gets to school.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kyrielle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nonpareil View Post
    What do you think?
    If you had kids or if you have kids:
    - Would you allow your son to dress up as a fairy, or princess or ballerina? Why or why not?
    - What if it was your daughter, would you let her dress up as a pirate or ninja or prince charming? Why or why not?
    You bet I'd let my son be a fairy if he so desired! I'd make sure it was the coolest looking fairy on the block! And a princess? Sure, why not? He's four years old for goodness sake. It's not as if his concept of identity is fully developed yet, and for all I may know, the next year he might want to be Godzilla or an angel or some such thing. It's just Halloween. =) And Halloween is partially about role-playing and getting into the spirit of being other people.

    As for the daughter. Yea, of course. When I was seven, I was a ninja. The year after that I was a pirate. And then later I was the grim reaper. I've never been one for "normal" costumes for girls. "Boy" costumes were so much more fun. And again, it's role-playing. It's getting to be what you'll never, ever be for one night.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nonpareil View Post
    Do you think it is appropriate for us, as adults/parents to tell our kid (who may be too young to understand gender roles/sterotypes) to tell our kid what is for a boy or girl?
    No. Kids don't know yet, and because they don't know, I think they should be allowed to explore other gender stereotypes so they can figure out what they like and what they don't like. I think the exploration of such things allows for a more stable identity later in life, because these children will have been able to say that they tried it and have the experience from that.

    For example, I never liked dolls. I had dolls, but then I was allowed to get boy stuff like dinosaurs and legos and X-Men action figures. The hilarious part is that even though I had these boy things, I still played girl games with them. My lego men, played house. And my dinosaurs, went on rampages and then got distracted by the pretty leaves in the jungle and went exploring instead. So, I was able to discover that I liked boy games and things, but I still liked girl games too. I think it made me more flexible in dealing with other people. (Or maybe it just made me weird to normal people.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nonpareil View Post
    Do you think it's a double standard for us when we would most likely allow girls to dress up as guys but yet not let guys dress up as girls?
    Yes. But that may be because girls can dress up as guys and still be girls. They can still be vulnerable and feminine. Guys don't ever really dress up as girls and still remain guys. They turn into something less strong on all fronts (or so it seems)...and decidedly less masculine. Which, whether we like it or not, is important in society as a whole.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nonpareil View Post
    One more thing, does the age of the child matter? For example, would it change if the kid was 3-7 or 8-12 or 13-17?
    Of course. At different ages, people are expected to be different things. I think the problem would really begin at 10, since this is a time when children are on the cusp of beginning to learn what it means to be grown up. But still, if my son/daughter was insistent upon it and understood that they may be ostracised from their peers, they could go for it.



    For the record: NOT a parent. And I hope to not be one for a long time.

  5. #5
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nonpareil View Post
    But then, I was thinking, that's not really fair and yet I can't change my opinion on that. Is society's pressure on what our gender roles are and how we should act/dress so deeply ingrained in me?

    Do you think it's a double standard for us when we would most likely allow girls to dress up as guys but yet not let guys dress up as girls?
    I've never understood the idea of a double standard for gender roles. It isn't really a double standard...It's two completely different standards. The genders are motivated and effected by different things. It isn't just society that provides us our roles. Just like you would rarely ever see two guys kiss because they were dared to, or are trying to get girls attention, but it's much more normal for girls (at least in my experience).
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nonpareil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    Would you let your kid dress up as something stupid on a normal day just because he wanted to (Big Daddy style)? The parent may just be trying to save the kid embarassment. The kid may think it is a good idea at the time when he is only judging it with his own opinion, but he may regret the decision once he gets to school.
    I agree with you Meta. The father may be trying to protect his son from being mocked. He is obviously too young to understand the consequences of wanting to dress in more feminine costumes but what if he was explained it? Does it matter? Should we deny the boy the chance to pretend to be a fairy or princess after we explain to him that it is for girls?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrielle View Post
    You bet I'd let my son be a fairy if he so desired! I'd make sure it was the coolest looking fairy on the block! And a princess? Sure, why not? He's four years old for goodness sake. It's not as if his concept of identity is fully developed yet, and for all I may know, the next year he might want to be Godzilla or an angel or some such thing. It's just Halloween. =) And Halloween is partially about role-playing and getting into the spirit of being other people.
    You're so right Kyrielle! It is after all, Halloween, one of the only times in the year where we can role-play and pretend to be something we're not. What's sad is that boys/guys do generally get mocked if they dress up as girls.

    Would you still explain to him that that costume is mostly for girls though or just let him face the possible mockery himself?

    Kids don't know yet, and because they don't know, I think they should be allowed to explore other gender stereotypes so they can figure out what they like and what they don't like. I think the exploration of such things allows for a more stable identity later in life, because these children will have been able to say that they tried it and have the experience from that.
    I think I've read or heard somewhere that it is actually important in a child's development to allow them to explore the two genders and stereotypes - it allows them to relate to the opposite sex. But don't quote me on this because I don't know if I have the right info - but it makes sense to me.

    But that may be because girls can dress up as guys and still be girls. They can still be vulnerable and feminine. Guys don't ever really dress up as girls and still remain guys. They turn into something less strong on all fronts (or so it seems)...and decidedly less masculine. Which, whether we like it or not, is important in society as a whole.
    I do agree with you statement here but that may be part of our problem. Because of this idea, we do frown upon guys that "dress up" as girls - even if it's only for one day, Halloween. We can't even accept dress-up and role-playing even for a few hours a year. I wonder if that stereotype will change in the future or get worse? Hell, back when Shakespear wrote plays, men always played women in plays. It was okay then, why not now?

    At different ages, people are expected to be different things. I think the problem would really begin at 10, since this is a time when children are on the cusp of beginning to learn what it means to be grown up. But still, if my son/daughter was insistent upon it and understood that they may be ostracised from their peers, they could go for it.
    That's cool, you seem to respect the child's need for exploration, including gender roles.

    So, you are saying that you would support your five year old boy dressing up as a girl but be a bit more worried if it was your ten year old son?

    It's understandable and I think these kind of situations is what makes parenting hard.
    Sorry for any typos, spelling or grammer errors but I'm a bit preoccupied planning my wedding.
    Or if you want to read more about me and help me gain more insight to your world (I do need more experiences in life), feel free to skim through my blog.

  7. #7
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    I'd be fine with the kid going fairy. (If in school, I might ask the questions about whether he would in front of other kids, but for walking around, I wouldn't have a problem with it.)

    Asking the question about older kids seems a non-issue, since by that time the social stuff going on would make it very unlikely for people to pick reversed roles, or even care that much about getting halloween costumes.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kyrielle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nonpareil View Post
    Would you still explain to him that that costume is mostly for girls though or just let him face the possible mockery himself?
    It sounds cruel, but I might. It depends, I guess. I would definitely explain the norms of society so he would have a vague understand of what other people expect. I would never let a kid go into a situation blind if I could help it. He would be as prepared as I could help him be, but the mockery is something he would have to puzzle out for himself. I'd guide him, but I wouldn't hold his hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nonpareil View Post
    I wonder if that stereotype will change in the future or get worse? Hell, back when Shakespear wrote plays, men always played women in plays. It was okay then, why not now?
    It was okay then because men were the only ones who were actors. I just don't think there were enough women actors to fulfill all the roles, so boys got to play girls in the plays. And it could very well be that those boys were also naturally feminine.



    Quote Originally Posted by Nonpareil View Post
    So, you are saying that you would support your five year old boy dressing up as a girl but be a bit more worried if it was your ten year old son?
    Yes, I would. Mostly because by 10 kids start to know where they stand as a boy/girl, and I imagine the mockery that would go on could be far more dangerous than as a 5-year-old. Despite being worried, I would still support them. That doesn't mean I wouldn't have to assist in adjusting and finding ways in which the child wouldn't be harmed by others. But that all works out in the grand scheme of things. As I said before, I would never let a child go into that situation blind. They would be prepared beforehand in ways of standing up for themselves.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself and quite possibly talking out of my ass. I'm just projecting what I think I would do. I have no idea what I would really do.

    I won't lie, idealistically, I'd rather have children that are unique and different, but not so incredibly different that they risk being bullied all their lives. I wouldn't wish that upon anyone really...but if it happened, well there's not much that can be done. People deserve to grow up in the fashion that naturally suits them.

    And all of this might be a reaction to the overprotection most parents give their children. I just think kids should be allowed to get dirty, fall down, scrape their knees, and learn to get up and run around again...and be kids for as long as it's possible.

  9. #9

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    One of my co-workers brought in one of those hot-pink wigs which I wore for the duration of my shift (it was funny), so I'm pretty sure I wouldn't give a crap if my kid wanted to be a fairy one day a year.

  10. #10
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    Would you let your kid dress up as something stupid on a normal day just because he wanted to (Big Daddy style)? The parent may just be trying to save the kid embarassment. The kid may think it is a good idea at the time when he is only judging it with his own opinion, but he may regret the decision once he gets to school.
    Texas.

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