Ever since I've read the story of the wee 2 year old being assaulted for wearing a pink lace head band, it's caused me to pause and reflect.
Let's jump in the way back machine a minute I want to take you on a brief trip.
Once upon a time, way back in the 1987 or '88 near onto Halloween, I asked the kids what they wanted to "be" for Halloween. The older one didnt have a clue, and I think he went as a pirate, which was his default costume thru the years.
However the youngest, who was 5, thought only for the briefest of moments and then shouted "A WITCH!!!!! I wanna be a witch mommy!!"
Knowing how staid the community was, I attempted to steer him towards something else. Finally after firm repeats of his desire to be a witch I countered with, "Ok, how about a boy witch then? They are called warlocks."
With a look of pure disgust he answered me, "Mom-my! I don't wanna be pretend, I wanna be something real! There's no such things as warlocks! I wanna be a WITCH!"
And with that firm declaration, I gave up attempting to sway his choice and let it be. Now I can see you wondering why I tried so hard to change his mind. Because this town was mean spirited, and any step outside of "normal" and you're hounded for a long time. The religious folk were divided into two groups, those that boycotted Halloween and held a rival Harvest Celebration at church, and those that allowed their kids to attend, but steered them firmly away from magical beings. Neither group was known for allowing behavior outside of a narrow band of "normal" in their children.
I picked up some shiny black fabric, and a tall pointy witches hat, looked at the wigs, and found them to be unpleasantly scratchy, gave them a pass, he would just be the cutest blonde witch ever!
Hubby came home from work, and I had second son standing on a chair, measuring him. I nearly stabbed him with a pin due to his wild gesturing, "DADDY!!!! Mommy's working on my witch costume! SEE????"
TH wasn't all that happy with second son's choice of costume, but when I told him about our conversation, he agreed with me to let the boy be and enjoy dressing up as a witch. We had just decided to stick close to him at the party. Each year the school had a Halloween party, from kiddie garden thru high school seniors, and before your mind boggles at that, there were only around 100 kids that attended the school in our tiny village.
I whipped up his witch outfit, found out his head was to small for the hat, and TH stuffed it in such a way that it would stay on his head and he could see. The big day arrived, and oldest son wanted to be "made up". After a brief trip into the bathroom to sit on the counter so I could do him up with a beard, and scars, he was ready to go! Now my little witch wanted makeup too, and as soon as older brother hopped off the counter, he was trying his best to climb up for his turn. He found out that dresses arent very conducive to climbing! I popped him up on the counter, and gave him green skin, and a few warts. He was super duper vibrating with excitement, until he turned around, where upon he howled with fear! His reflection scared him to the point where he wouldnt stop crying until I had washed it all off.
Crisis adverted, we zipped the two babies into their snow suits, piled the entire family into the van and took off for school. Where we worried? Yeah a bit, but didnt think anyone would actually say anything negative to him.
Each child starts the party in their classroom, and proceeds throughout the school, room by room. Seeing the scary decorations and getting treats and tricks from teachers and helpful parents. The older kids usually didnt dress up, but they sure made each little kid feel special by commenting on their costume. The school had its faults, but back then it operated more as an extended family, with each small fry being paired with a big kid who would come down to the elementary end of the building to read to them or play quiet games each week. It helped the teens as much as the wee ones by giving them a little sib to take care of.
All of second son's classmates LOVED his outfit! A few boys were heard asking if they could be a witch next year, and were all told, as far as we heard, NO! Boys aren't witches. One little boy who was sweet as sugar replied, "Yup boys can be witches, see Daddy, second son is a witch and he's a boy!"
The older teens adored our adorable wee witch, and several of them wanted pictures of him with them. He ate up the attention by the "big" kids. TH who is much more aware of whats going on around him, heard several people mutter about second son wearing a dress. But a stern look from TH quelled most of the talk. TH's parents were so not amused with the costume and even went so far as to say they would have, "whipped" TH if he had of wanted to go as a girl for Halloween, we left shortly after that remark.
Second son loved his outfit so much that he wore it next year, it was a bit short, but that was the only costume he wanted. Then third son wore it, as did youngest son. They all loved wearing that costume, and they all looked completely adorable.
So, what's my point to this trip to the past? That the youngest of humans are the smartest when it comes to what truly matters. Clothes do not make the man, they clothe the man, and if he wants to wear pink shoes and a Mario Brothers tie, or a lace hairband, so freaking what? What one wears doesn't have any reflection at all on their intelligence, or ability to perform to standard. Clothes are fun, or supposed to be at least. Me thinks its way past time for us to grow up and become as children again, open to all, and accepting of everyone.
Oh, and the reason I only mentioned men in the above paragraph? Tis because women have a much wider arc in allowable actions and clothing than men do.