It occurred to me the other day that I would really like to wear a princess dress with a nice sparkly tiara, or at least a cute frilly tutu. I’m totally not going to wear any of those things, but I really want to. Well maybe what I really want is to have been able to wear those things when it would have been acceptable for me to wear them, maybe somewhere around age five. That tends to be the approximate age of the humans that I do see wearing those types of items and most people think it is absolutely adorable.
Well it’s adorable if you’re a girl. But if you’re a 45-year-old male-appearing human, it seems super bizarre. I don’t mean to say I think it is wrong for someone to do that, if it’s what they want to do. But it is certainly going to be an attention-getting choice, which I am not interested in. I prefer to blend in. Which is exactly why I’m totally not going to go there, even though I’d love a cute Cinderella dress.
It would have been great to have had the freedom at some point in my life to have worn those types of clothes. I have an inner longing for these no-longer-possible moments in time. The fun freedom of childhood makes playing dress-up something that others admire and applaud. Well, at least so long as it mostly conforms to societal norms.
I think there are still many people who think that little girls should play in princess dresses and little boys should play with firetrucks. Recently there have been more encouraging signs of not needing to conform, especially for little girls. In fact little girls are often reminded that they can be anything they want to be. If they want to dress as a princess, that’s fine, but so is playing a scientist. More and more, they get to do it with very little derision or questioning. We even have a cute name for girls who show some signs of gender variance: tomboy.
Sissy, though, tends to be the only word that people use to describe little boys who want to dress up as princesses. Oh sure, they can play dress up, but as cops and robbers. They can build with Legos, but playing with Barbie or twirling around in a dress, well that will be met with questions and concerns at the very least. Parents who support their gender-variant children are often seen as supporting a mental illness within their children. Few are applauded for fighting gender stereotypes. I suppose for some, it’s a good thing to fight stereotypes, but only if they are the right stereotypes.
Nobody should be bound to follow gender stereotypes. It doesn’t matter if you expect for girls to practice with Easy Bake Ovens or for boys to practice with Young Scientist Kits. Both of them are fine if either gender wants to play with them, but neither is fine if you are forcing a child to play it because it is what you think they should be doing. Humans should be allowed to go with their likes and dislikes, as long as they don’t hurt anyone else.
Which I truly do believe … but I still won’t be buying a princess dress. I think, though, that maybe I do understand why some gender-variant people choose to dress in seemingly outlandish ways. Maybe they are just trying to capture a lost piece of childhood. Maybe they are more free than I am willing to be. Maybe it just makes them happy. And that’s enough.
It truly is.
You know, maybe I will get a tiara.
Hi, I’m Nadine Spirit and I have been a lifelong gender non-conformer. I have always understood that I am a bit different than most but it was not until sometime in my thirties that I came to understand that I am transgender. While I spend most of my time presenting as a male I am always presenting in a gender non-conforming manner.
I started my blog, Unordinary Style, with the idea of being able to show a stylish side to those who identify as transgender. Since that time my blog has evolved into showing my personal style, discussing a wide variety of transgender topics, as well as posts about my personal life. My personal style continues to evolve as I attempt to continually push myself to pick stuff off of the racks, take it into the dressing room, and try on as much as I can. I am a firm believer in ignoring tag sizes, never paying retail prices, and due to a terrific allergy – that nickel should never be in any jewelry!