The first time it happened I thought it was quite funny, but then after the 300th time it starts to get a bit old.
OK it hasn’t happened 300 times but it happens quite often and it’s a little frustrating now that Corben actually understands. Corben has longer hair than the stereotypical boy and often wears a bobble or headband and this results in comments from strangers referring to HIM as a HER or a SHE.
At first it was quite funny and we laughed it off, often not even correcting people. Nowadays though, Corben is 5 and very understanding of conversations. A lady referred to him a couple of weeks back as a little girl and he immediately took out his bobble and said he didn’t want to where it anymore!
Suddenly it’s not so funny when your 5-year-old realises he’s being identified as the wrong gender purely based on his hair. It’s a bit ridiculous really, he doesn’t look like a girl at all. His clothing, his actual FACE, it’s clear he’s a boy. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with being a girl but the fact is, he isn’t one!
He loves his long hair and does like having a bobble and headband in and is even partial to a wash and blow dry, he genuinely loves it. For people to then only see this particular feature of his and immediately assume he’s a girl has now just become plain ignorant.
We’re trying hard to instil into Corben that genders don’t matter, everyone is a person, an equal person and stereotypes are outdated. It becomes much harder when strangers are ignorant to the fact he’s clearly a little boy, a male and yet call him a little girl when he’s not. Add this to the absolute nonsense we see everywhere today, in particular toy shops and adverts that market to gender stereotypes, it becomes almost impossible to tell you boy that pink isn’t just for girls and football isn’t only for boys.
If I was in a situation where I’m speaking with someone and it’s not immediately clear which gender their child is, I just wouldn’t make a comment, or I’d use generic phrases like ‘Aren’t they cute’ or whatever suits the given situation. I wasn’t that touchy about this topic for a long time because it didn’t seem to have any effect on Corben or us but that’s changed now. Often we’d just look at each other and laugh it off, that turned into rolling our eyes and is now at a stage where we have to point out, SHE’S a HE!
99% of people I understand mean no harm at all, they’re usually trying to be nice and we completely get that. We’re having a good moan about it yes, but only because it’s now happening more frequently and Corben is taking notice.
Surely one single feature, in this case long hair, isn’t enough to assume a gender. I’d understand if he was walking around with a tiara on and waving a wand around like he has done once before. I’d understand a little better, despite wanting these things to not be gender related either, but bloody hell people he’s inadvertently the most stereotypical boy you can get, minus the short spiky hair!
So I guess our point in this post is that ‘Hey, did you know Corben was a boy!’ HA! Also to maybe take a little more notice before making comments to strangers children in the future… When relevant, obviously you should never go around making comments to strangers children for no apparent reason, that’s an entirely different kettle of fish!
Let us have your stories, have you ever had similar situations with your children or even yourself?!