When I was little, I won a lot of costume contests. But one contest in particular stands out to me because I didn’t win. I came in second and the winner was dressed as a maid. At first I was upset because my mom and I had worked really hard on my black and white jester costume. But then I talked to the maid and found out “she” was a boy. Mind. Blown.
I absolutely loved it. He was dressed as a girl, dressed as a maid! Double costume! I didn’t question it or think it meant anything weird.
Fast forward to now, when celebrities are getting a lot of attention (and a lot of criticism) for letting their boys dress like girls. First Liev Schreiber letting his son dress as Harley Quinn at San Diego Comic Con, and then today on Yahoo News, another celeb letting their son wear a dress to the opera. My reaction – they’re kids, kids like to play dress-up, so what? But the comments were just awful. So bad I thought some of them must be jokes but they weren’t. Apparently, a lot of people firmly believe that men literally must wear the pants and women wear the dresses, and that anything else is a mental illness.
I’ve found there is a lot of acceptance in the costuming and cosplay community for wearing whatever you want. I dress as traditionally “boy” characters all the time. I like to put my own girly spin on them, but still, I’m an over 40 mom dressed as a boy elf and nobody bats an eye.
My only criticism was about the Harley costume- I wouldn’t let an 8-year-old girl wear tiny sparkly shorts and ripped fishnets, so I definitely wouldn’t let my son wear it. But if he wanted to throw on an Elsa dress and dance around the house? No problem. My mom let me wear a boy’s basketball uniform constantly when I was 2 because that’s what I liked (when I wasn’t prancing around in superhero Underroos) and I turned out fine.
And I’m sure these kids will be fine too. However they turn out, they are fine. They are kids and they will change, and they will try things and they will play dress-up. I just find it funny that women once had to fight to wear pants, and now the men have to fight to be accepted in dresses.