Opinion

Why I dress my son in girl's clothes

I tell you, my three year-old son is going to have some cracking 21st photos.

Being a superhero should be something kids of any gender should be able to enjoy. (Pic: iStock)
I can see it now - the groans of embarrassment as the digital hologram slide show starts (cause, that's totally what we'll be watching it on in the year 2035), and pic after pic of him aged one, two, three, in pink t-shirts, and leggings with stars on them, and jumpers with bunnies and bows glide through the air (cause, hello: 3D).

OK, so I'm getting ahead of myself a bit here, but no doubt there will be one or two raised eyebrows when the assembled company realise, that for the first four years of his life, I dressed my son in girls clothes.

Not intentionally, mind you - I'm not one of those inner-city hippie types, who are, like, totally raising their, like, 'little souls', with, like, a gender-neutral labels-free ideology, man.

Yeah, give me a break - those people shit me to tears too.

No, it's more that I refuse to pay a ridiculous amount of moolah to dress my son as a walking, talking advertisement for Marvel comics. Also, I'm a tight-arse.

You see, as this photo, taken by a friend of mine from mother's group this week in Melbourne attests, buying anything for young boys is a problematic experience.

This manager’s special isn’t so special if you’re the parent of a boy. Same box, different prices for girls’ and boys’ versions.
This manager’s special isn’t so special if you’re the parent of a boy. Same box, different prices for girls’ and boys’ versions. Supplied

For a start, it's all just bloody ugly. I'm sorry, I just don't want my son - who I like to think imbues everything he wears with a dashing 'devil-may-care' swagger - wearing horrific-looking clothes with ugly graffiti writing, and monster trucks, and super heroes, and fire trucks. It's all just so lame.

Take a stroll through the girls' aisles at Kmart and Target (that's about the extent of the 'boutique shopping experience' in my house), and it's a different story. It's all adorable printed puffers, and little itty-bitty leggings with unicorns. And spots! And stripes! Not an Incredible Hulk in sight.

I absolutely hate that my son is being marketed to, while the girls get all the cool stuff, and pay half the amount, because it's all non-branded.

Why on earth are we supposed to buy into the idea that this identical toy box should be a couple of dollars more, just because it has Spiderman on it? OK, I get that the manufacturers had to pay money to license it, but seriously?

Also, and here's where I start to come across as one of those leftie hippie parent types I just bagged out, I really, really hate all the 'gender stereotyping' that's everywhere in the shops.

What's to say that my son's bestie isn't as obsessed with Superman as he is? Incidentally, SHE is - that's why they kick about together at daycare.

And yes, as you may have just gathered, despite my best efforts, daycare exists, and other kids have t-shirts with all the stuff I hate, and my son's figured it out, so I guess I have about, oh, say, two weeks before it's all over.

But I'm going to persist for the time being. If only for my son's pint-sized offsider. Because, where are the cool superhero clothes for her? And why is it that only she is allowed to rock a Pinkie Pie My Little Pony t-with a jaunty pair of spotty shorts. No fair.

Nobody told this little guy that pushing a pram is for girls.
Nobody told this little guy that pushing a pram is for girls. Supplied

Incidentally, as I type this, my son is getting around the house holding a tiny girl's handbag with pink monkeys and stars on it (he found it in his cousin's toybox, and smuggled it home). He's also rocking a pair of bright red undies with Minions on them (they were the only ones I could find in the boy's section at H&M - see what I'm saying here?), and that's it. It's quite the look.

But until he starts telling me otherwise, I'm not buying into all this gendered marketing rubbish - he can wear what he bloody well wants to.

I'll just keep filing the photos away in a folder marked '21st'.

Clare Rigden is a News Corp TV writer.

Topics:  editors picks gender marketing opinion rendezview

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