Sometimes, even in our wonderfully loving, supportive, and understanding community, Brother-Bug encounters people who don’t understand his sense of style and clothing preferences. Sometimes they ridicule him for it. Thankfully, it hasn’t been worse than mild ridicule so far. These incidents cause my weeping child to swear off skirts in the middle of the trauma, but it’s never a swearing off that lasts. Given his preference, he choose skirts.
What to tell my little one? How to let him know that what he is doing and who he is rocks? We’ve used the clichés (they just don’t know you… maybe they really want to wear a skirt but someone told them it’s wrong… people are scared of things they don’t understand… and so on) but they don’t really do it. The well worn “free to be you and me” lines are…well worn. I’ve been looking for something that would spark my little guys imagination and give him a sense of personal awesomeness.
I finally got it. Superheroes.
Brother-Bug as Superman and his best-guy-friend sporting a sequin skirt. Gorgeous besties.
Brother-Bug is really, really into Superheroes right now. It is the theme of his 2nd grade homeschool year. WE LOVE SUPERHEROES!
Little Boys who wear dresses because they like to wear dresses; who paint their nails because a mani-pedi is fun; who prefer pink to blue; who love glitter and gliz and glam… They are Superheroes.
They are standing up for who they are, inside and outside. They are making it easier for the boys who want to wear a dress or have a manicure, but don’t because “boys don’t do that”. They are making everyone who meets them question their assumptions about gender and in doing so, they make the world a more interesting place. These are the actions of Superheroes.
Brother-Bug has his toolbox of Superpowers – an ineffable sense of fashion, graceful movement, a love of dance. He’s fabulous to the max. He’s also unafraid of who he is – swooning over the magenta plush hoodie (with rhinestones) we just found at the thrift store. There is no concern in his face about what others might think when I pull it off the rack. His sense of self knows no shame. I wish I had that Superpower, that I was that comfortable in my own skin.
So now I have this go-to in my toolbox of Parent-Powers. The next time he comes to me, heart breaking because someone out there doesn’t understand how a boy wears a skirt, I’m telling him he is a Superhero. Then we will probably read some Spiderman or Batman and talk about how Superheroes overcome adversity.
And once we are done reading that, we will dig out our Pinkalicious sound track and listen to Pink Blues, because it does take a strong boy to wear pink.