Addressing The Dress Issue

, , , , , , , , | Hopeless | June 12, 2019

(I am on my lunch break, sitting in a small pizza place. The seating is limited, so a dad and his daughter, around five years old, end up sitting right next to me. I’m not paying too much attention to them, so I’m not sure what the context is, but at some point, the daughter must have said that something, probably a toy, is a girl.)

Dad: “Why is it a girl?”

Daughter: “Because she has a dress.”

Dad: “Well, that doesn’t mean that it’s a girl.”

Daughter: “Yes, it does. Girls wear dresses.”

Dad: “But boys can wear dresses, too.”

(The daughter is silent for a moment as she thinks.)

Daughter: “That’s silly. Boys can’t wear dresses.”

Dad: “Why not?”

Daughter: *another pause to think* “Because dresses are for girls.”

Dad: “Some boys like to wear dresses.”

Daughter: *laughs as if the dad told a joke* “You don’t wear dresses”

Dad: “No, because I don’t want to. But some boys do.”

(By this point, I had finished my lunch and I needed to get back to work. The daughter was quiet again, so either she was still confused, or accepted what her dad said. The fact that someone was willing to teach their young child something like gender neutrality at a young age was so heartwarming, and I could tell that she was being raised well.)

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