Why Are Parents Pressured to Put Children’s Gender on Display?

 

Why Do People Get So Upset When Parents Don't Put Children's Gender On Parade?

 [This piece first appeared at WeeklySauce.com.] Critics are really cutting into designer and reality television star’s Rachel Zoe  for her son Skyler’s hairstyle, or lack thereof. Her impossibly handsome two year-old is getting a lot of negative attention for his tumbling auburn curls, being mistaken for a little girl as well as being called one as an insult, which has lead to Zoe’s parenting skills being called into question. Because when it appears a child is otherwise happy, healthy, and well cared for, it’s the hairstyle that trulyreflects what kind of parent she is, right?

Us Weekly detailed the hairy mama drama, which flared up recently on the fasionista’s personal Instagram account. “In a cute photo taken on June 6, Skyler, in striped pajamas, stares into the camera, blue eyes startlingly huge, chestnut hair long, curly, and full.  ”Talk about bed head! xoRZ” captioned Zoe. One commenter responded, “I guess you wanted a daughter.” Another sniped, “Cut his hair. He looks like a girl.” And yet another wrote, “Boy? really! OY!”

“In an older picture taken on Memorial Day, the little boy, wearing a fedora, denim overall shorts and fringed booties, sits on the floor with a demure smile on his face. One commenter noted, “Poor boy:( Wearing girly shoes.” It’s not just online commenters who are noticing Skyler’s unconventionally long hair and boho-chic style.”

Back in April, Ok! magazine posted pictures of Skyler with his hair pulled into a ponytail (a decidedly very tough look, just ask any motorcycle rider), and noted that the photo agency who owned the shots mistakenly captioned him as Zoe’s daughter. “We can’t blame them though. If we didn’t watch Rachel’s show and just saw the baby in these pics, we’d think he was a girl too,” the OK! writer winced.

In 2011, J. Crew made similar headlines headlines with a spread including a photo of their Executive Creative Director Jenna Lyons painting her five-year-old son’s toenails hot pink for fun, at his request. The photo ran with the caption, “Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon!“ When the catalog was released, Fox News called it “propaganda celebrating transgendered children.”

Jenna Lyons J.Crew

Why does our culture grow so thoroughly chagrined when the sex of a small child isn’t readily apparent and their “normal” is challenged? Shouldn’t the preferences of the child and parent take some priority when their little one isn’t interested in conforming to the uniform of our traditional gender associations  (a girl in pink clothes with long hair, and a boy in blue with a short do’)? – Casandra Armour

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