Bring it, sexism. BRING IT ON.
September 28, 2011

Four days ago:

      Charlotte wore her blue-and-brown striped polo shirt to the park.  A middle-aged woman approached us, all smiles and sweetness, to say hello.  “What’s your son’s name?” she asked me.

      “HER name,” I said, “is Charlotte.”

      “HER name?” she repeated.  “Why do you dress her like a boy?  You’ll confuse her!”  Then she leaned down to my daughter.  “You’re wearing a boy’s shirt, aren’t you?  How silly!  That shirt is for boys!”


Her favorite pass-time: she lounges while I push the mop bucket around endlessly.

Yesterday at 9am:

      I told Charlotte that we would go to the park as soon as she picked something to wear.  When she couldn’t decide, I laid out two outfits and let her choose between them.

      The outfit on the left was her favorite shirt, her blue-and-brown polo shirt, with a pair of denim shorts.  When she saw it, she flipped out.

      “NO MOMMA!” she screamed in panic.  “NO!”

      She grabbed the polo shirt and shoved it back in the dresser drawer.  “No!  Pick another shirt!  Blue for boys!  Charlotte GIRL!  Charlotte has vulva!  This shirt not for Charlotte!”

Yesterday at 9:01am:

      Local woman who frequents parks spontaneously combusted and all that was left was a smoldering pile of ashes.  Cause of death: pissed off superhero.


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  1. By on September 28, 2011

    When I was pregnant with my daughter, I swore I would only dress her in her brother’s old clothing. NO PINK! But then she was born and basically I dressed her in every frilly, pink, hearted thing that people gave me. I couldn’t stand people thinking my daughter was a boy. Now that she is 9 months, it is clear she is a girl, so I find myself putting on her bother’s old blue and green clothing because I like them better. The thing I keep wondering about though is whether I would have ever put anything pink on my son had he been the younger sibling. No, even though I hate the hypocrisy of it, I wouldn’t.

  2. By on September 28, 2011

    Are you kiding me? I’m sorry but there’s no time to be polite. I would have been ticked. 1. Don’t question a mother’s judgement right in front of her own child. 2. Uuuuh, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU SAY. 3. If her bouncing curls don’t give her away as a girl (not saying little boys can’t have curls, but CLEARLY Charlotte is a girl) then you’re probably a dope. 4. I stubbed my toe on my coffee table this morning and spilled my oatmeal all over Naomi’s favorite stuffed animal sending my daughter to tears…so yeah, I’m going to vent. Sarah, how did you keep your cool?

  3. By Heather on September 28, 2011

    What a mean old woman. Had Charlotte been a boy she probably planned on criticizing you for “his” pretty curls.

    Some people should just keep their mouths shut at the risk of having their tongue ripped out by a mother they have offended.

    We didn’t find out what we were having prior to my daughter’s birth so I have a collection of gender neutral clothing and whenever someone even thinks of calling Emily a boy, I tend to get pissed. So kudos for not slapping the shiz out of the woman in the park for traumatizing Charlotte. (Slapping the woman would have probably traumatized her far worse, after all.)

  4. By on September 28, 2011

    I don’t know… in that last picture, I can totally see why someone might confuse her for a boy… Totally Kidding.

    I know the issue of gender equality (even as it applies to something as trivial as clothing) has been discussed on here before and everyone has their own opinions and my personal feelings seem to fall somewhere in the middle… but regardless of how anyone feels on the issue, a stranger telling your two year old that she shouldn’t be wearing a certain shirt is inappropriate. For all that woman knows you guys couldn’t have to two pennies to rub together and these just happened to have been the clothes you had handed down to you. Next time just take your daughter to the park naked.

  5. By on September 28, 2011

    Can we see the alleged shirt?

  6. By on September 28, 2011

    So what did you do when she started telling Charlotte that her shirt was a boy shirt?

  7. By on September 28, 2011

    WHAT!?! That makes me so sad/angry that someone would a) even think that way these days and b) SAY something to your child.  NOT LIKING IT!

  8. By Sarah S on September 28, 2011

    Ughhh…that drives me crazy! My daughter is not super girly and I have hated hearing all the back-handed sexism that comes her way. Something like, while she’s digging through dirt to get worms someone will say “Wow, look at you! A girl who likes worms! That would have creeped me out when I was your age!“ And it’s almost meant to be a compliment? But when you make such a huge deal of kids going outside of the out-dated, archaic and stereo-typical gender roles, it kind of sends a message that what they are doing is not NORMAL. Parents still have the most influence over all though - I have a girl who dresses girly because she wants too but also has a dead bug collection that she avidly works on.

    Having a boy in the family greatly helps to balance things out as well, but my kids are my kids and I HATE it when someone tells them what they should/could or are supposed to be.

  9. By Sarah on September 28, 2011

    i have this issue with my 3rd child. Lainey LOVEs red. it is very difficult to find red clothes that don’t revolve around 4th of July, Valentines Day or Christmas. Unless you are a boy. The thing is she likes girly rufffles and glitter, but all that stuff seems to be pink or purple. Wears me out!!

  10. By Sarah on September 28, 2011

    Also, one really good thing about this is Charlotte seems VERY proud to be a girl and that is AWESOME!! that lady was also a hag. the end

  11. By on September 28, 2011

    i keep trying to think of something witty to say but the only thing i can come up with is “that lady is stupid”.

  12. By Sarah Christensen on September 28, 2011

    Lauren - She’s wearing it today so I’ll try to snap a photo and upload it later =)

    Jessica - I told the woman that I wear blue, all sorts of colors really, so I’d always let Charlotte wear those colors too.  She said “oh, that’s true, I have a blue sweater I wear all the time” and then she dropped it.  Charlotte didn’t seem to really be paying attention (apparently I was wrong), so I waited until later to follow up with her.  I just reminded her that it isn’t what she wears or what color it is that matters, it’s who she is and what she does with her life.  I also said that it’s important to take every idea into consideration and disregard the ones that don’t make sense to us.  She’s allowed to believe whatever she wants, and if we disagree with her it doesn’t mean that she’s wrong or a bad person, it just means that we disagree and we shouldn’t let her opinion turn us away from what we do believe.

    Yesterday when she said she couldn’t wear blue because it’s not for girls, I changed my outfit so that I was wearing a blue sweater.  I told her that girls wear blue all the time, see, just look at me!  What color is my sweater?  It’s blue!  It must have worked a little bit - she’s wearing the blue polo shirt today and it’s back to being “FAVORITE SHIRT, MOMMA”

  13. By Lauren S on September 28, 2011

    I was recently at a friend of my notably tom-boyish sister’s when the dad asked, “What about her? Is she a tom-boy or a girly-girl?“ I greatly enjoyed my sister’s puzzled response. “Uh . . . yes. Both.“

    I’m sitting here trying to imagine a future where Charlotte grows up to be afraid of wearing blue or starts obsessing about whether each outfit she has makes her look like a boy. But it’s just too unbelievable. Yeah, that one shirt may be doomed which is seriously annoying. But Charlotte will be fine; there is no way that one jerk’s stupid comment will overcome all of your’s and Donald’s constant approval. =) Btw, Thanks for letting me share in you guys life.

  14. By Lindsey on September 28, 2011

    This makes me crazy. People can be so afraid of sex & gender identity - I say let kids be kids, let people be people. I know it’s not that simple - that it takes time & education & understanding & evolution of thought - but I wish it was that simple.

    Also, “Charlotte has vulva!“? AWESOME & BEST EVAAAAAAH!!! I generally don’t care what sex my someday children will be, but now I totally want a girl so that I can teach her that she has a vulva.

  15. By on September 28, 2011

    Glad that Charlotte’s favorite shirt is once again her favorite shirt.

  16. By Christy / Thrifty Vintage Kitten on September 28, 2011

    People really suck sometimes! That woman deserves that shirt to be forcefully stuffed in her mouth.

  17. By on September 28, 2011

    That drives me the eff insane.

    Also, I love that she reminded you that she has a vulva, therefore she is a girl.  Bwahahaha!

  18. By Kristy on September 28, 2011

    Ugg this topic drives me bonkers too!  I can barely stand the color pink anymore, because everyone and their mother has bought my 7 mo old daughter something pink.  I can not really blame them though, because pink baby clothes are EVERYWHERE.  You can barely find girl clothes that are not and I have to go out of my way to find other colors. 
    Everyone assumes she’s a boy whenever we go out if she is not in pink.

    MOST women don’t even wear pink, so why is this color so dane popular for baby girls?

  19. By Leslie Crane on September 28, 2011

    Wait. Did Charlotte really say that she has a vulva?! She might be the smartest coolest baby ever.

  20. By on September 28, 2011

    People do this kind of thing to me all the time (NOT going as far as this lady- I would have flipped!) because my 18 m.o. daughter is still pretty bald and she isn’t always dressed particularly girly. I don’t mind correcting people on her gender- its when they say “it’ll be ok, she’ll get hair soon” sympathetically.  I don’t care if she has hair, people!  It’s amazing what people think is acceptable to say/ask.  I have had TWO people approach me and ask if my vibrant, smiling, eyebrow having baby has cancer.  She’s just a baby! 
    In summation:I feel your pain.

  21. By Stephanie on September 28, 2011

    First: I’m so happy Charlotte is back to loving her blue shirt!

    This kind of shit happens all the time with Jasper, and it blows my mind. I get told that he “can’t be a boy, he’s too pretty to be a boy” or that he looks like a girl because he’s wearing a tie-dyed hat with purple in it. I never realized how much gender drama there is with boys until I had one. I also never realized how much people like to be right—they love to insist something is only for boys or only for girls, and they want you to agree with them.

    The other day I was hanging with Jasper at a train table in a bookstore, had an exchange that went something like this:

    Dad: “What’s her name?“
    Me: “His name is Jasper.“
    Dad: “Oh, I thought he was a girl because his hat has purple in it.“
    Me: “Oh… usually it’s because of the painted nails.“ (Jasper loves to have his nails painted, what evs)
    Dad: “OH.“

    Gender Equality: 1
    Dad: 0

  22. By on September 28, 2011

    I have this every single day, and it drives me crazy. My Charlotte is only 10 months, and I don’t dress her in pink because I don’t appreciate the stereotype. And yet every time someone calls her a boy I’m enraged. And then irritated with myself for bothering, because my intention was to have people see that pink is not compulsory for girls. Grr.

  23. By on September 28, 2011

    Last summer, I took my then 6 month old daughter to the bank with me.  She was wearing plain blue jeans and a yellow onesie that said “shopping with mommy makes me happy” in pink and green.  The lady at the bank asked me what “his” name was and I told her that HER name was Maggie. The lady just smiled and said “I thought it would be Matthew!“ Then proceeded to tell me how her feet looked like Fred Flinstone.
    I just walked away! People are so stupid!!

  24. By on September 28, 2011

    I dress James up in a pink top, pink shorts or pink diapers sometimes (he’s almost 2). I really don’t care what other people think.

    But if someone were to tell HIM directly that what he was wearing was for girls, oh man, that would really piss me off. That woman had no right to instill her values on Charlotte.

    The color of the clothes we wear should be as trivial as the flavour of ice cream we eat. It’s personal taste, and none of anyone’s business.

  25. By Bell on September 28, 2011

    I LOVE your blog!  Charlotte is so stinkin cute!!!  I have been inspired by recently looking at baby blogs to start my own!  I am trying to keep up with my adventures as a pregnant lady!  :)  If you’d like to leave any tips with my I would love to hear them!  http://www.birminghambell.wordpress.com

  26. By Sarah Christensen on September 28, 2011

    MC - I love you.

    Lauren - Okay, I’m about to upload a photo of the shirt!

  27. By on September 28, 2011

    The link to see the picture of the shirt is here: http://becomingsarah.com/index.php?/becoming_sarah/comments/1419/

    At a later date, I’ll probably combine the two posts, but I’m apparently too lazy to do it right now =P

  28. By on September 28, 2011

    I have a pink polo for my son. I certainly get comments about it. I think he looks adorable in it and will continue to put it on him as long as it fits.

  29. By on September 29, 2011

    oh my god. why would that lady pretty much tell your daughter her mother is silly ? who does that ?

    as long as people live by those stereotypes, differences won’t be accepted… it’s sad.

    once at the grocery store, some man asked me my son’s name. HER name is ALICE i said. hmmm he said, i was thinking your son’s hair was a bit too long…....

  30. By Christy on September 29, 2011

    I can’t believe the nerve of that woman.  It’s one thing to say something to you, I suppose, but what business is it of hers really.  But for her to say something directly to your child, that is stepping over the line. 

    Who cares what color shirt we are wearing, or how we style our hair, or what car we drive (stroller we push, babywearing carrier we use) we are all people.  Its the stuff inside that matters.

  31. By ajira on October 06, 2011

    WTH? Seriously? What a batshit crazy person. Wow. Like anything is only for any one body. Sheesh.

  32. By abby g on December 02, 2011

    my second child is a boy, and he wears his older sisters clothes often. its not even the colors, its the frilly things on her pants… or her jackets have a cute fringe. my friends cant stand that my son wears her jammies to bed (real men wear butterflies, they tease) but my husband and i are not bothered. and neither are our children. its just… a non issue-
    sorry that lady put such an unwanted thought into your childs mind


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