My Son's Long, Beautiful Curly Hair Is Really None of Your Business
Willow and Lily When I had my daughter, Lily, in March, this was the picture I uploaded to my blog's Facebook page to announce her birth. The picture is of her 3-year-old brother, Willow, holding her for the first time. I specifically said that on my page too. The announcement read 'Introducing Lily Pearl, born on March 1, 2014 at our home. This is her brother holding her for the first time.' But sure enough, as frequent as the congratulations were the complaints that I shouldn't post images of my daughter topless. At first I was confused. She was wrapped in a blanket! It's not like you could see anything. And then I realized they were talking about Willow. The picture even ended up getting reported and taken down by Facebook on both my page and personal profile. The reason cited was child pornography/nudity. Why? Because everyone thought he was a girl. And there was nipple showing.
I didn't really expect all of that to happen, given that I'd specifically mentioned that he was my son. Out in public is a different story though. I can count on one hand all of the times that someone referred to him as a boy. It doesn't matter what he's wearing. He could be wearing a shirt that says 'I'm a boy!' and people will still tell us what a beautiful girl he is. It's gotten to the point where we are tired of dealing with the awkwardness when we correct people and don't even do it anymore. Dylan, our 10-year-old, is the only one who pipes up and says "He's a boy!" but usually he gets ignored while the person is running their fingers through Willow's curly locks. (Don't even get me started on strangers touching my kids. I mean, they are some pretty amazing locks, but they aren't yours to touch!)
One time we were in a mall play area and a lady came up to me and
pointed in the general direction of my kids and asked, "Is that your son?" My first instinct was that she must have been asking about Dylan, or our 5-year-old, Tristan. I said 'Which one?" She clarified that she was talking about the one with the long brown curly hair, and then went on to say "You figured I assumed he was a girl, right?" I laughed and said yes. She then turned and pointed out her son, who had long blonde curly hair and said "I get it. I totally get it."
My husband had long hair while he was a kid, and said he always got teased about it. We figured that now, it would be more acceptable. I mean, seriously... look how far diversity has come in the last 30 years, and tell me why it should just be assumed that someone is a girl just because they have long hair. He isn't really aware of the fact that most people assume he's a girl yet. I have asked him on several occasions if he wants to cut his hair and he always says no. His hair is like a blankie to most kids. He twirls it in his finger while he's falling asleep, and he hides behind it when he's being shy. While I love his curly locks, I'd support him no matter what hairstyle he chooses. And I'm raising him to not care what other people think about his personal choices because it's none of their business anyway.
Images via Heather Reese