Quit Mistaking My Son For a Girl

It happens everywhere we go.

In the checkout line, at the grocery store, birthday parties, you name it. It will happen sometime today. I’m sure of it.

Someone will mistake my son for a girl and it’s starting to tick me off. 

 

It used to only happen every once in awhile. At first it was no big deal and we’d just shrug it off, but now it’s just getting annoying.

I get it. He has long hair.

I’m sure it doesn’t help that he’s utterly adorable and positively cuddly. I know. I know. I make pretty babies.

Quit Mistaking My Son For a Girl

 

But, still, people. He’s all boy!

He’s usually wearing camos and Minecraft T-shirts or board shorts and a rash guard. If he’s talking to you, it’s probably about Mario Kart or Pokemon. 

Haven’t you ever seen a boy with long hair? It’s 2014.

 

I’m actually surprised that boys with long hair is even still a thing that people don’t get. Plenty of men (and boys) wear their hair long. I would have figured this to be a non-issue in today’s society compared to everything else that’s out there, but that’s really not the case.

Lots of people still have their nose up about boys with long hair. I’ve even been one of them. I’ve had my stages of nagging him to cut his hair, but  I’ve learned to pick and choose my battles in motherhood and this one isn’t worth picking.

I allow my son to have long hair because that’s the style he likes.

I believe that we should let our kids express themselves in simple ways like hair styles if they want so they don’t feel the need to go crazy rebellious when they’re older. I have no idea if this is a winning parenting strategy, but it’s what I’m going with.

 

Sometimes I wonder if people just don’t realize at first?

One of my readers recently commented (and I’m paraphrasing here) on Facebook that it’s the age. He’s 9. That he’s at an age where gender characteristics aren’t really evident at this point in his life. For example, there aren’t any 9 year boys walking around with Adam’s apples, and I get that. That makes sense.

 

But, still. It’s annoying.

It’s annoying for my son to hear “she” or “her” everywhere we go.

It’s annoying to have to correct strangers at the grocery store.

I don’t really want to correct people. I’m not angry that they’re not really paying attention, but I can’t just have people calling my son a girl right in front of him and not correct them. That’s just wrong.

He’s a boy. People should know it.

He should be proud to say, “I’m a boy.” when someone mistakes him for a girl!

Quit Mistaking My Son For a Girl

 

Some people will say that we’re bringing it on ourselves. That by allowing our son to wear his hair long, we’re encouraging the annoying strangers to mistake him for a girl.

Some people would say that it’s our fault and if we don’t want the headache of correcting people all the time, then we should just cut it off.

I’ve even been mistaken for the creepy mom who likes attention.

“Oh, I think you’re more worried about the hair than he is.”, a stylist recently told me at the salon when I gave the “just a trim” instructions.

I’m not that mom. He could shave it off for all I care. I’m not saying “just a trim” because I’m the long hair police, I’m just telling you what he wants, because he’s 9 and most 9 year old kids don’t order their own hair cuts.

Do they?

 

My husband is convinced that some people know he’s a boy and it’s just their way of being assholes. I disagree. He’s just bitter from years of fighting his own long hair battle. I really do think that people are nicer than that and perhaps it’s just an honest mistake. 

That doesn’t make it any less annoying though. 

Another reader commented on Facebook that she’s fed up with this topic on the flip side. 

I have the opposite problem – my basketball-shorts-loving, short-haired 14-year-old daughter, who happens to have a slender/not curvy build, is always called a boy. I hate it.

 

When all is said and done I think people just need to slow down. 

If you’re going to talk to cute kids in the check out line then take time to think before you speak. 

Pay attention. 

And there’s always my personal favorite: Mind your business. 

 

I should have known this would be a problem.

Quit Mistaking My Son For a Girl

I married a guy who used to look like this.

 (rant over)

This post is linked up at Pour Your Heart Out

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Adrienne is a Florida homeschooling mom of two boys, follower of Jesus, and lover of words. She's an imperfect parent surviving on God's grace and mercy, lots of yoga, and regular doses of salty ocean air! Find her as @TheMommyMess on Twitter and connect with her on Facebook.

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Comments

  1. says

    Your son has gorgeous hair! If that is the way he likes it, then let it be. People always seem to find something to nitpick at, don’t they?

    What your fb commenter said about not really having gender characteristics at this age does make some sense, especially when you have boys who are pretty. ;)

    I don’t know how many times my boys were mistaken for girls when they were younger(imagine a baby dressed in head to toe blue, yet called a girl. Not that color of clothing means much later, but for an infant, the clothes are usually pretty gender specific).
    Shell recently posted..Saying No: Pour Your Heart OutMy Profile

    • says

      I do think it’s that simple. Just take a minute and think before you speak. Observe if you’re not quite sure. It just takes a second.

  2. says

    Honestly, as the mom of a transgender child, I’d be happy to have misgendering as a mere annoyance. People aren’t paying attention — which is sad and says a lot about how rushed and self-absorbed we are as a society — but it’s a far cry from someone deliberately calling your child the wrong gender out of hate and maliciousness. Correct them with a smile a move on. Teach your son to be confident and not care what others think of his style. My daughter would go into a severe bout of depression, try to hurt herself from her dysphoria, and talk about suicide if she was misgendered. (She just turned seven. Imagine suicidal talk from such a young child.) I’m sure it gets old and is frustrating to hear, but it could be so much worse.

    • says

      Although I can’t say I can relate to your particular situation, I am very sorry to hear of your daughter’s struggle and hope that she finds peace instead of pain.

  3. says

    Your boy’s hair is so cute, and longer hair is the style. People definitely have biases and opinions. Any time we let our son’s hair grow longer, the Minnesota relatives ask when he’s getting a haircut, and the California relatives say, “Don’t you dare cut his hair!” It’s pretty funny. Your son is a beautiful child, but people shouldn’t make assumptions.
    Nicki recently posted..When You Lose SomeoneMy Profile

    • says

      Oh yeah, we have the “when are gonna cut that hair” relatives. He just shrugs it off. It’s funny how some people think it’s awesome and others are bent out of shape about it. It’s hair. Just hair. I guess it makes a statement, but at 9 it’s all good. He’s not going on any job interviews any time soon!

  4. says

    I think there is always something people say out of ignorance!! Your boy is gorgeous… and so is your ‘other boy’. Ahem.

    My favorite ‘input’ from a stranger was a woman asking me, “do you think she needs a throat lozenge?” When Cass was in an asthmatic flare to the point of puking…

    Brilliant idea.
    Chris Carter recently posted..There Isn’t Enough of MeMy Profile

  5. says

    I get it. Now not so much but as a baby my son all decked out in blue and soccer onsies would be called an adorable girl. People do need to slow down and pay attention or just not say anything at all. You are doing it right, letting him be who he is, is the most important. We are all individuals and he is expressing his individuality.
    Mommy Reg recently posted..A Divine EncounterMy Profile

    • says

      I agree! He appreciates that we let have all.the.hair. It means a lot to him! Hopefully that will pay off when we’re met with bigger parenting challenges down the road.

  6. says

    Ugh. People really are jerks. I used to have idiots that would ask me if my girls were twins…when one was walking around on her own with platinum hair and the other was in a pumpkin seat with dark brown hair, clearly younger (they’re a year apart). I think you’re right. People need to mind their own business. He’s a handsome boy and there’s nothing wrong with long hair.

  7. says

    I feel your frustration I have daughters and when Kathy was a baby I took her out in a pretty pink dressed and got asked a few times in one day if she was a boy……..what the hell she was in a dress……..

    But back to your son, if he wants long hair who cares and yes he is a pretty boy nothing wrong with that either if he is happy then that is all that matters. I would be the mum who would get short with people if they kept referring to my son as a girl………….
    Jo-Anne recently posted..My dad is hospital againMy Profile

    • says

      I just will never understand why people mistake babies dressed in pink or blue as the wrong gender! That’s one of those “pay attention” moments!

  8. says

    Your son is a beautiful child. If he were really a girl wearing camo and minecraft, you might not like the assumption that he was a boy because of the clothes he wears. I bet there are plenty of girls who like camo and minecraft. I agree its tougher to tell when they are young especially in this day and age when society wants to break the gender sterotypes by encouraging girls to play football and ice hockey and let boys play with dolls and wear pink. Don’t look at it as a bad thing but as a sign of changing times…or theres always to tell them to get their vision checked or keep their unwanted opinion to themselves. :)
    Tanya @ Mom’s Small Victories recently posted..Kids Summer Reading: $25 Book Blast & Giveaway – A Different Kind of Safari by Helen HippMy Profile

    • says

      I know it’s obvious to me. I’m his mom! I just tell him he should take it as a compliment b/c he is just so beautiful. He says people mistaking him for a girl is “con to long hair but not con enough to make me cut it”. At least he knows what he likes! LOL

    • says

      I agree. I’ve thought about it and when I talk to people out and about I never specify boy/girl or he/she when I’m talking to them. I don’t intentionally not mention gender, it just never naturally fits the passing conversation. Sometimes I think people throw out a guess b/c they’re really not sure and in that case, they should most definitely not guess!

  9. says

    I can totally understand your rant :) I’ll never forget dressing my little girl in a pretty, frilly pink dress and having someone call her a boy! Seriously?? My girls had no hair until they were 4 years old and it bugged me very much when people assumed they were boys, so I dressed them in “girly” clothes to try to let people know they were girls. Unfortunately, some people still couldn’t get it…

    On the other hand, I’ve also been the person making the dumb comment :) Not that long ago I saw a child wearing a skirt and said something about “her”. Later on I heard the child’s older sister introduce the child to someone as “her brother”. I felt bad because I’m sure he heard me call him a girl, but at the moment I was surrounded by a group of kids that I did not know and they were all wanting my attention and he was wearing a skirt. Chances are, in the same situation, if I saw your son with his long hair, I might have made the same mistake. Not because I’m trying to be a jerk, but because I guess I have a certain image in my head of what a boy looks like and to me skirts and long hair don’t fit that image. Not that there is anything wrong with it, it’s just not my first thought to see someone with long hair and assume the person is a boy. Although, in the case of a grown man, like your husband, no one in their right mind and eyes in their head is going to mistake him for a girl ;)
    Missy @ Dot-to-Dot Connections recently posted..Home Grown & Home Made: Edible WeedsMy Profile

  10. DD says

    My boys both have long, full ringlet curls. When they were young people confused them for girls. Now that they are 23 and 17 people assume they are thugs and up to no good. Which is humorous since one earned an academic scholarship at a Christian College and the other is graduating HS a year early to attend Bible college and already works as an Assistant Pastor. I have even sent my boys to run errands for me and had them come home without everything fully accomplished because people were rude, ignored them, or refused them service. Several times I have returned to business offices to inquire about the poor service and have had workers admit they were rude because they were teens with long hair and assumed they were up to no good. Unbelievable!!
    I wish I could say things get better as they get older, develop muscles, grow facial hair, and broad shoulders but they don’t, the type of stereo typing ignorance just changes.

  11. Nikki says

    As a mother of 2 boys with long hair, I know how you feel. It was not my choice to let their hair grow or to keep it long, it was their choice. I did cut it short when they were little but when they were old enough to say they didn’t want it short I figured this is not a battle to stand my ground on. They most likely won’t be able to have long hair as an adult depending on their profession, so let them have this now…was my theory. We did had comments here & there but never let it bother us. It certainly didn’t bother me since it wasn’t my decision. I do feel if they are old enough to make the decision for themselves, they are old enough to tell the hair stylist what kind of hair cut they want & old enough to defend themselves at the store if someone calls them a girl & they are bothered by it. Mine have both (the 16 year old 2 years ago & the 13 year old this year) finally cut their hair short & they both like it & wished they had done it sooner. They look like hansome young men now & the girls love it (and so does mom)! If it’s truly your sons decision to have long hair, he needs to stick up for himself & probably best if you stay out of it.

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  13. says

    We have the exact same (but opposite) issue in our family. Katarina has really short hair, and even though she is carrying a purse, wearing sparkly nailpolish and a pink shirt, and talking in a high voice, people mistake her for a boy almost everytime we leave the house. She likes her super short style, and it is a style some teenagers and a lot of grown women would wear – not at all a “boy’s haircut” – but people expect little girls to have long hair.

    It can be annoying, and some people have hurt her feelings over it the way they have made comments.
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