In what can only be described as an archaic reaction to a little boy’s dress up choice, support has been flooding in for a Sydney mother who was told her two-year old son would be teased for wearing his beloved Frozen costume to daycare.
The story was shown on a Current Affair and it prompted mothers everywhere to post photos of their own sons dressed in traditionally ‘female’ costumes.
One woman posted images of her son dressed as a fairy, adding ‘he loves his diggers in his dirt patch, and he loves dress ups with his three sisters…I’d be horrified if someone picked on my little human for wearing a costume.’
Another woman shared a photograph (see below) of her son in a Queen of Hearts costume accompanies by his sister in a Goblin King outfit.
‘Love their confidence,’ she wrote.
Former childcare centre owner and director, Pauline Haycraft said the centre’s stance is both ‘illogical and archaic.’
‘Young children do not have fixed gender roles, they are not going to grow into adults who cross dress or are “gay” because they dressed up as children at preschool,’ Mrs Haycraft, who was the director of a Sydney childcare centre for 20 years, told Daily Mail Australia.
‘For years, educationalists have been working to provide non stereotypic environments that allow children to develop equally – that the centre staff have not allowed him to dress as the hero of his choice is absurd.’
‘Do they allow boys to dress up and to play in home corner with dolls or is that an exclusively girls area? And are the girls allowed to play with blocks?’ Mrs Haycraft said.
Mrs Haycraft says that while there are not many of them throughout the literature, female heroes portray good triumphing over evil – the ethical values they are writing ‘whole programs to teach’.
‘Just like the old fashioned Fairy Tales, modern children have their superheroes,’ she said.
The superheroes from Frozen happen to be female…why not allow any child to assume this role?’
‘Young children respond and benefit from advice, explanation and direction on these issues – it is easy to compliment the child for his superhero choice and show to the others what a great choice it is.’
‘This reaction by the staff is detrimental to the child who chose his superhero and to the others who responded in the abusive way.’
The Sydney mother at the centre of the controversy took to Facebook to share her thoughts on Wednesday.
‘I’m so incredibly annoyed! This week they are holding belated book week celebrations at our childcare, dress-ups yay!’ The distressed mother wrote.
‘This morning our son chose his beloved Elsa dress over a spider-man costume, he was so happy! Upon arrival at the centre staff repeatedly said to me that I was mean and that he would be teased.’
She described the daycare’s reaction as ‘unfair, prejudice (and) mean’, and said she was disappointed with the fact her son couldn’t just wear what he wanted instead of following gender stereotypes.
The mother then revealed she was so upset following the incident she is considering sending her child to a different centre and welcomed suggestions from locals, who rushed to her defence.
‘That is disgraceful, I bet they wouldn’t have said anything if a girl turned up in a so called ‘boy’ character’, one woman wrote.
‘Vote with your feet for sure. Unbelievable’, posted another.
What a pity that instead of encouraging our children to express themselves in any way they feel comfortable, we instead put our own prejudices and judgements into their heads. A boy will not become gay simply because he chooses to wear a dress. Just the same way a girl will not grow up to be Batman if this is her costume of choice. It is our own fears as adults about what is deemed socially acceptable that makes our children feel uncomfortable in their choices. Why is it seen as a sign of weakness for a male to dress as a woman and yet we applaud a young girl if she dresses like a builder or any other male dominated character. It says a lot about what we value and regard highly as a society- unfortunately the feminine side is still regarded as the weakest one. Until we learn to value and hold the female in high esteem, then unfortunately we will always see something wrong with our boys dressing up as girls.
Would you let your son dress up in an Elsa costume?
Photos courtesy of Facebook.