The Stir recently published an article talking about the abuse being heaped on Rachel Zoe for keeping her toddler’s hair long. Their question was whether his hair was too girly. My question is, why the hell does this matter?

My almost 3 year old son has long hair. He is often mistaken for a girl, which actually amuses me more than it annoys me. He wears jeans, t-shirts and Vans everyday; the only thing that people would think is “girly” are his gorgeous blonde locks. His hair is silky, hangs a little past his ears and shows a bit of my curl when it’s humid. Combine this with his big blue eyes, dimpled smile and sunny nature, and he’s pretty much irresistible.

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I dare you to resist this mug

People ask me when I’m going to get his hair cut. My dad teases me about giving him a buzz like Pop. I am in no hurry to cut it. For one thing, if you ask him if he wants it cut, he’ll give you an emphatic “No!” and run away. For another, his hair provides him comfort. He is a hair-twirler, just like his Daddy. He always played with my hair while nursing and a sure sign that he’s tired is when he starts twirling his own hair. We even have an ultrasound picture that looks like he’s twirling his hair. If I sheared his hair off, I’d deprive him of something important to him. Why the hell would I want to do that?

Plus, I don’t feel like I need to buy into society’s definition of boy or girl. On his own, he gravitates toward motorcycles, helicopters and construction stuff – stereotypical boy fare. But, he loves cooking and playing with toy kitchens and Mulan is one of his favorite movies – things more likely to be associated with little girls. I would be happy whether he played with all “boy” stuff or all “girl” stuff. You know why? Because he’s a toddler and he’s just starting to explore the world. I don’t want to limit his experiences to only what society thinks he is “supposed” to do because he is male. I want to expose him to as much as possible so he can figure out what his passion is, not hat someone else thinks it should be.

The article in The Stir wonders why we have such attachment to so-called boys’ haircuts for boys and girls’ haircuts for girls. Great, they’re supportive of what they call “gender-bending” haircuts. But then it goes and ends with the question, “What do you think about little boys with ‘girly’ haircuts?” WTF. Don’t sit there and wonder why we feel the need to label haircuts for little kids and then go and do some labeling yourself!! Long hair is not girly. Repeat. Long hair is not girly. It is simply LONG. Just like we shouldn’t call little girls with short hair “boyish,” we shouldn’t call little boys with long hair “girly.” Call them what they are – beautiful children.

Or at least stop trying to make it into an insult. That’s the heart of it. Our society has decided that men should feel insulted when they are told they are like the opposite sex. Girly man, throw like a girl, and pussy are all insults piled on men that are actually more denigrating to women. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being like a girl; maybe that’s why it doesn’t bother me when people mistake my son for a girl.

girly not an insult

My husband is in the Air Force and is required to keep his hair short. I’m sure there will come a time when Colt wants hair like Daddy’s. When that day comes, I will make it happen for him. Until then, I get to enjoy his beautiful, long, some-consider-girly-but-that’s-ok-with-me hair.

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4 thoughts on “Girly should not be an insult

  1. He is adorable. And, I wish I could let my boys’ grow their hair out like that! But, it just doesn’t quite work. It just starts to stick out everywhere and drive me and them nuts. If only we had some curl in our family. 🙂 I’m glad to hear it amuses you when someone mistakes him for a girl, because I have made that mistake before (calling a boy a girl by usually saying something innocent like, “How old is she?”) and my experience is that the people have been RUDE about it. And, I always try to inspect the clothing first and really try to figure it out if there is any question. Anyway, your kid is cute. And, the hair is perfect.

    1. Thank you! Sometimes I don’t even correct people, because I figure it’s not worth the embarrassment they inevitably have and I’ll probably never see them again anyway. It just cracks me up because he looks so boyish to me, even with his long hair.

  2. You are SO right!!! My little guy gets called a little girl all the time, because he wears an amber teething necklace and well, he’s just pretty. I’m not offended at all!! Both my boys play in the dirt and in their play kitchen! They love on stuffed animals and later, wrestle. It shouldn’t be either or, black or white.. It should just be that individual child.

    Thanks for your awesome blog!

  3. My 5 year old son has LONG hair that i normally put in pigtails. Its blonde,pretty and sometimes in curls (ok, i help with the curls) and i love it. Does he get mistaken for a girl? All the time. Does it bother me? Not in the least. People just need to understand, boys can have long hair, too!

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