Joe Boughner: The Naked Dad


I Am A Beautiful Princess

When My Daughter Asks Me To Wear The Tiara, I Wear The Tiara

Why, yes, I am a beautiful princess. Thank you for noticing. 

The list of reasons to explain how I found myself dancing around the living room, sporting fairy wings, a tiara, and a wand the other night, is a long and varied one. My willingness to do almost anything to make my daughter laugh is, admittedly, chief among them. My desire to seize upon any opportunity to reinforce the importance of sharing is too (we've been struggling with sharing lately, so when she offered to share her tiara, who was I to say no?).

In fact, if I'm being honest, the chance to engage in a little gender-bending play, thus normalizing the sight of a man doing a typically girly thing, was nowhere near the top of my mind as we bounced and laughed and sang along to Toopy and Binoo Christmas carols. But the more I think about stuff like this, the more important it seems.

My wife wrote a great post a few weeks ago (she does that, she's really quite brilliant, that wife of mine) about how, in a lot of ways, girls have it easier when it comes to going against gender norms. Girls doing "boy" thingsplaying in the dirt, enjoying science, etc.are a common sight these days. Boys doing "girl" things, though? That's another story. 

So, while we may have gotten off the hook with our daughter in this respect (don't worry, there are plenty of other reasons to be terrified of parenting a girl instead of a boy), I still feel something of an obligation to make sure that my daughter isn't part of the problem, should a boy in her class or peer group be inclined to wear nail polish or take ballet.

My kid is smart and sweet and sensitive, but, then again, so was I. And even if I didn't grow up picking on and teasing the boy who took dance or the other one who did gymnastics, I wasn't really rushing to their defence or even hanging out with them, either. Because, to me, it was just weird. Picking dance over hockey was weird. Picking gymnastics over basketball was weird. 

I didn't accept it, I tolerated it. Frankly, that's not enough. Tolerance suggests there's something outside the norm that one has to tolerate. I don't want my daughter to tolerate this sort of thing, I want her to grow up oblivious as to why something as inconsequential as a boy wanting to wear a dress would ever even be an issue to anyone.

I'm not delusional here. I don't for a second believe that my willingness to wear fairy wings and a tiara will magically erase stupid biases and preconceived notions of appropriate play for boys and girls for an entire generation. Hell, I don't even believe it will have that effect on my daughter. There are still way too many people and products out there reinforcing gender expectations (right, Kat?). 

But I do believe that every little bit helps. So, if my kid asks me to wear a tiara, I'll wear the tiara. 

And, frankly, I think I pull it off.