Adele Let Her Son Dress As His Favorite Disney Princess And That Should Be Normal
When we say boys can’t wear skirts, we’re essentially confirming the idea that masculinity is universal and for everyone, while femininity is limited and lesser. So when headlines lauded Adele for letting her son Angelo dress as as Anna from Frozen during their recent trip to Disneyland, it was a “YESS” moment!
In our current cultural climate where feminism is simultaneously co-opted for sales and trends while still largely stigmatized in its reality, it’s more common to hear and see stories of parents fighting back against the extremely limited gender roles imposed on kids from birth. Boys wear blue. Girls wear pink. Boys have trucks and Star Wars Legos. Girls have dolls with full wardrobes and lifelike kitchen sets.
Neither is quantifiably better nor worse. it’s just separate and limiting, and despite our best intentions, there is the persistent subliminal message that the feminine is embarrassing and frivolous. We will laud stories of little girls breaking the gender stereotypes: playing with Legos specifically marketed to boys and dressing themselves in Batman shirts and wildly denying their limits as little girls. And yet, even in our good intentions, we shame and humiliate little boys who express a gentleness that counters the toxic dominance we associate with masculinity.
Little boys aren’t supposed to wear skirts, or play with dolls or express interest in makeup, because god forbid they end up feminine. Our obvious bias towards masculinity and fear of the feminine is exposed every time we tell a little boy he shouldn’t be “girly,” because in patriarchy being girly is to be secondary — gentle and pretty and spoken for. Our continual prizing and acceptance of masculine dominance and the gender binary strips so much depth out of true femininity, replacing the well of feminine strength with the cheap glint of the male gaze.
So it’s a complicated and dangerous venture when we push and encourage our little girls to forsake the childhood feminine constricts while punishing our boys for daring to venture out of the equally toxic masculine constricts, the very constricts that dehumanize and strip men of their freedom to express vulnerability.
The more celebrities and public figures let their kids play outside of the heteronormative stereotypes the better, this should be normal, letting sons explore femininity in the same ways we let daughters explore masculinity.