Say what you want about gender stereotypes. Sometimes playing dress-ups is just a fun way for a child to build on their imagination and creativity. That’s why mum Hayley Bazen was left fuming when a woman chastised her at a bus stop for allowing her three-year-old son to wear a Princess Elsa costume from the Disney movie Frozen.
It’s not the first time a stranger has taken a parent to task for letting their little boy wear a dress. And we’re betting it won’t be the last. And that’s whu Hayly took to Facebook to vent her anger in an open letter.
“I am NOT sorry you didn’t like how he was dressed nor am I sorry that you didn’t like our discussion topic of who our favorite Disney Princess is (Snow White obviously),” she writes.
“Zackary is my three-year-old son and he can be who he wants to be. Today he was a Disney princess and YES I did send him to school like that.”
Ms Bazen says her son wore the dress “because that’s what he wanted to wear”.
“He wanted to show his teachers and friends his Elsa dress, because he wanted to sing ‘Let it go’ for show and tell, because he doesn’t understand the gender stereotypes you think he should conform to, but most importantly because he is awesome,” she says.
“He plays with cars and dolls, princesses and pirates. He rides his scooter or pushes his pram. He wears zombie face painting or lipstick and if he choose to wear a dress he can!!”
She tells The Sun she couldn’t believe it when the woman interrupted to question whether the wardrobe choice for her son was a means of punishing him.
“She told me that we should be embarrassed and that boys shouldn’t wear dresses but if anything she’s the one who should be embarrassed,” Hayley says.
“If I saw someone on the street in an outfit I didn’t like or thought didn’t suit them I wouldn’t stop them and shame them – why ruin someone’s day?”
The world is changing and with that the traditional roles and stereotypes defining men and women are also shifting. Our children begin learning from the moment their eyes first open to the world, and the window for them to be children is so small.
Zackary is not the first boy to don Elsa’s iconic dress. Caiden Henson chose the Frozen frock as his Halloween costume with the complete support of his awesome dad Paul. And who can forget the world’s best uncle, Jesse Nagy, who put on a princess dress to take his niece to the movies so she wouldn’t feel silly.
Over time it is the attitudes and actions around children, more than what they wear, that has a lasting impact on their idea of gender roles. Check out this powerful video which shows the importance of banishing stereotypes.
If letting my son wear a firefighter jacket with a police hat and my glitter clutch means my husband and I can enjoy a tantrum-free dinner, I’m all for it. And if you can’t get away with dressing up in whatever you want when you are three, when can you?
(Images via Facebook)