I meant to post this earlier (I guess it was two classes ago now that we talked about cross dressing a bit), but here is an interesting article about young boys cross-dressing on Halloween. There are lots of stories online about people’s terrible reactions to young boys wearing girls’ clothes – just check google – but I think this one particularly captures the fear that so many people seem to experience when boys dress “like girls.”
The author outlines the reasons people seem to think boys in dresses are terrifying, which are, predictably, that people assume that wearing girls’ clothes will make boys gay, are proof that they’re gay, or will get them bullied. In absence of any of these reasons, the only logical conclusion is that being a girl is simply worse than being a boy. Regardless of which terrible reason we consder, these sorts of conclusions are harmful to children, and help further reinforce the “girls like pink and dolls, boys like blue and trucks” stereotypes pushed in advertising, the media, and culture at large.
Practically speaking, there is no reason that children’s clothes need to be gendered at all. Although one could make a reasonable argument that women’s and men’s clothes requiring different darting and tailoring to fit, this argument breaks down when we consider children’s clothes. Ostensibly, all gendering children’s clothes does is further prove to them that boys and girls are different, and that occupying a space in between or otherwise outside these specific roles is bad.