Parenting Pet Peeve: Old Dudes and Gender

As most of you know, I poo pooed dressing children in extremely gendered ways. I am eating my own words now since I’ve dressed Mae in outfits like this:

Mae: "This is fucking ridiculous."

Mae: “This is fucking ridiculous.”







However, I don’t always put Mae in what would be considered “girly” clothes. I often keep it pretty neutral. Lately, we’ve been doing a lot of only-diaper dressing since she seems to move around better and she rolled over when freed of clothing!


Sailor outfit in question.

Sailor outfit in question.

Anyways, she was wearing a little sailor outfit when we were out and about downtown last week. I had to stop in a business to pick up something. As is often the case, a group of people stopped me to admire the cuteness that is a baby. Often in these exchanges people call Mae “him,” and that doesn’t bother me at all. I mean it’s a baby, so how are you going to know? So, this older gentleman asked “How old is he?” I answered “She’s about four months.” I wasn’t correcting him, just answering his question. It didn’t bother me in the least. “Oh, it’s a girl! Well, you don’t have any hair, do you? You’re big for your age! She needs a hair bow or something!” he said like an accusation.

Unfortunately, this guy was offended by misinterpreting Mae as a boy. He was so upset by it that he needed to blame me for not making her “girly” enough for him.

I just smiled and walked away. In retrsopect, I wish I’d had a response that made him think or that ignited a productive conversation.
I don’t know what my response should have been in this situation. Has this happened to you? How do you handle these conversations?


4 thoughts on “Parenting Pet Peeve: Old Dudes and Gender

  1. Ugh! I applaud you for not constantly caving to the girly-girl trap and think this guy sounds like a jerk. I’m expecting a girl in two months and I’m just bracing myself for crap like that, since we don’t have a ton of money or patience to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe over and above my son’s perfectly good hand-me-downs. You’re right, it’s a BABY, not a beauty pageant contestant. Why on earth would she “need” a hair bow?!?

  2. When i see someone is so sorry for not guessing the gender right, i just say “No worries, babies all look alike at this age”… But I’m not sure what my answer would’ve been for that guy! Probably just a flat look…

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