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:
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!
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?