I seriously just had to teach my mother some basics of parenting.
Both photos are of my daughter in October, the first in 2011, the second in 2012. I let her pick out her own clothes, shoes, haircuts, hair colors, anything superficial, really. She’s too young to understand the permanence of piercings, so she doesn’t have any. But hair grows, shoes get grown out of, clothes go threadbare. These things don’t really matter—shouldn’t really matter—but anyone raising a gender-variant child knows the world isn’t that kind.
My daughter recently requested a haircut like mine. A long flop on top, pixie-length fade on the back and sides. She’s been bugging me for weeks to color her hair again, I just haven’t had the time. But today she came to me with the same shyness she keeps developing when outside our home; she’s being pressured by peers and family to look “normal,” to grow her hair long and uncolored, to dress a certain way (she hates to match), to indulge in self-consciousness, and alter or not alter her appearance to gain the approval of others, and society at large.
THIS FUCKING INFURIATES ME.
I called my mother tonight, because my daughter had become shy again, and didn’t want to color her hair anymore, and she said it was because of what her Nana had said to her. My mother told me we should get that spray-on Halloween hair colors, so it wouldn’t be so “permanent” and my daughter could be “normal” again to avoid being bullied.
IT IS NOT THE JOB OF THE VICTIM TO STOP BEING BULLIED. IT IS THE BULLY’S JOB TO STOP BULLYING.
I know she gets teased sometimes, and we always talk about it. She stays strong and confident, so long as she has the support of those around her. But what that support falters, or pulls a 180, she’s left to crash.
She also gets teased for liking dinosaurs and not dolls. She gets teased for preferring roughhousing to playing house. She gets teased for liking Lightning McQueen and not Cinderella. Where do we draw the line?
My mother thinks this is a “minor” thing, that it’s better to just blend in. But it would plant the seed of doubt, it forms the foundation for queer kids staying in the closet, for disabled kids to feel worthless, for young girls accepting abusive partners. This is not “minor,” it is fucking MAJOR, because this is my daughter’s foundation, and it will shape her life.
Support your fucking kids. Let them be who they want to be, look how they want to look, and play how they want to play. And make sure they know that you will love them no matter what.