Why do we confuse young boys with long hair to be little girls? When did long hair become female?
I remember when I first saw a young boy with long hair at my sons rugby lesson. He was a pretty faced boy and instantly I said to my son, go stand next to the little girl.
His mum said very quickly, he's a boy - she wasn't offended by my mistake. She corrected me straight away in a really friendly manner. She must have seen how awful I felt in my face, because she then commented to me how it's ok everyone does it and he just likes to have hair like his mum.
"everybody does it" why? Why does everybody do it?
When did long hair become a female thing? When did having long hair automatically make you think girl instead of boy?
It made me rethink myself, why had I made this mistake myself and automatically associated long hair with a girl?
And note how I wrote he had a pretty face- suggesting if he had a normal or ugly face, would I have said boy? When did beauty and indeed pretty become feminine too? For me, the very fact that the 3 year old boy had a pretty face, almost gave me an excuse as to why I made this mistake. Allowing me to feel better in my mistake. Which now I've written it feels selfish and absurd.
In our history, men have had long hair. Within our art galleries we see lots of pictures of men with long hair. Men with long hair showed off wealth, nobility and even spirituality in some cases. So when did that change?
Males with short hair within history showed lower status, slavery or peasantry. Then in world war one, military started the new tradition that soldiers had to have short hair. Creating a new image for the idealism of masculinity.
So is short hair a part of the creation of the stereotypical masculinity within our society? Did the length of hair become yet another way of conforming within the gender stereotype?
Surely hair is hair - so why does it matter if our boys have long hair. Even within my mistake of gender, once corrected I knew and that was that. I did not care or make a fuss over the boy with long hair. I just corrected myself to not call him a girl or her. And his mother accepted the fact that sometimes people make the mistake but was happy to correct others and allow her son to be himself in his identity.
Often I have discussions with parents who have sons who have long hair and face negative comments daily by family members or public. Comments that question whether they should allow their boy to have long hair... And why not?
My Boy Can have long hair. My Boy Can learn how to say yes I do have long hair. My Boy Can feel loved and supported in his own identity whether he has long hair or not.