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So what if my son wants to dress as Snow White?

By Allison Martin

Disney-obsessed Zackary Buckley must have been brimming with the kind of simplistic joy only a child can really feel as he headed off to nursery in his favourite fancy dress outfit.

His favourite outfit just happened to be his Snow White dress and that choice, his choice, saw his mother shamed in the street by a stranger. A middle-aged woman told Haylee Bazen that she "should be embarrassed" for allowing her son to wear a dress.

As a mum of a four-year-old boy I'm disheartened, disgusted but, sadly, not surprised. In a world where little girls are, rightly, positively encouraged to ditch their dollies for Lego and switch their Cinderella gowns for Spider-man suits, I've found that equality really isn't a two-way street.

Equality should be about choice, but God forbid our little boys pick up those abandoned dolls and start to play. In fact then I bought my boy a doll, at his request, two years ago, the reaction from people I'd formerly considered to be "reasonable" was a real eye-opener. It was as if I'd forced him into a tutu and played Judy Garland CDs on repeat. While girls taking up traditionally "male" playthings, little boys opting for anything regarded as "female" is still viewed with suspicion.

Childhood should be a time of exploration and discovery, every day an opportunity to delve into different worlds, whether it be that of a pirate or Elsa from Frozen. Both boys and girls are entitled to the freedom to experiment without judgment, particularly the judgment of a stranger in the street.

Manufacturers do not help with their pink and blue signage, sending boys to the aisles of superheroes and girls to aisles of dolls and unicorns. In a heartfelt open letter to the woman who "shamed" Zackary's choices Haylee says her "awesome" son "can be who he wants". Some days a zombie, some days Snow White.

Belfast Telegraph


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