My Daughter the Man

by doodaddy on October 31, 2008

I told a friend today, a mom of a girl just a little older than Boo, about our pink UPS Man costume. She turned to her daughter and said, “Isn’t that great? Boo’s going to be a UPS Truck Driver for Halloween.”

Nice use of the generic, except she’s not. She’s going to be the UPS Man. Man, Man, Man, Man. A Pink UPS Man, to be sure, but definitely the UPS Man.

I can’t decide if I’m being really progressive or really retrograde to use the masculine form here. Like everyone, we taught Boo that there are “fire fighters” and “mail carriers” — and far from thinking that’s precious or PC of us, I truly believe that’s the right thing to teach. But when she picked her costume — and she did, most decisively, pick it herself — Boo said that she wanted to be “The UPS Man, The Pink UPS Man.”

So the phraseology came from her — UPS Man, UPS Man — and she had a particular one in mind. And while, sure, I could have made her say something more generic — “UPS Person,” I guess? — my inclination was not to “fix” her words.

Besides, there’s something kind of cool about the fact that she’s dressing up like a man. Gender equality isn’t about gender sameness. Her choice to cross-dress feels like a respectful one, an acknowledgement of  our differences, a sophisticated comment on stereotypical roles in our society.

Plus, she loves our UPS Man because he brings her stuff. So, UPS Man she wants to be, UPS Man she will be.

And, I can already tell what you’re going to ask, so I’ll just answer: photos tomorrow.

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tagged as , in clothing,raising a girl ·

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynnie October 31, 2008 at 9:09 am

I agree with you! Kids love to pretend to be the other gender; why not? If she wants to be a man for a day what’s the harm in that? When I was four I insisted for months I was a little boy bear named Bear Jack Joe. My parents, though not ultra-progressive by any means, thought nothing of it and even had my birthday cake made up with that fake name. I still remember being pleased they understood. When I look out at our world, though, I do think people are less apt to let their sons experiment with gender, which I think is really sad.


doodaddy November 5, 2008 at 10:10 pm

@Lynnie – I’m just wondering what they thought at the bakery writing that name on the cake. Maybe it’s the San Francisco in me but it’s sounding kind of, ahem, racy.


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