The long and short of it


Long haired booPrivate opinions generally take a backseat when you become a parent. Everything from what people see your child eating, to their clothes, to their behaviour warrants the rise of random voices, usually in protest. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can certainly be annoying.

The issue of Wolf’s hair has always been one of these.

I seriously don’t think it’s a big deal. He has the most divine hair. It’s so straight, a perfect sandy brown colour and it’s cool, but it’s long. It doesn’t reach past his shoulders but wow, people can really get vocal about it. Obviously, longer hair on men is fine, but it’s a big no-no for little boys.

The whole issue of teaching a boy masculinity is a fascinating one as it’s so foreign to me. There are all these standard rules: no pink, no dolls, gotta suck it up when something goes wrong, don’t pee with your pants on the ground, no long hair, nothing ‘girly’. Thank god I have my family and good male friends for (useful) pointers!

I’m also intrigued by the fact that Wolf and his friends are obsessed with heroes, to the point where Ben 10 was banned from his preschool. Are boys naturally drawn to these characters or is it clever marketing to sell stuff? Will this affect how he will see his place in life – as someone needing to be super and save the day?

The hair thing is getting me down though as people can assume he’s a girl, often to his face, and so Wolf wants to lop his locks off… soon. Not now (yay!), but soon… I know we’ll cut it off before he starts school, I just hope they’re empty threats for now.

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5 responses to “The long and short of it

  1. Speaking from my own experience, the whole “masculinity” thing is almost entirely a social construct and a woefully outdated one at that. What’s the use of transmitting stereotypes of men as bread-winners and providers when most of the things we traditionally associate with men are now routinely the norm to both genders, right down to the clothing?

    I remember liking dolls and the colour pink and so on when I was a child. My mother never found anything wrong with this but other well-meaning souls gently steered me towards toy guns and sports. I never really took to any of that. And the occasional handling of a Barbie or dressing up as a girl made me neither girly nor gay. Er, in my opinion anyway.

    A male influence or role model can be a wonderful thing in a boy’s life, IF it’s the right one. Boy’s have little use for the classic examples of masculinity characterised by feats of strength, violence and emotional self-subjugation. If a role model, on the other hand, can show a boy by example what it means to love and nurture those around them in a masculine(ish) way, that’s worth a thousand games of catch.

  2. I’m sorry but just look at him.. Wha’ever people, wha’ever.. How about they just suck it up!!?? Wolf is my hero – thanks to you Catho! xxx

  3. which heartless kindy banned ben 10?
    i must say, i think ben 10’s female side kick is a bit sexual in the film – all swinging hips and lusty eyes…
    contro.versial

  4. Hey – I am not a stickler for gender stereotypes. I am a rabid fan of boosting confidence and love, love love. Wolf’s hair is the bomb, and if some people don’t like it – well I’m sure you’re not a fan of their hair either – but you’re not getting verbal on them, right?! People are strange and always want to shout out their opinions. Tell them to bite their tongue. Or bite me instead (I bite back).

  5. catherineonline

    Ben – I totally agree. And can I say, sounds like you’d make quite a fabulous male role model. ps. I LOVE your site!

    Rene – I’m happy to report that the hair is staying for now. In fact, I’ve kinda become a bit more rebellious and refuse to cut it…

    Becs – our kindy is the beautifully heartless one (I actually adore the place). The boys were getting aggressive and really competitive about who had what Ben 10 toy, piece of clothing or accessory, hence the ban. I was SO happy when the goods were banned as it meant he had to wear the stupidly overpriced stuff I find immense joy in buying for him.

    Lexi – you’re right. There’s a lot of bad hair out there and I stay contently silent. I’m tempted to tell them to bite you. And simply because I want to see you bite back.

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