On Freaks And Geeks And Princesses, And Why Lady Gaga Is More Like Jesus Than You Think

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Photo by Catherine.
Catherine at Her Bad Mother wrote an amazing blog post a few weeks ago called “On Freaks And Geeks And Princesses, And Why Lady Gaga Is More Like Jesus Than You Think”:

…I do believe that children’s whimsy should be encouraged, and not repressed, and that any child who expresses the desire to march bravely forward into the world with her heart and imagination on her sleeve, regardless of what other people might think, should be supported in that desire. I believe this, because I believe that children who are taught that difference is okay, who are encouraged to understand that looking different or sounding different or moving different are not markers of weirdness or badness, who are encouraged to freely express their own difference, who are discouraged from ‘turning up their noses’ and judging others as ‘outcasts’ or ‘freaks’ just because they are different, I believe that in those children resides our best hope for changing the world for the better.

Go ahead and read the full piece here.

Comments on On Freaks And Geeks And Princesses, And Why Lady Gaga Is More Like Jesus Than You Think

  1. This is the kind of mantra we need to teach our kids! I couldn’t agree more, and decided long ago that Aiman’s personal attire, as long as it’s weather and age appropriate, was not something I would discourage him from.

    I thoroughly love that he wears a cape and mismatching socks because he wants to.

    It’s ironic that growing up we don’t want to stand out, yet at some point in life we desire nothing more than to be different.

    And people will judge and talk about you as a parent regardless of what you do or don’t do, even with something as minuscule as how your kid chooses to dress. So may as well do what fancies your child’s imagination and individualty.

  2. When my son was six he decided to dye his hair bright red. I asked him if other kids in his class dyed their hair and he said “no, but maybe they will after I do it”. That was enough to convince me – we dyed it cranberry red that very night. The teacher told us later that by the end of the week a number of the other kids had coloured their hair various shades too. He never wanted to dye it again, but the fact that he wanted to do something no matter what other kids were doing made me so, so proud.

  3. My daughter has decided that, at home, she is not wearing pants…ever. She also won’t wear dresses or skirts. She wants to wear t-shirts and underpants. And you know what, I don’t blame her! If our roommate was ok with seeing me in nothing but t-shirts and underpants that is all I would wear at home. I want her to have the freedom to be comfortable in her own home and her own skin. Bravo to Mamas who understand that society is going to be jerks no matter what we do, and our job is to support our kids and make society’s blows less hurtful. Thanks for sharing this great post, Offbeat Mama.

  4. I completely agree! My girls wear what they want, as long as it’s age and weather appropriate. If it means that my 4 year old goes shopping with us while wearing a red and gold pirate coat with a white, ruffled shirt, black sequined tights and Thomas the Tank Engine rain boots, then so be it. She’s happy, confident and polite, which is exactly the way a 4 year old should be. To be fair though, all the adults that interact with my girls LOVE their sense of style and can’t wait to see what cute outfit they’ll choose wear next.

    • I really, really want an adult-sized version of that outfit. I think perhaps I’d wear it with black heels instead but it just sounds so awesome!

  5. Oh, wow, that’s an amazing blog post! Though I’m not a “real” mama yet, I can say from a nanny and teacher perspective that as long as you’re following the golden rules of weather and age appropriate, you are doing it right! To be perfectly honest, kids with crazy styles will become friends with kids who love their crazy style …and aren’t those really the sort you want befriending your little one anyway? If their parents are upset by it then…well, I think Catherine put it best in response to the judging parents on her blog:
    “Thank you for providing me with another set of criteria for determining what kinds of moms to avoid, and for summarizing, so neatly, how parental attitudes can contribute to a culture of shaming and bullying.”

  6. Love it! A lot can be said about letting your child wear whatever they want. My son collects clip-on ties (no joke), and every couple of months or so decides he wants to wear them every day. Even if it means clipping them to a t-shirt. My daughter is the same with tutus. She has an extensive collection which are usually paired with jeans, a hoddie, and either Hello Kitty rain boots or ruby slipper ballet flats.

  7. My own mother was so insanely supportive of my choices to wear/do whatever I pleased growing up so long as they were appropriate and courteous to others (I live in FL, so weather was never a real problem).

    I have incredible memories of dancing down the grocery store aisles in a tutu, plastic dress up high heels, and Minnie Mouse ears. Occasionally, one or both of my parents would even dance with me in public places. Our holiday pictures are filled with me in ridiculous get ups made of bandanas and bejewled jackets and bathing suits while my older sister looks on, mortified. I’d dress up as a turkey for thanksgiving, even. My poor, poor sister.

    I was bullied relentlessly all through my school age years and I am better now for it. There were plenty of times that my mom had to defend allowing me to make my own choices, and as a matter of fact, 20 some odd years later, she still does. Many of her friends and other parents had a tendency to be snide or snarky when I would show up to a sweet sixteen party in an outfit I made myself from lace and thrift store soccer jerseys. Many still disapprove of my choices, even though I am a well adjusted professional woman (something about a woman with full sleeves in a business suit must bother them, i guess!)

    However, despite all the negativity, I feel like I benefited more as a child from my parent’s support in me than anything else. I feel like I learned to be accepting and empathetic to others at a young age. Some folks never grasp that until their lives are already almost over! I learned to be myself and not appologise for it. I also learned how to be different while still being respectful of those around me (authority and such). I learned to trust my parents and I grasped at a young age that I literally could tell them anything and that their love was unconditional.

    Any child is so very lucky to have a parent like this!!!

    Sorry for all the typos.. I havent had my second cup of coffee, yet!

    • It is so hard to watch your child be bullied because of their “differences” as other people see it and their creativity. Even though I HOPE they will be better for it, it seems as if it is making their lives miserable most of the time. It is hard for us to fight ignorance and intolerance every day, it wears us down, and every day I have to prepare us all for “battle” it seems. How do we keep up the energy sufficient enough to hold their self esteem up so that they don’t become “like everyone else” just because it is easier?

      • Dawn- Completely agree! My mother’s heart was broken over it many, many times. I can’t even imagine the protective instinct and surge of emotions that come when your own is being attacked emotionally… but it came down to something else she taught me…

        She absolutely refused to allow something fleeting and temporary impeede my development as a happy, contributing, respectful human being. This included not always giving me what I wanted and it also included not always sheltering me from the bad things of the world. I understood hate, bullying, stealing, cheating pretty early.
        But, she also surronded me with accepting family and friends who became a shelter from all the negative stuff in the world, which is how I still opperate. I can brush off the nasty comments and looks because I know I have acceptance and love from the folks who really know me. I’m not always seeking to fit in, which in my early twenties, is incredibly rare for a young woman. That is true confidence.

        In the long run, the larger picture, I’m glad my mother didn’t ever try to protect me from the world by encouraging mainstream choices, as hard as it was for her. I think most children will, as adults, feel the exact same… that the acceptance and love of their parents for being just exactly who they were was worth much more than the judgemental people of the world’s.

        🙂

        • I think you’re exactly right. One of the best gifts we can give our kids is unconditional love and acceptance for whatever their soul guides them to be.

  8. My husband and I met in high school at a religious boarding school. The fellas couldn’t have hair that touched their collars. Alex caught such relentless crap for his hair–I remember one of our friends chopping it off with office scissors on the sidewalk so he wouldn’t get suspended. I’ve heard him tell our daughter more than once: “This is my promise to you: you can wear your hair however the fuck you want.”

    To which she responds: “Daddy, don’t use naughty words.”

  9. An excellent post, I think it’s a blog I’m going to be reading regularly. I have to admit I’m upset by the comments referred to, why she’s a bad parent. I fully understand that it’s every persons right to parent as they see fit. But surely if you want to mould a child to such rigorous strictures of what isn’t weird as you see it and therefore ok, you might be better off with a pack of air dry clay.

    • i LOVE this post!!!! SO wish my mom would’ve thought like that growing up, perhaps we would understand and get along with each other better? (Even now we argue over my clothes….so pointless!)
      Recently I’ve been facing a personal crisis as to dress like i want to and be who i want to be as a mama–and then dressing ‘like i should’ so as to get respect from the ‘other playground mamas’…now i realize i gotta say fuck it! and be who i wanna be for both my son’s sake. If mama’s afraid to be herself, how are they supposed to grow up feeling secure?
      Now to go find my knee high socks and cape…. 😉

  10. This is fantastic! Bravo to Catherine! I’m now even cooking up ideas on how to make Sadie’s wardrobe more accessible to her. Our current battle is the desire to be stark naked in a house that’s becoming increasingly colder… 🙂

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