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Is it Wrong For Boys to Wear Tights?

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Mom•Logic friend Rebecca Barry ponders her decision to buy hosiery for her son

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"Last Friday, I bought our son Liam a pair of tights. It was the end of the week and he doesn't go to daycare on Fridays and so he and I spent the day together. I took him to the gym, and then to the co-op to get groceries, and then we went to The Cat's Pajamas, which is a children's clothing store that has a Thomas the Tank Engine table which can occupy Liam for hours. So Liam played and I bought three pairs of very cute, colorful socks and two pairs of tights. When I came home and showed my purchases to my husband, he pointed out that it wasn't really cost-effective to forgo daycare ($35 a day) if I come home with $50 worth of hosiery for a boy.

He didn't think the tights were a good idea.

I did. Here's why. I am always cold. My acupuncturist says it's because I have a damp constitution and eat too many damp foods (coffee, wheat, dairy, yes, I consider coffee a food) but whatever the reason, I spend the winter freezing and wear tights under my jeans all season long.I assumed that Liam, who my acupuncturist also at one time also pronounced damp, and who has no body fat, is also always cold. So I thought tights would be good for him. I also bought the tights because I feel fairly strongly that children should grow up surrounded by color. They should make colorful things, wear colorful clothes, be exposed to rich, strong colors all the time. I think it's good for their brains, but if you have boys this is hard to do. All the boy clothes are dark browns and greens and totally boring, unless you want to spend a lot of money on Petit Bateau sweaters which I would if I could. So I am always looking for colorful items for the boys and these tights were a nice purple, green and blue striped pair, which I thought would look like a very cute pair of socks.

"They're colorful," I said. "All it takes for a kid to look well dressed is a pair of great socks and a pair of cool shoes."
"You just think he's cold because you're cold," said my husband, who is not damp. "He's going to die of heat stroke. He doesn't need tights."
"You're just saying that because you're always hot," I said.

What my husband did not say is that he doesn't really want Liam to wear tights because he knows that although I love my boys to death I was kind of hoping for a girl and he thinks I keep trying to dress my boys like girls. But it's not that I want to dress them like girls, it's that I don't see why they have to be dressed one way or the other. Which brings me to the question of the week--does the way we dress our children matter?

Later in the car on the way back from a nature hike I asked Liam if he liked his new tights. He had just come out of the public restroom and said, "I have two things. A bottom and a penis."
"I love them," he said happily.
"Why do you love them so much," I asked, "Was it because they kept you so warm and cozy on our walk?"
"No," he said. "Because I look like Maggie."
I could feel my husband's smugness radiating from the driver's side of the car.
"Maggie wears tights, and skirts and dresses, and I want to wear skirts and dresses."
"But don't you like pants?" I said.
"Not really. When am I going to lose my penis and be a girl?"
"Oh that old chestnut," I sighed. ( See "boobs" posting.)
"That's not usually what happens," said Tommy.
"Well well well," said Liam. "When are you going to start being a boy, Mommy?"
"I'm working on it," I said.

In a way, though, he's on to something. I've always been interested in what Virginia Woolf called that man-womanliness, woman manliness that exists in all of us. On the one hand, boys and girls are wired differently, there's no question, but on the other, it seems that we are mostly just human, and tend to exhibit more masculine and feminine qualities at different points of our lives. Women after the age of thirty grow much more aggressive, confident, and independent, in my experience. (And after 50, watch out.) Men after the age of fifty are completely sentimental. They just start crying. I think it's all of those years of pretending they don't feel anything. So maybe my son just sees what we've all forgotten, which is that gender, like morality, like happiness, can be a fairly fluid thing, and that maybe the truth is that we’re all women waiting to be men, and men waiting to be women. Which is so fundamentally human--sitting around, doing the best you can, while waiting to be someone else.

Also, girls clothes are a lot more fun than boys clothes.

Either way, we're keeping the tights. And Liam's penis. At least for the time being."

For more from Rebecca Barry, visit Main St. Diaries.


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65 comments so far | Post a comment now
Liam June 9, 2009, 5:56 PM

My girlfriend likes to wear tights often and she was talking about the black tights she was wearing and said that I should try some on, I said maybe,
the next day she said to me that she had something for me, I opened the bag and in there was a pack of 3 black tights. She helped me to put them on and she asked me how they felt and they did feel good. Now I am getting used to wearing them most of the time. They are great to wear.

Anonymous September 20, 2009, 12:15 PM

boys can wear tights

Anonymous October 4, 2009, 10:17 AM

of course tights are ok.

be a leader, not a follower.

anon October 6, 2009, 3:39 PM

When I was a child my mum dressed me in tights and it didn’t do me any harm.

anonymous October 7, 2009, 11:12 PM

You are all idiots.

Anonymous October 8, 2009, 10:09 AM

^^^ takes one to know one, for sure.

Dan December 2, 2009, 11:33 AM

Well you should keep puting him in tights, make him wear skinny jeans, and a nice fitted shirt. No one will be able to tell, and when he gets into a locker room in middle or high school, he will be at the age that no one will care and mabey evan some of his friends wear them.

Steve December 27, 2009, 7:40 PM

I wear tights and have since I was 6 or 7, I am now 34 and still love them. The warmth and the comfort (mostly the comfort)won me over. My wife doesn’t understand or accept this. Sucks, because I wish I could be more free about this without causing her to be freaked out.

Andrea Marie Jennings January 7, 2010, 7:54 PM

Tights, panties, bras, and dresses too!!! There is nothing wrong with a boy that dresses as the girls do!

Besides, a girl can get away with running around with what the boys wear, and no one would think twice…

But a boy goes out in a dress, pantyhose, and some pumps, and OMG!!!
That’s just mest up!

Anonymous January 20, 2010, 10:30 PM

girls clothes are indeed more fun than boys clothes.

geo February 15, 2010, 4:29 PM

I am a boy to be 13yo. I think I love tights as well, but dunno where to buy (too embarassed)

Check this out
www.grou.ps/boytights

Robert February 24, 2010, 4:28 AM

we, as parents, place tights on our son as infants, so why not as boys. At some weddings if the boys are wearing shorts sometimes they wear tights under their shorts (usually the ring bearer). So yes boys should be able to wear tights. The tights should become a normal part of boys undergarments.
After reading this I got the impression that the author was or had considered placing her son in more colorful girls clothing or dresses. I have a friend who has her 3 year old son in dresses, she said it’s easier to change him if he has an accident (potty training). I agree this would probably make it easier. When we have our sons christened we place them in gowns. Everyone knows that a gown is really a dress for boys at that age. I even saw on the web 2 picturres of a couple of boys either at confirmation or communion in the same style white dresses that the girls wear. It had something to do with their virginity. so maybe as younger boys we should allow them in dresses, it won’t hurt them, nor will they turn out gay as that is genetic.

Karen April 7, 2010, 2:47 PM

My son, 15, has been wearing tights for the last two years, mainly at home. Its ok by me for him to do so. He prefers them to socks, and likes to wear both black sheer and opaque tights. Occasionally he will wear them when going out, under his jeans, but just socially.
Karen.

JV June 19, 2010, 10:48 AM

I live in Norway(I am American), all children boys and girls wear tights. They make tights for boys with superman designs etc. In Europe boys wear tights, it is an American thing that men seam to be so ridiculously tied up with masculinity. Tights are the absolute best way to stay warm for children

Air Max TN July 6, 2010, 7:42 PM

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john July 29, 2010, 8:22 AM

the problem isn’t the tights its the color… and the fact that your wearing them on your son as pants…. TIGHTS AREN’T PANTS….

Chrissy August 14, 2010, 3:41 PM

Hi, I’m not a mom, I am a 13 year old boy. When I was younger my parents dressed me in lots of really manly clothes… Once I tried on a pair of women’s underwear and loved it. I was about 8 then. Now, my girlfriend lends me her clothes sometimes. My mom doesn’t accept me wanting to cross dress. I am chronically depressed and feel very repressed. I think you should try to compromise with your husband, but also allow your son to wear what he wants. Thank you for listening. If anyone wants to contact me, please e-mail me at cjberry95@gmail.com and just tell me you got my e-mail from here…
-Chrissy

david November 18, 2010, 3:13 AM

I think it’s perfectly acceptable for boys and men to wear ladies tights during the winter months. My mother suggested I try wearing thick black wooly tights as a child and I have been wearing ladies high denier black opaque tights since, nylon ones when it’s mild and cotton or wooly ones when it’s cold.I generally wear at least 70 denier opaques on mild days but I also have some 100 denier black opaque tights and lots of warm thermal tights as well. I used to feel ashamed and guilty aboiut wearing them and of course I felt embarrassed buying them from female shop assistants, but now I just accept this and sometimes even admit to wearing them. Most women love to think that men are wearing them and
to see men in them.

caroline November 24, 2010, 5:15 AM

when its cold I insist that my 11 year old son puts on a pair of my 70 denier opaque black tights, under his school trousers.He may feel a bit sissy but hes warm.

Anita December 17, 2010, 6:46 PM

Good for you, Caroline! I do the same for my little guy. At 9 years old, he is rather skinny and complained last winter constantly about how cold his legs were. I bought him a few pairs of streatchy cotton tights. At first he acted almost frightened of them, but I got him over that. And though he complained several times last year, when it got real cold a few weeks ago he asked where his tights were. I got a few thinner ones for warmer winter days (50 denier nylon; I suppose they qualify as pantyhose, but he never saw the packaging) and he seems to love them, although he’d never admit it.


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