Thursday, October 22, 2020

Boys and Gender Fluidity

Hollywood celebrities have become “way more experimental and accepting when it comes to parenting and letting children make their own choices” regarding the clothes they wear. The image above depicts just two examples, film stars Charlize Theron and Naomi Watts out and about with their sons. (Follow this link to read about other celebrities whose children are gender fluid in the way they dress.

Which reminds me of boys who femulate Disney princesses and boys who femulate mommies. 

I attended a public co-ed grammar school starting in kindergarten in the fall of 1956. My kindergarten class had two female teachers ― one middle-aged and one twenty-something.

For play time, the class of about 30 students was divided into five unisex groups. Each group took turns each day playing in different play areas: sandbox, toy blocks, art, play house, etc.

When it was my group's turn to play house, us boys played at being mommies, never daddies.

Some of the male mommies donned frilly aprons and “cooked” in the play kitchen, while other male mommies tended to the babies ― bottle-feeding Betsy Wetsy dolls and changing their diapers after they wet. When Betsy was dry, male mommies could push their babies around the classroom in doll carriages.

In addition to the frilly aprons, there was a toy box containing pocketbooks, high heels, lady’s hats and adult-sized dresses. There were not enough items to completely outfit each mommy, so we would select just an item or two for our femulations. (I usually tried to get a pocketbook and a pair of high heels.)

None of the male mommies rebelled at being feminized and some of us really got into it by affecting “female” characteristics, such as speaking in a higher pitch and using female mannerisms.

Initially, I felt embarrassed playing a mommy, but it did not seem to bother the other boys, so I played along like a girl with the rest of the boys. 

And so it goes.

Source: Venus
Slip into this bodycon floral print velvet dress from Venus and you're set to steal the show from the other boys at this year’s Thanksgiving festivities.

Aunty Marlena
Long-time Femulate reader and contributor, Aunty Marlena, invites you to visit her womanless photo collection on flickr


  1. Girls can wear what they like so why can't boys
    There is the usual peer pressure to conform as well as parents worried about what the neighbours will say
    It would be intersting to look at the boys, in this post, in ten to fifteen years time to see how they have grown up

  2. Theron's child apparently identifies as female, while Watts' son, Kai sees to be presenting as female fulltime though no announcement has been made on pronouns, but they are taking after their dad Liev, who played trans characters in Mixed Nuts and Taking Woodstock looking surprisingly attractive in both.

  3. naomi watts' son's father is tough-guy actor liev schreiber, who in the link below coyly expresses how strange it was to play a transvestite in a film called "taking woodstock". what he fails to mention in the interview is that he also dragged up in a steve martin movie 15 years earlier! as they say: where's there's smoke, there's fire...

  4. Stana, we are the same age (plus or minus 1) and i had the same preschool experience as you, although on the west coast. Same fluid gender roles and clothing, same playing on each side of role.

  5. Wow. I was in kindergarten in 1957, my kids were in the early 1980's and my grandkids in the early 2000's. I never ever heard of the cross gendered opportunity like you describe in your experience during kindergarten. It seems like a fantasy to me.
    Angel Amore

    1. I assure you it was not a fantasy. To tell you the truth, I remember initially being taken aback about how the boys really got into playing the mommy role. But when in Rome... It took me awhile to join in. And no surprise that I enjoyed dressing the part more than caring for Betsy Wetsy.

  6. When I was a kid back in the mid- to late-forties two of the mothers in our neighborhood were seamstresses, working from home. They had boxes of clothes in their basements. There were 8-10 of us kids and we often dug into the clothes boxes to play dress up. After a while one of the girls, Sue, lobbied to be the dad and asked why some of us boys couldn't be the mom or a sister. It seemed to be a fair question and we went ahead and assumed new roles. We didn't give it another thought.

    Remembering back, I remember the aforementioned Sue really wanting to be the dad. Unlike her sisters, she really hated wearing dresses. The son of one of the seamstresses preferred to be the mom, although I was the mom when he wasn't. His mom was also a tailor and could sew up a storm using her foot pedal powered sewing machine. We did this for a whole summer and into the school year. But when we did it on a Saturday one of the fathers saw what we were doing and stopped us in our tracks. His son wasn't a "queer" and doing this dress up game was going to make him one! It was great fun while it lasted.

    Now that I've given this some thought, I recall female impersonation (FI) was more mainstream back then. The Jewel Box Revue was just one of the touring FI shows and impersonators would often show up on TV variety shows. But after the early 1960's you never saw them on TV and the Jewel Box Revue was the only touring FI company. My guess is that this genre was another victim of McCarthyism. During his ridiculous anti-communist campaign, fueled in no small part by the infamous Roy Cohn, a "purge" of homosexuals took place. Eisenhower hated McCarthy, but he was totally on board about the gay purge. (Interesting that Cohn was gay and it was said that McCarthy got married to "cover" for his being gay. It was Cohn's male lover that blew the lid off the McCarthy committee hearings when he had the Senator pursue favorable treatment for Cohn's recently drafted lover).

    Female Impersonation didn't go away, but it was pushed into darker corners and it was very hard to find anything about crossdressing outside of sleazy mags like "Confidential". In my teens I often fantasied about those early days on Jamestown Road when we wore whatever clothes we wanted in our dress up games.