"Aww, Isn't he cute, why yes she is"

Stop calling my girl a boy

“Aww, isn’t he cute”, said the hundredth stranger.
“Why yes, yes SHE is” I said.

It’s a problem which isn’t a new one, but one that we’re increasingly facing and it’s really starting to make my eye twitch with rage everytime someone says it. Strangers are increasingly commenting on how cute my little ‘boy’ is. In the street, in shops and on walks. Everybody seems to think that my little girl is a boy.

Gender clothing

Now, sometimes I can see why they may be confused if I’ve dressed her in gender neutral clothes, or if I’ve dressed her in blue. These incidences I can deal with as I can understand their confusion based solely on what she’s wearing. I kindly let these incidences slide.

But when she’s wearing something that is obviously girly – either flowers, a dress or an array of pink (or sometimes all of the above) – there’s no doubting that she is indeed a she. Yet people are still confused by this and are driven to compliment how cute ‘he’ looks.

People seemingly aren’t judging her on her clothes as these comments seem to happen regardless of what she is wearing. I’m sure it would still happen if she wore a top that bluntly said ‘girl’. But equally, I don’t think that the world’s population (or at least that of Northamptonshire) has grown to accept that girls can wear blue and boys can wear pink – but that’s a different issue.

Is it the short hair?

I think it’s the short hair that confuses these strangers. Having short hair must mean that it’s a boy, with longer hair being a girl. The only problem is that all babies have short, or no hair, therefore all babies are apparently boys in the eyes of strangers.

Complimenting a baby you don’t know

Strangers would be much safer in complimenting any baby by saying “aww, so cute” or similar. It’s a catch all compliment and will save me and other parents from punching them in the face.

Or, just don’t say anything at all or just give me that knowing ‘how cute’ smile – I really won’t mind and am not forcing people to comment on the sheer beauty of my daughter. I’m more annoyed when people try and get it wrong when to me is seems so obvious that she’s a girl.

But, while strangers are dishing out compliments – and I’m sure they’ll continue – they can also throw one at me once in a while. I’d really appreciate it.

Just don’t assume that my girl is a boy.


Comments 13

  1. I found this really odd and rather cruel. How lovely that you live in a community where people feel comfortable addressing you to comment on how lovely your child is. I would hate for people to know how much ‘rage’ you feel in response to their kindness, and for them to feel too worried about extending that kindness to other people in the future. The main thing here should be that there are lovely people around you who want to make you feel happy by complimenting you on your beautiful child, and yet you seem so absorbed by their innocent mistake that you appear to actually let it ruin your day. I think that says a lot more about you than it does about their failing as a human being to correctly identify your daughter’s gender. I actually feel very sorry for you. My little boy has beautiful big blue eyes and was often mistaken for a girl when he was a baby, I always said thank you – and I sincerely meant it, because it was lovely that someone described him as pretty – he was pretty! I always corrected them too, but with a smile and a laugh and agreed with them that he was very beautiful! Change your outlook, you might just cure that twitch in your eye, and realise that people are being NICE TO YOU.

    1. Thanks Ashleigh for taking the time to respond, albeit negatively. I agree with you that these people arn’t saying it with malice, but it genuinely makes me feel awkward when I have to correct people and I can’t change the way that the experience makes me feel. Fair enough if that makes you feel sorry for me, or seemingly angry about the way I feel, but my blog is a way of me sharing my experiences as a mother – whether you agree with them or not. I appreciate that you feel differently and could openly laugh about it. You have had your own positive experience with your boy being mistaken for a girl, but this isn’t my experience and I am aware that I’m alone in feeling this. We all have to make our own way in parenting and I understand that not everyone is going to agree with my opinions all the time. This one just seems to have been a marmite issue. Thanks again for dropping by and for sharing your opinion so openly x

  2. Alec had long hair when he as born! He had his first haircut at 12 weeks old as it was in his eyes, he was always being called a pretty girl! I just agreed with people, he was a really pretty baby and is still a very pretty boy!

  3. I feel exactly the same when people call my son a girl. It’s frustrating when it happens over and over. I totally understand how you’re feeling.

  4. I love your point about complimenting you too 🙂 So often the mother is just the manager and body guard for the baby at this stage- people forget to interact with the adult too! #TwinkleTuesday

  5. My daughter looks just like my son did when he was a baby, and it’s taken ages for her hair to start coming in, so we’ve had quite a few instances where she’s been called ‘he’. I generally don’t mind too much, but like you said, I find it really odd when people still say ‘he’ when she’s clearly dressed in pink, girly clothes! x

  6. I had that all the time with Lizzy, I found it quite funny most of the time but it was a little frustrating when strangers would call her a boy when she was wearing pink!

  7. Pingback: Your opinion matters – unwritten rules of blogging | Bringing up Georgia

  8. Zach always got mistaken for a girl! In the park, in the supermarket! I have no idea why and it is embarrassing when you have to correct them and it makes you think that maybe you should be dressing them differently or something! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  9. This happened to us today. It has happen before , but today it upset me. When a this person called my girl ( dressed in pink and sitting in her cream/beige pram) boy I simply said “not sure why everybody thinks she is a boy, it must be the short hair ” . I though I am being nice , lighting up any akwardness following the mistake. Only for the other mother to say”no, it’s her face” . What?!? What did she mean? Say what you will, but I was upset! And since my girl is tiny,she went on to comment on that too. Sure , twist the knife, why don’t you!
    Thank you for sharing , glad to know I am not alone.

    1. I have no idea why people feel the need to be so mean and I’m sorry you’ve been through that experience. They think they’re being honest and ‘nice’ by complimenting, but in reality it’s just nasty and hurtful. There is no way that those sorts of comments could ever be construed as being helpful or nice. I also don’t understand why people feel the need to give a running commentary on things that she does? For example… if she sneezes in a Drs surgery everyone looks to each other and says “She sneezed”… What is that about… I think it’s along the same lines of people describing our children to us… oh she’s got blue eyes etc?! Thanks for commenting x

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