In a recent post on the subreddit r/AmItheAsshole, a working father turned to the internet to ask if he was the asshole for allowing his second-grade son to wear one of his twin sister’s dresses to school.
Shortly after getting to work, the boy’s school called the dad, saying his son was being bullied for wearing a dress and that his outfit choice was distracting the other children. When the man’s wife, who works overnight, went to pick up the child, his son was “very sad” and that “the whole morning had been upsetting for him.”
The dad ended the post by saying his wife was “irate,” asking him how he could have sent their son to school in something that might trigger bullying or mark their son’s reputation in the school system. He told Redditors that at the time, he didn’t see the dress as “that big a deal, but that doesn’t change that I put my son in harm’s way.”
As is often the case, the people of Reddit had plenty of different takes. Some said that regardless of the father’s own social or political attitudes, it’s important to make his kid aware that some people will not be accepting of his choices, and warn him of the bullying that might ensue if he chooses to deviate from his expected form of gender expression.
Others argued that a second-grader shouldn’t have to be, or is incapable of being, aware of the social ramifications of his outfit choices on his own, and that above all else, it’s the parent’s responsibility to keep the child safe.
Others took issue with the way the school handled the child’s bullies.
Most commenters agreed that, at the very least, the father should have sat his son down to discuss the potential social consequences of him wearing a dress to school. Many believed even if he and his son had that discussion, the boy still shouldn’t have worn a dress, if only to avoid the misguided wrath of 7-year-old bullies.
The one thing we’re sure of: Kids need to be kinder to each other.