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Anonymous 

Should I dress my kid in 'gender-neutral' clothing for as long as possible? At what age did you start buying 'girls'/'boys' clothes? Also, was that your own choice or was it because your kid started noticing the differences?

TOP RESPONSE
Matt crump 
There was an interesting but worrying article recently about a study analysing how and when gender stereotypes affect children. "The distribution of women and men across academic disciplines seems to be affected by perceptions of intellectual brilliance. Bian et al. studied young children to assess when those differential perceptions emerge. At age 5, children seemed not to differentiate between boys and girls in expectations of “really, really smart”—childhood's version of adult brilliance. But by age 6, girls were prepared to lump more boys into the “really, really smart” category and to steer themselves away from games intended for the “really, really smart.”
ALL RESPONSES
Ben Tantrum 
I've met loads of parents who (like us) try to keep an even keel and not bias our kids one way or another - the problem is that the child then promptly demands a pink princess tutu and you're then your stuck with another dilemma of whether you deny them the ability to express themselves/their own styles - even when this contrasts with your own. All of this is very much 1st world problems territory. Kids seem to start noticing this from as early as 2+ When they start noticing differences between boys and girls but it only really becomes an issue if your child has very strong views on it. I'd just go with the flow and provide 'suggestions' where possible.
Celine Bell 
So far, my kids are only ever dressed in hand me downs and I have NEVER bought a single piece of clothing. V lucky. However at some point they demand to choose their own clothes. So dress them in what YOU want them to wear in the short window you have. From preppy polo shirts to do I costumes to glittery Elsa dresses as Ben mentions above - you call the shots for such a short time that you should enjoy it whilst you can. And if you are aware of gender stereotypes you are probably already keeping an ear open to avoid the BS that comes with it so you can pay yourself on the back 👏🏻
Celine Bell 
That should say dinosaur costumes!!
Celine Bell 
And "pat" not "pay". Argh must not type on the go.
Matt crump 
There was an interesting but worrying article recently about a study analysing how and when gender stereotypes affect children. "The distribution of women and men across academic disciplines seems to be affected by perceptions of intellectual brilliance. Bian et al. studied young children to assess when those differential perceptions emerge. At age 5, children seemed not to differentiate between boys and girls in expectations of “really, really smart”—childhood's version of adult brilliance. But by age 6, girls were prepared to lump more boys into the “really, really smart” category and to steer themselves away from games intended for the “really, really smart.”
Mike Tantrum 
Wow. Fascinating stuff @Matt. Do you have a link? Would love to read that study.
Lisa Tantrum 
The 'Secret Life of 5 Year Olds' has been really interesting on the topic of gender. You can watch on iPlayer at the moment.
Guest489 
I try to keep my children is fairly neutral clothing. My eldest (a boy) has become more neutral since I had my youngest (a girl) to extend the hand me downs. However my son is nearly 5 and was obsessed by vehicles so people would often buy him clothes with trucks on. As such much of his play wear would be considered stereotypically male. Some of this has made it into my daughter's wardrobe without issue. My daughter is very particular about shoes already and will only wear shoes that used to be her brothers. My son likes to wear a superhero cape but is otherwise only interested in texture and comfort. The gender stereotyping comes more from him trying to categorise the world and therefore struggling with male and female, boys and girls. Especially since he started school and has more external influences. I sometimes worry that I'm the only person saying girls and boys can do and look however they want (no specific colours, hairstyles, relationships, roles in society) and this is just confusing him and jarring with all other influences. I'm very conscientious that I don't want to pass on the instilled perceptions that I was exposed to and that hold people back from happiness or reaching their full potential because of what is acceptable or the norm. Feel I have gone off topic and rambled but hey ho. Very interesting topic.

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