Paul Henson has gotten a lot of attention from a good many people, over 500 thousand, to be exact. His son, Caiden, is likely one of the cutest little boys to hit the Halloween costume circuit dressed as his favorite character, Queen Elsa from Frozen.
“I told him he could be anything he wanted to be, and if he wanted to be Elsa that was OK even though he is a boy,” Henson said via his Facebook profile, according to The Ledger Gazette.
Both Buzzfeed and Huffington Post posted about Paul Henson’s decision to let Caiden dress as Frozen‘s Elsa for Halloween, and the Buzzfeed article alone snagged over 500 thousand views. Henson said that he just wanted his boy to go trick or treating, and that he had always emphasized with his children that toys were toys; there were no “boy” toys or “girl” toys.
He also noted that Caiden just likes toys in general, rather than liking specific toys simply because they were better suited to a boy.
According to the Anti-Defamation League’s Miller Early Childhood Initiative, Paul Henson is not wrong to support his son through his Frozen infatuation. At three years old — young Caiden’s present age — most children can conclusively identify themselves as either boy or girl, but they are still trying to determine the notion of gender and what it means for them, as many adults around them may also be.
There are children for whom traditional gender norms do not always work, or in some cases, are simply more nonsensical than they need to be. Writer Erica Kleinman, in describing her experiences raising a girl with Huffington Post, said that her daughter Phoebe wanted her hair cut short and wanted to start wearing “boys” clothes. Kleinman tried a different tactic and instead asked her daughter if she just wanted clothes with sharks and cars on them. When the child lit up with excitement, she admitted to feeling some loss because her daughter did not fit the traditional model, but she also found she felt more fear for how her daughter might be received at her school. (Things were fine.)
As for Caiden, he could not have been happier with his Frozen costume. According to WFMY News 2, his father noted that some of the negative or disparaging comments he received were from the local area, and that the majority of responses he received were overwhelmingly positive. He heard comments about his son’s Frozen costume from as far away as Brazil and the United Kingdom, and while some responses cautioned Henson to let the boy’s school know about the Frozen costume, the majority praised his decision to support his three-year-old.
Paul Henson said that regardless of what happens with Caiden, or the decisions his son makes, he pledged to stand by his son. The senior Henson also noted that he did not intend to create any sort of controversy in posting the image of his son in a Frozen-inspired costume, he just wanted to ensure that his boy was able to go out and enjoy Halloween.
“I just want my kid to go trick or treating,” Henson said of his support of Caiden’s Frozen costume.
Current Halloween plans for the Hensons include trick-or-treating while Caiden proudly wears his Frozen-inspired costume.
[Photo via Shutterstock]