Scott Stuart, a father from Melbourne, Australia, has always wanted his 6-year-old son, Colin, to be his most authentic self. And for Colin, that meant dressing up as his idol, Elsa, from Frozen 2. In an effort to shed toxic gender norms and give Colin confidence, Scott started to dress up like the beloved Disney princess, too.
"He fell in love with Elsa when he was about 3, and it went from wanting the toys to eventually wanting the Elsa costume," Scott told POPSUGAR. "When Frozen 2 was premiering in Melbourne, he wanted to wear one of his Elsa dresses, but he was starting to hit an age where he was starting to feel like other people would laugh at him. That's why I dressed up like Elsa as well to support him. With that, we thought we could teach him to have the confidence to be true to himself or we could teach him to change himself to 'fit in.' We obviously chose the first one."
As difficult as it can sometimes be to ignore, Scott wants Colin to know that societal pressure shouldn't affect who you are as a person. He shared how his own upbringing has made him think critically about how he wants to raise his son.
"When it comes to kids breaking gender stereotypes, everyone has an opinion."
"I don't think you can be truly happy unless you can accept yourself for who you are, and when your family doesn't accept you, it just makes it infinitely harder," he said. "I want my son to have a joyful life. So even though I grew up in a very rigid definition of masculinity and he lives well outside that, if I really want his happiness, I need to get out of any discomfort I feel and allow him to discover, express, and ultimately accept himself for who he is and what he loves. And when he does that, he brings so much joy into our family that we never had before. "
Now Scott is imploring other parents to keep their children's best interest in mind while discussing gender norms.
"When it comes to kids breaking gender stereotypes, everyone has an opinion," he said. "Some people think it is great; some people think it is horrible. The only thing you can do is to see what is TRUE for your family. Not just what makes you feel comfortable. Too often we allow our own discomfort to get in the way of allowing our kids to fully step into their own light — if we love our kids, we should love them BECAUSE of who they are, not in spite of it."
By the looks of the comments on his Instagram, fellow dads have embraced the sentiment that gender is utterly subjective. Now, Scott is trying to reach as many parents as possible to spread his positive message. He recently created a Kickstarter for his children's book and short animated film, My Shadow Is Pink, which tells the story of a boy who dares to be different.