Nelly Thomas is the author of Most Girls.
Nelly Thomas is the author of Most Girls.

Shock question that left mum seething

IT WAS the question that left comedian Nelly Thomas seething with rage.

"What are you dressing her like that for?" A car salesman asked the Melbourne comic after mistaking her five-year-old daughter for a boy.

"He called her a boy, little man or something like that. And that's cool that's OK - it's not deliberate, that's an accident," Thomas told news.com.au.

Nelly Thomas performing at No Offence in 2015. Picture: Youtube.
Nelly Thomas performing at No Offence in 2015. Picture: Youtube.

But what happened next shocked Thomas, with the car dealer becoming "quite stressed" and aggressively questioning why the comedian had dressed her daughter like a "little man".

"She was literally in a pair of pink sneakers, jeans and a dark blue long-sleeved top with a sparkly star on it," Thomas recalled.

"I said, 'She can wear whatever she wants', and left ... we didn't buy the car."

Unfortunately for Thomas the experience is an all too familiar one, which started when the comedian's youngest daughter, then three, asked if she could get her hair cut short.

Unlike her older sister, the younger girl was outdoorsy and active, and told her mother she wanted her hair shorter because she "didn't want to brush it".

Thomas' daughter was three years old when she wanted her hair cut short. Picture: Supplied.
Thomas' daughter was three years old when she wanted her hair cut short. Picture: Supplied.

But to Thomas' dismay it took two visits to different hair salons before a hairdresser agreed to cut her daughter's hair into a pixie cut.

After the first salon refused and her youngest burst into tears, Thomas took her to a second hairdresser to try again.

It proved second time lucky for Thomas and her daughter - but only after the hairdresser had gotten permission from the owner and the comedian had supplied an exact photo of how she wanted her child's hair cut.

"I thought, 'Do you not have women come in here that have got short hair?' But I think they must have," Thomas said.

"But I think it's this idea that a little girl is supposed to look what they think of as feminine, rather than going, no she wants this for practical reasons and why shouldn't she - she can have her hair however she wants."

Thomas' youngest daughter, who the book was written for. Picture: Supplied.
Thomas' youngest daughter, who the book was written for. Picture: Supplied.

The experience, coupled with her youngest getting teased at school for her short hair, spurned Thomas to write her first children's book, Some Girls.

Illustrated by Sarah Dunk, Thomas' book features girls of all shape, size or ability, with the message that it's OK to be whoever they want to be - no matter what their hair looks like.

Since the original small run it has now expanded to 6000 copies, with Thomas overwhelmed with the response from both parents and children.

"I think that there has been a lot of kids ... whether it's for gender or other stuff ... are being made to feel there's something wrong with them, when they are perfectly fine, when they just don't fit other people's idea of who they should be," Thomas said.

"We know as adults that's a horrible feeling.''

Some Girls is now available in most bookstores and online here.

Nelly Thomas' youngest daughter who likes to play outdoors. Picture: Supplied.
Nelly Thomas' youngest daughter who likes to play outdoors. Picture: Supplied.

 

Nelly Thomas is the author of Some Girls. Picture: Supplied.
Nelly Thomas is the author of Some Girls. Picture: Supplied.

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