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An Anthem For Boys Who Wear Dresses

08/05/2014 05:17 pm ET | Updated Oct 05, 2014
The Pop Ups/YouTube

How many kindie rock songs have been inspired by a HuffPost Parents story? It's impossible to know for sure, but this anthem for boys who wear dresses and girls who don't dress "girly enough" for society's tastes is one: "Costume Party" by the Grammy-nominated, electro-pop Brooklyn duo The Pop Ups.
(Scroll down for the world premiere of the video for the song.)

The genesis of "Costume Party," a song which espouses the basic but somehow contentious idea that "clothes are just the way that we dress," can be traced back to band member Jason Rabinowitz's youthful affinity for his sister's silk lavender dress. The singer admits to "dancing around in it and having costume parties with my sister. We did this for months!" The current-day inspiration for the song's creation came about from repeated stories in the media about boys wanting to wear dresses and society chiding them for their fashion inclination. There was this one about a boy wearing a dress as his Halloween costume, this one about a band's video featuring a boy in a dress being teased and told to wear regular "boy clothes," the 5-year-old banned from his after-school program for wearing dresses and this recent viral example of a son who prefers to dress like Sofia the First. Boys in dresses, if nothing else, has proved a lightening rod topic, but why? We're talking about clothing -- cuts of fabric, sewn and hemmed and tailored. Why the fuss? Rabinowitz, a relatively new parent, says that "playing dress up is a wonderful way to explore parts of your personality. Acting, playing, trying things on; these are healthy behaviors any child who's allowed to, will enjoy and benefit from."

He's spot-on. As a dad to a pair of older kids, I've observed that playtime is more wonderful when there are fewer rules, especially ones that bring gender into the equation. Wanna keep the wood-burning kit up high in the closet? Understandable, but don't you dare divide up the dress-up box by gender. A girl sporting a shirt and tie? Cool. A boy Letting It Go like Elsa? Rock on.

It makes sense, then, that "Costume Party" doesn't take umbrage with a boy or girl's fashion sense: detective, chef, baseball player, dancer, going to a ball in a lavender dress, whatever -- the song reminds kids, and parents too, that it is more than OK to revel in the freedom and creativity of childhood. Rabinowitz adds that "allowing for a place to play that's not tied to gender stereotypes is wonderful," and says of his own childhood dress-wearing experience, "I loved that lavender dress and still remember it fondly. I admire my parents for not shutting it down, for allowing me to be myself."

The song is one of many outstanding cuts from the band's third album, Appetite for Construction, set to be released on August 19. The smart money is on not just another nomination, but a victory at next year's Grammy Award ceremony. The album is THAT good.

If you aren't yet hip to the Golden Age of Family Music that we're currently living in, you'll probably be surprised to hear Daft Punk quality beats, top-notch musicianship and not a single instruction for brushing teeth or saying please and thank you in this song performed by handsome young dudes who could easily be MTV heartthrobs.

Go on and stream the bejesus out of "Costume Party," too, while playing dress up or just getting dressed up -- in matching lavender dresses or whatever you feel comfortable wearing because, as we know, "clothes are just the way that we dress."

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