Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Gender Variance - twisted non-tolerance

The ladies at the Independent Women's Forum linked to this article about a school in the Bay Area that is catering to those who do not want to force small children into strict gender roles.

This letter (I'm J.P.) was my reply.

My philosophy about gender in child-rearing has always been that most harm is done by making a big deal of things. Children should not be made to think that something is wrong with them because of their preferences. They shouldn't be searching for the answer "what is wrong with me" when absolutely nothing is wrong with them.

When I was a child I was completely unaware of what was going on around me. As an adult I found out that some of my classmates were deemed in danger of not being masculine enough or not being feminine enough. The adults, parents and school councilors, were trying to *fix* these kids. The parents of my tomboy neighbor were told to have her spend lots of play time with a girl who was very feminine. She's married, last I heard, still about as empathic as a brick, still a tomboy. She's a gym teacher and coach. I found out that someone else rather close to me was sent to the school psych for fear of being homosexual. He's not. In fact, it seems that the young man in our neighborhood who may actually *be* homosexual was a body-builder who competed very well on the wrestling team.

If the school councelors were trying to prevent gayness, they shouldn't have been picking on the non-athletic debate club boys.

In any case, I think this was horrible to do to those kids. But let's look at the "solution" of accomodating "gender variance." From the article.

Children with gender variant behaviors feel intensely that they want to look and act like the other sex. They prefer toys and activities typical of the opposite gender. Signs usually start appearing between the ages of 2 and 4.

For some children, it's a passing phase. Some grow up to be heterosexual, some gay.

As a girl who never much cared for dolls, what am I supposed to think of that?

Once upon a time adults tried to make "gender variant" boys and girls conform to gender stereotypes. We recognized that this was wrong, and that a range of behavior was normal for girls and for boys. There was a natural overlap of boys who liked music and art and who could be found with their noses in a book and girls who could be found catching tadpoles with the boys or up a tree or playing baseball.

But now "gender variance" is a phase. A phase? Something that heterosexual children outgrow? So the boy who likes bright colors and flowing clothing, if he doesn't turn out to be gay, will one day decide that dull suits are much better? (Nevermind that Historically manly men often dress like peacocks in elaborate costume.) And girls who are "tomboys" who absolutely refuse to wear a dress, unless they turn out to be lesbian, will one day decide that a sundress and strappy high heels are *comfortable*?

Petaluma mom Leslie Hansen knew something was different when her daughter was 2.

"She refused to wear pink, barrettes or anything fancy in her hair. She wanted her hair short. She didn't want to wear lace, dresses, patent leather shoes. She didn't want to play with dolls. Well, she had a dollhouse, but she put animals in it," Hansen said.


I hated pink. I hated dresses. I didn't play with dolls. Two of my three daughters will NOT wear pink. They hate dresses. They don't play with dolls. My idea of fun when I was a kid was finding bones in the cow pasture, digging "escape tunnels" in the woods behind the house, and doing taxidermy on road-kill squirrels. My youngest daughter wants short hair and my oldest daughter chose to go shooting for her 12th birthday.

My ONE daughter who loves anything pink and who loves pretty stuff doesn't play dolls either, never wanted tea parties, and, in fact, from the absolute earliest age prefered the tactile feel of toys with hard corners.

And Leslie Hanson thought it was *different* that her daughter didn't cooperate with playing "dress up" with Mommy?

And this is a Bay Area phenomenon. Well, duh. These people have gone all the way from the idiots of my youth who wanted to shove children into neat boxes, past the denial of oppressive stereotypes all the way back to the box again. The difference is that now they've decided that being shoved into a box is lovely.

Particularly if they get to feel all self-righteously tolerant about it.


Anonymous Ymarsakar said...

Humans seem to go in circles after awhile.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly you do not have a child who is gender variant. Yay for you.

11:44 AM  

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