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Old 08-09-2010, 09:22 AM   #1
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Gender Policing Of Children-Famous Or Not

I've been doing some reading about this whole subject, and it actually started when I started seeing all of these tabloid type articles about Shiloh Jolie Pitt and how she's looking and dressing "like a boy" and is Angelina encouraging this and oh no Shiloh is gender confused or gay or bisexual and/or a cross dresser! One article even suggested that Angelina was doing this because she was somehow jealous of the attention that Brad was paying to Shiloh US Magazine published a photo of Shiloh in a swimsuit without a top on, because apparently she prefers to wear a boy's swimsuit. The child porn issue was raised just like it was in the Miley/Perez Hilton case.

This doesn't just apply to kids of celebrities- it speaks to the whole larger issue of gender expectations and stereotypes and how kids are still raised to fit into those and how if they don't, it just makes some people very nervous for a few different reasons. You can say it's just tabloids doing what they do, but in my opinion this is way over the line and they do it because they know it's hitting some sort of hot button issue . They are also doing it to an innocent four year old child who has nothing to do with her parents being famous. That's just gross and not appropriate.

Is Angelina Jolie Raising Her Kids To Be Gender Confused? � Hollywood Life

We all know Shiloh Jolie-Pitt loves to look like a little boy; she lopped off her hair, wears ties and calls herself John. But now Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s adopted son, Maddox, is displaying girly tendencies; Angie reportedly bought the 8-year-old a manicure kit ( ) at the Rockridge Kids store in Oakland, Calif. on August 3 as a birthday present. Is this normal or is Angie raising her kids to be gender confused?

Other random comments..

"Shiloh is pushing the boundaries of a tomboy look and crossing over to cross-dresser territory," Alana Kelen, senior fashion stylist at VH1 said.

"Angelina has said she was bisexual in public—this is her bisexuality coming through...[Shiloh] is being guided into a bisexual role. Her mother is projecting this onto this particular child," a psychologist told Hollywood Life. posted a story earlier today titled "Expert: Angelina Jolie Repressing Shiloh by Dressing Her as a Tomboy" with two different therapists saying Shiloh's boyish fashion sense could lead to her getting "picked on or ostracized by her peers, potentially leading to social problems, anxiety, and poor academic performance." And that "if Angelina is choosing her daughter's clothes...she could be repressing her daughter's true nature"

The site has since changed their mind, now it's "Experts: There's Nothing Wrong With the Way Shiloh Dresses," and that's probably more accurate.

Random comment from a reader

"She's trying to re-create her daughter in the image of herself, which is rather tragic.

Gender is not an arbitrary thing - it's really important that people develop relatively strong gender orientations or else they will face a life of depression and difficulty. #1 group of suiciders are those caught in between genders like hermaphrodites etc..

Sometimes it's difficult for physical reasons (i.e. hermaphrodite) or because of same-sex orientation which can hinder strong gender identification.

But it's shameful because it might be that Jolie is doing this to her kid on purpose as part of her whacked out social views.

She's the worst mom ever."

I have a very strong-willed four-year-old girl who tells me what she wants to wear and I let her be who she is," Angelina told the London Evening Standard. "I think people think kids should be a certain way, but I feel they should wear what they feel like wearing and they should express themselves. Shiloh cried one night and said, 'Please cut my hair off. I don't want to have long hair.' I'm not going to leave it long just because somebody thinks I should."


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Old 08-09-2010, 09:24 AM   #2
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Gender Policing is Harmful to Children | Reproductive Justice and Gender | AlterNet

Habladora , Feministe at 11:00 AM on July 18, 2008.

Gender Policing is Harmful to Children

My good friend recently confessed that she wished her eight-year-old daughter were more interested in 'fashionable' shoes, lamenting that little Maria always insists on wearing sneakers- even with skirts. "Some day soon," my friend comforted herself, "Maria will want to be more like a girl -- she'll want to wear make-up, and shoes that compliment her outfits. I guess she's still just a little young for all that."

In light of that remark, I should have known when I agreed to babysit that Maria would show-up wearing shoes that limited her mobility. Had I been thinking of that conversation with her mother while arranging our day together, I could have saved the kid some pain. Instead, I thought of my own sneakered childhood, and planned to tour the neighborhood playgrounds, gardens, libraries, and ice-cream parlors with her -- on foot. Since I don't usually think of eight-year-olds wearing high-heels (although it seems to be a growing phenomenon), I didn't even notice Maria's 'fashionable' shoes until the poor kid started complaining of blisters and aching feet. Her mom had bought her the 'pretty grown-up shoes' the day before, and told her that big girls don't wear tennis shoes with skirts.

Little Maria's feet had fallen victim to gender-policing, the imposing of perceived 'typical' gender behaviors on another person.

As it turns out, gender policing is far from rare, and any kid who escapes adolescence with just a few blisters as a result can count herself lucky. According to research published in the journal Sex Roles, kids who's parents over-correct " ... gender atypical behavior (GAB) i.e. behavior traditionally considered more typical for children of the opposite sex" are at greater risk of developing adverse adult psychiatric symptoms:

Negative parenting style was associated with psychiatric symptoms. Structural equation modeling showed that parenting style significantly moderated the association between childhood GAB and adult psychiatric symptoms with positive parenting reducing the association and negative parenting sustaining it.

To put it a bit more succinctly, it isn't being different that put kids at risk, it's being punished for being different. We are constantly goading kids, in a variety of ways, to conform to culturally-set gender roles. The rules can be so strict, that crossing a gender line can earn a kid punishment from parents, teachers, and peers. This hostile situation makes life particularly difficult for transgender children, for at an age when all children are seeking to define themselves, transgender kids are torn between embracing behaviors usually aligned with the sex they know themselves to be, and those behaviors that their society expects them to adopt. The more 'gender atypical behaviors' a child displays, the more severe the gender policing tends to be -- increasing those children's risks.

Yet, even for kids who identify strongly with their birth sex, gender policing can cause lasting problems. Girls run a constant risk of being taught to associating femininity with frivolousness, and we might be teaching boys a form of subtle misogyny as well. As Sociological Images notes, "unlike men, who are supposed to reject all things feminine, women are encouraged to balance masculine and feminine characteristics."

NPR's article "Two Families Grapple with Sons' Gender Preferences" seems to give credibility to this assertion. While the boys who name their animals girl's names, identify with female characters in movies, and want to wear skirts might get taken to a psychiatrist; girls are expected to identify with male characters in movies (when there might not be any female ones), can wear only slacks (I refused skirts and dresses for years), and are free to name their stuffed bears whatever they'd like (mine was Tom). The implication that girls can aspire to be male, but that boys shouldn't condescend to act like girls is disturbing.

Of course, being aware of the problem doesn't always solve it -- and I'm even guilty of occasionally trying to police my nieces away from frilly versions of femininity. Knowing that gender policing is potentially dangerous for kids, how do we let our children explore their gender identities in their own ways -- despite the messages all around them implying that anything but strict adherence to their prescribed gender roles is bad, or even unsafe?

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Old 08-09-2010, 08:03 PM   #3
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This is so sad. It almost seems like society is moving backwards. When I was growing up in the '70s I ran around in jeans and sneakers and short hair and no one gave a crap whether I was sufficiently "girly."
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:32 AM   #4
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No one cares but I thought this was interesting, from a parenting column in the Boston Globe. When it involves a boy wanting to be like a princess...

Son is obsessed with being a princess

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz August 11

Hi Barbara,

I have a question that I'm sure others have asked before me. My son, who is 4 1/2, has recently become obsessed with being a princess. We have given him some play clothes, and all he wants to do is wear his pink princess dress, tiara, and ballet slippers, and waltz around the house. Neither my husband nor I have any problem with this ideologically (we were the ones who bought him his first dress), but we're more worried because it has started to consume his thoughts. We've begun to limit the time he can play princess, and when he can't, he will choose other toys, but when he can, he's right back into it.

I am also worried because kids he sees at camp and in the neighborhood have started to say things to him like, "You're a girl, not a boy, because you wear dresses." I don't want that to hurt his feelings or confuse him. I've told him that, while he can absolutely pretend to be a princess, he is still a boy, to which he responds that he now wants to be a girl so he can wear real dresses to school like his sister and me.

I've looked on the internet for advice, and have gotten answers ranging from "this is just a phase" to "get him to a transgender psychologist now!" I love that he is creative and exploratory, but the peer taunting (although still relatively mild) and his own obsession with this has gotten me somewhat concerned and questioning whether I should take him for professional help, if only to determine whether he has gender issues now so we can help him navigate later. My husband thinks it's just a phase and we should continue doing what we are doing, but I would love your thoughts as well.

- From: Megan, Westwood, Ma

Dear Megan,

Here's the short answer: Yes, it's a phase.

For the longer answer, I consulted with early childhood educator Nancy Carlsson-Paige. We had a conversation that I found fascinating and illuminating. I hope you do, too. Here it is, edited and condensed.

NCP. I've been working in early childhood 35 years and I've seen countless 4-year-old boys in the dress-up corner, trying on tutus and tiaras....

BFM: They're sparkly, dazzling...

NCP. Exactly. Kids learn the labels, the words, girl and boy, but it's not a permanent stage to them. They could just as easily say, 'I'm gonna grow up and be a truck.'

BFM. Oh, come on!

NCP. No, no. We have to realize they do not have an established sense of gender identity until they are thinking in a more logical way. Meaning until they understand that something is what it is and it is not changeable. That happens between 6 and 8...

BFM: So until then....

NCP: Until then, if he likes dresses and things he has to be a girl to wear them, fine, because he thinks being a boy or girl is changeable. Because he doesn't have the same meaning attached to the label.

BFM: This mother is worried...

NCP. Of course. I've seen many concerned parents over this. It has to do with our own biases and fears around sexual orientation, and it's also culturally, socially imposed. But I don't think her son is confused by this or that his feelings are hurt. She can test that out by asking him some open-ended questions. Let's say she's with him and a playmate says, "You're a girl, you're not a boy. You like princess dresses." She could turn to her son and say, "What do you think of that? He just said you're a girl, not a boy. What do you think?"

He might say, "That's silly." Or he might just as easily say, "I am a girl." And then she could say, "Oh. Why do you think you're a girl?"

"Because I'm wearing this dress."

"Oh. So when you wear a dress, you're a girl. But really, you're a boy. But you can pretend to be a girl when you wear a princess dress..." That would be her way to clarify the situation for him.

On the other hand, if he said, "I don't want him to call me a girl," then the mom could say, "Well, do you know why he's calling you a girl? He's calling you a girl because you are wearing a princess dress."

"Well," he might say, "I don't want to wear a dress! Maybe just at home."

She might also say, "Tell me why you like the dress?"

"It twinkles," he might say. In other words, he won't have a fully developed answer. It just makes him feel special. I would just affirm that: "You like it because it's so sparkly."

BFM: I love the way you can project a conversation!

NCP: The point is to let the little boy be the guide to what sense he's making of gender. That way, you stay away from projecting our personal and societal fears and thoughts on him.

BFM: But what about the mom's concern....

NCP: That there's an underlying transgender issue here? I don't want to disregard it. It's very rare -- extremely rare -- but it does happen. It's also extremely rare that a child who will be manifesting a transgendered preference will do so through this kind of play. And if it was a manifestation of a transgender preference, you would not want to tell him he should not do it. What we want is for every child to find his/her normal, healthy path in life. A small percentage of boys who like to dress up will be gay; a small percentage of girls who are 'tomboys' will be lesbian.

BFM: But mostly....?

NCP: Mostly, it's exploratory play that is not related to gender.

BFM: So you wouldn't limit the play, or worry about it...?

NCP: He's exploring the fullness of being a human being. I don't think the mother should limit him; he'll get the message there's something wrong with it. If he expresses concern about that playmates tease him, then she can offer for him to wear the dresses at home, where they can't see.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:05 AM   #5
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BTW, as its close to, jumpin in to say, one time in a waiting room this woman had her two young kid daughters in, and this waiting room had couple of ladies, couple of guys, and other kids........and one of her little girls proceeded to lift her top up and down while laughing with her mum..........I actually felt a bit uncomfortable only nowadays because of the CP issue, but these kids were prob 3 years old, and their mum made no immediate attempt to stop her.................I guess shows she sees the kids as innocent......why stop a kid doing something innocent.....

anyhow I dont see tomboyish = bisexual. I really dont.

if Jolie is pushing this onto her, I dunno. Maybe she wants her kid/s to experience something she went throu.

Oh and Mrs Springsteen, I have to say, over here we have BB on the go and it has grown men who have worn nail polish on their fingernails.

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Old 08-16-2010, 03:38 PM   #6
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Interesting. The primary function of this drug seems to be regulating hormone levels.

Medical treatment carries possible side effect of limiting homosexuality -
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:40 PM   #7
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These people need to read To Kill a Mockingbird.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:24 AM   #8
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Mother crowns her 'princess boy' :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Easy

November 4, 2010

A little boy in a bright red dress and his mom's picture book about acceptance are front and center in a biting debate over a question well beyond his years: Are society's gender roles so rigid that a male child can't have fun in a tutu?

Cheryl Kilodavis self-published My Princess Boy over the summer about the sometimes cruel reaction 5-year-old Dyson faces when he wears sparkly frocks, twirly skirts and jewelry. She shared it with his school and hopes it will be used as a tool for teachers, day care centers, summer camps and after-school programs to address bullying and promote tolerance.

What the Seattle mom hadn't anticipated was that her family's appearance on local TV -- with a sullen Dyson in red dress and sparkly pink socks -- would land on YouTube, light up Twitter and produce packs of snappish doubters along with loving support from around the world.

"It's been, you know, the dialogue is happening, which is the goal," Kilodavis said.

Much of the positive reaction has come from educators, parents of like-minded boys and members of the gay community. Much of the negative seems centered on the video of Dyson as he sits sullenly next to his mom on a talk show couch, flipping through the book and sniffing from a cold while he listens in on the grown-up conversation.

"I like to dress up in different kinds of clothes and jewelry," the boy offers on KING5-TV's "New Day Northwest."

The host asks: "'Cause it's fun?"

"Mm h'mm," Dyson responds.

Some wonder whether his parents' indulgence has led them into dangerous territory, and whether putting him on TV to sell books, no matter how valuable to others, was a wise thing to do.

"The parents shouldn't let the kid do it just because he wants to," said Alajauan Adams, 27, a youth coordinator for a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. "I'm not here to judge if it's right or wrong for him to be an outcast, but the reality is he's going to be and you're not protecting him from it."

Online radio blogger Lashaun Turner, the 46-year-old mother of three grown children (including two boys) in Riverside, Calif., was taken aback by Kilodavis tracing Dyson's fashion sense to age 2.

"I mean it's just crazy. Your 2-year-old is picking out pink colors and wanting to wear pink dresses and so therefore you start buying him dresses?" she said. "I mean a 2-year-old has not a clue as to whether they're boy, girl, fruit, vegetable or a rock."

Kilodavis acknowledges her initial discomfort when her youngest son's "unique eye for everything beautiful," especially things pink and glam, surfaced at a tender age at home, and a few months later more publicly when he ran into her arms at day care pickup one afternoon dressed in a red sequin dress and pink high heels.

"He was so happy. He said 'Look how pretty this dress is,'" she said. "I was worried about if the other parents were looking at him, and were they looking at me."

The parents had Dyson evaluated by a medical team that included a psychologist because, Kilodavis said, "Everything out there is always about gender identity confusion, and I wanted to make sure my child was happy with who he was."

The verdict? He is. He just enjoys tiaras and ballet leotards, but also basketball and climbing trees -- all interests that tomboy girls delight in routinely without an eyelash batted.

Kilodavis did try diverting Dyson's attention as a toddler by providing his day care with a little more flash for boys in the dress-up area. She brought in a red-and-gold karate outfit and a band uniform, but they were no-gos for Dyson. "The next day when I went to pick him up he was in a yellow dress," she said.

Forward to age 4, when Dyson and his 8-year-old brother went shopping with mom for Halloween costumes. Older brother settled on a ninja turtle. Dyson begged for Cinderella. The worried mom made the purchase and made sure his private school was aware of his costume choice.

In solidarity, three "stereotypically macho men" who work at the school dressed up as ballerinas, but Dyson wasn't there to enjoy a little dance they put on in his honor, or the annual holiday parade. His mother couldn't bear to send him, afraid it would be too much.

Dyson did go trick-or-treating in his Cinderella gear. "Somebody laughed at him, a lady at a house. She said, 'Oh my gosh I can't believe you're dressed up as a girl. You're a gender bender.' He asked, 'Why did she laugh at me, mommy?'" Kilodavis said. "People would make comments at stores, like 'Are you really going to get that Tinkerbell outfit?'"

That's when she got busy on the book. Requests for it have skyrocketed since Dyson's story hit the Web. The family is now in search of a publisher.

"People are walking into stores looking for the book. They're e-mailing me, saying I wish you were my mom when I was a princess boy growing up."

Wendy Rosen in suburban London bought the book for her own princess boy, 8-year-old Cameron, and reached out to Kilodavis on the book's Facebook page.

"The book really hit a button for us," said the legal secretary. "I think it's the only time he's seen a boy dressed as a girl."
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:23 AM   #9
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i think the bigger issue is why it's a national obsession how angeline jolie and brad pitt raise their kids.
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:16 PM   #10
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Slow news day much?
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:59 PM   #11
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Kind of seems to be, yeah.

Originally Posted by Headache in a Suitcase View Post
i think the bigger issue is why it's a national obsession how angeline jolie and brad pitt raise their kids.
Well said .

I agree there's a fine line between bringing up such issues and exploiting someone/something for profit, which is the line I think that mom's walking. But honestly, people need to settle down about this stuff in general. Kids throw on whatever looks interesting to them, sometimes they pretend they're being Mommy or Daddy or being "grown-up". They don't analyze the hell out of it the way adults do, and adults that spend their time worrying that much about such things really should find something else to occupy their time. Certainly kids should be taught that some other kids and adults out there will tease and will say mean things and will find the whole thing odd. We can't shield them from that reality.

But it wouldn't hurt people to lighten up and quit fretting over this stuff so much, either. If a boy wears a dress, or a girl wears a tux, the world is not going to end. We'll all live.

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Old 11-08-2010, 09:20 PM   #12
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It seems we have killed childhood.

Forget innocence and play.

You must conform.
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:36 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by the iron horse View Post
It seems we have killed childhood.

Forget innocence and play.

You must conform.
This is very true and very unfortunate.

And when it comes to this issue it's arbitrary, the definitions of what's masculine or feminine are man made and differ from culture to culture. There is no religious reasoning yet I've found that it's usually the religious conservatives that try so hard and uphold these arbitrary definitions.
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:22 PM   #14
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^ It's not at all been my experience that gender-policing behavior is limited to religious conservatives (anywhere on the planet), but just out of curiosity--since you mentioned religious reasoning--do Christians ever site Deuteronomy 22:5 with reference to cross-dressing? Because Jews sometimes do (though even among the Orthodox, this passage is considered notoriously inscrutable). Literally, it says something very close to: "A woman shall not take on the trappings* of a man, nor a man the mantle* of a woman; that is forbidden by the Lord, your God."

( * I'm sure these are normally translated as "clothing," and they often do mean simply that in Hebrew, but both of these terms have considerably more conceptual nuance than the English. The former carries the sense of "the gear" or "the kit'n'kaboodle," and can actually refer to all kinds of implements; while the latter--just as the English "mantle" suggests dress in its capacity to convey authority--suggests dress in its capacity to reveal the form or essence of whomever, or even whatever, it's put on.)
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by yolland View Post
^ It's not at all been my experience that gender-policing behavior is limited to religious conservatives (anywhere on the planet),
Not limited to, but it has been my experience they have been the ones that have been more verbal about such things. But I do think religion plays a role from the Amish to tribal people.

But purely from an American perspective it seems to have always been religious conservatives that have always tried to ban certain hair lengths for guys, tuxedos for girls, earrings for guys, etc at the school level.

Originally Posted by yolland View Post
but just out of curiosity--since you mentioned religious reasoning--do Christians ever site Deuteronomy 22:5 with reference to cross-dressing?
Well not only cross-dressing but I've heard them use if for the length of hair, product in hair, earrings, etc... Which never made sense to me because they could never point out the origins of such ideals of hair length etc in the scripture.

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