An interesting segment from ABC about the way kids are made to wear the ‘appropriate’ gender, whether they want to or not. (Sorry about that emetic ‘message’ music at the end.)
The first mother literally jumps with horror and a sharp intake of breath when the boy shows up in his princess outfit. OK, so maybe yellow isn’t his colour, but behaving as if he was Freddie Kruger seems like a bit of an overreaction.
I think though that this isn’t mostly an issue of sexual orientation, which is what it seems to end up being portrayed as. Although many and perhaps most gay adults displayed gender non-conformity as kids, most kids who want the ‘wrong’ Halloween costumes don’t turn out gay, or transgendered.
Intriguing how many mothers, at least the ones who made the final edit, seem to have encountered this ‘problem’ with their own kids – before ‘nipping it in the bud’. The naturalness of gender needs to be overtly policed quite a bit – even after all the other ‘pink’ and ‘blue’ messages kids get every day. (And the way they can be pretty totalitarian in their enforcement of them amongst themselves.)
It’s a shame no one came to the aid of the little boy who wanted to be a princess. But as was suggested, girls who want to be Spiderman probably face less disapproval, in general, than boys who want to be princesses.
My favourite bit is where the no-nonsense Staten Island matriarch says to the girl who wants to be an action not a passion figure:
“A Spiderman is only for one time. A princess you can be for 24 hours of the day!”
Quite. No wonder the little boy wants that dress.
Tip: Michael Dennis