National ‘Let Your Boy Be a Girl’ Day

Boys will discover their own interpretations of their gender if they’re given the freedom to explore masculinity—and femininity—on their own, Soraya Chemaly writes.

As the new year approaches, I’d like to suggest a new holiday—National “Let Your Boy Be a Girl” Day—that lets boys off the hyper-masculinity hook, and allows them to be, well, girls, for a day.

Every other day of the year boys have to make sure they are not girls. Because if a boy acts like a girl the national press gets involved, the jihadists that weaponize their sons will crush us, and the rate of the sun’s gradual extinction will speed up exponentially.

Of course, girls get to act like boys everyday, so they don’t need a holiday. Boys have virtually no cross-gender empathy leeway in mainstream culture, whereas for girls it’s a necessity and almost a mandate. A girl’s imagination and life experience would be a pretty barren place if she didn’t learn from an early age how to empathize with being a boy. Just going to the movies, for example, would be virtually impossible given the overwhelming predominance of boys’ coming of age stories in our culture.

Just consider the following taken-for-granted ways that girls get to:

  • Get totally pumped about going to movies. After all, girls and women going to the movies is a constant and repeated act of imagining being a boy or man, since more than 70 percent of movies made have a male lead and almost all movies but a handful fail the Bechdel Test. (Which, by the way, isn’t a “feminist movie” test, just a measure in story-telling of the presence of women who are characters in their own right.)
  • Be athletic in ways they weren’t allowed to be just 30 yeas ago (and be aggressive about it). Despite the gains made by phenomenal women athletes, professional sports is still clearly a male dominated field in terms of audience, coverage, and money. Girls get to not only play sports, but also idolize almost exclusively male football, hockey, baseball and soccer heroes with the rare (i.e. Women’s World Cup) heroines thrown in.
  • Cross-dress everyday if they want to.
  • Grow their hair as long or as short as they want, or dye their hair, or decorate it in manifold, creative ways.
  • Indulge in imaginative cross-gendered play. Girls love male superheroes, idolize boy book protagonists, and on Halloween can buy boy stuff from the most popular catalogs, in case they want to be just regular firefighters and not sexy firefighters.
  • Ignore the weirdly out-dated, hyper-stereotyped Toys R Us aisles and explore a broad spectrum of toys, from Barbies to Legos and vacuums (’cause every girl wants one, right?) to remote-controlled rockets.
  • Be, despite the oppression of pink (check this out), comparatively free from the color-coding we subject our children to. Girls can wear pretty much any color they want, although in general, a whole lot of people would sleep better if they just stuck to the warmer tones, pinks and reds.

♦◊♦

Let’s reverse those examples by gender. Hmmmm. Not working for you, huh? I mean, really, boys wearing skirts everyday? Sissies. How about a gaggle of boys eagerly awaiting the next “girl movie,” let’s say a Wonder Woman blockbuster, wearing awesome gold wrist bands that repel bullets, kind of like the way girls wear Harry Potter glasses? I don’t think so.

Now admittedly, little girls regularly run into problems when they violate hard and fast gender rules and the adults and kindergarteners that enforce them, like the girl who loved her Star Wars lunchbox but was, after five days, shamed into wanting to abandon it for something pink. But at least she got a day of unadulterated fun before school started. Very few boys would even consider, for example, seriously taking a My Little Pony lunchbox to school. I know that lots of you are thinking, “What boy would ever want to do that?” And you’re exactly right, because by kindergarten they already have a sense of the real social penalties involved.

But, if we had an actual day devoted to boys acting like girls?

Well. That would solve a lot of problems for everyone. It would be a modern version of a medieval rich/poor role reversal Charivari, except gender-based and without the discordant pot clanking. So cool, huh?

On that day, boys could be liberated from the oppressive pressure to be so stridently masculine and be able to do “girly” things without the threat of ridicule, shame, or bullying, something that only the most supremely confident, devil-may-care, charismatic boys get to do the other 364 days of the year.

On a day devoted to breaking the boy code, a boy could do any number of fun and silly things, for example:

  • Get a pedicure with his mom (the way a girl can go to a football game with her dad).
  • Openly and visibly demonstrate compassion, like growing hair for Locks of Love without getting suspended from school.
  • Dress up like a female cartoon character, without it being debated on the national news.
  • Pretend to be a nurse (sorry, still 94.5 percent still women) or a teacher (79 percent of whom are women, to the detriment of boys and girls) when playing.
  • Wear something that’s not blue, green, gray or brown or emblazoned with weapons, fire, or military and/or racing vehicles.
  • Not be consumed with recess anxiety because he’s non-athletic and would rather play a quiet game.
  • Carry a Dora the Explorer backpack without it being a recognized symbol of humiliation.
  • Dye his hair or grow it long without, literally, risking being bullied to death.
  • Cry, not keep a stiff upper lip, not brush it off.
  • Do fun “girl” stuff—like, say, sewing, hair styling, having tea, or choreographing a playground dance.

Hard to swallow, I know. These are small, everyday things with big, lifelong personal and societal consequences.

♦◊♦

Now, it wouldn’t be nice to deny girls the ability to participate entirely, so girls who internalize early-on that being perceived as “girly” is “bad” can do things like wear ribbons in their hair. In addition, Shiloh Jolie Pitt can shop for boy clothes and dress any way she likes, without it making the cover of every major sleazy gossip magazine in the world.

And, the best part?

Well, since it’s just one day, gender fascists won’t have to get their knickers tied up in knots worrying about the boys being … (shh) … gay. And the people who are psychically tortured by the horrors of a potentially feminized America can go see a 24-hour True Grit movie marathon and, when they’re done, grab a quick bite and pretend the day never happened. Fun for all!

Here’s the thing (I am officially removing my tongue from the side of my cheek): I know that we aren’t going to make a national holiday. That would be naïve and utopian of me, like living in Sweden. But, really? There’s not a limited supply of maleness or femaleness on the planet and although the definitions are symbiotic, they are not inversely proportional. There is not some white-bearded zero-sum-gender divine dude in the sky tallying up tutus and frogs.

It seems to me that the roots of compassion and goodness are in empathy and that we, as a culture, systematically go about discouraging boys from cultivating this exact trait. Every instance of the “feminine” in a boy doesn’t have to be a denigration of his masculinity. The opposite is already true for girls. In fact, it helps them thrive and explore many dimensions of who they want to be. This is also not about whether a child is gay or straight, bi or not. It’s about accepting a wider, more balanced definition of what it means to be human for everyone, a definition that includes and celebrates both male and female aspects of how to be. And, I know, children go through various stages of gender identity formation as they develop and mature. Part of this process, however, is determining as parents what the “acceptable” defining attributes of gender are for our children. The aren’t born knowing how to be. They learn gender as they go. Most of a child’s gender identification is based first on the behavior of the men and women around him or her and second on “norms” transmitted through stereotypes he or she absorbs through exposure to story, media, and entertainment.

Instead of unconsciously (or consciously) policing your son’s gendered behavior to more accurately reflect traditional ideas of masculinity, consider more seriously the possibility that he will best meet his potential by being given the freedom to explore what it means to be fully human instead of what it means to be a “man” in the way we’ve traditionally defined it.

—Photo basheertome/Flickr

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Soraya Chemaly

Soraya Chemaly is a feminist satire writer and media critic. She is also regular contributor to the Huffington Post on issues of gender and media. Email: [email protected] twitter: @schemaly

Comments

  1. Peter Houlihan says:

    A day where boys could actually do all that would be fantastic, but even if Obama announced it wearing a pink tutu it still wouldn’t happen. Stuff like this took decades of social change for women, its likely to take as long for men, and we don’t even have a gender rights movement to speak of yet.

  2. This has implications for transgender rights too. I am genderqueer and express myself androgynously. I am sometimes told that I’m not “really” transgender because “girls can act like boys and still be girls, so you’re just a girl”. But boys cannot act like girls and still be boys. If we had gender equality, all gender expressions would be taken seriously.

    • This has implications for masculinity itself, too. A boy can’t “choose” to act masculine and/or like a typical boy if that’s the only option even available. Girls used to “chose” to act dainty and feminine. Then they got a real choice, and now many still chose to act feminine. But the thing is, their femininity has more meaning now than when there was heaps of social pressure to conform. Boys don’t have that available. They can either be masculine or be wrong. As such, masculine expression is meaningless.

  3. Very well done! This was a lot of research. I appreciate this very much!

  4. Boys will discover their own interpretations of their gender if they’re given the freedom to explore masculinity—and femininity—on their own, I mean – without female advice in the first place. So what we need much more urgent is a “Leave Men Alone” National Day. At least a day, to start with.

    • Who will we leave them alone *with*? The point of the article is that there’s already a society out there sending its messages in every possible medium, that while girls can do masculine things and that’s cool, boys cannot do feminine things, because that’s humiliating somehow. There’s no idealized judgment free space yet. The difficulty is in creating a world full of salons and stadiums where a boy can explore his interests without bullying, coercion, or worried looks. It takes energy to counter so much momentum, the point of having a National Day for practicing making a new norm.

  5. I LOVE this article! I remember reading about that 5 year-old boy who wanted to be Daphne for Hallowe’en, and the amount of abuse his lovely open-minded mother had to endure, simply because she let her little boy express himself in a way that didn’t conform to traditional masculinity.

    This issue is seriously one of the biggest gender disparities in our society. When I was growing up, my two absolute favourite things were My Little Pony and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I had the best of both worlds. It would be great if little boys could also enjoy this privilege without being ostracised and ridiculed.

  6. Punch someone in the nose. They can’t hit you back because “you’re a girl”.
    Falsely accuse someone of assaulting you. No consequences for you!

    Female legal and social privileges can be fun for your son.

    • John Sctoll says:

      I was reading the other day about a place in Canada that legally allows women to walk around topless. The theory being that a womans breasts are the ‘same’ as a man chest and they should be treated any differently. Funny part was on the same page was an article about a man who fondled a womans breast on the subway and had been convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 5 years in jail.

      I wonder, if a woman were to put her hands on my chest and ‘massage’ it, would be be a sexual offender and get 5 years in jail. Actually no she wouldn’t.

      • It’s also legal in New York for women to be completely top less but this article is not that.
        Let the talking points go for a momment and ask your self if You personally could support a day with out gender policing children.

        John/Mjay…
        It’s a thought experiment not a victimhood contest.

      • I’ve been groped on the chest, and heard from police that this counts as sexual harassment/assault. I am a male.

  7. John Sctoll says:

    I have read a large number of articles on this website (haven’t found many showing men how to be ‘good’) and imho, this article pretty much sums up what this website is about.

    Being a good man means being a woman.

    • John Sctoll says:

      oops, meant to say

      Being a good man means being just like a woman

      • I disagree, The purpose of this web site is to challenge “Classic Masculinity” when it conflicts with being a Good Human being. I think it’s a little wrong headed to equate strengthening one’s emotional IQ with being a Women.

        Ya know what…I think the subject matter is filling you with fear…I think Ur chicken…

        • Budmin, please look at this line in the last paragraph:

          ” the roots of compassion and goodness are in empathy and that we, as a culture, systematically go about discouraging boys from cultivating this exact trait”

          This is a classic syllogism: All A are B, All B are C, and so A is C, only without the conclusion explicitly stated. This allows the author to slip in an attack on men without stating it outright. When we complete the syllogism, we see:

          Compassion and goodness require empathy, all boys are discouraged from having empathy, the inevitable conclusion: all boys are discouraged from having goodness and compassion.

          This is clearly not the case, and John was pointing that out. You responded with an ad hominem attack (calling him a chicken, seriously?) that is EXTREMELY unhelpful.

          • -” the roots of compassion and goodness are in empathy and that we, as a culture, systematically go about discouraging boys from cultivating this exact trait”

            To complete that syllogism you’d have to abuse the hell out of the term “Discourage boys” to mean forbidding boys from being compassionate. You’d also have to then identify the Grand Masculine Authority who’s telling us what little boys should or shouldn’t do. (Here’s a hint it’s us)

            Every father I Know is dealing with the fear of balancing out how far they should take Masculine Shaming in an effort to motivate their sons. The cultural taboo of this topic is to ask why can’t we have a day out of the year when we don’t have to worry for 24 hours.

            Nothing more nothing less.

            • Budmin, I used the word discourage in my conclusion, the same word the author used, I think it’s pretty clear who is trying to twist words here.

          • Calling a male “chicken” also has the implication of being an emasculating insult, isn’t that interesting? I mean that could be construed as being a little bit hypocritical if you think about it.
            It’s also obvious who the gender police really are, there’s some more hypocrisy for you.

        • “The purpose of this web site is to challenge “Classic Masculinity” when it conflicts with being a Good Human being.”
          – Funny, I thought the purpose was to debate and discuss what it means to be a “modern” good man since there is no longer a clearly defined role for us in society like there once was. Its not about making men more feminine, or more like women, which you seem to equate with being a “good human being”.

          • Unfortunately, as long as men define man-hood as the opposite of whatever women are, then men will continue to live restricted lives. Isn’t that a rather self-induced prison? That would rather be like me saying the following:

            I am not black, therefore I cannot do anything that might be construed as ‘black’ because someone might confused my race. This is illogical. Unless your entire existence relates to being a MAN rather than a person, it will only serve to constrain your options for personal fulfillment.

    • You are correct. Why not contribute a short article challenging that?

  8. As I read this article I thought about my 11-year-old godson and what his reaction would be to the suggestion that he “be a girl”. If he did not burst out laughing and ask “Why would I wanna be a girl?” he would probably say something profane. But knowing him as I do, I figured I would go down the list of the suggested activities:

    My godson painted his finger and toenails several years ago when he dressed up as Sasuke from Naruto. He hated having to wait for the paint to dry.
    Like most boys, my godson shows plenty of compassion in his own way, like standing up for other kids who get picked on.
    He would not want to dress up like a girl because he is not a girl and do not identify with them.
    My godson occasionally pretends to be Kakashi from Naruto, who is a teacher as well as a formidable ninja. Unless you meant real teachers, in which case my godson would say you were boring.
    He wears plenty of shirts with symbols from his favorite anime shows and bands.
    I did not know there were still schools that had recess, but from what I recall no one ever bothered anyone for wanting to play a “quiet” game, whatever that may be.
    Carrying a Dora the Explorer backpack is a symbol of humiliation for anyone over the age of four.
    My godson grew his hair out this summer so he could dress up as Byakuya from Bleach. No one bullied him for it. The other boys were more impressed that he looked just like the character and managed to hide his hair length at a Catholic school.
    Unless someone plans on doing something to make the boy cry on that day, it is seems unpractical to suggest boys cry. Besides, sometimes there is nothing to cry over.
    And what if boys do not find “fun ‘girl’ stuff” like sewing, hair styling, having tea, or choreographing a playground dance, you know, fun? Then what?

    The problem with the National “Let Your Boy Be a Girl” Day concept is that it implies there is something wrong with boys being boys. The notion that boys need to be fixed is a very common feminist theme, and it is a rather insulting one.

    There is nothing wrong with my godson. He is kind, loving, playful, energetic, assertive, and very physical little boy. Yes, he fits the social norm of what we expect of boys, but so what? That does not make him some an, uninteresting, restricted monster. He is just a boy doing the things he finds fun and important.

    I agree with Oscar what we actually need is a National “Leave Boys Alone” Day. We need to stop trying to “fix” boys and make them into girls or keep running them through some failed, politically-motivated social experiment and just let them be who they are. And we definitely to stop thinking there is something wrong with boys wanting an identity that is separate from girls. I know it is a taboo concept here, but there honestly is nothing wrong with being a boy.

    • You mean some failed, politically-motivated social experiment like, say, patriarchy?

      • No, not patriarchy. We need to teach boys that there is nothing wrong with being masculine, that being more feminine makes them more evolved. Patriarchy hurts boys as much as it hurts girls.

        Boys need to be free to be themselves, if they like things that are seen as “girly” thats fine, but demonizing the ones that like things are traditionally masculine is a bad thing.

      • You mean some failed, politically-motivated social experiment like, say, patriarchy?

        No, I mean the failed, politically-motivated gender-bending social experiment a certain segment of society has pushed for the last four decades that clearly does not work. And there is no such thing as “patriarchy”. That is just a misandrous conspiracy theory created by feminists that is quite like the Catholic’s Original Sin, except infinitely dumber.

        This idea that boys either want to be girls or would feel much better if they were girls is at best laughable and at worse continues the social norms people claim they want to get rid of. Boys do not want to be girls or be thought of as girls. They want their own identity, so the proper fix is not to tell them to do what girls do, but to stop associating various interests and behaviors with a given sex.

        • Jacob, I think that was really the intent of the article. Things ‘men’ do have been taken on by women, so that such activities are more androgenous. The ‘act like a girl day’ would serve more to dis-appropriate ‘feminine’ activities from women that try and make boys, well, girly. I don’t think the name is quite indicative of the authors intent (from my reading anyway) in this case.

    • “Let Boys Be Girls” Day.
      NOT, “Make Boys Be Girls” Day.

      I don’t think the author was talking about mandating pedicures and Dora the Explorer backpacks for all boys, but letting them choose for themselves without fear of repercussion, humiliation, or judgment.

      My younger brother and I were very close as kids. We played all sorts of games together, often combining his “male” toys (Hot Wheels, Legos) with my “female” toys (stuffed animals, Barbie dolls) and making up new games. I had a board game called Pretty Pretty Princess that involved collecting and wearing pieces of plastic colored jewelry. My brother and I had a lot of fun playing PPP, I laughed at how he looked wearing plastic clip-on earrings and we’d see how many rings we could fit on one hand or one finger. My dad was not so happy about my brother getting all dolled up – but I didn’t even KNOW it made Papa uncomfortable until discussing it much later, as a young adult, with my mom. Papa may have been bothered, but he didn’t intervene, he didn’t tell Jon he couldn’t or shouldn’t play the game, he didn’t shame Jon for it. I can say now I’m impressed and very proud of how Papa handled it. A more close-minded father, a more fearful father, might have tried to shame that behavior out of his son.

      Jon is now a young adult himself and no worse for wear from the PPP experience, or the Barbies, or the Beanie Babies (nor am I worse off for the Hot Wheels and Legos). He’s handsome, intelligent, sensitive, compassionate, a talented musician, charismatic and social, and wore his hair long in high school (I think he still would now, but he’s in a college marching band and has to keep it short). If anyone has challenged him about his masculinity, I haven’t heard about it. In fact, in high school especially, he was very popular with girls and I think a lot of the other boys were envious. In any case, he’s living proof that allowing your child to participate in gendered activities lets them define their gender identity for themselves, and doesn’t mean they’ll be screwed up or confused for life.

  9. It bothers me that this is viewed as a “solution” to anything.

    The implication of such a holiday is the idea that masculinity, in its present form, is incapable of creating good men, and therefore must be replaced with femininity.

    This not only sells masculinity short (but that’s an argument we can have later), it also suggests an extremely imperfect system (being traditionally feminine instead) is somehow a “solution.”

    The author gives examples such as: boys could go to chick-flicks and boys could get their nails done. So what we’re introducing is a holiday where society will say “Today, you will get excited about unrealistic movies that mismanage your expectations! After that, you can practice your vanity!” and somehow this is going to improve…anything?

    When masculinity is understood to have positive traits, as well as negative traits, then we can have a real conversation. Until then, hawking femininity as the “solution” to being masculine is narrow-minded and unhelpful.

    • I think the author intends satire. She did comment that she was taking her tongue out of her cheek. She is just using hyperbole to make a point…many of them, actually. I think the article is thought provoking. It is meant to demonstrate the double standard, not to be a real “solution.”

      • Lori, I felt the most egregious parts fell *after* she removed her tongue from her cheek, not before. The idea that men are “discouraged” from “cultivating the roots…of goodness,” is both contrary to my experience, and unhelpful.

        There is no other conclusion to reach than the author believes men, in their present form, are encouraged not to be good.

  10. Anti-male propaganda.   There are often poorly hidden messages of misandry in pieces like this.  This being no exception.  The messages here: boys have no compassion.  Boys only wear military gear (since they are violent war mongers) or racing gear (because of their aggression).  Boys aren’t uncivilized; they don’t even know how to drink tea.

     Anti-male theorists promote such ideas, trying to group them with things that most boys truly have no interest in doing, such as getting a mani-pedi and dressing up like a girl, to make it seem as if traditional boys and men are inhuman, untamed, violent beasts.

    Contrary to popular belief amongst those who promote this non-sense, there’s actually nothing wrong with being a regular boy or a man.  If I did have a son, I would be happy to just let him be a boy.

     

    • Eric, I’m confused by all the anger. How do you read a post like this as anti-male, when in reality it’s quite the opposite. Soraya writes about setting boys free, about giving them more options and allowing the to also explore activities that are culturally limited to girls or regarded as girly.

      The article is in no way anti-male. It only attacks the idea that men should be limited to a narrow set of “manly” activities.

      • It is anti-male in the sense that the article suggests that boys lack the qualities that girls have or that they are robbed of the joy of doing things girls do. Yet that is not the case. Boys simply have different interests and express their feelings in different ways than girls. Different does not mean wrong or restricted, but that is what the article suggests. Honestly, most boys are not clamoring to dress up like female cartoon characters or get a pedicure, so why not just respect boys’ interests?

      • “Eric, I’m confused by all the anger.”

        I’m confused by your and her argument that no boys are compassionate, and that all boys are violent and uncivilized – unless they act like girls.

        You are free to believe whatever you want, but we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that.

        I

        • I can see why that is confusing – because there is no such argument. You seem to make a leap from “it would be good to give boys more options” to “boys are wrong”. That leap, however, is entirely your own.

          • There is no leap. She wrote in plain English.

            On her list of things that boys who act like girls can finally do”

            “Openly demonstate compassion. . .” (i.e. boys aren’t/can’t be compassionate, unless they act like girls)

            “Wear something that’s not . . .emblazoned with weapons, fire, or military and/or racing vehicles.” (i.e. not be violent for a change)

            “have tea . . .” (i.e. be civilized)

            I strongly reject her (and apparently your) argument that boys must act like girls in order to be civilized, non-violent, and compassionate.

            • Compassion is not the exclusive domain of the girly, nor is civilly drinking tea or not being violent. She has stereotyped boys in derogatory and sexist ways, and you are defending that. You will find that I will point out and oppose any such.

            • Boys and men are perfectly capable of having compassion, of civilly drinking tea and being non-violent. But mainstream society looks down very harshly on boys who wish to do so openly. Any boy who wants to show too much emotion, or who wants to throw a tea party, or who doesn’t want to play tackle football is a popular target for shaming, bullying, and gender policing.

              Many boys have these interests, but they don’t have these freedoms. She is not writing to stereotype boys, but to offer these kids the chance to be themselves without judgement.

            • “But mainstream society looks down very harshly on boys who wish to do so (how compassion) openly.”

              What is your evidence to support your statement? Please provide your evidence that the majority of women “look down very harshly” on boys who show compassion, since whatever your definition of “mainstreat society” is, the mainly comprised of women.

              “Many boys”. . “wants to throw a tea party. . .” Really? Come on. That’s ridiculous. Please show any evidence of that whatsoever.

              RE: ” Any boy . . . who doesn’t want to play tackle football is a popular target for shaming, bullying, and gender policing.”

              Really?

              How about the basketball players, track players, swimmers, baseball players, lacrosse, wrestlers are bullied and shamed by gender police. Your claim here is ridiculous and totally out of touch with reality.

              Here’s the reality. Showing compassion is neither masculine nor feminine; it is human.

              The average boy doesn’t play high school football nor has any interest in having a tea party. The average boy hugs girls and boys many times a day in middle and high school but doesn’t want to have a tea party.

              The average boy is not a football player (they are only about 1-5% of HS boys). There are gamers, nerds, computer geeks, math geeks, musicians, and all sorts of other boys who have no interest in football or any other sport.

              This is almost 2012. Please join us.

            • No – she is not stereotyping *boys*. She is stereotyping the culture boys live in. The culture that bans boys from school if they have long hair (i.e., do not live up to their gender image), the culture that call boys sissies if they hug, the culture that has most boy’s sections of clothing stores limited to a few colours and most of the designs done with cars and weapons, and market toys the involve compassion exclusively to girls.

              She is, in fact, stating that boys CAN be compassionate, civilized, non-violent. That they want to. And that maybe we should stop telling them that those things are not for boys.

              And, yes – I’ve noted that you mostly read for offense rather than content. Let me suggest that it makes the conversation more interesting of you do read for content before your reject the message.

            • I have no idea what culture you and she live in but in major east coast US cities boys hug al the time, far more than when I was in school. Boys have ALWAYS shown compassion. If you are not aware that women have fallen in love with compassionate men for a very long time you are simply out of touch with reality, living in some anti-regular-boy/man world.

              She is saying that boys can be compassionate, but ONLY if they act like girls. Hogwash.

            • “And, yes – I’ve noted that you mostly read for offense rather than content”

              I will continue to oppose prejudice and discrimination, whether it meets your approval or not.

            • An old NY Times article on how common it is for boys to hug. I thought everyone knew this.

              http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/style/28hugs.html?pagewanted=all

            • If you believe this, then I’m back with being surprised that you’re so upset by her suggestion that we loosen up gendering of play and encourage boys to also try some things typically framed as “girls games”.

              Why do you fight the irony and humour she used to convey her message?
              I’d much rather hear your argument that social gendering of play is a good thing, if you think that’s the case.

            • “If you believe this, ”

              It’s not belief. It’s fact. It’s reality. I am informing you and the writer that boys, regular, masculine, football playing, boys hug. Regular, masculine, basketbally playing boys show compassion. Regular, masculine boys can be and are civilzed, all without ever acting like girls.

              “then I’m back with being surprised that you’re so upset by her suggestion that we loosen up gendering ”

              I’m surprised that after reading this article, you don’t realize that boys don’t need your regendering in order to hug, show compassion, be civilzed, be non-violent. Regular, masculine boys and men have been doing just that for many years.

              “I’d much rather hear your argument that social gendering of play is a good thing, if you think that’s the case.

              I have no idea what you mean by “social gendering.”

              If you mean boys should cross dress, etc., sorry, not into that. If someone else wants to do that, that’s their choice.

            • The thing is Eric, women CAN’T cross dress. Only men can. Which means there IS still gendering going on. Its not about making boys cross-dress, its about allowing them to without fear of reprisal.

            • “The thing is Eric, women CAN’T cross dress.”

              Of course they can. I have two daughters, and they DON’T want to be mistaken for a boy. They never wear skirts or dresses but neither do they want to cross dress and possibly be thought of as looking like a boy.

              Who cares about “gendering?” We have major problems in this world and that’s not one of them. You can’t controle the entire world but you can teach your kids to think for themselves. Stop living in fear, and allowing your kids to live in fear.

              I was raised to be proud of who I was/am, REGARDLESS of what other people think. If someone is afraid to be who want to be, they need to be taught not to be so weak-minded, to do what the crowd orders them to do. The weak-minded end up taking drugs, drinking and driving, and getting killed because that’s what everyone else was doing.

              A far more important topic needs to be to think independently and not care what other people think.

              Case in point: My older daughter had a cross dressing boy in her school. Most boys were seriously put off by his flamboyance. But, guess what? He didn’t care. Now, he is evidently some sort of fashion prodegy in that he was hired by one of those fashion/modeling TV shows as a make-up artist. And he’s just a kid.

              Did you get the point? Be yourself. Think for yourself. Don’t be a crowd pleaser. Be proud of who you are. So what you’re the only kid in school cross dressing, and other kids think it’s stupid? Maybe you’ll end up on TV while they end up pushing a broom.

            • I think you’re drawing those conclusions yourself, and that the author didn’t mean anything other than that boys are typically discouraged from those activities she listed.

              “Openly demonstate compassion. . .” (i.e. not be accused of being a “wuss” for caring about others, standing in the way of bullies, refusing to fight, etc.)
              “Wear something that’s not . . .emblazoned with weapons, fire, or military and/or racing vehicles.” (These are the common themes among boys clothing at most department stores. You don’t see much pink, or sparkles, or ruffles, in the boys section. And a lot of people would have a problem with a boy selecting from the girls section, as corroborated by some of the links the author supplied.)
              “have tea . . .” (i.e. Have a tea party with his friends, imaginary friends, toys, whatever, without being teased or approached by an adult “concerned” about his gender expression)

              For the record, I’m not saying nor do I believe that all boys SHOULD play with dolls, have tea parties and wear pink. I don’t have kids and don’t plan to have kids, but if my hypothetical son wanted to play with Barbies, fine. If he’d rather play with Tonka trucks, also fine. I would make both available to him and try not to influence his choice based on my perception of his gender, nor would I go into a tizzy if he chose the Barbies over the Tonka trucks, or the Tonka trucks over the Barbies. That’s that attitude I’d like to see more parents/caretakers adopt.

              The author, and those in the comments who agree with her, advocate giving a boy a choice. Not enforced femininity, not enforced masculinity, but the option for a child to explore and define his or her own gender identity.

            • “I think you’re drawing those conclusions yourself, and that the author didn’t mean anything other than that boys are typically discouraged from those activities she listed.”

              Then she should not have included basic, well acknowledged gender-neutral qualities and activities in her list of “girly” things. No one forced her to include compassion, for example, on her list.

              ““Openly demonstate compassion. . .” (i.e. not be accused of being a “wuss” for caring about others, standing in the way of bullies, refusing to fight, etc.)”

              Other than “openly demonstrate compassion”, she didn’t say any of that, you did. You dug the hole even deeper by claiming now that “caring about others” is considered girly. Since when?

              “Wear something that’s not . . .emblazoned with weapons, fire, or military and/or racing vehicles.” (These are the common themes among boys clothing at most department stores.”

              According to her argument, if boys wear T-shirts and jeans or shorts, they are dressing girly. Those things weren’t on her list of non-girly clothing. Who thinks this way?

              “You don’t see much pink, or sparkles, or ruffles, in the boys section. And a lot of people would have a problem with a boy selecting from the girls section, as corroborated by some of the links the author supplied.)”

              Stores sell what sells. They aren’t making any kind of statement. They don’t have wing-tip shoes in the boys’ section either. Very few boys want to wear wing-tips or wear pink, sparkly, lacey ruffles. They just don’t. If there were enough boys who wanted that kind of apparel, it would be right there.

              “have tea . . .” (i.e. Have a tea party with his friends, imaginary friends, toys, whatever, without being teased or approached by an adult “concerned” about his gender expression)

              She didn’t say all that. She said, “have tea.” I have never, ever heard a boy express interest in having tea where an adult discouraged him. I used to be a boy, have brothers, and nephews. Sorry but that’s simply not something most boys care about.

              “The author, and those in the comments who agree with her, advocate giving a boy a choice.”

              Fine, let your son choose to choose to be the feminine gender if he wants. But, don’t judge other people who choose a different path.

            • ““Wear something that’s not . . .emblazoned with weapons, fire, or military and/or racing vehicles.” (i.e. not be violent for a change)”

              Nope, it does not fucking mean to not be violent for a change.

              It means to have some CHOICE in how you dress. Now have all black+white penguin suits as the ONLY option. Have some color, some fabrics, some styles. You know, CHOICES, not IMPOSITIONS.

              Nothing about violence.

            • Then why did she say “emblazoned with weapons, fire, or military and/or racing vehicles. . .?” – as if boys don’t wear shorts, T-shirts, and jeans. A lot, most of the time, in fact. The obvious implication of the terms she used: weapons, fire, and military have to do with violence and killing.

              “It means to have some CHOICE in how you dress. Now have all black+white penguin suits as the ONLY option.”

              I have no idea where you live but here in the United States, black and white are far from the only options. They can and do wear many colors. I’m sorry that black and white are the only options you have in your country.

  11. The Pale King says:

    I don’t normally comment on articles on this website, but some of the responses to this article really irk me. I wonder if some of you lack basic reading comprehension skills, because at no point did the author say anything negative about boys being boys. And the title of the article is “National LET your boy be a girl day” not “National MAKE your boy be a girl day.” There is a huge difference. The point of this hypothetical day is to let boys express themselves in non-gender normative ways – ways in which girls can (some, not all) but boys often can’t without bullying, ridicule and shame.

    Alex made an astute observation: patriarchy hurts men as well as women. Within the patriarchy, masculinity continues to be a very narrowly-defined set of characteristics that often promotes a lack of empathy and genuine emotion (outside of anger and aggression) at its best, and a climate of fear and perpetual humiliation at its worst. And for those of you who think that last statement is entirely untrue, try spending some time in a hyper masculine culture, i.e. college football. I was once the butt of ridicule, and had my gender and sexual orientation called into question, because one of my teammates once saw me exit a theatre with my straight, male roommate after a musical performance.

    Encouraging boys to be girls or girls to be boys promotes genuine empathy for those who are different than us, and that is a characteristic that all good human beings (men or women) should possess.

    • “Encouraging boys to be girls or girls to be boys promotes genuine empathy for those who are different than us, and that is a characteristic that all good human beings (men or women) should possess.”

      Hogwash. I have volunteered for years helping people far different from myself – women, children, old people, white people, black people, voiceless immigrants from over 20 different countries (sometimes through translaters) showing empathy toward all of them without ever having to become exactly like them.

      It’s preposteous to claim that one must pretent to be someone you are not in order to show empathy. In fact, it’s pretty stupid, since no matter how many high heels, frilly blouses, and mini skirts you dress your little boy in, he will never grow a uterus. There is far more power in teaching children to show empathy DESPITE differences than in vainly trying to be something they aren’t.

      Now, to address this incorrect statement:

      “at no point did the author say anything negative about boys being boys.”

      She stated that boys that act like girls can:

      1. “Openly and visibly demonstrate compassion.” Really? So, boys don’t or can’t demonstrate compassion? Feminist BS. Pardon my French but this crap ticks me off.

      2. “Wear something that’s not blue, green, gray or brown or emblazoned with weapons, fire, or military and/or racing vehicles.” Seriously? Implying that all boys clothes are fatigues and similarly violent and aggressive?

      That kind of hateful junk was wrapped up together with things that boys truly aren’t normally interested in, to make it appear as all the same. That’s the kind of hate that we need to be getting away from.

  12. I like how people have pointed out that this article contains hidden misandry without realizing the implications behind why girls can act like “boys” but boys cannot act like “girls.” And I put it in quotes because I don’t believe in labeling specific things as masculine or feminine. I don’t see sewing as a feminine thing, just as I don’t see trucks as a masculine thing. It’s all culturally constructed, after all.

    Girls can act like “boys’ because it’s deemed empowering for them to do so. But if a boy acts like a “girl,” he’s seen as a wimp, something inferior. Of course that needs to change because girls are unknowingly hurt by this and boys are obviously bullied by it.

    • Not at all. The hidden misandry is in the implication that men have to accept somebody else’s definition of what is good for them. Sort of like Br’er Fox defining what does it mean to be a good rabbit and taking offence that Br’er Rabbit does not comply.

      • Are you saying the article was misandrist for this reason? Because many, if not most, of the examples of boys acting “feminine” in the article were boys who chose to do so themselves but where shamed, bullied, or expelled for making that choice.

        The author is tongue-in-cheek about having a day for boys to be girls, but the point she is driving at is the fact that if a boy chooses for himself to act feminine, he will face harsh social consequences, and THAT is misandry.

  13. So can anyone even define what a boy or a girl is? No one definition will include all boys or exclude all girls. Gender is performance. Boys perform their own versions of masculinity. Girls perform their own versions of femininty. Of course, these are both marvelously flawed labels. Gender is something you’re allegedley never given a choice on. But why be one or the other if we can admit they’re both so fucked up? Why not be both, neither, or decide to perform your own gender. I love this article, it raises some seriously impressive points and it saddens me to see so much chauvinism in one place.

    Although there’s no one true definition for what a woman is, anyone labeled a woman or labeled anything but a white heterosexual male is going to be marginalized institutionally.

  14. Soraya, thanks for an amusing perspective on the (often extreme) gendering of children. As a father I’m keenly aware of the constant and forceful gendering, but probably more so when it comes to the limiting effects and pressure to conform on the girls. Your article is a much-needed reminder that the boys are under as much pressure, and that like the girls they may need liberating from the traps of gendering, and that we should help them be who they are.

  15. How about “let your girl be a boy day” on the same day? Or how about we just all castrate ourselves and undergo hormone treatment, because if gender is a label, why can’t we make sex one too?

    • Wait, are you comparing letting your son dress up as a girl for Halloween–because he wants to– to castration? This is exactly the kind of attitude that leads to shaming, policing, and bullying (sometimes to death) of boys who don’t “conform” to strict social masculinity guidelines described in the article. Way to prove a point.

      • You’re missing the obvious. Showing compassion and dressing up as a girl are two very different things.

        Showing compassion is what humans do. Dressing like a girl is, obviously, what girls do. So, yeah, my son’s not dressing up like a girl. But, he doesn’t need to become a cross-dresser in order to be a compassionate, civil, non-violent person. Is this starting to sink in?

        • ‘What girls do’ – that is, until both men and women do it, then its what people do. My mother was forced to wear skirts as a child because its what girls do, and boys wear pants. Hence the term who wears the ‘pants in the family’. If men DID wear skirts it would no longer be feminine or masculine, it would simply be clothing. And I’ve met a decent number of men who like to cross dress. I’m just sad that, for them, cross-dressing is even a term.

          • OK, don’t call it cross-dressing then. Your male friends are free to wear bras, panties, high heel strappy sandals, swingy skirts, and whatever else they want to wear. No one is stopping them. The problem may be that people are too weak-minded to stand up and be their own person, for fear of what other people think.

            That is a lesson I preach to my chlidren. Be yourself, do NOT ever make decisions because “everybody does it.” I had that very conversation with my older daughter on the way to school just this morning, for the umpteenth time.

            We are no doubt influenced by other people but we must not allow ourselves to be controlled by them, not be afraid to stand up and be ourselves, even if that means we are different or even the only one doing something or not doing something.

            • If that’s what you do for your own kids, I don’t know why you’re getting upset with us for advocating the same attitude?

              “The problem may be that people are too weak-minded to stand up and be their own person, for fear of what other people think.”

              That’s the part we’re trying to change. (1), Encourage the “weak-minded” to “stand up and be their own person, and (2) Encourage the “other people” to not try to stand in the way.

            • Our views are very different.

              Your (2) contradicts your (1). The point of (1) is that no one CAN stand in your way; you don’t care what they think. If that is the case, this whole issue goes away.

            • Ok, I think I understand better what you mean. I am glad you encourage your kids to stand up for themselves that way, because courage is needed. I agree with the ideals your views represent, but surely you must understand that unconformity comes with its own challenges, and it can be scary, disheartening and even humiliating to navigate that path. It does have an effect on one’s social life, whether one “cares” or not. Not to mention self-esteem, and not the wishy washy guidance counselor kind, but the basic level of confidence in oneself and trust one’s judgement necessary for standing up for oneself. Other people’s behaviors and attitudes toward a child can and likely will affect their opinion of themselves, you can’t pretend it doesn’t. Then it becomes the job of the adult to be supportive, and the truth is, not enough adults are supportive. If they were, a boy in a girl’s costume wouldn’t make the news and stir national debate. Can we agree on that?

            • “but surely you must understand that unconformity comes with its own challenges, and it can be scary, disheartening and even humiliating to navigate that path.”

              If it were easy, we wouldn’t be talking about it. But, I learned a long time ago to only feel humiliated when I know I’ve done wrong, or messed up in some way. In my opinion. Based on what I know to be right.

              “It does have an effect on one’s social life, whether one “cares” or not.”
              Not if you select like-minded friends. That might cut down on the quantity of friends, but not the quality.

              “Not to mention self-esteem, and not the wishy washy guidance counselor kind, but the basic level of confidence in oneself and trust one’s judgement necessary for standing up for oneself.

              “Other people’s behaviors and attitudes toward a child can and likely will affect their opinion of themselves, you can’t pretend it doesn’t.”
              “That’s the crux of this. The opinon of others cannot be allowed to control.”

              “Then it becomes the job of the adult to be supportive, and the truth is, not enough adults are supportive.”

              It’s not my responsibility to support random kids choices if I disagree with them; it’s their parents’ job to help them be able to defend and stand up for them – any more than it is the responsibility of other adults to support my and my kids’ choices. Everyone’s got a right to their opinion.

              “If they were, a boy in a girl’s costume wouldn’t make the news and stir national debate. Can we agree on that?”

              I haven’t seen any national debate about a boy in a girl’s costume. What did I miss?

  16. I like this idea. I always felt bad that boys didn’t get to experiment with fashion with as much leeway as women do. Luckily this is changing. I’ve had several male friends who un-sarcastically dressed as women for anime conventions and looked beautiful. Ex boyfriends of mine have dyed their hair, painted their nails, and worn jewelry. The eyeliner on males thing had a huge moment. Male cheerleaders, dancers, and theater rats are considered cool now. My straight male partner and his straight male best friend know a LOT more about fashion, brands, and shoes than I ever will.

    Eric…I don’t think she was saying that a non-girly man can’t be compassionate, just that if he wants to put on nailpolish or dress as a woman for Halloween, let him. Of course a man who fits the ‘traditional’ stereotypes can be empathetic and compassionate. That’s a given. But it’s still not as acceptable for men to do traditionally feminine things as it is for women to do traditionally masculine things (especially in regards to self expression through clothes, hair, and crying).

    I’m all for the women being able to go topless. Even men don’t take their shirts off at work, in a restaurant, or in the subway. There are places, though, like the beach, pride parades, or when playing some sports, where it should be acceptable. They’re just nipples. I don’t know any woman who would go up to a random man on the beach and start groping his chest (I’ve seen it on MTV party type shows, but women are also objectified pretty strongly in those types of things, or someone like The Situation literally asks women to feel his abs). If that makes him uncomfortable, such a woman should definitely be punished.

    • “Eric…I don’t think she was saying that a non-girly man can’t be compassionate, just that if he wants to put on nailpolish or dress as a woman for Halloween, let him.”

      All I know is what she wrote. She included “demonstrate compassion. . .” on her list of girly things, to support her argument that boys must act like girls in order to be free to do things such as show compassion.

      I just finished calling out on the same argument. It’s arguments such as these that continue to reinforce and strengthen feminism’s anti-male reputation.

      • Ok, that was weird then. Of course men can be compassionate. Still, making it OK for boys to experiment with hair, nails, playing with dolls, dresses, crying thing is very valid. No one calls a girl who wears jeans, likes violent video games, or cuts her hair short a lesbian the way they might call a guy who wears a dress, wears his hair longer, or is obsessed with musical theater and styled gay or a pussy.

        • Men (or boys) who wear dresses, long hair and nails, and are obsessess with musical theatre and fashion usually are gay. I’m not convinced that referring to a gay man as gay is an insult.

          Why is she basing her entire argument on the very rare heterosexual male who’s into all of that? If they exist, they are an extreme minority. I can’t think of one heterosexual girl or woman who is attracted to a hyperfeminine cross-dresser. Maybe they’re out there but I haven’t met one.

  17. Richard Aubrey says:

    I think we need a “let your girl be a boy day”.

    But we can describe a boy being a girl as stacking up all kinds of wonderfulness denied anybody who isn’t being a girl. Doesn’t this strike anybody, anybody at all, as being nonsense?
    First, you have to misdescribe boys and men. Boys and men spot this. Goes downhill from there. Then you have to misdescribe girls and women. Boys and men spot this. Goes even further downhill.
    Meantime, something useful is going undone. Like, say, washing up a couple of coffee mugs.

  18. As the mother of three boys, this article actually brought me to tears. I’m so relieved that people are talking about this. Thank you for saying it so well.

    I have watched all three of my sons begin life with a refreshing, joyful openness to all experience. Yes, my boys started loving engines and trucks and airplanes from an early age in a manner that seemed clearly biologically programmed. But at the same time–all three of them adored the color pink, they all loved to dress up in fancy clothes (one threw the largest fit of his life when he found out he wouldn’t be allowed to wear a dress to his great-grandfather’s funeral), all loved to paint their nails, all three were attracted to toys in both the boy’s and girl’s sections of the stores.

    My three-year-old proudly pulls a pink princess suitcase behind him whenever we leave the house, and announces that anything that is pink is his (His exact words were: “If it’s pink, it’s mine. If it’s not pink… it’s still mine.” Well, he is only three after all!).

    Sadly, I know his time is limited. Because I’ve watched the world constrict for my older two as they’ve grown. I’ve watched how they start noticing the sideways glances and embarrassed giggles from relatives and friends when they announce their favorite color, or show off the lipstick they’ve happily applied to their lips. They start to see the raised eyebrows from store employees when they run joyfully down the pink toy aisle. They start to hear the whispered comments. And so, when some other, slightly older and significantly more jaded male child looks down his nose at them and sniffs with utter contempt, “You don’t like PINK, do you? PINK is for GIRLS…” Well, when that happens, they are primed and that is the moment when their world collapses.

    My seven-year-old now peers down the pink aisle of the toy store with disdain… though as his mother I can feel its draw, under the surface. I can feel the longing. Not necessarily longing to BE a girl–in fact, I know he doesn’t want to BE a girl. He just wants the freedom to be what he is, to be interested in whatever interests him, to not have to worry that he will call down disdain upon himself for wondering if there might be cool toys down *that* aisle as well.

    My ten-year-old… well, he’s pretty thoroughly into guns and video games and legoes (favorite colors: yellow and black), and I don’t think he even looks down the pink aisle any more. I wonder. Would he? If he hadn’t heard the societal taboo so early? Who knows. How could we ever know?

    I agree it’s past time for a change. Boys deserve as much freedom of expression as girls. Maybe we can just have a National Leave Everyone Alone and Let Them Be What They Want to Be Day. That would be awesome.

  19. Heather- 150 years ago or so, they used to put pink outfits on boys and blue on girls. The thinking was that red was a man’s colors so pink would be the boy color. The girls would get blue because is was seen as more calmer. Funny how things change and people think it’s all biology that makes girls like pink and boys like blue.
    I’m really sorry that your boys aren’t getting to make choices they want. It’s all such nonsense.

  20. I think this is child abuse, nothing else.

  21. Please say you’re kidding, that this is a hoax, an early April Fool’s post. No? I’ll play along then and pity the boys being raised by mothers such as this author. How in the world have you taken the long ago & far away “Women’s Liberation Movement” foundational concept of Equality-under-the-Law to the 21st century’s Women-completely-Liberated-from-Reason’s goal of “’Gender’-Sameness” (in-every-way-shape-form-and-feeling)? And why-oh-why can’t you say, “SEX” instead of “gender?”

    So the ne’er-do-wells in this n-th generation of Feminists want to put boys in girl’s clothing, eh? Then first they need to examine when and why they wear men’s clothing. Is it really to be more man-like or to understand them by walking-a-mile-in-their-shoes? (Personally I like to walk in “their” work boots ‘cause if and when the 2012 Apocalypse hits I’m walkin’ straight over it) Or do they slip into and dip into the Men’s Department because they’re simply practical? As entertaining as all the pictures on the covers of all those t-shirt and briefs’ packages are, I’m willing to bet it’s the latter practicality that draws them in. Hey, it’s a win-win-win-win situation for females stepping into some male-gear in my humble estimation.

    1) The stuff is more comfortable, 2) the stuff is made more durably, 3) men’s styles change basically NEVER, and anyway, 4) their stuff on average is cheaper. So what’s not to like about Men’s Clothing – well, besides the fit?

    Now play a mind game and consider the reverse of those four qualities and what have you got? The perfect descriptors of girl’s and women’s clothing. If the whole concept of confusing the hell out of little boys wasn’t evil enough the pure stupidity of giving the designers, manufacturers, and retailers of crappy female-gear double the dimes ought to have been sufficient to quash this whole Let-Your-Boy-Be-a-Girl Day before it congealed, much less before it went “to press.”

    Now don’t give me the Color argument either. Have you looked around a store lately? Everything “wearable” in there is cruddy looking. It’s either wiped-up-the-floor-just-now-with-my-bottom-blue or death-becomes-nobody-grey or black (with some screen printing that looks like it’s peeling off already). The only places there are any attractive colors are in the newborn area and of course in women’s lingerie.

    Please, please, please, don’t tell me you want little boys to “experience” pretty Hanes-For-Her panties by wearing them…

    • Michael Rowe says:

      What ignorant comments. I’m ashamed for you.

    • Quickly, there is a difference in definition between ‘gender’ and ‘sex.’ Sex is the biological classification you are put in. Gender is the social and cultural expression of your ‘sex.’ In western society, if you exhibit certain biological traits you are classified as male or female. Your behavior (aka: gender) however, can be either masculine or feminine regardless of whether you are male or female.

  22. The homosexuals compose %2 of the population.
    Only a zealot with an agenda would impose the will of a small minority upon the majority.

    It’s not normal and sick.
    You need to be told this,as most have been emasculated or are in fear of the misandrist courts that women now use to squash dissent.

    • good comment freebird,

      I suspect that currently homosexuality is higher than 2% because of modern-era pro-feminist indoctrination, disgust among men with modern women’s behavior and values, and do to toxic environmental health influences such as the large amounts of estrogen in our food and drinking water (ie birth control/estrogen urinated is not 100% purified out of tap water).

  23. These are the same women who drug the boys with Ritalin when they act like boys..

    The emasculation begins at a young age and is now institutional.
    This sickness needs to be stopped now.

  24. The sooner modern society collapses from the destructive extremes it has chosen to embrace the sooner we can re-build into into something completely new. Why don’t these silly feminist mothers call for a national day to boycott the traditional patriarchal roles pressured onto males such as provider, protector, chivalrous knight, husband, and father?

  25. May God Almighty have mercy on us!

  26. Um to anyone still looking at this post…you all do realize that everything Soraya is suggesting happens on this potential ‘let boys be girls’ day is socially constructed, yes? There is nothing inherently male or female about any of the activities she suggested.

    There is no reason why a boy can’t express himself in traditionally feminine ways in the same way that a girl can in traditionally masculine ways. I have a cousin (who is a very heterosexual and masculine teenager) who used to wear bright purple and pink spandex when he was a kid. His mother didn’t dress him like that; he picked it out and pretty much refused to wear anything else.

    • There is a reason why a boy can’t express himself in traditionally femenine ways in the same way that a girl can in traditionally masculine ways.
      Males are trapped in traditionallly masculine behaviours because we are expected to be the protector class because females are the protected, hence liberated, class. Freeing males would be tantamount to male liberation, this would be perceived as compromising our ability to provide for and protect women.
      I used the word percieved because it’s not strictly a matter of what would necessarily hapen in actuality, maybe a more femenine male could still have a chivalry instinct. The point is that women are regarded as so important that the mere possibility of men not protecting them arouses a deep primal fear of males displaying any femenine or other than masculine traits.
      In other words it has nothing to do with equality, this is self evident.

  27. “The homosexuals compose %2 of the population.
    Only a zealot with an agenda would impose the will of a small minority upon the majority.

    It’s not normal and sick.”

    Yes because exploring facets of masculinity AND femininity automatically makes you GAY, which is BAD. In fact, your chosen moniker of “freebird” is slightly delicate and romantic sounding, so I’d change that quickly- to something involving DEATH or TRUCKS or GUNS- lest the gay toxins grab hold of you! I’m glad we’ve established these notions of “normality” and “sickness” with regards to questioning gender assumptions and presumed homosexuality. Man, weren’t the 80s great for their black and white clarity on homosexuality? Let’s just pretend we’re still in it!

  28. Oh, and I loved this piece, Soraya. Brilliant ideas x

  29. … Or alteratively you could simply let your child decide what they want to wear rather than making a day where they are forced to blur the gender boundary whether they wish it or not. If your little boy likes wearing frocks; let him. If your little girl likes wearing dungarees and doc martins; let her. However if they show no inclination to do either; why have a day devoted to making them do so? National emasculation day can’t be far off if this is the line of thought that seems to be winning favour in liberal spheres; why not chemically castrate your teenage son for a week? It shows him how it would be to live without so much of that yucky testosterone in his body? -_-

Trackbacks

  1. [...] in the simplest practical terms, girls don’t need to be allowed to do what boys do anymore, but boys need to be allowed to do what girls do, without thinking that they will be “damaged” by the effort. The persistence of this [...]

  2. [...] in the simplest practical terms, girls don’t need to be allowed to do what boys do anymore, but boys need to be allowed to do what girls do, without thinking that they will be “damaged” by the effort. The persistence of this [...]

  3. [...] morning I read an excellent, slightly tongue-in-cheek article calling for a National “Let Your Boy Be a Girl” Day. And I thought YES. I’m so glad someone else is saying [...]

Speak Your Mind