Sunday, November 4, 2018

Many Ways to Be a Girl, but One Way to Be a Boy: The New Gender Rules

This article: Many Ways to Be a Girl, but One Way to Be a Boy: The New Gender Rules is on a topic that has lots of relevance to something that I am concerned about.  But let's look at the main point first.

Because of the tireless efforts of feminists, girls are gradually being liberated to present themselves in a variety of ways: all the way from being ultra-feminine to being almost ungendered, in the sense of having interests and dress preferences that are neither feminine or masculine, and personal styles that do not fit into those of their parents' generation.  Make no mistake: not all of these are endorsed with equal enthusiasm in every location, or by every society.  In some conservative hell-holes, a girl who wants to be a fireman or a police officer would be looked at with some concern, or even scorn.  But a boy who wants to dance ballet, or wear a dress, is regarded with almost universal distaste.

To make myself perfectly clear: it isn't literally true that there is only one way that boys are permitted to present themselves. There are increasing instances of boys who have creatively found ways of presenting themselves differently than the athletic, masculine, taciturn, "man of action" type of guy.  The beer-swilling, football-playing type of boy who claims to be uninterested in school is a stereotype that has had its day, certainly.  But this is, in some ways, the central stereotype from which boys dare to diverge in some ways, but usually not too far.  Depending on where you live, there will be young fellows who reject this 'norm' utterly.  They can be uninterested in athletics, perfectly articulate, interested in school, and satisfied with almost any drink but beer, and also depending on the locality, they may be called nerds, or some other uncomplimentary term, invented by the morons who find the old stereotype comfortable, and probably the only one they can aspire to.  But the point of the article above is a rather relative thing: girls can safely stray much further from the feminine stereotype norm, and with fewer negative consequences, than boys can stray from their stereotype; and this is what is being talked about: why not boys as much as girls?  Why isn't the spectrum of tolerated personality styles as wide for men as for women?

Now, boys who would like to wear feminine dress are not rare at all.  For example, Ronald Reagan's son, Ron Junior, who wanted to dance ballet, was often humiliated, but as anyone who has seen him recently will agree, is a man with a personality that will probably satisfy the most bigoted sexist.

Now here's my point: first of all, I deeply dislike the rush of some parents to gender modification of underage children.  A boy who wants to present himself in a more feminine style should simply be allowed to do so.  Often the parents are horrified by this situation, but more often it is the classmates and the school administration that is more uncomfortable with it.  Until we take a more aggressive attitude towards freedom of gender expression,  (I don't even know whether that is the proper term for what I want to talk about, but it ought to be clear) there are going to be kids---and some overenthusiastic parents---who want to settle the problem once and for all, but replacing the poor guy's genital apparatus with those of a little girl, or hitting him with hormones, with the intention of surgical 'improvements' later on.  And the same goes with girls who want to present themselves in the style of boys.

There certainly are children who are hermaphrodites by birth, where the gender assignment is ambiguous.  Not being one of those, or even knowing one closely, I don't know how traumatic that is for the child, though it is doubtless deeply problematic for the parents, especially in a society that views gender as a very dichotomous thing.  But those are the exceptions; the vast majority of children who feel themselves to be gender fluid in the sense of (a) not comfortable with their assigned gender in every regard, and (b) not satisfied with their assigned sexual orientation, should be permitted to express themselves in terms of personal style (clothing, hair, personal presentation, etc) any way they wish, without it being considered imperative that they should have surgery at the first opportunity.  In fact, they should not be permitted to have (and their parents should not be permitted to encourage) gender reassignment surgery until they're old enough to marry, for instance.  This is obviously an arbitrary choice of age, but considering that the surgery is not easy to reverse, this can be considered something that society should enforce for the protection of the minor.

If there was a way for a child to experience what gender reassignment is like without the actual surgery, (assuming it is not permanent,) it would be ideal, and that could be tried when the child is young, and not yet in a calcified gender state.  (In fact, it might be a good thing to moderate tendencies in certain young males towards sexual harassment, to let them experience what it feel like to be at the receiving end.)

These problems are very First World, admittedly.  For that very reason, unless we in the West do not address the issue ourselves, it is unlikely that anyone else will.  (Except, of course, that Japan might take the lead in this one, since their traditions seem to be more flexible in these sorts of matters.)

I'm still thinking about this problem, but for lack of a forum in which to talk about the issue, my thoughts on it are slower than molasses...


On a related note, perhaps it is time to insist that whenever an instance of pedophilia is discovered in clergy, that a huge fine be levied on the church, which must be given to state controlled charities.  I'm talking a fine of millions of dollars, which should not go to the victim, certainly not all of it.  Ultimately, I believe that the blame has to be placed on the church, for requiring or encouraging celibacy on the part of the clergy.

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