First, an e-mail from J.P. on The Other Charlotte’s post on the nutty private school in Oakland, Calif., that’s decided that girls who are tomboys are actually boys and boys who aren’t athetic and like the color pink are actually girls. Talk about sex stereotyping! The teachers at Park Day School have therefore decided to go gender-neutral, setting up unisex bathrooms, refusing to have the boys and girls line up by sex, and otherwise fostering what’s nowadays known as “gender variance.” (See TOC’s “Are You a Boy or a Girl?,” Aug. 28.)
“Boy or girl? Sounds like my kids.
“My son’s first expressed color preference was for hot pink, my three daughters go from a determined tomboy who is afraid of bugs to an extreme girly-girl who thinks nothing is funnier than a belch or a fart. In between that is my oldest daughter, who is athletic, likes guns and knives, and–praise God–prefers boy clothes that actually cover up a figure most people would have to pay a surgeon for.
Gender variance? What the heck is that? Rather than just accepting that it’s normal for many girls not to like dolls or for many boys to enjoy dance or theatre or cooking (my children’s favorite TV personality, son and daughters all, is Alton Brown of “Good Eats,”) they’ve done more to label these children as abnormal than any traditionalist could possibly have done.
As the daughter of a onetime amateur boxing-champ father who owned many a pink shirt, I couldn’t agree more. Wouldn’t the most stigmatizing thing you could do to your child be to send him or her to a school known far and wide as a school for weirdos? Or to suggest that a girl who likes to shoot guns is a candidate for a sex-change operation (Annie Oakley, pick up your phone up in heaven)? Spare us all.
And here’s an e-mail from blogstress Bookworm Room on Carol’s outraged post (see “Sexualizing Little Girls,” Aug. 25) about a New York Times article (registration required) lauding this fall’s creepy new “provocative” fashions for tweens (that is, prepubescent females):
“Last year, on a rare visit to Macy’s, I was still able to buy my petite 8-year-old fashions for the 6-and-under set — and they were charming.
“This year, with a growth spurt under my daughter’s belt, I found myself confronted with Macy’s tween clothes and was appalled. What a sleazy collection of things to foist onto young children. The T-shirts are low necked and decorated with such edifying statements as ‘Vixen’ and ‘Bad Girl.’ The dresses have spaghetti straps. The skirts and culottes have huge draping chains, which make it impossible for an active child to run.
Fortunately, Target seems to have retained some sanity. There, I can still find charming and practical clothes for a pretty, active little girl.”
Yes, I can’t imagine that any mother or father with the faintest protective instinct toward their daughters would allow them to wear, much less buy for them, this sort of clothing. Would you like to have John Karr lurking around your little girl (that’s not a fantasy–now that he’s off the hook for JonBenet’s murder, he’s got at most a couple of months to serve on those old child-porn charges, and then, freedom!)?