November 7, 2010

The 5-year-old boy who chose to be Daphne from "Scooby-Doo" for Halloween.

And the mother who chose to blog about it.

So now there's a viral photo on the internet of a boy dressed as a girl and endless speculation about what that all means.

1. Did the mother invade her son's privacy? By blogging about the issue of a very young boy who wants to pretend to be a girl? Or was it the photograph? Or was it wrong even to invade the child's fantasy world by speculating about his sexual orientation? The mother's blog post was titled "My Son Is Gay." Do we owe children restraint in thinking about what sexual behavior they will find compelling when they grow up, and if we do, don't we all violate that duty in one way or another?

2. Consider the notion that a costume of a perfectly nice girl was perceived as an unusually scary Halloween character. Kids dress as devils and monsters and dead people all the time, but to be a pretty girl — if you are a boy — is terrifying. As the blogger noted, a girl dressed as a male character would not stir the same anxiety in the grownups. What does this say about sexism? Is there a special aversion to females, that manifests itself when a male associates with female things? Or is it that people have a special aversion to male homosexuals and are really pretty much okay with lesbians?

IN THE COMMENTS: Big Mike said:
I'm glad I'm at home when I followed your "perfectly nice girl" link because some of those cartoons are definitely NSFW.
I've changed the link to the Wikipedia article on Daphne Blake. Previously, it went to the results of a Google image search on: Daphne Scooby Doo. I'll just add the "bestiality" tag to this post to indicate what you would have seen if you scanned the page too long.

88 comments:

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Do we owe children restraint in thinking about what sexual behavior they will find compelling when they grow up ..."

You haven't asked the correct question, Ann.

The correct question is: Should we continue linking to the NY Times when it continues to spread purient gay child porn?

No, Ann. No you shouldn't.

Quit. Linking. To. The. New. York. Times.

Big Mike said...

I'm glad I'm at home when I followed your "perfectly nice girl" link because some of those cartoons are definitely NSFW.

campy said...

Since females are far more highly valued than males in our society, we look askance at a lower-caste boy who dares to take on the trappings of the higher beings.

It's okay for a girl to dress up as a male character because she's just slumming.

shoutingthomas said...

What does this say about sexism? Is there a special aversion to females, that manifests itself when a male associates with female things? Or is it that people have a special aversion to male homosexuals and are really pretty much okay with lesbians?

Jesus, Ann, let this shit go!

You've got an emotional attachment to this shit. It's just more nostalgia for the old days.

Boring as hell. Stupid as hell.

Give it up.

No, "people" don't have a special aversion to gay men. The vast majority of people don't give that crap a second of though.

No, "people" are equally completely unconcerned with whether lesbians as OK.

This is a tower of Babel, Ann. Dump the feminist gender bullshit. Think of something else to talk about.

I've got friends, both male and female, gay and lesbian, who also insist on talking about this shit. Bores the living hell out of me. It's only a pretext for a pointless argument in which I'm supposed to pretend that people are really fighting over this shit. I nod my head yes while my friends BS over this shit, and refuse to reply. Usually, within a few minutes they assume I agree with them and they shut the fuck up.

You like to fight over this shit. Why? I suspect it's just a bad habit.

How can we get you to shut the fuck up about this shit?

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"I'm glad I'm at home when I followed your "perfectly nice girl" link because some of those cartoons are definitely NSFW."

Nothing like being assaulted on a Sunday Morning by octopus' analizing naked childhood cartoon characters.

Christ Almighty.

You can stop linking us to Google as well, Ann. No matter how you link to lefty organizations, it always ends up somehow leading to child porn.

Why is that I wonder?

Bruce Hayden said...

I started off a rant about assuming that your kid is gay at 5 because he wants to dress up as a girl character for Halloween. But, then I saw that the mother was nonjudgmental, while some shrink was the one who was all worried. As the mother pointed out, if a girl wants to dress up like batman, no one thinks twice about it, so why is it so different if the boy dresses up like Daphne?

jsled said...

1/ Wasn't her point to explicitly not speculate about his sexual orientation? That dressing as Daphne doesn't imply anything more than he wanted to dress as Daphne. The post title was intentionally attention-grabbing, and … unlike others of its ilk … I thought worked, in part because the next line contradicts it, and that tension is the thesis of her post.

2/ The "perfectly nice girl" wasn't terrifying. Only that a boy would be dressed as a girl. And, as you say, specifically that direction. It's pretty much the well documented story of western gender roles, no? And the ferocity which some members of society feel those roles must be adhered to.

shoutingthomas said...

Whoops!

I'll treat you the same way I treat my gay and lesbian friends, Ann. Maybe that will shut you up.

Good God, that's so amazingly interesting, Ann!

Incredibly original, too. It's not at all like this is all that dumb fuck sexual identity morons have been babbling over incessantly for 60 years.

Yes, you've really come of with something fresh, new and exciting here, Ann.

Keep it up. These ideas are so original that I think you might want to patent them.

Jesus, you're brilliant! Nobody has ever thought of this shit before!

tim maguire said...

There's nothing unique about the observation that a woman dressed like a man is sexy but a man dressed like a woman is mentally disturbed.

If the boy turns out to be gay, this will be taken as an early sign. If he turns out to be straight, this will be forgotten...or it would have been forgotten if his mother hadn't blogged about it. As things stand, instead of being forgotten, it will be a reason to beat him up on the playground.

Thanks mom.

Maguro said...

The "My Son is Gay" blog post isn't really about the son at all, is it? It's about the mother and how wonderfully non-judgmental and tolerant she is.

Just attention-whoring from the mother using her kid as a prop.

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kent said...

So now there's a viral photo on the internet of a boy dressed as a girl [...] The mother's blog post was titled "My Son Is Gay."

Hasn't there been an enormous amount of effort expended over the past several decades to get folks to realize that transvestism and homosexuality are NOT one and the same thing...?

(Yes, yes, I'm fully aware that a small boy playfully swanning about in girl clothes scarcely qualifies as "transvestism," per se. You know what I'm saying, however.)

shoutingthomas said...

If you really want to die a thousand deaths, go to a workshop about this shit.

I did.

One of my bisexual friends convinced me to go to a Warren Farrell workshop in Big Sur. We were going to overcome our gender role differences, and learn to connect, male to female, in a new and wonderfully equal way.

So, we were supposed to be there for three days. I lasted for half a day.

It was all vegetarian food, yoga and tearful stories about oppression and counter oppression, and how liberation would save us all from a fate worse than death.

A lot of people got very teary eyed. Some cried. Epiphanies were experienced.

I departed before lunch on the first day, and told my friend that if he ever dragged me into that bullshit again, our friendship would be over.

Big Mike said...

I got a tag on Althouse!!!

Another item scratched off my bucket list!!!

lucid said...

The mother did violate her son's privacy by making him a national story while he is on the cusp of having a wider peer group.

As for the male fear of being a woman--I think this is much, much deeper than socially-induced sexism. My own guess is that it has something to do with the male imperative to be dominant and strong, and with the fear that comes with disavowing masculinity.

edutcher said...

The kid may have just had a crush on Daphne. No big whoop, although most mothers would have tried to talk him out of it.

As to the preference thing, the "okay with lesbians" article to which you link is about playing Ranger on a zip wire over a muddy field. As one of the commenters noted, that's dressing a kid to have fun in that environment, hardly the same as preferring Rosie O'Donnell to Titus.

lemondog said...

But on the same CNN program, a clinical psychologist, Dr. Jeff Gardere, accused the mom of “outing” her son by posting the photo on the Internet.

To Dr. Jeff Gardere....SHUT UP!!!

I am weary to death of yakety-yak advise from KNOW-IT-ALL so called experts.

kent said...

It was all vegetarian food, yoga and tearful stories about oppression and counter oppression, and how liberation would save us all from a fate worse than death.

Just another average day's worth of postings at Firedoglake or Feministe, in other words...?

Prosecutorial Indiscretion said...

Zoinks.

Big Mike said...

@shoutingthomas, I can't get over how many people who aren't particularly oppressed keep whining about the oppression they must deal with.

No one except gays, blacks, and a certain type of feminist ever has to deal with a boss who flat doesn't like them. Or unhelpful sales clerks. Or rude people on the subway. Never happens to straight white (goyishe) men. Nope.

If you want to see a group that really is oppressed, consider that absent affirmative action and unofficial quotas both Berkeley and UCLA would consist entirely of Asian-Americans and kids on athletic scholarships.

kent said...

Zoinks.

"Jinkies!"

MayBee said...

If he had chosen to be Velma, there'd be no problem.

When I was little, boys dressed up as girls (just generic girls, and sometimes old ladies) all the time.

I think all the slutty school girl/slutty nurse/slutty kitty costumes older females have adopted have added a layer of sexuality to the holiday that didn't previously exist.
This little boy's choice is being seen through that lens. That's our fault, not his.

shoutingthomas said...

Anybody else see the Illinois/Michigan game yesterday?

67-65! Most points ever scored in a Big Ten conference game.

One of the most wildly entertaining games I've ever watched, even though my alma mater went down in defeat.

Here's my thoughts on lesbians. I could use a good fish sandwich, with plenty of mayo, right now.

And if you think lesbians don't do that... have I got some stories for you.

murgatroyd666 said...

Maguro wrote:

The "My Son is Gay" blog post isn't really about the son at all, is it? It's about the mother and how wonderfully non-judgmental and tolerant she is.

Just attention-whoring from the mother using her kid as a prop.

Bingo.

MrBuddwing said...

Four - count 'em - four shoutingthomas posts about how he doesn't give a damn about this subject.

Oh, well.

The story brings back a pleasantly odd memory of my days in the Cub Scouts, back in the mid 1960s. There was a big Cub Scout Halloween party at the public school where we held our "pack" meetings, and there was a costume contest.

One of the boys - I'm guessing he was 9 or 10 - was dressed, if I recall correctly, as a Carmen Miranda wannabe. OK, no big fruit and vegetable-laden hat, but he did wear makeup and a strapless, bare shoulders outfit. He looked so much like a girl, the only way you could tell he wasn't a girl was the pair of boys' sneakers on his feet. (We all had to wear sneakers in violation of the Cubs Scouts code, which called for dress shoes - the auditorium doubled as a basketball court.)

"Carmen" was one of the finalists. I don't recall that he won. I also don't recall any hue and cry or protest or people getting their precious knickers in a twist over a kid in drag. If anything, people thought it was cute and funny.

How times have changed. Now everything is politicized. And the right will say that's the fault of the left, and the left will say that's the fault of the right, which is to say, of course, it's everyone's fault. All praise cyberspace.

(Oh, yes. I went as Felix the Cat, even though those Felix cartoons on TV confused me - there were episode in which the evil Professor and his henchman, Rockbottom, were trying to kill Felix, and others in which Felix and the Professor were perfectly civil toward each other - I was too young to appreciate the plurality of human character, or what have you.)

Word verification: sangstin

somefeller said...

There's a comment on the NY Times article about this that sums up my views on this: I feel sorry for the kid. Regardless of his mother’s intent, she has in a single stroke made the next several years of his life a living hell.

This kid is probably going to get teased mercilessly about this when the other kids in his school find out about this, just because his mother decided to use him as a prop for her little public commentary on gender theory. Yes, I know that generally doesn't happen to girls who dress in boyish costumes, but that's life and the way kids are. I'm about as pro-gay rights and pro-discussing gender norms as every straight person can be, but just as was the case in the other discussion on this website about George W. Bush drunkenly making a vulgar comment at his parents' dinner table, there's a time and a place for everything. And posting a picture of your kid on the internet with your commentary on the topic isn't the right place for it.

I notice the mom's blog is entitled "Nerdy Apple Bottom". How fucking precious. Why doesn't that surprise me?

WV: frown. Ha!

shoutingthomas said...

Four - count 'em - four shoutingthomas posts about how he doesn't give a damn about this subject.

Oh, well.

Well, shit. I broke up with my girlfriend. 35 year old son won't leave her house and she won't kick him out.

So, I'm getting used to being alone for awhile.

Does that bring a little tear to your eye?

I am so oppressed.

MrBuddwing said...

Five!

somefeller said...

And a blogger at Forbes gets it.

This is THE central problem to all mommy blogging. Children are not characters in a blog’s storyline. They are real people, with feelings and their own lives–and, like the Internet, have a long, long memory.

jayne_cobb said...

I dressed as an old lady when I was in the 4th grade, I dressed as Bugs Bunny in the 3rd Grade, and I wore a plain black mask and hood when I was in the 5th grade.

Apparently I'm a transexual furry who likes to dabble in S&M.

BobinCT said...

Ann, you are absolutely right here, and I think you raise some legitimate points. Yes, there is gender bias in people's reactions to homosexuality, and this goes back thousands of years. In other cultures going back to the Greeks and before, and even within the Judeo-Christian tradition itself, male homosexuality was more tolerated if it did not include intercourse during which the receptive partner became like a woman which was considered demeaning for a man to do because women were considered "less than." You're right, we would be less upset if a girl dressed up as a male character (and less likely to conclude that she is gay) than a boy dressing as a female.

I also think the mother in this blog does her son a disservice a) by concluding that he is gay and b) by announcing it to the world. Its too early to tell at his age and she's jumping to a conclusion that could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I were the parent here I don't know how I would handle it without over- or under-reacting. I guess I would just try to keep an eye out for other signs before jumping to any conclusions.

MrBuddwing said...

I also think the mother in this blog does her son a disservice a) by concluding that he is gay and b) by announcing it to the world.

Re-read the blog. The mother isn't saying for a fact that her son is gay - she's actually saying it doesn't matter to her whether he is or not.

But I agree with somefeller - the mother's blogging on this topic is ill-advised.

Word verification: unsmisi

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Just attention-whoring from the mother using her kid as a prop."

Not to mention that it gives the child pedos something to masturbate too ... perhaps even someone to become fixated on ... perhaps to the point where they try to hunt the kid down and kidnap her.

That mom should be punched by Dad for being so incredibly fucking vapid.

Moose said...

I rank that mother up there with JonBenet Ramsey's mother. There's some freaky crap going on behind the scenes that explains this.

Exposing your children this way to make a point it abuse in its own way. And making a spectacle regarding your assumptions about your child's psychological health is even more frightening.

EDH said...

Did the mother invade her son's privacy?

If it weren't for those meddling... parents!

Palladian said...

"This is THE central problem to all mommy blogging. Children are not characters in a blog’s storyline. They are real people, with feelings and their own lives–and, like the Internet, have a long, long memory."

It's not just "mommy-bloggers" wo do this... See Lileks, James.

And isn't it telling that Old Hammy can't read about children without thinking about pedophilia, and can't read about people doing something silly without thinking about doing physical violence to them? Get help.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"As for the male fear of being a woman--I think this is much, much deeper than socially-induced sexism."

Males do not fear being a woman.

What males fear is being anally fucked by homos. It's a legitimate fear. And we shouldn't be teaching our sons that fucking other men up their asses is "normal." It is not normal.

On top of that, it is wrong. And it' wrong for the NY Times to attempt to normalize the homosexualization of five-year-old kids for publication. It's purient child porn of the most transparent kind. What's next ... crotch shots at child beauty pageants?

And it's wrong for Ann Althouse to reward the NY Times with eyeballs by linking to their child porn.

I'm disgusted by this post.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

lucid said...

"As for the male fear of being a woman--I think this is much, much deeper than socially-induced sexism. My own guess is that it has something to do with the male imperative to be dominant and strong, and with the fear that comes with disavowing masculinity."

I've got news for you: in my experience (certain) straight women are more threatened by gay men than men are. They have a nagging fear that their boyfriend or husband is gay and will resort to accusing them of being gay when it suits them. If they feel threatened by their man being close friends or socializing too much with other guys they will declare the men to be gay. If they don't like the man's taste in music or style of dress, etc. they will judge such to be gay.

In short, some (university-educated, east coast city liberal) straight women will use the concept of "Gay" as a stick to beat men over the head with and police their thoughts and behaviors. The point being, I suppose, is that the men have to be manly or the woman will feel less womanly.

Also, being a man in a hetero relationship entails certain duties: to protect and provide, among others. A guy who is perceived as being even a little "gay-ish" is seen as a potential shirker. He must be kept in line.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"And isn't it telling that Old Hammy can't read about children without thinking about pedophilia..."

The title of the post in question is "My (5-year-old) Son Is Gay." The story appears in the NY Times ... staffed primarily by gays and lesbians.

The whole point is normalizing pedophilia. So of course, I'm thinking about that topic.

They want us to think it's normal so they can do it.

BobinCT said...

"This is THE central problem to all mommy blogging. Children are not characters in a blog’s storyline. They are real people, with feelings and their own lives–and, like the Internet, have a long, long memory."

Absolutely, and the mother showed a total disregard for her son's privacy by doing this. I also would not rule out, as another comment alluded to, that there is something else in the family dynamic going on here.

former law student said...

Family pictures should remain within the family lest they give creepy stalkers something to obsess over. Isn't there software that converts a photo into a line drawing? Wouldn't that have gotten the point across? Or a simple picture of Daphne.

But I will tell my traumatic Cub Scout story. We were looking forward to the Pack Halloween Party, having spent two Saturday mornings making papier mache masks and painting them at our Den Mother's house.

But then we get there to find that one of our adult male role models was wearing a hula skirt, a jaw-length black wig, and a coconut shell bra. We boys all expected to have hairy torsos when we grew up, but how cross-dressing would be part of our adult male lives was beyond our understanding.

Sometimes, I still wake up screaming.

former law student said...

Since females are far more highly valued than males in our society

Men put women on pedestals in our society so we can look up their skirts.

BobinCT said...

"The point being, I suppose, is that the men have to be manly or the woman will feel less womanly."

Or be less able or unable to compete if the man is screwing around with another man than with another woman. It could also indicate a woman's insecurity about her own femininity. If the man doesn't find her attractive well then he must be gay.

The Crack Emcee said...

Shouting Thomas,

I nod my head yes while my friends BS over this shit, and refuse to reply. Usually, within a few minutes they assume I agree with them and they shut the fuck up.

Until this week - when I got fired - I had to do the same thing with the (D) asshole I worked under: He would go on and on about how hard "we" have it, racially, and I had to agree with him in order to keep myself employed. I finally told him to fuck off, the day before the election, and got myself fired - for the third time. (And I'm his top salesman!)

There's no hope on this, ST. Those that are into it outnumber the rest of us, and they don't care what they put us through to accommodate them. If they're late, we're all late - and that's just the way they like it.

BTW - I'm happy you're back.

former law student said...

They have a nagging fear that their boyfriend or husband is gay and will resort to accusing them of being gay when it suits them.

America needs more and better sex education -- I've learned from this blog that too many adults can't figure out their or their partners' sexuality.

shoutingthomas said...

Thanks, Crack.

You know, that story doesn't surprise me.

17 years ago I worked in a corporate law firm, and it was a hotbed of this shit. And, I'll tell you why.

Everybody was bored shitless! They didn't have any real work to do. The staff sat on its hands half of the day, and the lawyers didn't give a shit about their own work and avoided it like the plague.

Everybody likes to pretend that being a high falutin' lawyer is glamorous. Unless you one of the few successful litigators, being a corporate lawyer is boring as hell. They all hate it.

So, nobody had anything to do. Everybody sat around all day reading up on their groups grievance literature until they got good an pissed!

Now, they found a way to bring some drama to their lives! It was as if something was actually happening! They were at the center of a drama that had life and death implications.

I was so fucking bored that I went back to school, learned multimedia at NYU and got a job with a startup dot com. I don't regret it, although I've suffered a little financially. At least, I've had real work to keep me busy and real drama to occupy my life. My work as a musician keeps my in some real life dramatic situations, too.

I suspect that Ann, likewise, gets dragged into this shit because she's got too much time on her hands, and she likes to imagine that it places her in the certain of a life and death drama.

The Crack Emcee said...

Maguro,

It's about the mother and how wonderfully non-judgmental and tolerant she is.

Just attention-whoring from the mother using her kid as a prop.


She's a NewAger. She'll gladly get her kid beat up, and embarrass him - him - for life, just to pat herself on the back.

That's just how they roll.

shoutingthomas said...

Men put women on pedestals in our society so we can look up their skirts.

Jesus, fls, I didn't know you had it in you.

That's the first truly human, warm and interesting post you've written.

Keep up the good work!

You are a human being after all.

wv: exultin. Yes, I am.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Gender distinctions have value in the survival of species. Males and females are from birth specialized for particular tasks, both physically and intellectually. We are not permitted to entertain this opinion, however, by a society that holds that facts can only be certified by consensus.

Our vocation as parents is to guide our children as well as we can toward their own happiness as well as toward their becoming useful to mankind at large. That mother does her child no favors by permitting him to dress as a girl, no matter how innocent are either her motives or his. A five-year-old has not reached an age where he can discern the effects of his actions. Presumably the mother has. It is her responsibility to guide him toward a gender norm. By allowing him to dress up as girl she defaults in favor of a social theory, in effect subsuming his happiness in an intellectual conceit. If the child is gay, he will be gay whether he was allowed to dress up as Daphne when he was five or not. If he is not gay, the incident and the memory of it will likely damage him in subtle ways.

If my five-year-old had come up with this idea, I would have provided other choices.

MamaM said...

If this were my young son, and we had moved through the stages of idea, discussion, purchase, and dressed reality on to public presentation, I'd have taken and used a different photo.

One that did not show him posed on a pumpkin with his body language replicating that of his idol.

A photo of him standing in costume next to the pumpkin by the front door of his house with treat bag in hand would allow him to appear more neutral and less sexualized.

MrBuddwing said...

At the very least, I would have obscured the kid's face in the photo.

Word verification: caria. Because I do.

garage mahal said...

And isn't it telling that Old Hammy can't read about children without thinking about pedophilia, and can't read about people doing something silly without thinking about doing physical violence to them?

Yes.

Lisa said...

It is perfectly acceptable for men to use girly, girl, and ladies as insults for other men in our society.

No one seems to realize that they are really putting down women when they do that and no one seems to care.

Shame

The Crack Emcee said...

It was all vegetarian food, yoga and tearful stories about oppression and counter oppression, and how liberation would save us all from a fate worse than death.

Always with the yoga - no matter what aspect of NewAge it is - they're determined (not that they have to work that hard) to continually soften up their minds with yoga

Yoga's a spiritual gateway drug.

Fernandinande said...

"My Son Is Gay."

Isn't she supposed to be proud about that?

PatCA said...

I thought she wrote the "My Son is Gray" post after the controversy started...still wrong, tho.

If she were a reasonable woman, she would have taken down the picture and shut up after she first realized that people were going to talk about this--or HIM, A REAL BOY, HER SON--rather than grab a lot of traffic.

shoutingthomas said...

It is perfectly acceptable for men to use girly, girl, and ladies as insults for other men in our society.

No one seems to realize that they are really putting down women when they do that and no one seems to care.

Shame

Believe me when I tell you, Lisa, that of all the sins I will spend an eternity burning in Hell for, this one is probably the least important.

I think I can burn it off it two or three days.

shoutingthomas said...

Yoga's a spiritual gateway drug.

It can be, Crack. It doesn't have to be.

I use it for exercise and to quiet down my arthritis. It works.

My yoga instructors drove me crazy with the New Age spiritual shit. I just ignored it and used yoga for my purposes.

It's like Ann and Dylan. I've known the members of The Band for years, and I met Dylan backstage once (which doesn't mean I know him, if you know what I mean).

You could easily judge Dylan by his goofy followers who regard him as the second coming of the prophet. I gather that he's smart enough that he doesn't buy into this.

BobinCT said...

"America needs more and better sex education -- I've learned from this blog that too many adults can't figure out their or their partners' sexuality."

I agree, which means there needs to be more research into this. I think that sexuality is not necessarily static, that it can be fluid and fluctuate over the course of one's life. The "professionals" are just beginning to recognize this, and many have discarded the theory that a man or woman who decides at 50 that he or she is gay had just been repressing their homosexual feelings prior to that. Peoples' actual experience runs contrary to that understanding.

I also agree with the other comment that whether the son turns out to be gay or straight, it will have had nothing to do with allowing him to dress up as Daphne. But its a private family matter. Period.

peter hoh said...

I've run across several blogging mothers who don't seem to understand that they are disclosing much more about their kids than is proper.

Trooper York said...

A few years ago there were several trendy women from Brooklyn Heights who went to Africa to adopt a child just like Madonna and Angelina Jolie did. And they didn't just adopt infants but two or three year olds who were really bewildered about what had happened to them.

These children was basicily fashion accessories. It was cool to have a child adopted from Africa in some circles. They didn't worry too much about the kid because they turned right over to the nanny.

You see what I mean?

The Crack Emcee said...

Lisa,

It is perfectly acceptable for men to use girly, girl, and ladies as insults for other men in our society.

No one seems to realize that they are really putting down women when they do that and no one seems to care.

Shame


You're reading too much into that shit. It's like with my friend who I just got off the phone with:

If his girl friend calls and he doesn't pick up, she assumes he's pissed at her.

If I call and he doesn't pick up, I assume he's busy.

Let a guy act like a girl and that's what he gets. Women ain't perfect. Just different. And it's a difference worth mentioning, if you're a guy.

Oligonicella said...

Consider the notion that a costume of a perfectly nice girl was perceived as an unusually scary Halloween character.

Where in hell did that thought come from? Not either article.

...but to be a pretty girl — if you are a boy — is terrifying.

Apparently not.

The mother's blog post was titled "My Son Is Gay."

You left out the part where the title was a sock in the jaw at those who could or would think that.

I notice the mom's blog is entitled "Nerdy Apple Bottom". How fucking precious. Why doesn't that surprise me?

Uhhhh.... somefeller?


One problem with the Internet, people who are obsessed with finding sex write about finding sex constantly.

Maguro said...

I wonder if the son ever feels like this?

Old N' Cranky said...

...He wants to dress up like a prissy debutante like Daphne?...he's definitely not gay...

...now if he wanted to impersonate Cher or Madonna...

The Crack Emcee said...

I just caught the photo of that kid and, yea, he's probably gay.

Ann Althouse said...

@Ogonicello I don't get your point. I didn't say the mother was terrified. She was annoyed that other people were upset.

"Two mothers went wide-eyed and made faces as if they smelled decomp.... Mom B mostly just stood there in shock and dismay. And then Mom C approaches. She had been in the main room, saw us walk in, and followed us down the hall to let me know her thoughts. And they were that I should never have ‘allowed’ this..."

The post only makes sense if you accept the premise that other people disapprove. She's telling you she's out in front of the crowd and good people need to follow her.

Jennifer said...

A link to that blog post has been flowing through friends' facebook statuses all week, and I assumed this was an account of a child hellbent on a Halloween costume and the supportive mother who allowed it.

Now that I've actually read it, I'm mildly perturbed. The kid was concerned people would laugh at him, and the mom blew that off. The kid didn't want to get out of the car and go into school in this costume and the mom forced him.

Then blogged about it. With pictures.

Poor kid. Mom is not supportive. This is like the blog version of Munchausen's.

The Crack Emcee said...

She had been in the main room, saw us walk in, and followed us down the hall to let me know her thoughts. And they were that I should never have ‘allowed’ this..."

That is a disturbing fact these days:

Parents aren't parents anymore. I never told my foster parents what I wanted to eat. And they told me what to wear.

This "mom" is harmful to her kid in so many ways,...

Youngblood said...

Althouse,

If you check with your local grade schools, you'll find that many (maybe even most) disallow dressing up like soldiers. (I'm almost 35, and my school implemented the rule the year after I showed up as a soldier.)

Consider the notion that the patriotic American in uniform has been perceived as a uniquely terrifying Halloween costume for the better part of three decades!

In any case, the thing that bothers me the most about this case is the way this mother used her son as a prop to applaud herself for her own tolerance.

Just Lurking said...

A five-year-old has not reached an age where he can discern the effects of his actions.

In this case, if you read the mom's blog she said the kid was nervous about being seen in the costume.

-excerpt-
And then the big day arrives. We get dressed up... Boo doesn’t want to get out of the car. He’s afraid of what people will say and do to him. I convince him to go inside. He halts at the door. He’s visibly nervous. I chalk it up to him being a bit of a worrier in general. He was afraid people would make fun of him.

This five yr. old apparently has better insights into human nature than his attention-seeking mom.

Youngblood said...

Just Lurking wrote:

"This five yr. old apparently has better insights into human nature than his attention-seeking mom."

I don't agree with his mom's attempt to turn him into a mini-martyr, but to be far, making him get out of the car was the right thing to do.

Either the situation wouldn't be as bad as the kid thought (the most likely possibility), or the kid would get teased but decide it was worth it, or the kid would get teased and decide it wasn't worth it.

In any case, getting him out of the car when he was scared and having second thoughts was good for him.

Just Lurking said...

@youngblood:

I would agree with you up to a point. Parents shouldn't shield their kids from everything they are afraid of.

But she could have taken the time to find out specifically what her son was afraid of. Why did her son think people would make fun of him? Doesn't it warrant some guidance from her, if he has concerns that other boys will call him a sissy? Did her son even know why he was nervous?

Then and now, a boy who cross-dresses as a costume, has to have the backbone to stand up to the punks who would make fun of him. A kid who is a worrier by nature, as this mother describes her son, can get eaten alive by the pack if he's not emotionally grounded.

Why throw her sensitive kid to the wolves at such a young age, without talking with him first? And if she is uncomfortable discussing gender identity issues with her five year old, then maybe she should have rethought the costume idea altogether.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

The Crack Emcee said...

"Yoga's a spiritual gateway drug."

Werner Herzog said:

"I do not do yoga. I find it an abomination".

Belkys said...

a Google image search on: Daphne Scooby Doo
Safe search anyone?
If you go deep enough you would find the same about the princess and any other character. not even disney is able to patrol the web to eliminate anime like versions of american cartoons.
BTW: american cartoon were for adults in the early times-Looney tunes even presented an strip tease.. of a lizard

Just Lurking said...

Of course I don't know what conversations she had with her son prior to the party. I haven't , nor care to, read her whole blog. So my final paragraph above is unfair speculation.

My initial point was that she seemed more clueless than her son regarding how people would react to his costume. It seemed somewhat odd to me that she didn't take the time to find out why her son thought people would make fun of him.

Belkys said...

Hemingway and Stein had the same conversation about lesbians and gays in A Moveable Feast

Oligonicella said...

Ann Althouso --

@Ogonicello I don't get your point. I didn't say the mother was terrified. She was annoyed that other people were upset.

I didn't say the mother was terrified either.

I'll be more expansive:
"Kids dress as devils and monsters and dead people all the time, but to be a pretty girl — if you are a boy — is terrifying."

Apparently not.

Craig said...

As a gay, middle-aged male who has never understood cross-dressing or the whole drag-queen thing, I humbly offer this. My observations have been that the guys most comfortable with dressing up as women for parties (Halloween counts) are the most secure in their heterosexuality.

Maybe the kid's just a devil-may-care sort of guy. On the other hand, given Mom's blog title, there may well be other forces at work.

MarySue said...

I have to agree with @Craig, the mother seems to have introduced the controversy here with her blog title. There is a long tradition of males dressing as females for humor ( Some Like it Hot comes to mind) and for the sake of necessity and humor (Shakespeare comes to mind).

I painted the set for a High School production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and saw the production last night. The play was presented by the drama dept. of a very Christian school. The boy who played Thisbe in drag received the loudest and most sustained applause of the cast. I have a hard time believing this mother met with the outrage she claims.

That this mother used her 5 year-old son to generate a viral blog discussion on this point seems sad at best. When her son seemed to be uncomfortable with the costume and she ignored him tells you all you need to know about this parent. None of this was about him, his sexual preference now or in the future or his burning desire to wear a Daphne costume. This was all about her.

Freeman Hunt said...

From the blog post:

Then as we got closer to the actual day, he stared to hem and haw about it. After some discussion it comes out that he is afraid people will laugh at him. I pointed out that some people will because it is a cute and clever costume. He insists their laughter would be of the ‘making fun’ kind. I blow it off. Seriously, who would make fun of a child in costume?

And then the big day arrives. We get dressed up. We drop Squirt at his preschool and head over to his. Boo doesn’t want to get out of the car. He’s afraid of what people will say and do to him. I convince him to go inside. He halts at the door. He’s visibly nervous. I chalk it up to him being a bit of a worrier in general.


Kid wants costume. Kid has second thoughts. Mom pushes it to show off what an awesome, non-judgmental person she is. The totally predictable ensues. Mom posts in righteous indignation, adding in some knife twisting with the picture and the "maybe my son is gay" nonsense.

"I am so great! These other moms who tell boys that dresses are for girls are awful! C'mere honey, I need you put on these high heels to prove how progressive I am..."

Largo said...

Crack,

Best wishes to you. I hope you find new work soon. (Hopefully for someone who is not a sphincter).

FormerTucsonan said...

It would have been one thing to blog about it, but why post the picture? That's going to come back and haunt that poor kid in about 10 years.

(Not to mention that half of the pervs in the country have already downloaded that photo! Thanks, NYT!)

Freeman Hunt said...

I was a cowboy for Halloween when I was four. My parents asked if I meant that I wanted to be a cowgirl. I did not. I insisted on being a cowboy, complete with handlebar mustache. It was very cute.

I don't know why there's such a cultural difference between a girl dressing as a boy and a boy dressing as a girl, but there is.

The main problem here though is that the mother was the driving force.

MInTheGap said...

I tend to agree with the comment above where this post is more about the mother and her explaining how great she is being so tolerant compared to anything about the son. It's the mother that's wondering aloud to us all about her son's sexual preferences while even admitting that her son is too young to be thinking about it.

She's speaks as though she would be pleased, or would encourage this lifestyle choice while decrying anyone that would say otherwise. And couch it all in a "well, I don't know if he's gay, but that'd be just fine with me." so that you can't really talk to the issue.

And what's this about a girl dressing up as batman being ok? I mean, doesn't everyone know there's a female version of Superman and Batman (Supergirl and Batgirl) so why would anyone identify a girl dressed in a bat costume as "Batman"-- probably for this very reason.

Can anyone find me photos of girls dressed as Shaggy or Fred? And would you be able to tell who they were if they showed up at your door?

Tibore said...

If there was a taboo against males dressing as females for Halloween, college students sure as hell don't subscribe to it. ;)

----

So what's the big deal anyway? Bugs Bunny used to cross dress all the damn time, and everyone thougth it was a hoot. :D

E.M. Davis said...

I once dressed as Laverne for Halloween. My wife was Shirley.

The next year, were both wore long dreadlock wigs, tight bike pants and big boots. We were Milli Vanilla.

One year, I was a female, and the next, she was a male.

And neither one of is gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Note to Big Mike/Professor: Google has safe search options that might have eliminated the 'bestiality' images in question.

Joe said...

I agree with Jennifer and Freeman; the problem here is that the mother got on her high moral horse and used her kid as her weapon.