September 30, 2017

Now what happens to the stereotype-breaking inspiration?

"Super Awesome Sylvia was a role model to girls in science. Then he realized he is a boy" (WaPo).
This is the story of Super Awesome Sylvia, an ingenious little girl who made robots, or so everyone thought.

At age 8, Sylvia Todd put on a lab coat and started a web show. A gaptoothed little kid with a pony tail and soldering iron, a rare sight in the boy's club of amateur inventors....

It got Sylvia invited to the White House Science Fair in 2013, when President Barack Obama tried it out and told its shaky-legged, 11-year-old inventor that it was great to see girls in tech. Then came reporters, magazine profiles, even book deals. A story in the New York Times.... By middle school, Sylvia was giving speeches all over the world....

This is the story of Zephyrus Todd, a 16-year-old boy who prefers art to science, and knows a lot more about himself now than when people called him Sylvia and assumed he was a girl. It's about how Zeph got stuck inside Super Awesome Sylvia, “trying to be that person,” as he puts it....

87 comments:

cronus titan said...

You can't make this stuff up.

etbass said...

All the tomboys we knew of in the day, were really girls? Who knew?

etbass said...

Or boys, I get it all mixed up.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDH said...

Well, that messes with the "Girl-power" narrative.

And notice Zeph's (presumably self) portrait is cock-eyed.

Sylvia, perhaps lending a new Freudian, envious meaning to to cock-eyed?

"...you might say a cock-eyed optimist."

Paco Wové said...

It would be interesting if one could strip away all the layers PC jargon and duckspeaking here and find out what actually happened. As far as I can make out, this is about a person who is chromosomally female, and has decided at a fairly young age that ... ok, I'm lost. I still don't know what the hell is going on.

Virgil Hilts said...

At first I thought this was about a boy who people accidentally thought was a girl because of his haircut, and the internet fame thing took off so fast he didn't want to correct people (kind of like Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies), and then everything spun completely out of control, etc. - and it sounded like a fun story.
Now I'm worried that people are going to convince her to have a double mastectomy while she's a teenager.

EDH said...

Sylvia's Mother

Sylvia's mother says Sylvia's busy, too busy to come to the phone
Sylvia's mother says Sylvia's trying, to start a new life of her own.
Sylvia's mother says "Sylvia's happy
So why don't you leave her alone?"
And the operator says : "Forty cents more, for the next three minutes."
Please Mrs. Avery, I've just got to talk to her
I'll only keep her a while
Please Mrs. Avery, just want to tell her
Goodbye.

Fernandinande said...

“I've learned how to seem like I know stuff,” he[?] said.

That got Obama's attention.

Just for curiosity's sake, is this person male or female?

Angel-Dyne said...

Without clicking the link, I can predict, with great confidence, that this is really the story of some really messed-up adults (parents and probably other enablers), who are going to have a great deal to answer for in the years to come. (Or the world to come, if that's the way you roll.)

Mark said...

prefers art to science

There's your transgenderism in a nutshell.

Mark said...

Meanwhile, someone go notify Winston Smith to go and correct all those news articles in the past.

Mark said...

Question: What do you call a person with a vagina, ovaries and XX chromosomes?

Humanity through all of history: A female.

Modern science: We don't know.

buwaya said...

A very modern tragedy.

A rather bright but very suggestible little girl plays pretend video-making with her parents. She is caught up by a tide of celebrity, pushing her into a role to which she really is unsuited, as her skills are just a little girls game of pretend.

So, later, under adolescent stress of hormones and developing brain, and possibly family problems, and by implication the scary thought of leaving for an upper-class girls school in a foreign country, besides the fact that she perhaps finally realizes she was living a lie - not of being a girl, but of being a genius - she falls into that very modern trap of picking a meme from the internet.

The troubled will always be, now as in the past, but how they express it is very much a matter of fashion, of the zeitgeist.

Its a current version of joining a cult or becoming a junkie or running away from home or attaching yourself to an unsuitable paramour. If you can't resolve your anxieties you flee to a handy, safe (socially anyway) alternate identity, leaving behind everything for a new start. However, this is just another and maybe even more destructive lie.

Poor kid. Her future happiness is gone, no chance of being a contented wife and mother, which she probably could have been.

Original Mike said...

"It would be interesting if one could strip away all the layers PC jargon and duckspeaking here and find out what actually happened. As far as I can make out, ..."

I'm not bothering to read the article because I know it will be indecipherable with all the PC double-talk.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

I've had a few dogs in my life -- and a couple of cats. I wonder which of them were female and which were male. You see, none of them ever told me. So I don't know.

Yes, I had glimpsed now and then what was between their legs. And yes, one did give birth to kittens -- and forgive me for being presumptuous if I say it was one of the cats that had the kittens, it might have been really a dog -- but again it didn't bother to say whether it was a male or female, or a cat or dog.

It's a mystery.

Ralph L said...

I blame the parent(s).

Pinandpuller said...

So she put a dildo in a briefcase?

"Great cock you got there, Angela. Want to bring it to the White House and show me? I love cocks!"

Cock Boy

robother said...

I forget: who was it that said there are no second genders in American lives? Boy, was xi ever wrong.

David Begley said...

Borrowed storyline of the psycho murdering wife in "Gone Girl" without the transgender thing. Parents got rich writing childrens' books.

Factory Yoyo said...

Regardless of the subject of this video, those were the shittiest-looking blueberry pancakes ever made.

Temujin said...

That is one seriously fucked up generation. But I repeat myself.

1) I mean the parents, of course. But they have absolutely screwed up the generation coming up.
2) Did no one think anything about what was lurking between his legs?
3) If they had been conservative parents, holding the kids out of public school to mix some Jesus with their reading and math lessons, there's a decent chance the kid would have been taken away by the State. But in this case, an invite from Obama, who kept his streak alive of presenting things that actually aren't real.

Someone said that you can't make this stuff up. Hell- it's ALL made up from here on out.

Pinandpuller said...

A few extra freckles and s sprinkling of daddy love and she could have been Mackenzie Phillips. Now she's an ugly boy.

FullMoon said...

Zeph and his boyfriend and James sat at the next table, trying to sell goo to pass the time.

Zeph, transboy who used to be borngirlSylvia has a boyfiend. Is transboy gay? Is boyfriend gay, connected with transboy Zeph, or is boyfriend straight connected with borngirl Sylvia? Or both and neither?

Big Mike said...

Sounds like a reverse-gendered remake of the movie "Tomboy," where the pre-adolescent hero(ine) went shirtless like the other boys in the neighborhood, and even got "himself" a girlfriend before everybody discovered that "he" was a girl.

Actually, my wife -- and I can assure you that she really is female -- was interested as a child in science toys and figuring out how things worked. So girls like that really do exist. Just not "Sylvia."

FullMoon said...

Ralph L said...

I blame the parent(s).

9/30/17, 12:19 PM


Why?

Pinandpuller said...

"Only Women Bleed" Alice Cooper

"I've been to paradise

But I've never been to me". Sylvia

Mark said...

Whether a living creature is male or female is as unfathomable mystery in science as is whether a baby in the womb is living or human?

?????

These are not things that science can determine.

So say all those smart people.

Laslo Spatula said...

"This is the story of Zephyrus Todd, a 16-year-old boy who prefers art to science..."

Of course he prefers art to science now.

Changing gender identity is more of an Art Statement than a Science Thing.

I am Laslo.

Freeman Hunt said...

Don't trust adults, kids.

rhhardin said...

It's the girls in science are weird stereotype.

Earnest Prole said...

That's sweet. Growing up is hard enough without a bunch of adults (including commenters here) using you as a cultural football.

Mac McConnell said...

Look on the bright side, they made enough money off this scam to get his / her teeth fixed.

Paddy O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
robother said...

It's a shame that Super Sylvia and Clock Boy didn't connect at the Obama White House. The chemistry of their bonding could've powered the Left Side of the Intertubes for years.

Sharc 65 said...

buwaya got it right. Good analysis.

Darrell said...

Angela's Asses was on Phipp's Reading List.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

I hate to say it; but somehow I believe this story is going to end with a gunshot in a few years.

MaxedOutMama said...

Well, the kid is asking for privacy. I am in a quandary as to what is right here. To discuss, or not to discuss?

Let's just say in some alternate universe, if a father really wanted a boy and ended up having a girl and then the girl found herself pushed into a public role that really didn't suit but which had become an apparently inextricable part of the the father/daughter relationship, it would be the most successful, gentle escape ever to give the father the "son" he wanted and then be free to be the person the kid wanted to be - or to screw around doing kid things to find out what the kid wanted to be. It's a non-rejection of the father emotionally while rejecting the role that the father is invested in on the kid's behalf.

In that alternate universe, such a family would really, really benefit from some counseling, and I don't mean at a transgender clinic.

This is why kids should have private lives. They need to be kids. They should not be forced into such roles, especially in the context of receiving adult love. It is a terrible trap for both parent and child in some cases.

Good God. Does this entire family have Asperger's? I suspect so.

Transgenderism has become a "thing", but it is really very rare. When kids are developing their autonomous identity as split from their family in adolescence, the issue of outward social identity becomes quite important for a while. As the individuation process continues, normal development would lead to the outward social identity pressures becoming less important. Some people get stuck.

In terms of being "yourself", there's not a problem in our society with being a mannish woman or a metrosexual male. Women are not forced to wear lipstick and eyeshadow and become nurses or teachers. Sexual identity for a normal person in our society only determines how we can reproduce. As such, rejecting your biological identity is not a net gain.

Ralph L said...

Fullmoon, children shouldn't be thrust into the limelight repeatedly. See child stars.
Even, or especially, if he or she wants to do it.

They also made a big deal of her having boyish interests.

Ralph L said...

I sure hope the parents haven't allowed her to have surgery or hormones yet. Doctors should be imprisoned who perform it on minors.

Jack Wayne said...

Modern life is one Mass Hysteria after another.

William said...

I saw the video. As a little girl, she was quite appealing. Her parents, at least in the brief snippets, appear to be sane and caring. I wish them all the best, but, as others have pointed out, this may be a PC solution to a transient and not transitional problem.....Buwaya and MaxedOutMama offer a reasonable analysis, but it's all just speculation. At any rate the transition from female to male doesn't seem as radical and disruptive as that from male to female. It's never a good dea to cut your penis off, and uncanny guys have an easier time attracting mates than uncanny looking girls.

walter said...

cronus titan said...You can't make this stuff up.
--
The concern is that it was.

walter said...

I blame Obama for suggesting she was a gender anomaly.

Michael K said...

Blogger Earnest Prole said...
That's sweet. Growing up is hard enough without a bunch of adults (including commenters here) using you as a cultural football.


A football goes both ways. The kids who have these SJW parents are being pushed into insanity.

Don;t worry, though. The 42% suicide rate will fix things.

Brian Balster said...

so, 'zeph' leaves "Post-it notes to himself. “It's ok to cry"

hello! rule #1 Boys Don't Cry!

Caroline Walker said...

Althouse needs a “when liberal pieties collide” keyword.

Cog said...

This is actually the story about 16-year old Sylvia Todd who suffers from the mental disorder that results in a mismatch between her biological sex and gender identity. Also, if she hasn't yet legally changed her name, it’s still Sylvia, not whatever she says it is.

Angel-Dyne said...

Earnest Prole: That's sweet. Growing up is hard enough without a bunch of adults (including commenters here) using you as a cultural football.

Because this story is merely about one individual growing up, has no connection whatever to anything else going on in society, and nothing at all to do with culture.

Of course.

n.n said...

She may just be a mental transgender (e.g. homosexual), in which case she can retain her physical female identity, and girls will only lose half of their "role model".

n.n said...

she falls into that very modern trap of picking a meme from the internet

Self-diagnosis? The Internet is a dangerous playground for formative minds and lost souls.

n.n said...

re: political memes, myths, and opportunities

The social pressure to transition must be overwhelming.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

When Lefty tropes collide.
I mean, this person so I d's like someone with some problems and I certainly oh hope they sort it all out.

Hey, did that 8 year old just start the web series up themselves? Maybe we could talk a little about adults using children for political ends, huh? Even assuming the parents were just doing what they thought was best for their child/what their kid wanted, it sure you d's like a big part of this story is how this individual's personal choices affects the political causes other people--adults--used that child for.

n.n said...

Whatever happened to WaPo's investigative creation of Russian collusion?

It seems that they have progressed to their original form as an opportunistic social parasite.

Baby Lives Matter

J. Farmer said...

Perfect encapsulation of how the term "stereotype" is abused. It's a stereotype that men are taller than women. And it's true. That some men are shorter than some women does not disprove this.

gg6 said...

Very, very interesting and I won't pretend to devine much less know what is actually going on here.
But he does clearly seem a very intelligent and creative young person. And that's a blessing on the future of anyone.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Modern life is one Mass Hysteria after another."

Well put.

Krumhorn said...

I predict a lifetime of confusion and unhappiness. Which is too bad, because it didn't have to go like this.

I wonder where Chastity Bono ended up

- Krumhorn

Gospace said...

Mark said...
Question: What do you call a person with a vagina, ovaries and XX chromosomes?

Humanity through all of history: A female.

Modern science: We don't know.


And throughout most of human history, they did this sorting our without benefit of knowing that chromosomes existed or what they did.

tim in vermont said...

I am still trying to figure out what Bruce Jenner is if it is true that there is no such thing as a "lesbian trapped in a man's body."

I have no comment on this child but to wish the child well in the future.

n.n said...

She is a beneficiary of social liberalism's promotion of toxic feminine and masculine gender. You can be a girl, feminine, a mother (if you choose to conceive), and a scientist, too. There is no need to transition physically or mentally to a non-conforming gender.

tim in vermont said...

Parents should know what an awful risk they may be taking by taking a child at their word on these issues. Children don't know anything.

n.n said...

Modern... Political "science" cannot even answer the universal question: When does human evolution begin?

The best answer is that we begin our lives at the time of viability, maybe.

n.n said...

Children don't know anything.

Children... We liked to explore a brave new world, which at one time did not revolve around sex. Certainly not around gender. Boys will be boys. Girls will be girls. And while the masculine and feminine gender were conforming, they were not the modern glass enclosures constructed by social progressives.

Speaking of glass enclosures and the "greenhouse effect", social progress seems to be a first-order forcing of catastrophic anthropogenic gender wars and childhood conflict.

Bob Ellison said...

It's trouble being a boy these days. I have four of them. I hope their eyes don't dart left and right, looking for an accusation of some kind of gender mishap. Their teachers have been mostly pretty good, so maybe there's hope for the future.

But I wouldn't want to be an 18yo white boy these days. Multiple targets on your back.

Henry said...

Sounds like he has really great parents.

Mark said...

Children... We liked to explore a brave new world, which at one time did not revolve around sex. Certainly not around gender.

Child: Mommy, Daddy -- am I a boy or a girl?

Mom and Dad: We don't know, honey. What do you think?

Child: I have this pee-pee that sticks out. What does that mean?

Mom and Dad: It doesn't mean anything. Why?

Child: I saw another kid who does not stick out. What does that mean? Is that kid a boy or girl?

Mom and Dad: That doesn't mean anything either. What would you like us to call you -- a boy or a girl?

Child: I don't know, that's why I'm asking! I've heard some people call me "he" and call the other kid "she." Why?

Mom and Dad: Those people are WRONG to say such awful things. You are whatever you say you are, honey.

Child: Look. I've got a thing that sticks out like Dad. This other kid does not, like Mom. Are you a man, Dad? And if you are, doesn't that make me a boy? And are you a woman, Mom, which would make the other kid a girl? Can't you give me a damn straight answer? What the fuck is wrong with you?

The Godfather said...

I'd like to leave this poor child aside, because I have no idea what would be the best course for her/his future happiness (except to find Jesus, but that's another story).

What puzzles me is this: If I'm physically female, but I identify as male, but I also identify as Gay, which means I'd like to have sex (when I reach the age of consent of course) with males, wouldn't I have more options if I stuck with my identity as a female?

Jupiter said...

"Zeph met another trans boy in school last year. They bonded over a shared hatred of gym and started dating. "

It sounds like they're just lesbians who are a bit confused. It will probably work out OK. Or at least, as OK as it ever works out for lesbians.

sean said...

Hahaha. So if you build robots, you turn into a boy? That will not appeal to very many girls that I know.

Rt1 Rebel said...

@Godfather

I've had similar quandaries. Why do many, like Jenner, wait well past their sexual prime to act out these ideas? A 70 year old of any gender isn't going to do anything other than be a grandmother instead of a grandfather.

And prospects as a younger Frankensexual are certainly more limited than anything that they have with an OEM body, however they wish to drive it.

Birches said...

Our culture didn't screw up my generation enough with single parent families...

Ken B said...

What a gawd offal article. I am especially irked by all the "then he did" stuff. Whatever gender pronoun you want to use for the present day it was a girl who met Obama years ago.

We recently saw that young man who committed suicide by cop. It seems to me likely that his problems were papered over or turned to political gain by lumping them under the rubric "gender dysphoria". There may be be people who suffer from that just as some children are legitimately ADD. But it looks to me like "transgender" or "gender fluid" are the Ritalin du jour.

eric said...

And now they assume 16?!!

What is wrong with these bigots?

Why not 8 still? Or 50?

I can't believe these racist, bigot, homophobes are ageist too!

Don't mis-age us!

Ken B said...

Imagine some kid in school decides they want to label themself. Lots are available. Jesus freak is one I recall kids my age using. Young Republican. Liberal. Spiritual, Pagan, biker. Lots more.

Which ones should have surgery because of the label they picked?

David said...

Perhaps it was better when kids were left to thrash through sexual issues on their own or by peer to peer experimentation. The intervention of parents and experts in this process does not seem to have made things any better, to say the least.

Michael K said...

Gender dysphoria is this generation's insanity just as drug use and joining communes were the hippie generation's.

I have a friend, a very lovely woman about 40, whose mother divorced their father and took her four daughters to a commune.

Eventually she wised up enough to get out and married an ophthalmologist who was equally mixed up but he got straightened out and is a successful doc.

The daughter, my friend, is a devout Catholic and has raised three terrific boys. Married 25 years and doing great.

Earnest Prole said...

Because this story is merely about one individual growing up, has no connection whatever to anything else going on in society, and nothing at all to do with culture.

Of course it's about culture, but don’t forget it’s also about a particular sixteen-year-old child. The word tomboy goes back nearly five hundred years, and without that name they nonetheless exist in all cultures and no doubt have since the dawn of mankind. Until Freud came along it was a perfectly acceptable way for a girl to be. Now they are forced to become bit players in political-moral melodramas. God obviously made this one different. Let him be.

Sydney said...

Watched the video. Made me feel sad for her. As a society we are leaving these children without proper guidance for navigating the very natural mixed-up feelings of adolescence. Note to any teenagers reading this: It is normal to question who you are.

Anonymous said...

"We recently saw that young man who committed suicide by cop. It seems to me likely that his problems were papered over or turned to political gain"

We do not understand enough about this condition to be mutilating children.

I do not understand why we are not making it a priority to understand more.

I have read in the news multiple stories of people who changed their minds, including at least one child (just this last month). Also including Nathan Verhelst, who requested assisted suicide in Europe - apparently because he wasn't really trans but was a girl raised by a mom who abused then-her for not being a boy (??) (Even more disturbing IMO: another trans person waiting for assisted suicide was with Nathan during the interview).

We apparently cannot even know for sure which people are or are not going to regret the identity change - and yet we're going to fill these people with chemicals and amputate body parts? ??

Michael K said...

These mixed up kids will kill themselves and the left will mourn them as victims of the right.

chickelit said...

Why was Obama so interested in the transgendered? Was it just Michelle? Apologies to the late Joan Rivers.

Fernandinande said...

Michael K pontificated...
Gender dysphoria is this generation's insanity just as drug use and joining communes were the hippie generation's.


Meaning that very, very few people are involved but the media make a big deal out of it?

I have a friend, a very lovely woman about 40, whose mother divorced their father and took her four daughters to a commune.

You only know one friend with a story characteristic of that generation's insanity? That's pretty amazing for such a common story.

Eventually she wised up enough to get out and married an ophthalmologist who was equally mixed up but he got straightened out and is a successful doc.

Wow! They're lucky they didn't take any drugs at that commune or they'd be permanently crazy from brain damage and their children would all be deformed.

The daughter, my friend, is a devout Catholic and has raised three terrific boys. Married 25 years and doing great.

It sure sounds as if there's a familial tendency to join bizarre cults.

hoyden said...

"Good people are always so sure they're right."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Graham

wildswan said...

So was "Super Awesome Sylvia" really just a normal, clever, mechanically-minded little boy? I mean, would her projects have been noticeable if they were done by a boy? "She" is an illustration in a feminist narrative but "he" is just a kid. This shows how different boys and girls really are - that "she" was "super-awesome" but "he" is probably not even a geek. Now "he" is going in for art and feelings ("You can cry") which were not allowed in "she's" life.

I feel sorry for the person lost in all this and yet ... the clever little girl who evolved herself as a teenager into a persona still able to do what she wants by becoming "he" might have further changes bubbling along underneath and change again and yet again and turn out more OK than we might think possible. A mom with her own little awesome Sylvia. It isn't impossible that in a crazy world being crazy is one way through the maze.