Had a really interesting debate with my mother today.
My aunt is the mother of a 5 year old son, who likes to dress in women’s clothing. My aunt’s response? Whatever. As she told me: “If he wants to wear a dress, fine. He wants to wear pink shoes? Fine. He wants nail polish? I have a green that would look great on him. Makeup? No, because he’s not old enough, I didn’t have makeup at five, he can wait until he’s twelve like me.”
My mom was having this hissy fit about it, saying he was going to be confused about his gender. I was saying, clothes and shoes don’t determine your gender, only your gender defines your gender. She was concerned he would “grow up to be gay”. I responded by telling her that if he grows up to like girls, then he’ll know how hard it is for her to fit in the dress she’s wearing. If he likes boys, whatever, but taking away his nail polish won’t change that.
She stated that gender confusion was all a psychological problem, to which I responded, so is bipolar (which I have).
Understanding that we were getting no where, I at least tried to warn my mom of the danger of gender stereotypes. I brought up that by her logic, my niece shouldn’t wear pants or want to be a police officer, since those were “boy” things. She insisted there is a difference, and I asked her to find that difference for me. How is it okay to tell a girl that she is not confined by societies view of females and can be whatever she wants, but we tell a boy that he has to be what my mom demands.