Lately there has been a lot of focus on one of the Jolie-Pitt kids. I keep coming across articles about how “Shiloh wants to be a boy.” I have to say, I’m quite annoyed by all this focus. For one, this kid hasn’t signed up to be a celebrity, only their parents have. Celebrity kids should be allowed to be kids. For another, none of these articles quote Jolie-Pitt (I’ll stick with using their last name for convenience sake), they only quote Brad and Angelina. Maybe their child has said that they want to be a boy, but until Jolie-Pitt comes forth and publicly states their gender, that’s their business. And, if Jolie-Pitt has come out and said that they are a boy, then they don’t want to be a boy, they are a boy. But what annoyed me the most has nothing to do with the actual news coverage: it was the comments that really bothered me. I was going to do a post discussing societies obsession with gender nonconforming children, but I decided I’d go through some of the comments I’ve found on various YouTube videos. After all, there are a ton of articles and posts out there about society’s issu with gender nonconformity and why the perception of gender nonconformity as wrong needs to change. But, by focusing on people’s comments, I can actually show what’s wrong with saying certain things and how we can better discuss gender nonconformity. Most of these comments are mean spirited and meant to be insulting, but some are simply born out of ignorance.
The first video I watched was from the show What Would You Do. This episode was about children wanting to dress up in costumes meant for children of the opposite gender. This was the first insulting comment I came across: “(mom):what are you going to be for Halloween? (son): I want to be a nine year old dressed as a 20+ year old woman that nearly got raped by a beast mommy! (mom): >:O the fuck is wrong with you better not want me to let you get surgery so you can cut your dick off a get it replaced by a hole!…WHY CAN’T PEOPLE USE THERE COMMON SENSE STOP LETTING YOUR CHILDREN WATCH AND USE MATERIALS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX OF THE OPPOSITE SEX! If its a BOY get BOY content for him. If its a girl get girl content for her. Children’s minds are still developing don’t ruin it show them their category not another category! The world needs Jesus, you need Jesus, I need Jesus, this mom needs Jesus, and this boy needs jesus. Give it to him straight don’t curve the lines.” This commenter is suggesting that if a child wants to dress in what is generally considered a girls costume then he’s automatically going to go for something inappropriate. The kid wanted to be a princess. Yes, he chose Bell. Given that Beauty and the Beast is a Disney film, I think it’s safe to say that Bell wasn’t nearly raped. Yes, there are problems with the Disney princesses, but the rest of this comment suggests that the commenter would not be concerned if it were a nine year old girl who wanted to dress up like a “20+ year old woman (most of the Disney princesses are actually around 16) that nearly got raped by a beast.” What exactly is boy content? What is the definition of boy content? People assume that children can’t know who they are or what they like simply because they’re young. This is a silly notion. We were all kids once. We may not like the same things now that we did back then, but does that really make our love for our favourite toy/show/friend less genuine? What does Jesus have to do with any of this? We’re talking about Halloween, not church.
The next comment I came across says “Eww weird as shit. Girls like dresses, Not boys. All you weird asses in the comment section smh, I’m raising my kid right at least. Sexual orientation is solely based on how you raise your kid.” Who says that only girls like dresses? Because the fact that there are boys out there who claim to like dresses suggests otherwise. What does it mean to raise kids right? Does it mean suppressing who they are because who they are makes you uncomfortable? If not, then forcing these children be someone their not is not raising them right. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with how you raise your children. It also has nothing to do with gender. These children are gender nonconforming. Their sexuality is irrelevant to the discussion.
The next commenter said “I honestly don’t think this is good. I mean, yea it’s fine if he wants to be a princess a guess, but, this is (I’m sure) kinda saying it’s ok to be a woman when your a man….now, don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with gays, but, if more and more children think like this, the more likely they might grow up to be gay. If that happens, America might start depopulating rapidly.(even though we kinda need to.)” I suppose then that it’s a good thing that facts aren’t based on what you “honestly think” is good. What’s wrong with being a woman? Though, we’re talking about children. They weren’t men or women, they were kids. And they said nothing about wanting to be the other gender, they just wanted to get costumes. There’s a difference between gender identity and gender expression. Not everyone who’s gender nonconforming is transgender. And once again, gender identity is not the same as sexuality. It is possible to be gender non-conforming and straight. But, even if they were the same thing, you can’t just make someone gay by putting a dress on them.
Another commenter said “I’ll be honest, I’m not against transgenders or anything, but if my son was that age or a little older and wanted to get a princess costume, I can say I wouldn’t let him. Not because I have a problem with it, but I know he would get bullied and ridiculed for it, especially kids at school. Not only that if it is only a phase, for years after he would still be teased because of it. I would only be looking out for him, instead of giving bullies fire power to torment him.” Again, these kids were buying costumes. They said nothing about wanting to be (or being) the opposite gender. Wanting to wear a dress if you’re a boy or a Spider-Man costume if you’re a girl doesn’t make you transgender. And you shouldn’t refer to people as “transgenders.” Wording like that removes the person’s humanity. They are a person who is transgender, they are not “transgenders.” Forcing a kid to fit in to stereotypical gender roles is giving in to bullies. You’re victim-blaming: you’re saying that a child who doesn’t conform is responsible for being bullied, and they should be responsible for stopping the bullying that they are subjected to. If you want to stop bullying, teach kids not to bully.
This idea that gender nonconforming children are responsible for the bullying that they suffer is reinforced by another commenter: “Letting him wear a princess costume, is the same as letting him getting bullied. He is a just a kid, you are not suppose to give kids everything they want. If in the end they turn out gay, it doesn’t matter, at least he can’t not say it was your fault for choosing for him. Everyone has the right to decide his or her own destiny the older they get.” No, letting your child wear what they like is not letting them get bullied. Standing there and saying “well he shouldn’t have been wearing a dress” is letting him get bullied. Children need to learn that bullying is wrong. Unfortunately, children watch adults abuse those who don’t conform to gender stereotypes. It’s the behaviour of adults that teaches kids that bullying is okay. And excusing the bullying as “kids being kids” reinforces it. Letting a kid be happy is not giving them everything they ant. You can let your child wear what they want and still have a set bedtime. Again, and I’m going to keep saying it, because people don’t seem to get it, gender identity is not sexuality. They are different.
The second video I watched was another What Would You Do clip. In this video, a girl who was transgender was harassed by her unsupportive father while looking for a prom dress. The first commenter that I came across said “Are you fucking kidding me? FUCK EVERYONE WHO AGREES WITH CHANGING THE GENDER…what’s wrong with people these days???? You agree to be a faggot??? What the fuck? If you are born to be a male or female then why you want to change your gender??? For what fucking reason? You feel that inside???? You feel full of shit inside because everyone who thinks like that has a fucking weak personality and absolutely is mentally sick I couldn’t even continue watching this disgusting video.” You can’t agree to be homosexual. Seriously, everyone who thinks you can, change your sexuality right now. Can you do it? And once again, this person is transgender. Their sexuality was never revealed. You can be trans and straight. Male and female are not genders, they are sexes. You can be physically male and be a woman. The idea of changing ones gender is problematic. This girl is a girl. She was a girl before she began transitioning. She’s not changing her gender. She may, however, eventually change her sex. So…because you yourself feel like the gender you were assigned at birth is correct for you, everyone you doesn’t feel like the gender they were assigned is right for them must be full of shit. Okay then.
The next comment I came across said “You want to support homosexual? fine. You want to support trans people? fine. you want to support all identity? fine. But I can FUCKING promise you these same people would not support bestiality because….oh you know….its disgusting.” Because two (or more) consenting adults are totally the same as someone have sex with an animal.
The next person said “There is no such thing as transgender, just ‘an extreme drag queen.'” Says who? Who are you to dismiss someone’s identity? A person who identifies as transgender feels that they are actually the opposite gender from the one they were assigned at birth. Drag is a performance art. Most drag queens identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. They are simply performers.