The Gender Policing of Boys/ Male Identified Children

Lauren posted on my previous post:

I find it frustrating that it’s socially OK for my daughter to be so called “gender neutral” (wear her brothers hand me downs, play with cars etc) but when my son wants pink pyjamas and dolls, the opposite is true. Double standards or what! But that’s a whole different kettle of fish I suppose.

Tom also commented on my facebook

its “really weird” for a boy to want to be a pink flamingo instead of a penguin at age 8, too. I really dislike discussing certain things with certain other teachers at school

I find both these points really interesting. Gender roles and appropriate performance of gender are enforced on us from such a young age. I think these examples of gender policing are intricately linked to what I spoke about in my previous post.

Mur Lafferty writes:

The world hates you. You are considered the worst thing to be compared to.Throw like a girl. Talk like a girl. Cry like a girl. God forbid we ever be girl

Which sums up succinctly the idea that being a girl or girlish is something to avoid at all costs. The gender policing of boys who want to do traditionally ‘feminine’ things could not exist if we simultaneously did not denigrate all things girly and girlish. Why do so many people hate Justin Beiber so much? Because his fans a legions of tweenage girls, therefore he can’t really be good at what he does.

Imagine what it would be like if stereotypical/traditional feminine qualities were something to aspire to than something we need to overcome. The world would look very different. At the end of the day everyone should be free to be exactly who they are and not fit into arbitrary gendered categories. This cannot be achieved if we  continue to denigrate being a girl.

One thought on “The Gender Policing of Boys/ Male Identified Children

  1. Pingback: I don’t want to be “just one of the guys” « A Human Story

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