Parents magazine Gets It So Wrong

This month Parents magazine has made a go of it, trying to print what I’m sure in their mind is a oh-so-very-progressive article with 8 Positive Ways to Address Children’s Gender Identity Issues. Perhaps that’s what’s so disturbing about it. An attempt to bring the issue of gender identity to a mainstream public is actually laden with homophobia and traplaying dress upnsphobia. The gist of the article is that if your child is displaying gender variant behavior (like your son wearing high heels), you probably have no need to “worry.”   My favorite line is from Dr. Ken Corbett at NYU (I expected better) who claims that if your daughter wants to play firefighter she probably really wants a dalmatian! What? It’s better to have a girl want a dog than be a firefighter?!!  The article continually returns to the premise that most likely your child is “normal.”  (ie not gay and certainly not transgender). The article’s eight suggestions on dealing with gender identity issues are all about assuaging parent’s anxiety rather than addressing the fundamental homophobia or transphobia in this country that makes parents “worried” in the first place. Wouldn’t it be great if there were an article like this that instead of telling parents that their children are just going through some developmental norm by exploring gender differences and gender play instead took the perspective of “hey, if your child does turn out to be gay or transgender that is something to be celebrated and embraced.” So go out and buy that princess dress for your son and tell him how wonderful he is and that you love him exactly as he comes!

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12 thoughts on “Parents magazine Gets It So Wrong

  1. Laura
    So my question is: Are you planning to write that article? The one that celebrates the child without any concerns/pathologies/judgements? It seems to me that there is so much emphasis on appreciating our children’s uniqueness until elementary school when the expectation is to be less unique. The article reflects those fears that a lot of parents harbor instead of allowing the individual to unfold in a secure environment.

  2. That Parent Mag article blows. Glad my folks didn’t subscribe to such crap. They would have been in a support group. “If your child wants to make non-stereotypical choices outside the home or in front of other people, tell him what reactions he might encounter.” it’s scary to think parents are overthinking to such a degree. but what do i know, my girl is only 4… and I do discourage public nose picking but that’s mostly because it’s followed by her finger going in her mouth. She’s 4 loves pink, sparkles, spiderman and playing superheros and barbies. This article puts “non-typical gender choices” as such a big deal. What happened to happy and healthy? I feel like they’re limiting the spectrum of identity. The tomboy is being killed off.

  3. Yeah, it went pretty downhill when they recommended that parents tell their kids that visiting friends might make fun of them for dressing like Minnie mouse. Really? How about parents not being friends with small minded people who are stupid enough cast judgment on a kid. Why don’t we invite all the bigoted neighbors over and let them make fun of our kids! Congrats on the new blog!!

  4. Oh, and last I looked, fire fighter was a professional that men and women both hold so the idea that a girl playing with fire trucks is “acting male” is additionally raging sexist.

    • Yes, it’s fascinating the sexism that runs through the whole article. I would have liked to believe that we were past the time where “can a girl be a firefighter?” was an actual discussion. Thanks for your thoughtful comments ;-)

  5. Yeah, like transgender is “normal”.

    So, if my child turns out to be a transexual, then I suppose I should thank god for that.

    Yes, folks, the child had better misplace his/her own identity than actually follow their true biological nature.

    • Actually you should thank God if your child is transgender. You have been blessed with the gift of a child- a pure and innocent human being who comes into the world perfect. And it is your responsibility is to love and care for that child exactly as he or she is. How lucky you are to have a child. And I don’t understand your last sentence.

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