We all have a lil’ single lady inside

Why gender policing sucks.

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28 Comments

  1. Athenia
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    At least he said sorry. :)

  2. AMM
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Uh, for the benefit of those of us who (for whatever reason) don’t have flash player, could someone provide a summary, transcript, or a link to one or the other?

  3. Mighty Ponygirl
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I totally feel that kid’s pain. I cry like that whenever I have to hear that godawful song, too.

  4. Kate
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    AMM, the kids are dancing to Single Ladies by Beyonce, and the father jokingly says to the son that he’s not a single lady, and then the boy begins to cry. For his credit, the father admits to making a mistake (it was a joke, and he didn’t realize his son would get so upset). It ends with him saying, “I am a horrible father.” I saw them on some morning show, and again the father said he didn’t realize it would upset the boy so much. He said, now he lets him rock out to the song as much as he wants. They also mentioned that a lot of comments on the video (which I see now are disable) kept saying the boy didn’t look like he could be the dad’s son. Turns out he was adopted from South Korea. So the dad said he was glad people were so drawn to the video if for no other reason than that he could spread awareness of adoption.

  5. Abby
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    THANK YOU! CBS had this family on their early show this week and that’s all I could think about – gender policing, much? Why can’t you let a kid have fun singing & dancing with his big sisters, Dad? It still pisses me off.

  6. Opheelia
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    This totally reminded me of something. I had a weekly baby-sitting job for a family when I was in middle and high school. Approximate ages at the time of this memory: an 8-9 year old boy, a 5-6 year old boy, a 3-4 year old girl, and an infant. The 9 year old went to a soccer game and I watched the other three. The little girl wanted to play dress up, and her older brother wanted to play, too. So they donned princess dresses and I put bows in their hair and we played with make-up and danced. When the parents and the oldest child returned, the older boy scolded the younger boy for what he was wearing. The boy looked his brother square in the face and said angrily, “Daddy says all boys do this at least once.” He ran off.
    My early teen self just thought, “How cool of their dad to make it clear that it’s ok for boys to wear dresses.” Now, I realize that his comment wasn’t quite challenging the social norm at that level, but it was a hell of a start in the 90s.

  7. Brittany-Ann
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Aw, that was mean. Poor kid.
    I like the girls stopped dancing when their father said that, too. I also like how the girl in the middle was shooting dirty looks at her father, like “Dad, you’re an asshole.” Siblings sticking together.

  8. dustxandxlight
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Come on, really? This is an adorable video.
    We can debate all day about what it means that the dad said that and how it ruined the little boy’s fun, but COME ON. The little boy will get over it and it’s really adorable that he got that upset by it. We have no place to judge how tolerant/intolerant the parents are of their children breaking gender norms. And the dad obviously was not trying to offend the kid/ruin his day.
    It’s SO CUTE. Let’s be a little light-hearted here.

  9. genericjanedoe
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    I have a similar memory involving me and my brother, with a sadder outcome. I was 5-ish, he was 3-ish. We played dress up together all the time in my dresses, make up, and fake high heels and LOVED it. (He looked beautiful! :) My mom didn’t care at all…however we were sitting on our porch all glammed out one day when our neighbor (a middle aged woman) walked by, saw my brother, and openly mocked him. Needless to say, my brother has never again (to my knowledge) put on a dress. Fancy free fun dress up times were over. (Thankfully, my mom has photographic evidence of it.)
    What kind of adult does that to a 3 year old? Let alone to a child she barely knows? Talk about gender policing. SIGH. I remember being so mad and not having the vocabulary/confidence/defiance to say something back to her.

  10. paperispatient
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m not being snide or snarky, but how is a kid bawling cute? I thought the three of them bopping along to the music was really cute, but the little boy crying isn’t, at least to me.

  11. mightywombat
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Maybe I just have rose-colored glasses on because the weather is finally springlike where I am, but this video made me really happy.
    ALL parents make mistakes. All parents do things, intentionally and unintentionally, that go against their own beliefs sometimes, not to mention mine! But it’s AWESOME to see a dad realize immediately that he was the one in the wrong, not the kid, and try (as much as he could while driving a car) to comfort and reassure him. That says to me that he’s probably all right.

  12. Lucy Gillam
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I get that the comment was unnecessary in the first place, but are people missing the part where Dad said several times that it was okay for the little guy to be a single lady? It made me really happy, frankly, to see a father put his kid’s happiness above gender roles.

  13. Lucy Gillam
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t call it cute, but I also wouldn’t call it dire, either. My daughter had a similar meltdown tonight when I wouldn’t let her have chocolate for dinner, and has had them when we tell her, oh, hell, that we won’t play Fiest’s Sesame Street song for a sixteenth time in the car. Toddlers do that. No, he probably shouldn’t have made the comment in the first place, but he recovered well.

  14. pesematology
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    It’s not cute that the kid is crying, it’s cute that he’s SO! INTO! Single Ladies. And the dad’s reaction when he upset the kid and tells him that he’s totally a single lady. And how the kids all shoot the dad looks, as if to say, “Dad, you can’t just tell someone they’re not a Single Lady and expect it not to ruin their day!”

  15. TigerLily
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    What bothers me about this video is that it’s out there on the internet for the whole world to see this little boy in pain. I’ve never seen the “David after Dentist” video for the same reason, I think both videos exploit children that are too young to consent to the filming or understand their right to privacy. I’m glad the (very rare) moments my parents humiliated me when I was a child aren’t on YouTube.

  16. Kurumi & Cheese
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    The video is pretty funny. But. (The but comes later.)
    First, I can’t really see a problem with what the dad said. Maybe it’s just his tone. He’s kind of just pointing out the obvious. The kid isn’t a single lady. If he were mean about it that would be one thing, but he’s sorta just laughing. Little boy =/= single lady. It’s no more gender policing than when I correct my students to say the right pronouns based on gender.
    My only problem with the video is that it makes me cringe. I teach kids who are 2-3 years old and I hate hate hate how they cry for absolutely no reason. Drives me up the wall. One second they’ll be happy as a clam and then you say “pudding” and suddenly their face falls and they bawl. Seeing his face go from glee to stunned to tears just reminded me wayyyy too much of my students’ habits. Maybe especially because he looks like one of my students.
    It’s nice that dad told him he could still be a single lady. Another reason I don’t think the dad was trying to rain on the kid’s parade. I don’t think that would make the kid stop crying (just have to wait and wait and wait) but at least it was a nice gesture.

  17. PamelaVee
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I think calling this “gender policing” is a bit much. The dad stated a simple fact- the young boy is NOT, in fact, a single lady. What’s wrong with that? I don’t even feel he meant anything by it. He certainly didn’t tell the kid he couldn’t sing.
    They even said he COULD be a single lady if he wanted to!
    I thought the video was funny/cute, especially because of the “you are a moron, look what you did” expression on the sister’s face (middle seat).
    This dad (to me) clearly isn’t bothered by the fact (that all 3 of) his kids are singing the song, and was just making a joke. I would not call that gender policing at all.

  18. pandaroni
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I felt the same way. I liked how immediately the dad saw that he upset his child and tried to make it right. I felt bad for the poor child who was obviously hurt, but I also think the dad saw that and will be more careful in the future.

  19. JJ
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Well, you know….putting your children in danger by driving AND recording a video is a totally adorable act. A bawling child just adds to the cuteness.

  20. roxannelibra
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    The dad said “You’re not a single lady” only because the song instructs single ladies to put their hands up. If the kid had been doing “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and pointing at his ears and eyes at the wrong time, he would have showed him how to do it right.
    I guess the kid was crying because he was disappointed. The whole family then told him “You can be a single lady if you want!” Doesn’t sound as if they’re gender policing.

  21. GuerillaGirl
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    They started playing “all the single ladies,” there’s two girls and a very young boy in a car seat, and the dad says in a silly voice “you’re not a single lady buddy!” and the kid is absolutely devastated and starts crying.

  22. Grace
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Oh come on! He immediately admitted and continues to admit he made a thoughtless mistake – he just said it without thinking and did whatever he could to remedy the situation and assure the kid he could be a single lady if he wanted afterward. Compared to millions of parents who would knowingly and intentionally enforce that kind of norm on their children, I think this guy is pretty great. Nobody is perfect.

  23. arielmorgan
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    The initial joke/comment/”gender policing” by the Dad was an off the cuff remark that clearly didn’t occur to him would be offensive, that also clearly demonstrates just how ingrained and pervasive gender policing really is.
    The adorable quality of this video is that, rather than cooperating with the gender norms that Dad was unintentionally reproducing, the toddler got upset, AND the little girls rallied with him!
    This isn’t precisely a demonstration of a toddler practicing his/her own agency to overcome gender norms, it’s just kids demonstrating very clearly to the adults that their ideas about gender roles are silly in the face of real joy and celebration of the moment.
    And the beauty is that Dad got the message, kind of. It’s all about the tiny steps towards understanding, not monument toppling.

  24. Libbierator
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    I didn’t watch this video the first eight times I was linked to it, because I knew it would upset me. Kids being upset – well, people being upset – always does.
    I just watched it, above, finally curious enough. I know what dustxandxlight means when xe says toddlers get upset all the time, but it makes me upset every single time. Granted, it makes me less upset when I’ve been with the kid for a while and am frustrated; but belitting their pain isn’t going to help them, or me, at all.
    That doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated and walk away; I do. But I try not to.
    Anyway. I am upset the dad said that at all; but I also saw the way everyone in the car immediately reacted to the kid’s pain. His sisters stopped dancing; his mother held his hand; his father apologized like eighty billion times. He made a mistake, but he, and everyone else in the car, tried really hard to fix it.
    It’s all we can ask for. :-)

  25. Toongrrl
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Ohh that little kid was cute, why?????
    “Daddy, that was mean, you just jealous because you just sang ‘candy girl’”

  26. MLEmac28
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I can’t help but laugh at this. I work at a daycare part time and know that face so well. I tell a kid s/he can’t do something, and they’ll get that look on their face and I know s/he’s about to burst into tears. Obviously the parents recognized that face too, which is why they started saying “You’re a single lady!” before he even started crying.
    The dad made a mistake, but I think he learned his lesson. :)

  27. Sky
    Posted April 5, 2010 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    How do all the other commenters here know that’s a boy? Just because the kid looks male-bodied doesn’t mean the kid is a boy.

  28. Sloppy Sandwich
    Posted April 5, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    He had his turn. Now he gonna learn.

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