What We Missed: Gender Policing, Prop 8 and more

Tabloids can’t get enough of trying to gender police Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. Seriously: Get. Over. It.

Kai Wright at ColorLines tells us why Judge Walker’s Ruling is About Much More Than the Law

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8 Comments

  1. Posted August 6, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    The comments on that first Shiloh link are deplorable. I seriously don’t understand how so many people can be so vicious and ignorant…not to mention the menacing depravity behind that font choice.

    (first feministing comment, yay!)

    • Posted August 8, 2010 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Most comments on the second Shiloh link are surprisingly awesome though. :D I don’t know if they’re from people who were linked to that post from progressive blogs, or from “regular people”, but it’s nice to see so much sense in comments on a gossip blog.

  2. Posted August 6, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Women in Politics:
    Emily Henochowicz lost her eye protesting the Israeli army’s attacks on the Aid Flotilla. They still will not pay for her medical expenses:
    http://www.democracynow.org/2010/8/5/exclusiveemily_henochowicz_speaks_out_art_student

    Lolita Lebron, Puerto Rican Nationalist died at 90 this past Sunday:
    http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-lolita-lebron-20100802,0,2344471.story

  3. Posted August 7, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    The continued gender policing of our country is par for the course, but there seems to be something especially deplorable in how the media has zoned in on Shiloh Jolie-Pitt and Angelina.

    I’ll address the underlying rhetoric of gender policing further into this comment, but has anyone else noticed that the same sources up in arms about Shiloh’s appearance keep putting it back on Angelina, and Angelina only? Let’s forget everything we know about gender and assume that it really can be shaped by parenting alone. It isn’t as though she’s flying solo these days, so why is the responsibility to do so only on her shoulders? The second article contains a quote from some renowned child expert who is insisting that Shiloh’s behavior is indicative that she’s crying out for attention from her father–so where are the headlines grilling Brad?

    Now, on to the real heart of the matter. Gender is not something uniquely controlled by parenting. Angelina could dress Shiloh just like Suri Cruise, and the chances are still good she’d want to experiment with gender roles. Babies and young children often do this unconsciously–for example, my two-year-old stepson loves playing with dolls, cuddling with stuffed animals, and trying on my shoes, especially any that have heels. These are seen as feminine activities, but he has no idea about those encoded messages society attaches to those activities.

    And even if it were, the examples given are pretty weak. Maddox is eight, almost nine-years-old, which is about the time children start coming into their own identities. It’s the tween age, and a manicure kit is simply not indicative of either gender type anymore (I mean, should hygiene items like well-kept nails really be a gender-specific habit, anyway?). Lots of men get manicures. When I worked at the treatment facility for behaviorally and emotionally disturbed children, just about every boy there painted his nails. They were all around eight and nine as well. In fact, many nail polish lines are now introducing boy-specific lines (not surprisingly, limiting the hues to orange, blue, and black; overly ridiculous masculine names for the colors will probably follow suit) so there’s obviously enough of a demand for it.

    And I think it’s awesome. I’m pregnant with a girl, and I went through her older brother’s clothes from his infancy and snagged many of them for her. Who cares if they are blue? Many of the messages on boys clothes seem more positive and less patronizing than many girl items. For example, many of the tops and onesies people have given me for my daughter say things like, “Love Me–I’m Cute!” Okay, I’m down with the “love me” message, but why the modifier of “I’m cute”? Shouldn’t she be loved anyway? Conversely, the shirts and onesies for my stepson say things like, “Future Achiever,” “I’m Great Because I’m Me,” and “I Believe in Myself.” That isn’t to say that there aren’t incredibly sexist, gender-policing of boys clothes as well (I found a few like, “Future Babe Magnet” type items) but it seems statistically less prevalent. It seems like many message contained in the clothing of young children communicate the same rhetoric they’ll have to experience as they age–boys can be valued for their looks and their abilities, but girls better bank on their looks and make the best of it.

    All the same, I say, “Rock on, Shiloh! Be what you want to be, and who.”

  4. Posted August 7, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    bloody hell, I NEVER played with dolls and spent most of my childhood up a tree. Now I am a happily married woman (to a man!) and enjoy playing with makeup, even though I don’t think I need it, she’s a child, leave Shiloah alone, she’ll find her own identity

  5. Posted August 8, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    “Gender confusion”? Really?

    Non-normative gender expression is only confusing to the heteronormative masses. I’m sure it is terribly confusing when the lines that equate male with ‘masculinity’ and female with ‘femininity’ are revealed to be constructed, convoluted, and flexible. Scary!

    On the other hand, I do appreciate that Jolie is adamant in allowing her children to experiment with gender. For all of her issues, I’ll give her credit on that one.

  6. Posted August 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Shiloh doesn’t look ‘gender-confused’ to me. More ‘super happy and confident.’

  7. Posted August 9, 2010 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    A bikini top? Not indecent. A bra showing through a wet t-shirt at a water park? Apparently deemed indecent.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38582410/ns/travel-news/

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