Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why I'm Confused By "The Princess Boy"

by Jonne Austin (aka Seattle Slim)

Most of you know I have kids. I've got two boys, and one girl so my household will no doubt be quite busy as they get older. Being somewhat of a tomboy myself--at the very least in touch with my masculine self--I'm able to shift from rough and tumble mom who absolutely appreciates robots, football games in the house and my sons' collective affinity for destruction. My little girl is most likely going to be a tomboy with those two for brothers, but she is a girl, and she may appreciate the girlier things (I appreciated pink, dolls and boys). I'm still figuring it out.

My sons have played house where they are dads and they are taking care of their wife and kids, something they see my husband and ex-husband do on a regular basis. I'm okay with that. Real men take care of their home and family. I dig that. It was new to me to realize boys play house, or could anyway, but it didn't bother me. I'm still figuring things out, as all parents must do. I definitely teach my kids acceptance of others, and themselves, but I'm not sure what to think about My Princess Boy and author Cheryl Kilodavis.

Where to begin? Personally I'm not necessarily of the belief that the little boy will catch "teh ghey" from dressing like a princess, but I'd be lying if I didn't believe that he may already be channeling his sexuality and that he may in fact be gay. There's nothing wrong with that. At that age, I certainly knew that I really liked boys. I'm also coming from the standpoint of a mom with two boys. My eldest is absolutely not interested in dressing like a girl, and in fact finds most things girly to be gross as they might infect him with "cooties." He wants to dress like superheroes, robots and soldiers and that's what matters to him. I am not sure how I would respond to him wanting to dress like a girl. To be fair, I'm not sure how I would respond if our daughter wanted to dress like a boy to young Kilodavis' extent either. Not because I'm afraid of them being gay. That's silly. They could be as average as possible and could still be gay. Besides, I love my children regardless, so I could are less. But I do wonder at the functionality of it all. I have to ask myself, and you the reader, what is he learning by dressing as a girl? Yes, he's getting acceptance, but he doesn't need to do that for that. What is the end result?

My other issues are the fact that it still plays into gender issues. Little girls in pants, backwards caps and playing with trucks isn't necessarily a boy thing. I want a big ass truck my damned self, and if I won the lottery today, I'd have a truck so big it would make a redneck gasp in amazement (no offense). Liking cars, playing in mud, or playing with robots is not a boy thing. It's a human thing. And if you don't like those things, that's also a human thing. Him wearing a skirt isn't even a girl thing really, and neither is pink. The Eighties and Scotsmen have taught as much. With that said, they are assuming as such. He likes skirts? Okay... What happened to a kilt? That's fairly unisex (possibly incorrect in usage, but I've worn several kilts). He likes pink? He can just ask Cam'ron about that. But somewhere his own parents fell for gender identity issues when they assumed all of those things were strictly girly.

I also find this worrying on the level that his sexuality may actually be ignored. I get the feeling that at some level the parents themselves are in denial about the very real possibility that their youngest son may be gay and are assuming he's just eccentric and will change. How about talking to him and getting to know more about the root of his affinity for certain clothes? If anything, today's current climate makes that level of awareness and involvement necessary. You can't afford to not know what's going on, because there are predators out there waiting to bully our children on a whim, especially young black men who may be LGBT.

I think his story is great because I'll be more than happy to teach my kids acceptance by way of this story. At the end of the day, when all the media attention has died down, as long as Dyson is well-armed with the tools to live his life, unique as all of our lives are, then the message is a success. Let's not forget that a human being is in the middle of all this, and his acceptance is the most important thing at stake here.


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