The dangers of stereotypes

We’ve had a few of these posts here at Transgenderreality, but it seems like it’s impossible to run out of material, so it’s time for another one. People who want to transition to live as the other sex very often have a narrow view of what this means, they seem to look at people as collections of stereotypes, and if you fit one set of stereotypes, that must be the category for you.

Here’s an article about a teenager who identifies as a girl.

“I had always known something was different,” she said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “I was always more feminine and always wanted to play dress-up. When I was 5 I knew I was supposed to be a girl.”

Because boys can’t play dress-up, apparently.

This article offers advice on how to “feel like a girl”.

I grew my hair!

This was the easiest and cheapest way to progress in my transition because it cost no money at all and I could do it without even thinking. (Of course, I realize that not every girl wants to grow out her hair, but this was something I wanted to do.) Caring for your hair with nourishing treatments and oils can help to make it grow, but the best part about this extra hair care is that I was able to give myself some self-care, too.

“Growing long hair made me feel like a girl, even though not all girls have long hair, but when I do it, it makes me feel girly!”

I practiced wearing makeup

Firstly, let me say that no, you don’t have to wear makeup to be a woman. But if makeup is something you want to use, it does take some practice! I’ve realized that this waiting time is the perfect opportunity to perfect the craft. One way to start learning the basics is to look up “morning routine” videos, where makeup artists show you their daily makeup routine.

“I wore makeup to feel more like a woman, even though not all women wear makeup, but when I do it, it makes me feel like a woman”

It couldn’t be more clear that the author is transitioning to a stereotypical view of what women are. Even acknowledging that not all women have long hair or wear makeup. So why exactly does having these things make him feel more “girly”? Why doesn’t short hair make him feel “girlier”?

This article tells the story of a child who liked to imitate his mother and play with barbies.

“I would see her doing little things like tightening her shirt around her waist and calling it a dress and saying ‘Mommy I’m wearing a dress just like you,’ or wearing my high heels around the house,” Gilleylen said.

Lots of kids dabble in dress-up, even boys, which is how Mazy appeared at birth and was being raised. But for Mazy,  it was real.

So this child is like lots of kids, only different because for her, it’s different. Somehow.

Mazy felt she couldn’t tell anyone at school about her dozens of dolls, including a rotating cast of Barbies, with their assorted clothes, cars and a multi-story house. She didn’t dare mention her female superhero costumes.

This is sad. So tightly are children being gender-policed now, that a male child has to be ashamed of liking things that are “for girls”.

This article tells the story of a child who at 2 years old felt that his sense of himself didn’t match his physical body”, which is extraordinary, as most 2 year olds:

  • are not potty trained
  • do not understand the difference between men and women
  • do not understand that your physical characteristics are permanent.

As a toddler, Jacqueline started insisting she was a boy and rejecting any clothing, colors or accessories typically associated with girls. Sarah and Pete started calling their child Jackie — a gender neutral name — and purchasing girl’s clothing in gender-neutral colors. That still didn’t satisfy Jacq Kai, who felt anxious and would often cry at his reflection in the mirror because he looked too much like a girl. Allowing Jacq Kai to get his hair cut like a boy when he was about 3-and-a-half years old was a milestone for the family and left him “jubilant,” Sarah said.

There are tell-tale signs of strict gender policing by the supposedly progressive family here. “Girl’s clothing in gender-neutral colors”? Why not get the kid “boy clothes”, and make sure to state in no uncertain terms that clothes and colors don’t really have a “gender”? “Allowing” the kid a short hair cut after what seems like quite a struggle? It’s hair. Let the kid cut it.

The article talks about the kid being allowed to “express his true identity”, which presumably means being allowed to wear clothes and playing with toys associated with the sex this kid wants to be (it couldn’t really mean anything else, since two year olds aren’t being medically transitioned since they are nowhere near reaching puberty). Which is great! All kids should be able to do this, since gender roles are bad and limiting. However, the parents should be doing this *anyway*. They should tell this kid she can do what she want, wear what she wants, but that she is female and that she will be a woman when she grows up – a woman with short hair and masculine clothes if that’s what she wants, but still a woman.

What they are doing now, is actually *reinforcing* the view that certain things, behaviors, toys etc are associated with your sex. They are telling this kid that now that she’s a boy, she can do these things that she couldn’t previously. And what’s more, they’re setting this kid up for massive disappointment when puberty hits and it turns out that your biological sex isn’t changeable like a hairstyle is.

There will be more of these posts forthcoming.

4 thoughts on “The dangers of stereotypes

  1. I tend to believe that the stereotyping of gender roles to characterize trans-people is a “phase”.
    Humanity is still learning what all this – “transsexual” reality – means, and naturally making mistakes. I think in a couple of decades the very evolution of the social acceptance of diversity will greatly reduce the number of people who “transition” for these wrong causes.
    I believe this is also related with the evolution of human society to be *more feminine*, in the sense of being more accepting of its components the way they are, and less rigidly governed by artificial rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so insulting to both sexes to define what a real man or woman is by a collection of sexist stereotypes. Whatever happened to the society I thought we’d evolved into, where normal people were just themselves instead of segregated into boxes erroneously based on biological sex? It’s so sad to see healthy young people taking drugs and undergoing irreversible surgeries just because they were led to believe only guys like superheroes, short hair, and skateboarding, and only women are allowed to have long hair, wear makeup, and like kittens.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s