Paranoia, Paranoia ever bodies trying to change me!

In 2010 a little boy rushes off to school with his mum, excited and a little nervous. His mum let him pick his costume for the parade that day, and he chose one of his favourite characters from his beloved TV Show Scooby Doo. He was scared about what the other kids would think, would they laugh at him? But when he got to school he was greeted by the other students with smiles and delight in his choice. Sadly, however, there was still a shadow over that days proceedings. The parents of these children were disapproving. The reason? This little boy had chosen to go as Daphne. He wore a little purple dress and bright orange wig. But what is the big deal? What a child wants to wear?

When a child chooses to re-define who they want to be, or what they want to wear in the case of the little boy and his Halloween costume, some people go into panic mode. A paranoid assumption you could say, that because a boy or a girl chooses to “switch gender roles” means that there is something wrong with them. In 2012 this moral dilemma was defined as ‘Shiloh Panic’ when Angelina and Brad Pitt allowed their daughter Shiloh to dress in what ever attire she chose and she opted to dress and behave more like a boy.

So why are we so scared about allowing children to dress however they want? How does a child’s attire determine who they will or will not be as an adult? And is it really something parents should be concerned with considering the there are far worse things in this world than a little boy who wants to wear a dress or a little girl wanting to cut her hair short?

Even the colours that we associate with each gender has changed over time. In the mid 19th century it was considered ‘masculine’ for boys to wear pink and ‘feminine’ for girls to wear blue, this was then re-defined in the 40’s and suddenly pink was feminine and blue masculine. Again, a redefinition of colours and the genders it was associated with was introduced and ‘gender neutral colours’ were created in the 60’s and 70’s.

J.Hodge, September 23, 2010,The History of Pink for Girls and Blue for Boys

When you think of gender and the roles from a religious perspective the roles of men and women is conflicting. Craig L. Blomberg explains that “In the first creation account, God fashions man and woman as fully equal bearers of his image. They jointly receive his blessing and commission to rule the earth ( Gen 1:26-31 ). In the second account, it is specified that God created the man first, and that he created the woman from the man’s rib only after all the animals proved inadequate companions ( Gen 2:18-23 ).” We can see here that even in one religious text the definition of each role men and woman play is different depending on which verse you read. One men and women are created equal, the other men are the superior being and the women were created to be ‘their helper’.

If you look at the roles of genders around the world there are some very different and conflicting ideas compared to those of western cultures. What is considered the primary male roles and what is considered to be the primary female role is blurred. In the Documentary Taboo: The third sex, there is a varying definition of gender comes into question depending on the country you live in.

So is it the media’s fault for how genders are portrayed or is it the fault of society? When you look at advertisements over the ages the way men and women have been portrayed has definitely changed. Where once women were often shown as the submissive wife who dutifully cooked for her husband, to woman with very masculine features and poses. The image of male and female has changed significantly, women can be body builders but still be fashion models, they can be strong but still famine.

A Streetcar Named Desire, Advertisements, and Gender Stereotyping steffycouch , December 6, 2013

Kpriss, Spring 2013 Fashion Ads Target Strong Women January 17th, 2013

Gender can no longer be defined as male and female. As a society we are becoming more and more aware of changes in the roles men and women chose to play and yet there is still a long way to go in regards to accepting these changes. By trying to fit our children into little boxes that society has created are we doing more harm than good? Or are we trying to simply conform to what we have been lead to believe is “normal behaviour”.

References:

  1. Oh no They Didn’t 2010 Nov 4, 5 year old boy dresses as Daphne for Halloween http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/52914794.html
  2. Carolyn 2010, Nov 5, 5-Year-Old Boy’s Daphne Costume Throws Gender-Conscious Parents Into Shiloh Panic www.autostraddle.com/a-five-year-old-boy-incites-gender-panic-65863/
  3. ADVOCATE.COM EDITORS 2010, Nov 4, , Boy in the “Gay” Costume , www.advocate.com/news/daily-news/2010/11/04/prek-moms-denounce-boy-girls-costume
  4. Riese 2012, Jan 25, Shiloh Panic! Life & Style Rehashes Fears About Shiloh’s Haircut, Pants, Dinosaur Toy, Arts Entertainment,  www.autostraddle.com/shiloh-panic-life-style-rehashes-fears-about-shilohs-haircut-pants-dinosaur-toy-129510/
  5. C L. Blomberg, Bible Study Tools, 1997,  www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/woman.html
  6. H Smith 2010, Girls Are Pink, Boys Are Blue: On Toddlers And Gender Roles, Jezabel ://jezebel.com/5561837/girls-are-pink-boys-are-blue-on-toddlers-and-gender-roles
  7. J HODGE 2010, Sept 23, The History of Pink for Girls and Blue for Boys, Gender Focus http://www.gender-focus.com/2010/09/23/pink-for-girls/
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7 thoughts on “Paranoia, Paranoia ever bodies trying to change me!

  1. This post hit the nail on the head at “gender can no longer be defined as male or female”. And I was impressed by the examples you used to back up your argument, such as the 19th century baby colours and the different genesis passages. The shift in gender roles is certainly causing a massive amount of moral panic, especially amongst older generations that have grown-up around more “conventional” gender roles. I think it’s important to remember, as Sue pointed the week 6 lecture, that these controversies around boys wearing dresses and girls preferring male pronouns is no less of an issue than what it was a generation ago, it is just that we as a society are becoming more aware of it. And, in a way, the action and negative repercussion of a boy dressing up as Daphine is really important in keeping this discussion on a roll. The more we talk about gender issues, the more apparent it will become that it is a personal choice that everyone should be entitled to. I found this inspiring article form a few years back that you should definitely check out: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/world/europe/swedish-school-de-emphasizes-gender-lines.html?_r=0

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After finishing your blog, there was still one sentence that lingered in my mind and that was your question “Is it the media’s fault for how genders are portrayed or is the society?” and it’s a question anyone can think long and hard on. Which is definitely a good sign if your reader is still thinking of your blog for a time after reading it. I tend to lean towards the side of society is always changing and I like how you used historical evidence in your earlier paragraphs to support this. I honestly didn’t know about the colours changing in different eras so it’s always nice to learn something new. Well Done.

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  3. I enjoyed reading this blog very much! Love your ideas and perception on dressing cross gender and the story where the little boy chose to wear what he felt comfortable in. The idea of a stereo typical community is in question. The choice of such a young mind to dress in something cross gender should not be an issue nor should it be an issue if they were older. I find it very interesting where you have stated ‘even the colours have changed over time and are associated with gender’. I personally believe what someone chooses to dress as or associate themselves with such as colours doesn’t categorise them as a person. Every individual changes as they grow and get older and others should accept how they feel they should express themselves on the outside and on the way they choose to dress themselves. I really look forward to seeing your new posts in future! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. An incredibly detailed and engaging post which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Your writing style had a natural progression and was easy to follow making it easy to understand. The little case studies (the boy dressing up as daphne and the “Shiloh panic”) added to the richness of your argument. After looking at the Craig L. Blomberg link which you provided, it looks as if your argument (in that “religious” paragraph) is somewhat flawed. The very next statement says:

    “The controversial words, “suitable helper” in verse 18 have traditionally been taken to imply a functional subordination of the woman to the man as part of God’s design in creation, but this interpretation is increasingly being rejected. Certainly, the emphasis of Adam’s outburst, “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (v. 23) highlights the similarity rather than any differences between these first two human beings.”

    There is no confliction there, both verses tie in perfectly with one another. I would go so far as to say they actually compliment and draw off one another. But other than that a very well written post which quite accurately depicted the current transgender moral panic.
    http://time.com/3827293/trans-man-mens-health-cover/
    I just came across this today: really inspiring and well worth checking out.
    Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 🙂 I fully admit I skimmed over the post and took what I needed as the blog was rushed this week. I guess it was more an example of my own interpretation of what is said in those verses compared to his own understanding. Which is basically what many people do with many a religious text. But you do make a very valid point and in future I shouldn’t make an effort. OT to rush my research 😉

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  5. I read about that kid on the top on news website and it had been a quite controversial and hot issue among parents. I agree with your post: Since he wore and disguised like girl, he didn’t mean to prefer female gender to male gender. There is a frame our society made from the old history that men are not allowed to wear pink shoes, to have long hair and so on and i think we are still stuck in its frame. I don’t think it is a media’s fault and you will be sure if you read David Gauntlett’s theory. Here is a good website i want to share (about Guantlett’s theory) http://www.slideshare.net/CharisCreber/david-gauntlett-and-media-20?next_slideshow=1 🙂 there is one more thing.. The man and woman’s equality and inequality based on the Bible.. it is a great example for me as i am Christian, but a few of my friends don’t think it is a good example since they are Buddhist and Muslim. Thanks for sharing your great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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