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  1. #11
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    Texas.
    Point taken.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  2. #12
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    In theory I can't see the problem. The child has insufficient context information to understand. However in actuality everyone else will probably pick on him/ comment. However by refusing to let the kid do it your validating those imbeciles. The proper thing to do would be to allow it and knock down all comers, putting them in their place/ correcting their missgivings. However that's rather too idealistic to work.

    Personally I'd lay it all out for the kid to decide. I always thought that parents were supposed to be more advisers than instructors.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  3. #13
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    There's always being the class clown...
    Dreams are best served manifest and tangible.

    INFP, 6w7, IEI

    I accept no responsibility, what so ever, for the fact that I exist; I do, however, accept full responsibility for what I do while I exist.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  4. #14
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Oh gee. How on earth did I miss *this* topic of conversation?

    I would definitely have told the father that this isn't really just a casual choice. Costumes are basically the child's chance to become their "fantasy." The boy was not just placing a girl's costume at the top of his list, he was shunning typical boy models and choosing only the fairy and the princess costumes. [If he had been open to ANY costume, it would be a different story. No biggie then.]

    Whether this is simply because the boy has all girl playmates (and so is simply behaving according to his peers) or because he identifies more with women than men, or has even deeper issues to consider -- well, that is something his parents REALLY need to explore, rather than just trying to smother or ignore. It's only going to become worse, if there is something serious there.

    In general, I do think parents have the responsibility to shape and mold their kids. They are the adults. They have more life experience. They also have "adult thinking/emotional capacity" -- and even if they're immature adults, they've still got more than the child, no doubt. Like it or not, they have to participate as "guides" for their child -- directing them from danger, reinforcing positive patterns of behavior that will benefit them later in life, and so on. So, in general, certainly, a parent can set boundaries for a child.

    But obviously the gender thing is very large and close to me. I have mixed feelings about this situation. I see gender as partly a social construct, but that construct arises from very real physiological gender differences. So it's a cyclical thing, if anything -- not just an arbitrary imposition by society.

    [i am going to type a lot "out loud" here and do not have time for extensive editing. So I am sure I will make a few real gaffs, but it should still spur on the conversation. ]

    Here is something funny: When a girl dresses up in a ninja or prince costume, in general she seems to be identifying more with the function of the costume (oh cool, I'm going to sneak around and be a ninja, or I'm a knight with fancy swordplay) rather than the gender. When boys have done it, it seems that often kids in these situations who pick female costumes exclusively are imagining themselves as girls. A healthy "boy" response would be to do it for fun, not for identification purposes. I remember boys dressing up as "witches" or "dumpy women" in the elementary school costume parades -- they were pretending to be female for fun, but still saw themselves as male. Here, it does not seem like the boy is identifying with the functional roles of a princess or fairy, or making a joke from pretending to be one; what exactly IS a functional role for a princess or fairy? Ninjas sneak around and kill things, knights fight and kill monsters, etc. Hero worship for boys is all about what their heroes DO; but this boy is identifying with something because of what it IS (a princess). There is a purely self-identification thing going on.

    So when a girl wears a boy costume, she seems less inclined to do so because she's trying to be a boy, while a boy who wears a girl costume seems more like he wants to be a girl.

    Yes, I think age matters some. Teenage boys will crossdress on socially appropriate occasions, as a joke, for kicks. Not a big deal. But if he spent all of his time crossdressing, then something is going on that needs to be dealt with. A young boy who wants to wear a girly halloween costume, I can bet, is also crossdressing during his play time as much as possible -- wearing towels on his head to mimic long hair, trying on his mom's shoes, and a host of things.

    [The following might be a tangent, please skip if you think it is... but this topic is so wrapped up with the rest of this, so...]

    From my experience and observations, I also see that a lot of transgendered males do exhibit feminine behaviors at an early age. And this is becoming public knowledge nowadays. There was an interesting episode of PrimeTime back in May or June that explored the lives of three transgendered kids. The two boys who wanted to be girls were ages 6 and ages 10. They had exhibited crossgendered behavior at extremely young ages. The 10-year-old had been suicidal a long time ("she" seemed to be an ISTJ type, showing a lot of the typical negative behaviors -- she would brood, internalize, had sharp opinions/judgments, cold/stiff, etc.). So she internalized her feelings, but they were still there at an early age. The 6-year-old seemed to be an ExFP style child; "she" was very overt about her gender preferences, was very girlie, loved to sing and dance and be a princess, and fit right in as a girl. Both had been permitted by their parents to live as girls and attended school as girls, and passed as girls. The teachers knew and worked with the parents.

    I guess I am saying that in these cases, the affinity for girl costumes had to be dealt with by the parents, not looked at as behavior to be shoved aside or ignored. It's not just social custom to worry about, it's psychological health (either way) for the child to deal with the feelings and find a viable solution.

    Now, there is always the social aspect to consider. Boys who dress like girls or act feminine will be picked on. That's simply how boys work. Life is a matter of strength and competition (even if it's more subtle), a boy's value ends up depending on what he can achieve and who he can beat; so a boy who acts like a girl or portrays himself as one will be made fun of by other boys even if only for the reason that the "weaker" boys can show that they are strong by putting down the even weaker boys. it just happens, without much conscious thought. So the parents might be sparing the boy some embarrassment and physical abuse by not allowing the costume to be worn. But the reasons the boy wanted the costume in the first place have to be explored and dealt with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    I've never understood the idea of a double standard for gender roles. It isn't really a double standard...It's two completely different standards. The genders are motivated and effected by different things. It isn't just society that provides us our roles. Just like you would rarely ever see two guys kiss because they were dared to, or are trying to get girls attention, but it's much more normal for girls (at least in my experience).
    uh huh. Estrogen and its impact on brain wiring and behavior is part of this -- testosterone generally burns out some of the more relational/communicative aspects of the fetus in the womb (so most girls end up being more relational than most boys even as babies), and a girl also has estrogen flooding her body from ages 6-24 months or so, wiring her in a particular way. She's meant to be more relational. The kissing behavior, then, isn't really about sex; it's about relating and showing concern/affection for each other as people. Close girlfriends can hug, hold hands spontaneously, touch each other in a number of ways, all without it being perceived as sexual. But with men, it's different... because that is not how men are generally wired to relate.

    There are some cultures where it is more acceptable from men to kiss -- but i think it is always very prescribed, not freeform. Women are much more prone to be able to show affection for other women, because it's not attached to sex... whereas for men, testosterone really does gear the body and brain wiring for sex. If you kiss another guy, it's perceived and understood as more sexual.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #15
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Now, there is always the social aspect to consider. Boys who dress like girls or act feminine will be picked on. That's simply how boys work. Life is a matter of strength and competition (even if it's more subtle), a boy's value ends up depending on what he can achieve and who he can beat; so a boy who acts like a girl or portrays himself as one will be made fun of by other boys even if only for the reason that the "weaker" boys can show that they are strong by putting down the even weaker boys. it just happens, without much conscious thought. So the parents might be sparing the boy some embarrassment and physical abuse by not allowing the costume to be worn. But the reasons the boy wanted the costume in the first place have to be explored and dealt with.
    Sorry Jennifer but I'd like to pick up on this bit (it's kinda pertinent).

    Boy's aren't just competitive. This impression that you have to win is made up by the extremes of the factions. All you have to do is claim your respect and have confidence.

    Boy's are pack animals and you can out psych them just like dogs. Just don't sniff their arses.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  6. #16
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I might break out my sewing machine and paint and try to go for a masculine fairy costume of some kind.

    I wouldn't let a four year old boy dress in highly fem gear in any of the areas I've lived in so far. I know this because I wouldn't paint my son's nails pink when they were little. I did paint them clear. If they were little now and wanted their nails painted, I'd go buy some black or maybe blue or green polish for them.

    Once they got a little older and understood the possible consequences, if they wanted to dress like a princess or fairy I'd probably let them go for it. If my fourth grader wanted to this year, I'd be okay with it. My second grader I'd have to think about it.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  7. #17
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    Sorry Jennifer but I'd like to pick up on this bit (it's kinda pertinent)...Boy's are pack animals and you can out psych them just like dogs. Just don't sniff their arses.
    Thank you for the clarification.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #18
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Hey, Jen, do you think it's possible as the 6 and 10 y.o. physically male female gendered kids hit puberty, they could identify as male gendered?

    hormones do weird things; i'm sure many adult opposite-gender-to-physiology had similar experiences as these 6 and 10 y.o.s, but is it going to be 100% certain that they'll go through puberty and still identify as the female gender?

    i'd be worried that the teenager hormones would make things crazy and not take the early risk of letting my kid self-identify as an opposite gender before they get hit with adolescent hormones.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  9. #19
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    Hey, Jen, do you think it's possible as the 6 and 10 y.o. physically male female gendered kids hit puberty, they could identify as male gendered?
    It could be possible. I don't know. The parents will have to monitor these things. it is a major concern.

    hormones do weird things; i'm sure many adult opposite-gender-to-physiology had similar experiences as these 6 and 10 y.o.s, but is it going to be 100% certain that they'll go through puberty and still identify as the female gender?
    No, it's not quite clear. This is why the thought of allowing children to transition young and make irrevocable medical decisions is still heavily argued about. Doctors do not want to "do harm," and people are understandably cautious.

    Usually the most that people allow right now (for M2f children) is a hormone shot that prevents the body from masculinizing until they reach adulthood and can make that decision for themselves, with adult faculties. This allows the choice to be postponed without permanent damage.

    i'd be worried that the teenager hormones would make things crazy and not take the early risk of letting my kid self-identify as an opposite gender before they get hit with adolescent hormones.
    The thing with the hormones is still being explored and studied... and obviously it's hard to actually test theories because we do not experiment on human children just to see what happens.

    When I recently read "The Female Brain," the neuropsychiatrist there did show various windows of hormonal activity that seem to influence behavior. In utero is one window (at about the eight-week mark). It seems feasible that someone could suffer a deficiency at that time (resulting in wiring in one direction) that would then be compensated for to some degree at another time when the child is born and enters the other windows.

    IOW, a boy who missed the testosterone wash in utero and thus wasn't programmed at that stage does have testicles at birth and thus would get testosterone and other androgens during the OTHER windows... showing some male psychological development... and he would also be receiving male socialization, but it still doesn't make up for the sort of wiring that was missed at the eight-week mark.

    The comparable rat studies are conclusive, it's just hard to know what applies to humans. (Basically, in utero, female rats given testosterone will behave sexually as males for the rest of their lives even if they are physically female. And the reverse goes for males who do not receive hormonal masculinizing in the womb. Nothing changes the brain back.)

    And you get a lot of male behavior in adolescence due to heavy testosterone influence (just as females given testosterone usually exhibit a markedly increased sex drive).

    So it is hard to know how it all fits together.

    Interestingly, 75% of homosexual men showed markedly feminine behavior as boys, then moved into a more boyish phase (andro or male), before eventually identifying with the homosexual orientation.

    There is a lot to be said about this, but I think I am derailing the thread away from halloween costumes right now...
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  10. #20
    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    From observation and experience, I have found that boys and girls identify with roles -- whether traditional or not -- reserved respectively for each sex, and unless driven by political culture or legitimately confused, children will see the opportunity as one to extend or modify their own identity rather than to contradict it.

    The exception would be unisex costumes such as a ghost, devil, clown or the like.

    I came to school in third grade wearing normal clothes and, when asked what I was, said "a mere mortal." My teacher was so knocked over she had a fellow teacher watch the class while she took me from room to room, stopping at the principal's office, prompting me every time. Wonderful memory.

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