Wednesday, June 13, 2018

LGBTQ: Article from the Atlantic: "Today’s Masculinity Is Stifling"

The article in the Atlantic today: "Today's Masculinity is Stifling" paints a vivid picture of how little variation society accepts in its definition of "maleness" and "masculinity" to the detriment not only of men, but to women as well. This article goes beyond supporting trans-inclusiveness to a much broader definition of how to support boys and men who do not align to rigid social stereotypes.

In reading this, I thought back to last week when a child at my daughter's school announced to the school that he was now going by a female name and female pronouns and began to dress in traditionally female clothing. I saw her at a school function later that week and I cannot tell you just how much my heart swelled as I watched her, still with her short boy haircut, run with her friends in a long skirt and open-backed tank-toppy shirt. How her male friends just didn't seem to care and she ran about, perfectly at ease, the way a child of her age should, joking and laughing with her friends, all in clothing that would surely result in brutal psychological and physical attacks in days gone by (and sadly still likely today, both in this country and around the world). I envy this child and wish them nothing but the continued peace and blessed naivete that she is currently experiencing. I hope she grows up in a world where she never has to face the discrimination and pigeon-holing that is all too common for those who don't fit with the narrow definition of male.

Please read this article and think about how expansive our definitions of masculinity and femininity could be. Here is my favorite passage:

"When school officials and parents send a message to children that “boyish” girls are badass but “girlish” boys are embarrassing, they are telling kids that society values and rewards masculinity, but not femininity. They are not just keeping individual boys from free self-expression, but they are keeping women down too."

As a feminist and a lover of badass girls (Hailey Williams comes to mind), I'm also a fierce believer that anyone (male, female, non-gendered, a-gendered, gender queer...) should be able to embrace glitter, sparkles, unicorns and ponies to their hearts content. And that loving those things does not define your maleness or femaleness nor should they limit anyone's ability to thrive in the world. That we have built a society where success only comes through embodying traditionally socially-defined male traits, we create a world that cannot see loving-kindness for its own penchant for aggression and power. What if success as an adult was not how brutally you played the "game" to rise the ranks at work, but how much you loved those around you and displayed kindness towards all humanity?


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