‘You Can’t Be a Princess’

October 23, 2012

17 Responses to “‘You Can’t Be a Princess’”

  1. KRS Says:

    Sad to see that gender roles are still being encouraged on such a scale, I’m a relatively healthy gay man and my mum let my sister dress me up like a princess using her make-up, my mum’s old wedding dress etc. and play with ‘girls’ toys when I was little. Yes it was a probably a phase to some extent. I’m not transgender I do try to conform to a typical view of a man these days, I just couldn’t face the ridicule, I already take prescription drugs for anxiety. Maybe this out of cowardice just to fit in, for my personal safety I don’t know?

    I hope one day people men and women will be able to break down the black and white stance between masculinity (which to me carries negative connotations of violence but not all features are bad it depends your definition) and femininity. Like Cathy Brennan says gender is ‘fashion’ and we must rid unnecessary restraints especially by teaching our young that segregated clothes, toys etc are not ok.

    I’m sure many doctors may have diagnosed me with GID at some point younger in my life when I truly believed I would be happier as a girl, now I realize it is the gender roles and constraints which stop us from progressing forward as a tolerant society, not this transgender mockery which embodies most of the worst stereotypes of what is means to be a ‘real’ man or a woman.

    • anon male Says:

      “which to me carries negative connotations of violence but not all features are bad it depends your definition”

      Defining “bravery” (or whatever you could possibly be thinking of) as masculine is inherently damaging to females in our society. So we need to stop defining shit, not adding more definitions: some on the trans bandwagon have created (most likely just in their minds) all sorts of noble white-knight “masculinities.”

      It’s possible to say “I have a non-sexist, anti-racist masculinity, that’s who I am!”

      And if that’s who you *are*, well, you couldn’t possibly be sexist or racist as it’s against your core identity and we all know attacking someone’s core identity is, itself, a hate-crime second to none!

      Which is why there’s a dude writing for feminist websites who once fucked a half dozen of his students on one single weekend and tried to murder a woman after she was assaulted by another man because it was the humane thing to do or something. But he has a nice transcendental, non-hegemonic masculinity now so the world should judge him on who he thinks he is and not what he’s done.

      So this whole trans identity thing is just buttercups for straight “cis-“males too.

  2. background spinner Says:

    I want to believe the kind of compassion and insight the woman in the hat shows isn’t that rare, but sadly, I think it may be.

    And the adamant little three-year-old boy made me think of Cordelia Fine’s Delusion of Gender and how early the gender rules are set.

  3. yttik Says:

    LOL! Sheesh Gallus, that was a tear jerker! I wasn’t expecting the ending and it really did make me all teary. All it takes is one small breath of sanity in the world and I completely fall apart.

    There’s an old foreign commercial that played with gender roles/ homophobia that always cracks me up. These two little boys are playing barbies with a group of girls. One dad picks his son up and plunks him down with a pile of GI Joes and forces him to play with the boys. The other dad just rolls his eyes and walks away, leaving his son with the girls. The boys grow up and the final scene has the little boy who played with girls and barbies….surrounded by beautiful women he’s still playing with. The other boy is half naked and now he’s hanging off the arm of a real live GI Joe looking man. Oops! Maybe we should rethink that whole rigid gender role thing.

  4. Adrian Says:

    Wow. You’d think HALLOWEEN of all times would be a time when people are expressly permitted to experiment with being something they’re not, for whatever reason they care to, even IF their parents are of the “how dare you transgress roles” on normal days.

  5. Ashland Avenue Says:

    Honestly, I would have no problem letting my son be a princess. BUT, I would warn him that other kids (and adults, sadly) may tease him, and I’d explain why. In doing so, I would be very careful with my tone and words not to discourage him, but rather just present it factually as a possible result. I wouldn’t want my kid to be totally broadsided with any negative reactions, that’s all.

    I think I’d also go trick or treating with him, just for protection. (I know nowadays most parents go with their kids anyway, but when I was a kid we just went in groups, sans adults, unless we were very young. Apparently kids today aren’t allowed to do anything on their own.) It’s pretty pathetic that the warning and the accompaniment are necessary, but that’s where we are.

    For a girl wearing a “boy’s costume”, I’d still offer a warning, again being very careful with my tone and words. In fact, if my daughter wanted to wear a costume of a strong, active person or character, of course I’d encourage her.

  6. anon male Says:

    “I know nowadays most parents go with their kids anyway”

    Getting a ride to where the rich people live is worth the embarrassment of hanging out with your parents; first rule of competitive holiday foraging.

    I’m not so cool with boys into princess shit. If it were radical, people wouldn’t be so pleased as punch every time a new article comes out about “skirt wearing dad.”

    But the whole thing fools boys into thinking that’s how the average girl is treated (the most popular girl in school stands in for ALL girls), grass is greener, etc., so it’s soooo much harder to be a boy than a princess who has everyone doing wild, fantastic shit like holding doors for them.

    How many enlightened little boys have fantasies about being pre-fairy godmother Cinderella, spending all day scrubbing the floors? Does she even exist in their minds? Patriarchy is all bonbon eating.

    How many gen-y transwomen think that, “hey, I’m six foot tall and 130lbs, I’d be a supermodel and everyone would luv me if only I were female!” Never mind they’d very likely be several inches shorter and have more body fat with that extra X chromosome.

    Is there a dude out there (myself included) who doesn’t think he deserves to be treated like a fucking princess?

    So what’s the big deal about boy princesses now?

  7. Elin Says:

    I sometimes wonder if this princess thing is (or was) just as big in ex-communist countries/areas (that are pretty “normal” nowadays otherwise), e.g. Slovenia; Czech; Slowakia; Croatia (i.e. areas where they forced all aristrocracy OUT or bluntly killed them). I doubt is *was*. The relationship between patriarchy and classism/casticism (with patriarchy the cause, the other the effect) seems to manifests itself here too.

    It seems when communism *obviously* had failed all the gender stuff started again too (that is, at the end of the 1980s). Nevermind that despite systematic failure in the commie countries women proved doing fine in jobs like astronaut, technician and everything.

    Anyway, saying your boy can be a princess is thus, while superficially transgressing sex casticism, on a deeper level enforcing classism/casticism, and thus (circularly) indirectly supporting classism everywhere else, and thus also casticism for sex (actually *especially* for sex because that’s the first thing casticism is always about, race a close second). So the snake kind of bites itself in the tail here.

    And yeah, thinking women are the upper caste… well that’s such a classic deliberate patriarchal reversal, to depict women as upper-class in everything (i.e. as white Western wealthy princesses) to make their true discrimination, and legitimate fighting against that, seem trivial.
    First boy that wants a headscarf, I have yet to see.

    So princess-roles enforce casticism, and enfeeble the perceived legitimacy for feminism. Seems patriarchy-approved to me. The parents might actually indeed only care about the bullying.

  8. background spinner Says:

    “First boy that wants a headscarf, I have yet to see.”

    Or a burqa. That would be pretty easy to make, with dark cloth and strings criss-crossed for the eye cage, but it defeats the purpose because no one could see it’s a boy. So no transgression cookies, faux or not.

  9. Bev Jo Says:

    I really agree, Elin and Background! Why do the trannies not want a head scarf or burka either? It’s all about self-centeredness, narcissism, game-playing, which for these boys and certainly for the trannies is never about the actual drudgery or pain or oppression that girls and women go through. How about not learning to read or write, like in some countries, or driving? Princess crap is so ridiculous and classist and playing aristocrat. Daddy is king? How about wanting to be kind, caring, loving, nurturing, which means not making a game of female oppression and stealing identity and fetishizing and pornifying an oppressed people?

  10. luckynkl Says:

    Growing up, it was rare I saw any kid in a store bought costume. We created our own.

    I always made dude costumes. I used ashtray soot for beards and mustaches. No one ever commented on my choice of gender roles, much less gave me a hard time about it. They all said, “Great costume, Luck!”

    I think every dude on the planet dresses up like a woman on Halloween tho. It must be some kind of law in dudesville.

    Then we’d go from house to house, walking for miles and miles with pillow cases stuffed with loot and candy. Often when we’d knocked on the door and said “Trick or Treat,” the candy-holder would chose “trick.” So we’d have to do a song or dance or something like that. LOL, we had to earn our candy.

    Eventually I grew up tjp and became the candy-giver. My choice of costume? A very realistic-looking werewolf mask. It scared the poor little kids half to death! Their eyes would get all big and they’d scream and run away in terror! So I quickly learned to pull the mask off after the initial shock so I didn’t traumatize the poor things and give them nightmares for the rest of their life. But those kids still didn’t trust me or take their eyes off of me – thinking I’d turn back into a werewolf any second.

    Whatever the case, I passed as a werewolf. Folks were convinced I was. So does that now make me a werewolf? :p

    • Loup-loup garou Says:

      Depends…when you read Call of the Wild in school, which character did you identify with the most? Do you ever wear plastic vampire teeth to help with the fang dysphoria? If that’s too binary, perhaps you’re either were or wolf of center. There’s a group for that that meets biweekly at a local café, but be warned, most members are polyamorous.

      I wish more kids these days made their own costumes — the ones who buy them at Walgreens don’t know what they’re missing. There’s nothing like soaking an old pair of pajamas in black dye the weekend before Halloween.

      Also, I wish more of them knew they were supposed to say “trick or treat,” instead of just waving a paper bag at you. Talk about cultural illiteracy…it’s gotten to the point that I’d actually be relieved to get TPed as long as the responsible party demonstrated a clear understanding of the traditions involved. (No eggs, though; that’s where I draw the line.) But of course, no one lets their kids do anything unsupervised anymore, so the art of tossing a roll of toilet paper just so has probably been lost, just like many other life skills that used to be passed down through the generations.

      This year, I think I’ll just turn off the lights and go to the pub.

  11. Bev Jo Says:

    Yes, you are wolves really!!! I mean, look at your name, Loup! But of course so many of us identified with various animals in the media or who we knew personally. I was an only kid and called by dog my brother. He was a good friend and not abusive and never sexually harassed girls, unlike some of my friends’ human brothers.

    So really, we could demand to be accepted as other species of course. I mean, it makes more sense, especially knowing the bond that can happen between female animals of different species, than men identifying as women!

  12. zentartine Says:

    In grade school a friend of mine, from a large hispanic family with lots of brothers (a couple of sisters and an artist mom) , dressed up as a girl. All I remember was everyone being impressed with how pretty he was and enjoying his sense of humor. We thought it was really fun. Here was a kid from an ostesnibly macho culture, surrounded by boys, in the west in the late 60’s who was brought up in a community and family where he felt comfortable and safe playing that role on Halloween.
    Have we actually devolved here? at least in terms of what’s allowed on a day where you traditionally are allowed to be transgressive.
    In certain ways I feel that in the 60’s and 70’s we reached a peak of open experimental living that we have fallen back from radically.

  13. Bilbo Says:

    As a parent, one of the disturbing trends in kids Halloween costumes is the increased sexualization. The girls’ costumes are becoming pornified while the boys’ costumes are becoming hyper-masculine. My son wanted to be Spider Man this year- it wasn’t easy to find a version that didn’t include the exaggerated big foam muscles. It’s complete bullshit.

    • Adrian Says:

      No kidding. I live in a college town and it’s disturbing how many costumes for women are all formed as “sexy girl version of [whatever].” Case in point: Mario Bros. If you want to dress as them, it’s fairly easy, fairly unisex, you get the overalls, proper color turtleneck, proper color beret, put the logo on the beret, and then either grow the mustache or (better yet because it’s huge, not so many even hairy guys can grow it that big so fast) paste on a theatrical prop fake version. Done.

      And yet there were plenty of costumes of “woman version”, all sexed up, tight mini pencil skirt low cut blouse, the works. Why?

      I get that sometimes you don’t look like the character so you do “a supporting character in the same universe” but why the need for sexy? A few years ago I went as “a prisoner on the island of The Prisoner” (because I don’t look like the white male main character of the actual show) but hey, I wore the SAME clothes as him (pants, turtleneck and a blazer!!!) and just gave myself a different number. No “oh I have to slut it up in a skirt” involved, thankyouverymuch.


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