Friday, March 5, 2010

What Makes Her a Him?

I’m not very big on what celebrities do or don’t do with their children. I really don’t care because honestly, for the most part, the way they have to bring up their children, the resources they have to do it with, and the challenges they have in trying to raise a semi-well adjusted human being are vastly different from the issues I have with my own family. I’d much rather hear how the mom next door is coping than read how Tori Spelling spent almost six hundred dollars on bedding for her kid’s crib.

But I was in a checkout line the other day and I saw a magazine cover questioning how Brangelina was raising their daughter. I was already about to have a meltdown because some entitled woman was holding up everyone in line while she bullied the store manager into letting her use expired coupons that she was too lazy or stupid or both to have redeemed before the due date. I was sorry that my children had to witness her demonstrate the life lesson that sometimes when you make a big enough stink, you get what you want even if you don’t deserve it! But I was even more bothered by the magazine’s accusation that somehow Angie and Brad were doing harm to their kid by letting her cut her hair short and wear boy’s clothing.

Not that the Jolie-Pitts need me to come to their defense, but I felt very strongly about what the magazine was implying. Basically, they made it seem as if by letting their child wear boy’s clothing and cut her hair short, she would somehow want to be a boy – meaning it might make her a gay or want to physically become male. Somehow, they’d forgotten the quote, “The clothes don’t make the man…” They don’t make the toddler either. I knew some folks whose 5 year old son loved to dress in frilly dresses and could tell you the brand of perfume you were wearing from twenty feet away. Everyday it made his father shudder when he’d come to pick up his son from pre-school and find the boy wearing a pink dress and playing with the girls. You know what? The kid grew out of that phase and on to something else. The point is, your kid is going to be who they are going to be regardless of what you let them wear or how they cut their hair. Parenting already feels like a minefield of mistakes just waiting to explode in your face if you make the wrong decision. I think that passing judgment or predicting dire consequences based on how another parent dresses their kid or cuts their hair is just plain unfair. We have enough on our plate already just teaching our kids not to behave as badly as the coupon woman in front of me in line.

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