Flower Boy at Wedding

Clippings from news sources involving fashion freedom and other gender equality issues.

Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby crfriend » Sun May 26, 2019 10:49 pm

Stu wrote:Of course if that's what he wanted, then there is no reason to stop him. He certainly appears to have enjoyed the experience and I am sure it won't have hurt him. I wonder how many other six-year-old boys would, if invited to be a "flower boy" like the one in the article, would agree to do it if they were told it would involving what he wore.

How many of us can reverse-project what we may have done decades in the past? Even if we could, how many could elucidate the reasoning for doing so? I suspect the number is even smaller than the idea that "few or none" would have (save that we cannot get smaller than "none").

Being cursed with the memory that I have, I can reverse-project some of that and know that even though I was very fascinated with the assortment of fancy-bits the girls had and the boring stuff the lads had, would have paled at the thought of even trying it because of parental expectations. At six, that was already operative. So, yes, I would have self-selected out, entirely likely with a lot of sorrow and bitterness had I been "invited to the party".
We may want to expand our sartorial options, but I don't think most of us want to wear something which is overtly feminine. But maybe I'm wrong.

What, then, defines "masculine" vs. "feminine"? When are the time-frames? What are the contexts? Recall that lace, satins, velvets, and all manner of "fancy" fabrics and cuts have been the province of men in not-so-distant history. When and why did that change, and who changed the rules?
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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby Fred in Skirts » Mon May 27, 2019 3:48 am

crfriend wrote:What, then, defines "masculine" vs. "feminine"? When are the time-frames? What are the contexts? Recall that lace, satins, velvets, and all manner of "fancy" fabrics and cuts have been the province of men in not-so-distant history. When and why did that change, and who changed the rules?


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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby Happy-N-Skirts » Mon May 27, 2019 5:42 am

When I was about 7 or 8 my mother asked me to be a dress form for a dress she was making for one of my cousins. We had the same proportions at that age. I told her that there would be no way that I would ever wear a dress. I still haven't tried on or worn a dress, but that doesn't eliminate skirts.
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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby Gusto10 » Mon May 27, 2019 11:54 am

Happy-N-Skirts wrote:When I was about 7 or 8 my mother asked me to be a dress form for a dress she was making for one of my cousins. We had the same proportions at that age. I told her that there would be no way that I would ever wear a dress. I still haven't tried on or worn a dress, but that doesn't eliminate skirts.

This reminds me of olden days when the mannequins were indeed boys als the word was derived from the Flemish word Manneke, little man.
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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby FranTastic444 » Mon May 27, 2019 2:30 pm

I wonder how many other six-year-old boys would, if invited to be a "flower boy" like the one in the article, would agree to do it if they were told it would involving what he wore. What about us? How many commenters on here would have agreed to it, or even wanted to do it, when they were his age? I would bet the answer is very few - or perhaps none. No way would I have done that under any circumstances. We may want to expand our sartorial options, but I don't think most of us want to wear something which is overtly feminine. But maybe I'm wrong.


We, I presume, would all have been brought up with heavy social stereotyping that may have started before we were even born (in terms of the colour your parents pick to decorate our room). By the time we are walking and talking we will already have been in possession of gender conforming clothes (and colours) as well as toys. So by the time that a boy gets to 5 or 6 they already know what mainstream society expects of them in terms of roles, clothes, behaviour etc. Any kid that bucks the trend under such pressures has got to be really committed to their cause. Things are a bit different in recent times with some parents putting a mix of clothing and toys out for their kids and then letting them decide what they want to use. I get the impression that this may be the way the kid in the story has grown up. Under these circumstances it is much easier for a lad to decide to wear a dress to a wedding. Schools and other orgs seem to be better prepared for gender non-conforming children these days.

We have a cousin that has brought up her two sons this way. One is strictly male in everything he picks, the younger one is much more more (what would traditionally be thought of as) female oriented. He hates getting his hair cut (he wants long, flowing hair), wears his Elsa dress at every available opportunity and has a thing for pink (male or female). When they all went to the the seaside recently there were a lot of cardboard cutouts - he always went to the ones that portrayed girls with long hair / pigtails. He is about 6 and, for now at least, he openly dresses and behaves this way without shame or fear of ridicule. Who knows how long this will last and what problems it might cause in the future. If I were in this position I think I'd be happy to go along with it but, as per Moon's earlier post, have certain boundaries where he has to toe the dresscode line.
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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby Stevie D » Mon May 27, 2019 3:00 pm

FranTastic444 wrote:....We have a cousin that has brought up her two sons this way. One is strictly male in everything he picks, the younger one is much more more (what would traditionally be thought of as) female oriented. He hates getting his hair cut (he wants long, flowing hair), wears his Elsa dress at every available opportunity and has a thing for pink (male or female). When they all went to the the seaside recently there were a lot of cardboard cutouts - he always went to the ones that portrayed girls with long hair / pigtails. He is about 6 and, for now at least, he openly dresses and behaves this way without shame or fear of ridicule. Who knows how long this will last and what problems it might cause in the future. If I were in this position I think I'd be happy to go along with it but, as per Moon's earlier post, have certain boundaries where he has to toe the dresscode line.

Could you be more clear about your reservations? What boundaries are you concerned about? At 6 years old, if the child and parents are happy with his choices and feelings, isn't that sufficient? I think we need to trust gender-nonconforming children and their parents to conduct their childhood and parenting as they see fit. The problems start to occur when others outside the family, e.g. neighbours, schools, churches, etc. start to impose their own rules and values, based on their own personal limited experiences and prejudices. Outdated dress codes are part of this. Other than keeping within the bounds of general corporate identity or sensible health and safety restrictions (it wouldn't be a good idea to wear a ball gown in an underground coal mine), boys, girls, men, women, everyone, should be able to wear what they like and present how they feel most comfortable and appropriate for them as individuals, regardless of what anatomy they have between their legs.
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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby FranTastic444 » Mon May 27, 2019 8:35 pm

Now you are making me think.... :-) Ok, let me see if I can clarify.

First of all, I agree with what you say in your post - dresscode is outdated and kids (and adults for that matter) should be able to wear whatever they see fit from a gender point of view.

The reservations I'd have (maybe unreasonably) are as follows.
  1. I was bullied mercilessly as a kid for being a nerd and not having much in the way of social skills. Although I think this is something that maybe can be managed at a younger age, I'm not sure that parents will be able to keep a lid on all things bullying as the children get older - and a kid dressing outside of social norms is going to be a prime bullying candidate. Saying that, I do though wonder whether kids will get bullied regardless of what they wear and maybe a 'non-standard' clothing style will be akin to naming their son Sue (to quote a famous tune)
  2. Although I think school and work dresscode should be gender neutral, I think that for the foreseeable future there will be no-go areas. This could be incredibly infuriating for someone who has got to the age of, say, 16-18 wearing the clothes of their choice. HASAW aside, I'd imagine that many UK government roles would probably be tolerant of dress, but I'd expect the private sector to be less forgiving. As a sweeping generalisation, maybe white collar jobs would offer more scope than blue collar jobs. I'd imagine that non-conforming dresscode in the US would be problematic full stop in most situations
  3. Kids shouldn't be given carte blanche to wear what they like - wearing a Frozen dress might be fine for a birthday or Halloween party, but not for a wedding for example. So if I had a child in this situation their choice of clothing would still have to be appropriate to the event that they were attending
  4. Parental / 'expert' interference. The Times of London has covered child 'transitioning' in some depth over recent weeks. It is behind a paywall, so pointless me linking - but one article is entitled "The tangled case of the brothers who became girls aged seven and three". I do wonder whether there are instances when kids are overly encouraged into this sort of situation (in fact, it has been pointed out that our own family member who I mentioned above desperately wanted a daughter, but has been told that she cannot have any more kids on medical grounds). The Times recently interviewed lady of the moment, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who stated that she was such a tomboy up to her teens that if any sort of gender reassignment had been offered to her she probably would have grabbed it with both hands. I don't think kids should be making such decisions until they are at least 16. Here is an article in the Mirror (not one of my preferred sources of information, but it gives you an idea of what the Times reported).
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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby moonshadow » Tue May 28, 2019 3:03 am

FranTastic444 wrote:Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who stated that she was such a tomboy up to her teens that if any sort of gender reassignment had been offered to her she probably would have grabbed it with both hands. I don't think kids should be making such decisions until they are at least 16.


Absolutely!

Children don't know what they want. I remember thinking I was a dog for a while. Thank God my parents didn't surgically attach a tail to my rear....
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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby Kilted Musician » Tue May 28, 2019 4:36 am

moonshadow wrote:
FranTastic444 wrote:Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who stated that she was such a tomboy up to her teens that if any sort of gender reassignment had been offered to her she probably would have grabbed it with both hands. I don't think kids should be making such decisions until they are at least 16.


Absolutely!

Children don't know what they want. I remember thinking I was a dog for a while. Thank God my parents didn't surgically attach a tail to my rear....

Or start feeding you dog food. That stuff smells nasty!
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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby Stevie D » Tue May 28, 2019 7:55 am

FranTastic444 wrote:Now you are making me think.... :-) Ok, let me see if I can clarify.

First of all, I agree with what you say in your post - dresscode is outdated and kids (and adults for that matter) should be able to wear whatever they see fit from a gender point of view.

The reservations I'd have (maybe unreasonably) are as follows.
  1. [1.] I was bullied mercilessly as a kid for being a nerd and not having much in the way of social skills. Although I think this is something that maybe can be managed at a younger age, I'm not sure that parents will be able to keep a lid on all things bullying as the children get older - and a kid dressing outside of social norms is going to be a prime bullying candidate. Saying that, I do though wonder whether kids will get bullied regardless of what they wear and maybe a 'non-standard' clothing style will be akin to naming their son Sue (to quote a famous tune)
  2. [2.] Although I think school and work dresscode should be gender neutral, I think that for the foreseeable future there will be no-go areas. This could be incredibly infuriating for someone who has got to the age of, say, 16-18 wearing the clothes of their choice. HASAW aside, I'd imagine that many UK government roles would probably be tolerant of dress, but I'd expect the private sector to be less forgiving. As a sweeping generalisation, maybe white collar jobs would offer more scope than blue collar jobs. I'd imagine that non-conforming dresscode in the US would be problematic full stop in most situations
  3. [3.] Kids shouldn't be given carte blanche to wear what they like - wearing a Frozen dress might be fine for a birthday or Halloween party, but not for a wedding for example. So if I had a child in this situation their choice of clothing would still have to be appropriate to the event that they were attending
  4. [4.] Parental / 'expert' interference. The Times of London has covered child 'transitioning' in some depth over recent weeks. It is behind a paywall, so pointless me linking - but one article is entitled "The tangled case of the brothers who became girls aged seven and three". I do wonder whether there are instances when kids are overly encouraged into this sort of situation (in fact, it has been pointed out that our own family member who I mentioned above desperately wanted a daughter, but has been told that she cannot have any more kids on medical grounds). The Times recently interviewed lady of the moment, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who stated that she was such a tomboy up to her teens that if any sort of gender reassignment had been offered to her she probably would have grabbed it with both hands. [5.] I don't think kids should be making such decisions until they are at least 16. Here is an article in the Mirror (not one of my preferred sources of information, but it gives you an idea of what the Times reported).

Many thanks for your considered and comprehensive reply! You raise several important points:

[1.] Bullying at school. Yes, this is potentially a problem for a gender-nonconforming child because they are perceived by their peers as 'different'. But the solution lies almost entirely with the school and its obligation to create a safe environment where bullying is not tolerated at all, and also educating and instilling issues of gender variance acceptance among everyone at a very early age. Some schools will undoubtedly be better at this than others, and also the some countries seem to be more progressive than others. Thankfully, I think we have largely got through the times where children are bullied because of their skin colour. Now acceptance of gender-nonconfomity needs to catch up. Unfortunately we do have pockets of nasty manufactured outrage stirred up by certain sections of society, some of whom justify their actions by their archaic religious dogma. The recent protests against the progressive teaching of LGBT issues in Birmingham primary schools is a case in point.

[2.] Dress codes. I think I agree with everything you say here. I was well into my working career as a professional geologist before I was in a situation where dress codes were so relaxed that I could wear what I wanted. In my last few years, working at the British Geological Survey, I was able to wear skirts in an office environment whenever I wanted. There were sometimes the odd raised eyebrow and genuine curious question, but it was never, ever, a problem. Field work was something else of course; you dressed appropriately for the outdoor conditions and locations, and health & safety requirements.

[3.] Sensible and sensitive parenting includes setting appropriate boundaries for children in terms of acceptable behaviour and that includes clothing choices. Negotiation and discussion should form part of that; it's how children learn what is and is not acceptable. A gender-nonconforming child with understanding and supportive parents and other family members will probably be able to navigate the rough and tumble of life fairly well. I am slightly puzzled by your reference to the 'Frozen' dress being appropriate for a wedding. When I was a child in the 1950s and 1960s, the marriage of my numerous older cousins were regular family events and it was an opportunity for all the pre-teenage girls to dress in their pretty party clothes which often resembled this Frozen-style dress. Although I kept my feelings to myself, I was very envious of them and would have worn this in a flash.

[4.] As you hint at, we have to be very careful indeed of how gender-nonconformity or transitioning is reported in the media. Without exception the media exists simply to sell copy and make money for the owners. If it can drum up a bit of sensationalism to bring in more revenue, it will do so, whether it be the Times or Guardian, or the populist reprehensible tabloid rags. From personal/family experience, the reality is that there are many safeguards in place to protect children and their parents from making hasty decisions regarding gender transitioning. If anything, it is almost too strict. But mostly you have to trust the child that they really, really do feel genuine gender dysphoric distress and that it's not 'just a phase' or a trendy fashion thing of the moment. I knew I was 'different' from what was expected of me at the age of three.

[5.] "I don't think kids should be making such decisions until they are at least 16." That's too late in some cases, especially for male to female transition. Puberty will have kicked in and changes especially to voice (largely irreversible) and body hair will have occurred, causing distress to those youngsters for whom those changes are the last thing they need. The answer is to prescribe puberty blockers at an earlier age to give the child and their parents a breathing space to allow them time to find out what they really want. The medication is safe and temporary in its effects; stopping the blockers allows puberty to restart normally. As adults we have to learn to listen to, and trust, our children's feelings. They are real.
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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby Stevie D » Tue May 28, 2019 8:07 am

moonshadow wrote:
FranTastic444 wrote:Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who stated that she was such a tomboy up to her teens that if any sort of gender reassignment had been offered to her she probably would have grabbed it with both hands. I don't think kids should be making such decisions until they are at least 16.

Absolutely!

Children don't know what they want. ....

I am genuinely disappointed that you feel this way. When it comes to an issue such as gender dysphoria, which is felt deep, deep down, children mostly do know what they want, or at least know that something is not right somehow. We should listen to them and trust them. I speak from my own experience, that of close family members and of close friends. As I said in my earlier post, puberty blockers can be useful in giving a breathing space to both children and their parents.
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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby moonshadow » Tue May 28, 2019 10:46 am

Stevie D wrote:I am genuinely disappointed that you feel this way. When it comes to an issue such as gender dysphoria, which is felt deep, deep down, children mostly do know what they want, or at least know that something is not right somehow. We should listen to them and trust them. I speak from my own experience, that of close family members and of close friends. As I said in my earlier post, puberty blockers can be useful in giving a breathing


I expected some resistance to my remark, I'd say my view falls in the minority on this site. Nevertheless, after much thinking about it and reading various stories, I see no logical reason these children can't wait. There are lots of things we don't let children do until a certain age, or until they reach adulthood.

Anyway, I realize that modern science refutes what I say... still, it just doesn't feel right.

How oh how did humanity survive tens of thousands of years without puberty blockers? They are not necessary.... it can wait.
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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby Stevie D » Tue May 28, 2019 12:46 pm

moonshadow wrote:How oh how did humanity survive tens of thousands of years without puberty blockers? They are not necessary.... it can wait.

People did the best they could - maybe living in societies where gender-nonconformity was understood and accepted was a help for them. Our modern western living with its unfortunate share of closed-minded and bigoted people doesn't do so well in this regard. And in so-called primitive and traditional societies, there were always healers, wise men and women, shamans, call them what you will, who had the wisdom of natural plant-based medicines, some of which had powerful androgenic or oestrogenic properties.

Perhaps you need to think of puberty blockers in the same way as, say, antibiotics. We are fortunate to have them, they are a life-saving tool and we should use them as such.

Would you deny parents who have a child seriously ill with a life-threatening bacterial infection the chance to have their child cured by a straightforward treatment of antibiotics? No, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't. In the same way, would you deny parents with a gender-dysphoric child so desperately distressed and suicidal the chance of a breathing space and the hope of a meaningful future by utilising puberty blockers? I hope not. Just try telling those parents that the life-line of puberty blockers was 'not necessary'.
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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby moonshadow » Tue May 28, 2019 1:32 pm

Stevie D wrote:Would you deny parents who have a child seriously ill with a life-threatening bacterial infection the chance to have their child cured by a straightforward treatment of antibiotics? No, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't.


That's correct, I wouldn't but then again we're talking about treating an infectious disease when we talk about antibiotics. On the other hand there is the overprescribing of antibiotics for viral infections which only serves to build the immunity of the bacteria at hand, but I digress.

Stevie D wrote:In the same way, would you deny parents with a gender-dysphoric child so desperately distressed and suicidal the chance of a breathing space and the hope of a meaningful future by utilising puberty blockers? I hope not. Just try telling those parents that the life-line of puberty blockers was 'not necessary'.


What's wrong with just letting children express whatever gender roles they want without medical intervention?

Rather than turn boys into girls, why not focus on expanding the world of boyhood? Why not teach children (boys) to be content with their body, not be afraid of it or ashamed of it?

If gender is a construct of the mind, then why must one resort to medical intervention to change the chemistry of that mind... and/or body?
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Re: Flower Boy at Wedding

Postby Stevie D » Tue May 28, 2019 3:11 pm

moonshadow wrote:What's wrong with just letting children express whatever gender roles they want without medical intervention?

Rather than turn boys into girls, why not focus on expanding the world of boyhood? Why not teach children (boys) to be content with their body, not be afraid of it or ashamed of it?

Nothing wrong with either of those viewpoints for the majority of children. But I believe you miss my point about truly gender-dysphoric children. Their parents may well have tried to follow the routes you have mentioned, but it will not have made any difference to ease the distress of the child. It's these children who can be helped by puberty blockers. It's not a clear-cut question of simply being afraid or ashamed of their body. These children (and adults in the same situation) KNOW that their body and mind do not match.

If gender is a construct of the mind, then why must one resort to medical intervention to change the chemistry of that mind... and/or body?

Gender is not a 'construct' which can be altered and shaped at will. It is fixed by genetics long before birth, in the same way that being left-handed is, or having perfect pitch, or blue eyes. In the case of gender dysphoria, the medical intervention of puberty blockers temporarily delays the physiological development of secondary sex characteristics (deepening of voice, body hair, etc). Its purpose is not to 'change the chemistry of the mind'. I'll try and explain once again: it is temporary - a safety valve for a couple of years or so - to keep all options open and allow the child and parents time to think and be absolutely sure whether or not they wish to proceed further down a transition route. What is wrong with that? Nothing, as far as I and many others can see. Stop taking the puberty blockers and normal puberty kicks in. No harm done.

Using puberty blockers could well mean that some young lives are saved from suicide. This very nearly happened to my elder child many years ago now. I just wish knowledge of, and access to, puberty blockers could have been available to her at the time. Does prescribing blockers for a gender-dysphoric child on the cusp of unwanted and terrifying puberty directly and adversely affect you or you family? No? Then quite frankly, it is solely their business and I cannot understand why you have a problem with it.
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