Article in Student Magazine

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Stu
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Article in Student Magazine

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There was an article in my old university's Swedish student magazine from 2019 which talks about bows - the ones made from cloth or ribbon. It was prompted by a mother of a primary school boy aged 9 who loved to wear a "fluga", which I thought meant a flying insect, wherever he went. Apparently it also means a bowtie, and this prompted his friends to give him the nickname "Kirurgen", which translates as "surgeon" because, apparently, Swedish surgeons wear these (you learn something new every day!) . There was an addendum to the short article by someone else in which the next writer pointed out the English word for this is "bow" and it was not to be confused with hairbows (hårrosetter) which, she proudly declared, her own son proudly wears for school because he has almost waist-length blond hair. She states she has bought an assortment of these from Amazon to control his hair and she appears to mean like the one showed below. I don't know what others think, but while I am relaxed about boys wearing skirts for school, I tend to think of this accessory as overtly feminine and I would draw the line and make him get a haircut if he were my son. That said, she was from Södermalm, near Stockholm, which is famed for its ultra-progressive hippy/Bohemian local culture. What do others think? Anyway, this is what she was talking about:

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Re: Article in Student Magazine

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Hair bows (and "hair toys" in general are much more of a long hair "thing" than a girly "thing" and shouldn't be looked down upon. Long hair sometimes needs control, and why not be whimsical about the tools one uses.

I have long hair, and usually wear it in a ponytail, and have a wide variety of hair-bows, barrettes, elastics, and the like to keep it in line some of which are very "fancy" indeed. I quite like the large bow pictured above and would wear that in an instant.
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Re: Article in Student Magazine

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crfriend wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 4:43 pm I quite like the large bow pictured above and would wear that in an instant.
OK, but you are a grown man and nobody is going to assume you are a woman. Imagine a 10-year-old boy wearing that, especially if his clothes were somewhat androgynous. People would immediately assume he was a girl.
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Re: Article in Student Magazine

Post by STEVIE »

Hi Stu,
If you seriously believe in the right of fashion freedom for men and boys you cannot then place a stricture based on external assumption.
My own father would have been more concerned about me being gay than misgendered and thrashed me regardless.
He'd have also objected very strongly, had he survived to witness some of the acceptable male hairstyles of the seventies.
I assume that you have daughters only?
However, a question, at what age would you allow a boy to make his own style choices?
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Re: Article in Student Magazine

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Hi Stevie,

I have a son and two daughters.

Here's my concern about this. We are trying on this site to make skirts and dresses acceptable for males of all ages - well, that's my take on this.

So let's imagine a boy is wearing a skirt for school - something which does actually happen occasionally these days. The same boy has very long hair and is wearing the bow shown above. It wouldn't occur to anyone that he was male. Everybody on sight would be certain he was a girl and would treat him accordingly. Imagine being that boy if he decides to wear a summer dress - and has the hair style and bow in the picture. He's now gone beyond simply making a sartorial choice and entered the realm of crossdressing, and I don't think that's healthy for any child. As a parent, I would say by all means challenge the males-can't-wear-skirts taboo, but you are going to have to be resilient and confident to pull it off. To me, the hair thing is a huge step towards femininity and to adopt that hair with other societal indicators of femininity like a skirt or dress is effectively to adopt a female disguise rather than making a simple sartorial choice - and doing so at a point in his development when his gender identity is still being developed. I wouldn't be comfortable with that. Would you?
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Re: Article in Student Magazine

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Stu wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 4:55 pmOK, but you are a grown man and nobody is going to assume you are a woman. Imagine a 10-year-old boy wearing that, especially if his clothes were somewhat androgynous. People would immediately assume he was a girl.
And at age 10, so what of that. We don't need to sexualise children, and really shouldn't.

I was forced to sport a crew-cut for the fist decade+ of my life, and I vehemently hated it and started growing it out the moment I could state my argument forcefully enough.

We need to decouple style choices from sexual preference -- and we can't do it quickly enough.
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Re: Article in Student Magazine

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crfriend wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 7:10 pm We need to decouple style choices from sexual preference -- and we can't do it quickly enough.
I absolutely agree, but surely you would agree with me that there needs to be some distinctions in appearance between boys and girls otherwise there would be misgendering on steroids! How is any boy going to feel if not only is he routinely mistaken for a girl, but people refuse to believe him when he says he is male. I would suggest it would undermine his male identity before it was even fully formed.
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Re: Article in Student Magazine

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Stu wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 7:22 pm
crfriend wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 7:10 pm We need to decouple style choices from sexual preference -- and we can't do it quickly enough.
I absolutely agree, but surely you would agree with me that there needs to be some distinctions in appearance between boys and girls otherwise there would be misgendering on steroids! How is any boy going to feel if not only is he routinely mistaken for a girl, but people refuse to believe him when he says he is male. I would suggest it would undermine his male identity before it was even fully formed.
I will agree with you to a point, and that point is that it's the adult that's responsible for the mistake and needs to accept that -- and apologise (and learn from the experience) if the identification was botched. That would mitigate a whole lot of misunderstanding, angst, and fury.

If the adults "refuse to believe him", then he has an absolute right to be angry about it -- and that should not make him question himself, for he knows better than anybody else who he is.

We inject gender and sexuality into matters way too often where they don't need to be -- and shouldn't be. Precisely the only time where it's important is where someone is trying to initiate an intimate relationship. Other than that, it's entirely irrelevant.
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Re: Article in Student Magazine

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Stu wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 4:17 pm It was prompted by a mother of a primary school boy aged 9 who loved to wear a "fluga", which I thought meant a flying insect, wherever he went. Apparently it also means a bowtie, and this prompted his friends to give him the nickname "Kirurgen", which translates as "surgeon" because, apparently, Swedish surgeons wear these (you learn something new every day!) .
In the UK too. Not so long ago, surgeons commonly sported a bow tie. That way, when in the operating theatre, they could be sure to avoid dangling their neckwear into the patient.
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Re: Article in Student Magazine

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Stu wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 7:22 pm I absolutely agree, but surely you would agree with me that there needs to be some distinctions in appearance between boys and girls otherwise there would be misgendering on steroids!
I fail to see the problem really. Someone's gender is basically irrelevant for almost all purposes, especially at that age. People talk about pronouns a lot, but you use them so rarely. You don't need them when talking to someone and when talking about a third person you almost always use the name.

Just for fun I examined my last 6 months of Teams conversations and counted 4 uses of him/her for people. The use of "him" to reference inanimate objects on the other hand is everywhere, yay gendered language...
Stu wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 7:22 pm How is any boy going to feel if not only is he routinely mistaken for a girl, but people refuse to believe him when he says he is male. I would suggest it would undermine his male identity before it was even fully formed.
Any boy who is worried about being misgendered is not going to wear a dress, so the problem is moot. And people who refuse to beleive the gender that someone tells them is just being an a**hole.

When I had long hair at school some of the girls were actually jealous of it. I did get misgendered occasionally, if I had my back to them. I always thought it was kinda funny. I got misgendered on the phone quite often too, though that's gotten less over the years.
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Re: Article in Student Magazine

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Women are territorial creatures they do not like it when men attempt to be the women. For good reason. If all the men become women, who is going to be the man? They also see men in the women's role as an insult to their femininity.
As soon as man dons something feminine they are alerted, they become defensive. In some rare cases they are able to rationalise what they see and realise it is not a threat.
Men act in pretty much the same way.
Stu,.you are showing signs of being threatened by what you are seeing, hearing about / reading.
The only threat left to mankind is from the sexual predator. Women are not or at least not perceived as sexual predators so they can do pretty much, within some extreme limits,.as they please.
A man in women's clothing can be perceived by the less enlightened at best as gay, trans (now placed wrongly in the predator category).or one of many predator categories for men. All wrong because real predators hide in plain sight.
So what about children? Let them be kids. Let them dress as they please. Let girls dress as soldiers and boys put bows in their hair. If they are allowed to fully explore who they are without judgment they are much less likely to be repressed later in life or become disturbed. If we as parents allow them these freedoms and join in the fun we can also be on hand when our children need guidance. Not telling them what to do but talking to them about where different paths lead.
As a father of three I do not stand idly by while my kids walk headlong into precarious situations. I am firm but I allow them as much freedom as I can. If my son wants a bubble skirt and bow..so be it. If my daughter decides to cut off all her beautiful hair. Off it comes. I don't like it but it's up to them. I am responsible for their safety, so I step in when they want to take unwarranted risks.
I was talking to another cafe member who reminded me that kids need to learn empathy. Which explains a lot.
When it comes to my own clothes I would like to go much further than I do but I understand that perceptions being what they are, I will be misunderstood. I only wear skirts and everything else is masculine. The message I want to portray is "I am a man who dresses as he wants to dress. I'm not looking to take anything from women, I'm not a predator".
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Re: Article in Student Magazine

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Barleymower wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 10:14 pmWomen are territorial creatures they do not like it when men attempt to be the women. For good reason. If all the men become women, who is going to be the man? They also see men in the women's role as an insult to their femininity.
I believe we have a failure in logic here. If women view guys who enjoy "soft" garments as "insulting to their feminity", why are they abandoning said feminity in favour of machismo? The observations do not agree with the thesis,.
A man in women's clothing can be perceived by the less enlightened at best as gay, trans (now placed wrongly in the predator category).or one of many predator categories for men. All wrong because real predators hide in plain sight.
Correct, but the lashing out at guys who dare to challenge the status-quo is largely epithets and insults. Yes, real predators hide in plain view and dress in conventional male drab.
So what about children? Let them be kids. Let them dress as they please. Let girls dress as soldiers and boys put bows in their hair. If they are allowed to fully explore who they are without judgment they are much less likely to be repressed later in life or become disturbed. If we as parents allow them these freedoms and join in the fun we can also be on hand when our children need guidance. Not telling them what to do but talking to them about where different paths lead.
Well put. Let them be so long as it's not dangerous, and if it is dangerous be there to offer guidance. It's useless to forbid things because that just creates a lure; instead, point up potential pitfalls and problems, but do not assume you can tell them much of anything. They're smarter than we think.
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Re: Article in Student Magazine

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Carl it is indeed a failure in logic. My experience is that women do not rely on logic. Men like to break problems down into chunks for calculation and decision. Women prefer to rely on how they feel about problem. I have seen here on this forum very recently instances where logic plays no part in the outcome. I'm talking about men being told that they can tolerate kilts but will not accept their man in women's skirts. No doubt standing there in men's clothes while delivering the edict.
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Re: Article in Student Magazine

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Stu wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 6:33 pm [...]To me, the hair thing is a huge step towards femininity and to adopt that hair with other societal indicators of femininity like a skirt or dress is effectively to adopt a female disguise rather than making a simple sartorial choice - and doing so at a point in his development when his gender identity is still being developed.
Isn't that his way of developing his gender identity?  How else might he discover that his gender wasn't feminine after all?  What if he discovered his gender really was feminine, what would be wrong with that?   The earlier he discovers it, the easier it will eventually be for him.  This is one occasion when your children would know better than you. You can't impose a gender on children, you have to give them the space to explore and let them tell you what they find there.

By all means protect them from making irrevocable decisions based on stupid fads or peer pressure, but don't stop them from enquiring because you are afraid of the truths they might discover.
I wouldn't be comfortable with that. Would you?
Yes, I would.  I wish my parents had been able to allow me that freedom instead of imposing inappropriate rules that have stolen from me the life I should have lived.  I don't think they had a choice because of the norms of Society in those days, but nowadays there is no excuse.
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Re: Article in Student Magazine

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(a) If dressing as a girl is a kid's preferred gender expression, then there is no threat to their "male identity", because they don't have a "male identity", they have a personal identity which is not stereotypically male.

(b) I have been thinking of investigating bows for long hair since seeing a guy (older, grey hair in ponytail) wearing one recently. If a bow in the hair is manly enough for Haydn and Mozart, then it's manly enough for me. If you combine it with gold hoop earrings, be prepared to say "Aarrr, shiver me timbers!" to passersby occasionally.
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