Usually Psychology Today makes me cringe, I admit it. They’re a popular magazine as opposed to a scientific one and often have articles that seem more suited to Cosmo than a supposedly science-based publication. Then, of course, there’s the fact that they don’t always make the best choices (for example, ever publishing fringe evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa’s racist article on attraction, though American Psychologist made the same mistake with another of his articles so perhaps Kanazawa just has good glamor).
But this particular article is a very interesting conversation about gender variance in children, here specifically boys, that helps illustrate what I’m trying to say but more coherently. Continue on past the mention of sexual reassignment — I know that at a young age that’s still very controversial and might put some people off immediately — because in a way that is not what this is about at all (though in a way it also is). Rather, the article advocates for a different way of looking at gender expression in young children, one that keeps in mind fluidity and tries to set aside rigorous gender expectations.
Essentially, it boils down to this: Does your little boy want to be a little girl because he wants to wear dresses and sparkles? Maybe. But maybe he’s just a little boy who wants to wear dresses and sparkles. Maybe he’ll grow out of it. Maybe he won’t. It’s all ok. The same can be said, I imagine, of little girls who want to wear jeans and t-shirts and play with trucks, though the point is raised that we don’t necessarily panic as much over such an occurrence.
I will say, though, that I do contest one major point in the article that I don’t even know the author realizes she makes. She implies that “swishy gay men” (yes, she did acknowledge that it was probably a politically incorrect term) were the only grown men who could grow up and still love things like dresses and the color pink. A bit narrow in gender consideration — though that’s another point she admits to in the article, that she’s made that mistake before.