Re: No True Scotswoman

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Time to check in on Storm.

I am unconvinced that the Kermit-flail interactions go down like all that but maybe I am eliding great, muppety swaths of the archives.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:24 AM
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I've had the exact same concerns with the trans* issue you identify. Obviously people shouldn't be prevented from making themselves the persons they envision, but the increasingly vocal existence of a group of people who are going to great lengths in order to make themselves conform more with traditional gender identities is a weighty testimony in favor of the idea that traditional gender identities are fundamental/innate.

That said, it's really unclear to me whether the idea that, say, the modal FTM individual grew up a tomboy across most/all dimensions is a correct one or a stereotype perpetuated by the same media that are gender essentialist all the rest of the time, too.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:28 AM
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God that linked article is stupid.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:37 AM
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The other day I realized the impact of trans politics on me when I saw a package of cupcakes with a sticker that said "no trans-fats" and immediately wondered why cis-fats were being privileged.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:42 AM
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After much Googling we settle on a blue, green, yellow and white striped cover.

Leaving aside disagreement with the underlying assumptions about gender, this kind of detail makes the article fail even on its own terms. This is weak sauce even for a hardcore gender essentialist. Couldn't she at least have a camouflage bedspread? (And not that stupid pink camouflage, either.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:43 AM
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What everybody else has said. Somebody should organise an intervention for that poor child's mother before she terminally wrecks her daughter's self esteem.

That said, this is the best thing I've read today:

The cultural availability of non-binary gender identities can be used to shrink the space of what's acceptably 'normal' inside male and female gender roles.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:54 AM
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5: I think you're misunderstanding. The blue green yellow and white cover was a compromise. The girl really wanted something totally manly.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:58 AM
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The cultural availability of non-binary gender identities can be used to shrink the space of what's acceptably 'normal' inside male and female gender roles

LB, I'm not sure what this means.

You may think of me as an habitual opponent, but I've got enormous respect for your stubbornness on this issue.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:58 AM
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The only thing about trans issues that bothers me is the furious hunger of some straight writers and commentators (cough Slate cough) to make sure that they are in on the ground floor of this particular equality/recognition movement by lecturing their fellow cis/straights about how cis/straight people don't get to define "trans" or trans concerns, which by the way are defined as follows.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:00 AM
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I find the question of trans* children really confusing. One of my brothers as a kid was very girly and seriously wanted to be a girl (said as much) over many years. When he started having sex with men though he quickly got much butcher and is now a bear-cub-y gay man with (as far as I can tell) no remaining interest in being female. I'm not sure how one's supposed to tell the difference between a kid like my brother and kid who's trans*.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:10 AM
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I'm a proponent of innate differences between men and women, but a lot of what gets passed off as innate is really stupid. Liking pink, for example. On the other hand, our brains are pickled in hormones that have known effects on things like aggression. In a truly gender-neutral world I'd be surprised if the average man was not more aggressive than the average woman. The thing that confuses me is that trans people do really seem to experience gender roles as essential in a much more expansive way than just aggression vs. nurturing or whatever. My one trans friend tells me she was into dresses and girly stuff from a very early age, so clearly there is something more going on. I suspect that one of the things that is innate is to identify with the same-gender parent (and perhaps this is one of the things that is different with trans people).


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:10 AM
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I should point out that 9 wasn't a dig at the OP, but at Slate's flood-the-zone coverage, which is so dense as to seem presumptuous.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:13 AM
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I'm confused about the anecdote in the OP. You are militantly gender-egalitarian, but your daughter wanted a unicorn party, so that proves gender differences are non-innate?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:20 AM
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I know far more adult men than female children that are into unicorns. I don't know how that's relevant, but I just realized that it's true.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:25 AM
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14: Maybe unrelated, but I have studiously avoided Brony culture because I really don't want to admit that these people exist. I always assumed it was a hetero/ironic/hipster thing. But last week's Bob's Burgers (which is where I get all my news) had a play on Bronies that had a more gay/camp/geek orientation. Is that right? Who knew?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:31 AM
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The only trans person I know is also a unicorn. In the Dan savage sense, that is.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:32 AM
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You know what doesn't work? When I tell my ladyfriend she shouldn't ask me for tech support, because feminism.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:33 AM
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I was doing the finger-length thing with a transwoman (recent adult transition after decades of who-am-I stuff) friend a few weeks back and she has low-prenatal-testosterone fingers and I do not.

I am not militant about how gender gets expressed here, though I push them not to be too essentialist about it. All the girls have some clothes from the boys side and some from the girls side. I police no-leggings-as-pants but otherwise they have a lot of flexibility. Nia decided after liking some of the butch style at church that she wanted a tie, so she has a clip-on tie and a boys' button-down shirt that goes with it but she usually glams it up in other ways when she wears it. Mara's friends are almost exclusively boys and she sometimes likes dresses and sometimes likes pants and we shop in the boys department for robot shirts because she likes those. Selah's stuff is mostly girly, but there are lots of generic things like white t-shirt and some of her pants are boy pants but who can tell?

I said this in the other place, but even more than "That's for boys!" the thing that drives me crazy is that they insist that girls have eyelashes and boys do not, across all species. So they could tell Nadal was a boy because they couldn't see his (blond) eyelashes. WTF, pop culture?!?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:34 AM
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13: That's not it. Accepting my (probably somewhat strawmanny) version of these interactions, I hear anecdotes fairly often along the lines of "I know mothers who are attempting to raise their children free of all gender stereotypes, and who live in communities who all feel the same way. The children are not exposed to gender-based expectations at all. Nonetheless, they still behave stereotypically. QED, gender roles are innate." And my response to this is that I'm pretty hardline about resisting the imposition of gender roles. And I am in fact about the most hardline parent I know in person. And I came nowhere near sheltering my kids from culturally gender-stereotypical stuff; I participated in all sorts of gender-stereotypical stuff with them.

There are certainly individual parents who are more hardline about this stuff than I am -- Bitch PhD comes to mind, with how she's brought up PK. But I do not believe in the slightest that there's anywhere in the US (discounting some possible isolated intentional community/commune/cult) where kids aren't exposed to strong pressure to conform to culturally appropriate gender roles from adults in the community.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:34 AM
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10 was kinda what I was going to say, but beyond that, I think trans* people's culture is evolving so quickly right now that it is exceedingly premature to criticize any aspect of it with the assumption that it is fixed.

I have a pretty wide circle of acquaintances who identify as somewhere on the trans/genderqueer/gender non-conforming spectrum (or islands, whatever). One of the ones who was female assigned at birth and, despite being very small, can pass pretty easily, also likes to get dressed up in drag and go out on the town with a wig and lipstick and heels and the whole nine yards. More to heaven and earth and all that.

But yeah, I mean, a lot of kids who grew up in the 60s or 70s and now identify as cis-gendered queer people might very well have at least experimented with some kind of trans* identity if they were growing up now, and by contrast, a lot of these kids nowadays who are gender non-conforming may very well grow up to be like UPETGI9's brother. It's really hard to say.

Tl;dr: Quit freaking out, tweaker


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:35 AM
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I know far more adult men than female children that are into unicorns. I don't know how that's relevant, but I just realized that it's true.

It seems likely that you also know far more adult men than female children, so I'm not sure this data point means much.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:35 AM
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(probably somewhat strawmannypersony)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:37 AM
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Don't be so speciesist, Sif. It's strawbeingy.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:40 AM
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One of the ones who was female assigned at birth and, despite being very small, can pass pretty easily, also likes to get dressed up in drag and go out on the town with a wig and lipstick and heels and the whole nine yards. More to heaven and earth and all that.

This is not meaningfully relevant to the post, you just reminded me of a fa'afafine who was a friend of a friend in Samoa. Born XY, no hormonal treatment (I think) and managed to present as convincingly female in a cute-butch-lesbian-menswear-with-vests kind of way. I thought that was the most impressive bit of self-presentation ever -- I could never quite figure out how she was pulling it off. (Searching the site for "My father doesn't know I smoke" should pull up the other story about her I've told here.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:41 AM
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I wuv stwawbeingys!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:41 AM
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21: I am confident that it means nothing, but I stand by the statement that I just realized it's true.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:42 AM
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I'm pretty hardline about resisting the imposition of gender roles.

There are (at least) two lines this can take.

One line is that you can assume the culture at large is so influential in imposing gender preferences that you are going to actively police your kids' ability to express their preferences if they are gender normative. So if you take this route, you would not, for example, let your daughter have a no unicorn party (presumably explaining to her why, and I'd be interested in hearing how these conversations actually go for parents who do this).

The other line is to simply not actively expose your kids to gender-normative cultural material (and actively expose them to cultural material that assumes non-binary gender preferences). On this second way of doing things, you would, however, let them express whatever gender preferences they happen to have (i.e., let your daughter have a unicorn party if she wants to).

I am not sure what counts as more "hardline" in terms of "resisting imposition of gender roles". It sounds like you are saying the first route would be more hardline, but of course it would involve more active policing/imposition of gender preferences on the parents part to make up for what is considered to be their kids' false consciousness.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:56 AM
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8: Maybe it will make more sense if a MAN explains it.

But I'll give it a shot anyway (har har). I believe the idea is that if there are roles outside the "traditional" gender binaries, then someone who doesn't conform to one of the binaries can get the response: "Oh, but you see, you're actually one of those other things", and that reinforces the roles because rather than accommodating diversity they can (under cover of open-mindedness, even!) neatly excise what doesn't fit, and that this reinforcement will also make it possible to define away decreasing amounts of nonconformity to one of the poles, thereby reducing what gets counted as really feminine or masculine or whatever.

Basically, gender politics is a lot like heavy metal or electronic music.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:58 AM
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second paragraph s/b "let your daughter have a unicorn party", obviously.


Posted by: CB | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:59 AM
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One may well be skeptical about how commodiously and harmoniously gender-non-conforming persons were accepted as male/female/whatever in the past, though, which somewhat reduces the force of (my understanding of) the remark.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:01 AM
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I've had the exact same concerns with the trans* issue you identify. Obviously people shouldn't be prevented from making themselves the persons they envision, but the increasingly vocal existence of a group of people who are going to great lengths in order to make themselves conform more with traditional gender identities is a weighty testimony in favor of the idea that traditional gender identities are fundamental/innate.

It is very interesting to me that this sort of thing is always blamed on trans/queer/gender activists, when it's obviously the equivalent of gay activists who went with the "we all just want to get married and buy a house, so could we please please please not be discriminated against, straight people?" strategy. Maybe it's not the best strategy, since it's reformist rather than revolutionary, but it's not the fault of the people who are facing discrimination.

The majority of cis people won't accept trans people unless they are perfect replicas of boring generic cis-people stereotypes. If a trans woman, for instance, is an out lesbian or is a butch trans woman, well, then she obviously isn't "really" trans; god forbid that she doesn't pass completely. So naturally there's a huge push to make the face of the movement someone like Janet Mock or Laverne Cox, who is a perfect femme beauty - because if it were, like, some of the actual trans women I know who are wonderful and attractive but whose just basic physical type is such that they are clearly trans women...those people would have to face even more shit and second-guessing and mockery than Janet Mock.

Gender-normative people are the ones who should lead on this, not the people who already have a huge struggle just to get any kind of decent treatment and recognition of their gender. You want a diversity of ways of being a cis woman? You beat the drum for it. You correct people who say all that barbie-princess/rosie-the-engineer nonsense. And don't do it at the expense of queer and trans people, either, by claiming that somehow we're the ones who are forcing you into some kind of crap gender stereotyping.

(For one thing, anyone who spends any actual time around a group of gender-non-conforming people will realize that we don't all "do" gender the same way, or even close, and that within queer and trans circles there is actually very, very little "ooh, you say you're a girl but you don't like princesses, so you must be trans" stuff. Stories about that are basically the equivalent of the NYT style section in terms of how many people actually do something.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:02 AM
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19.2: I'll buy that.

My son, at two, is insanely into cars and trucks and things that go, having received no encouragement from his parents on the matter. It's a bit disturbing, actually.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:02 AM
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Haven't read the thread or the whole OP yet (You're wordy LB, but in a good way unlike ogged). Nevertheless I want to recommend recommend Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender. It is about neurosexism, stereotype threat and the ubiquitiousness of cultural pressure to conform, examined from the standpoint of modern psychology. It's a good read.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:02 AM
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Though I still think it makes sense! And in the given case one can easily think that the availability of the conclusion "oh, well, she's not really a girl" makes it much easier to discount the possibility that even real girls can like fighter pilots and, like, dungarees, and just move on having worked out that issue in a way that leaves the core girl conception unaffected.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:03 AM
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15: speaking of Bronies, have we ever linked My (White) Nationalist Pony here before?


Posted by: PGD |
Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:05 AM
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Basically, gender politics is a lot like heavy metal or electronic music.

That's great!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:05 AM
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Damnit, why did that link screw up? Here -- http://mynationalistpony.tumblr.com/


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:06 AM
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It sounds like you are saying the first route would be more hardline, but of course it would involve more active policing/imposition of gender preferences on the parents part to make up for what is considered to be their kids' false consciousness.

It'd take an awful lot more policing/imposition on the parents part, but not because of the kids' false consciousness, but to shelter them from expectations from other adults. Remember Storm? Refusing to tell other people what gender your kid is freakishly weird, and being that weird is probably going to be rough on the kid, and I wouldn't do it myself. But it's not itself imposing any particular preferences on the kid. It's active policing of the other adults who interact with the kid, withholding the information they need to start imposing their own sense of appropriately gendered behavior on the kid.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:10 AM
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30: Back in the day Paul Lynde and Liberace were "normal" heterosexual men.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:11 AM
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31: Yeah, this sounds right to me. I've had the issue I tried to identify in the post niggling at me for ages, and I couldn't pin it down. And I think I've got it now; that I wasn't so much troubled by anything I've heard from actual trans* activists, but that I was bothered by the potential I saw it for being used by people trying to tighten conventional gender roles. I just couldn't pin it down until I saw people actually making the move I had been worried about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:18 AM
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||

Really OT, but on the subject of gender, this is long but worth watching.

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:25 AM
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The part where she's all "BUT DON'T YOU WANT TO BE A MOMMY" is where tonstant weader fwowed up. What, predictable cat is predictable. I may have mentioned, my "not interested in having kids" identity predates my identity as, uh, what am I these days, cis non-butch non-especially-femme queer homo.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:29 AM
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The cultural availability of non-binary gender identities can be used to shrink the space of what's acceptably 'normal' inside male and female gender roles.

The neologism "demisexual" springs to mind.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:29 AM
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Though my truest reaction to the article remains "if you don't get that little girl Darth Vaders are inherently divoon, you are a pure-bred moron."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:32 AM
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The problem, as ever, are penises (wu tang clan, represent) and vaginas, which become synechdoches for gender as a whole, and thereby reduce our understanding to two+everything else, when it's precisely the biological bases of the panoply of traits that we group under "gender" that should clue us in to the fact that there are as many ways to be gendered as there are people, which should clue us in to the fact that while "gender" is a very powerful concept, it's not a particularly truth-bearing one.

As understandable as it is that people want to articulate what they are to other people, it's unfortunate that some advocacy around this issue (and sexuality, too) is about precise labeling--which gets you ever proliferating labels--when those labels are really just one more tool of conformity. What sex/sexuality are you? I'm...the one that I am. There's a reason God went with this formulation, you know?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:32 AM
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43: I don't think I know that one at all. While I could google, assuming other people are as ignorant as I am, what's a demisexual? Ashton Kutcher?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:35 AM
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I assume demisexual is a term meant to de-privilege not being androgynous?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:37 AM
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I did google it. Someone who is asexual except in the context of strong emotional attachment. I presume Minivet is citing it as a redundant label for what should be regarded as just this guy/gal, y'know.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:41 AM
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37: I forwarded the link to Apo a few days ago, but he may not have seen it. Truly mind-bending.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:42 AM
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42: Also (not that I'd expect you to spend much time with 5-year-old girls and thus have the same reaction I did!) that made me furious because I'd be shocked if any of them came up with "Yes, I want to be a mommy!" if you asked what they want to do. I mean, maybe a few here or there. Mara wants to be an astronaut and live in China. Nia wants to do hair and foster babies, which is mommy-adjacent but definitely culturally inspired rather than innate. Both are also interested in being chefs, which seems very popular among their friends. I can also think of a paleontologist, a bus driver, a teacher, but no moms.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:43 AM
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48: Oh, yeah, that does sound like a concept that really doesn't need to be turned into an identity.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:44 AM
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42. When did you last hear of anybody asking a little boy, "But don't you WANT to be a daddy?"


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:47 AM
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50: Doonesbury is right now rerunning the very, very, very old strips, and this week is Joanie Caucus in the '70s working in a day care center. Yesterday's strip, she asked all the boys what they wanted to do, and got pilot, fireman, whatever, and then all the girls, which got a chorus of "We want to be mommies!" The last frame is Joanie saying "Boys, can you give us a minute? The girls and I need to talk." I love ancient Doonesbury.

(I am hoping one of my favorite strips from that era comes up soon: little boy comes up to Joanie and says "Ms. Caucus? When I grow up, I want to be a professional tennis player. Just like Billie Jean King." To which she replies "Howie! Breakthrough!!" I probably think "Howie! Breakthrough!!" to myself at least once a month, when the context makes it work.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:49 AM
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a concept that really doesn't need to be turned into an identity.

which is kind of an interesting concept itself. I have had this reaction by being a spectator on the edges of leather culture (I think this happens to a lot of people who have a moment of alienation with some part of what we may now call mainstream gay culture) and hearing people talk about it as an identity and thinking, and then considering feeling bad for thinking "ok but do we need to make a big thing of this?"


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:50 AM
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As understandable as it is that people want to articulate what they are to other people, it's unfortunate that some advocacy around this issue (and sexuality, too) is about precise labeling--which gets you ever proliferating labels--when those labels are really just one more tool of conformity. What sex/sexuality are you? I'm...the one that I am. There's a reason God went with this formulation, you know?

Advocacy around this issue is deeply structured by the need for protection under the law and by previous civil rights campaigns. People label themselves because they need to make themselves visible as a community in order to advocate for themselves, organize events, etc. Queer, trans and gender non-conforming folks are - even in cities - scattered minorities, and it doesn't do much good to say "come on down to city hall for a rally about how we each have our own gender!" or "I have my own gender and would like to date someone else who also has their own gender".

Access to medical care, too, is mostly organized on gender lines - try being a trans dude who needs a pap smear or a trans woman who needs a prostate exam and see how awesomely fun going to the clinic is, never mind if you're a trans man who, for example, dies of ovarian cancer like Robert Eads. Or what if you are...a pregnant man? Everyone loves pregnant man jokes, right?

A cis man who says "I have my own gender that is unique" is going to have a totally different experience upon making that assertion than the tall skinny bearded femme person-of-non-standard-gender wearing leggings and a scoop neck. (I describe a person I actually know, by the way.) People are going to say "oh, whatever" or "oh, how charmingly progressive" about the cis dude; people are going to say "what the fuck are you" or "make up your mind" to the other person. (Or possibly shout "what the fuck are you" while throwing a full milk carton from their car as they drive by - a thing that happened to me lo these many years ago.)

I mean basically, yes, I think that gender is a constellation, that everyone's gender is unique, that "gender" as some kind of truth-claim category is pretty useless - but there's real, on-the-ground political stuff that is pretty important that pushes people to categorize.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:54 AM
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Mara wants to be an astronaut and live in China.

Bring a mask, kid.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:56 AM
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Thanks for 28. I'd basically figured it out from the developing discussion.

I must say, I'm entirely on LB's side of this one. Frowner may be entirely correct about the intentions of actual gender identity activists, but when it gets reflected by what she calls CIS discourse, it comes out vastly more essentialist than my pillow-soft, Burkean version. So much so that like Bagehot in 1848 Paris, I'll help build the barricades.

Listening to Fischer-Dieskau's shimmering 1960 recording of Songs of a Wayfarer has put me in an incredibly good mood.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:01 AM
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To take a slightly different tack, my view is that all the time spent by parents worrying about gender identities in kids under 10 or so is basically wasted time bullshit and that this is the hyper intense zone for parental worry but doesn't matter that much. One day the kid wants to dress as Cindarella, the next as an Alligator. Who fucking knows, they're insane. But this cuts both ways -- InternetFeminist's insistence on absolutely never painting her daughter's bedroom pink is just as pointless and meaningless as Joe GenderReinforcement's insistence that his son wear nothing but camo cargo shorts and play with nothing but trucks. We should be worrying about gender stereotypes when they actually matter, which is when kids are actually getting into puberty and old enough to worry about sexuality, and being hyper concerned with these issues in younger kids is a waste of time and more about the parents than the kids.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:01 AM
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Agreed, Frowner; I really did mean "unfortunate," without blame--I note it just because the "good liberal" position sometimes seems like let me memorize the latest list of identities, instead of recognizing that this is all necessary bullshit.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:03 AM
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It'd take an awful lot more policing/imposition on the parents part, but not because of the kids' false consciousness, but to shelter them from expectations from other adults. Remember Storm? Refusing [. . ] . It's active policing of the other adults who interact with the kid, withholding the information they need to start imposing their own sense of appropriately gendered behavior on the kid.

Eventually, I don't think you can avoid imposing preferences in these cases (or avoid the implication that what you are doing amounts to imposing preferences). At the point at which a daughter wants a unicorn party, it's her preference, and sheltering her from the problematic expectations of other people that might have lead her to acquire that preference is no longer really an option. You then, as a parent, have to either passively validate the preference or do something else. If all you ever do is reject the validity of certain preferences rather than mandate others, then I guess there is some sense in which this is "not itself imposing any particular preferences". But it seems like a pretty Jesuitical distinction, to me. You are restricting the space of allowable preference sets.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:07 AM
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57: I'm always glad to have you on my side of anything, but I don't think I'm disagreeing with Frowner -- that is, I may have said things that are problematic, but I'm not seeing anything she's written that I don't agree with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:07 AM
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Mahler-->Good Mood. Huh.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:07 AM
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I just for the first time saw someone whose preferred pronoun was "it" on a queer internet forum. I feel old.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:08 AM
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58: I don't think there's a switch that goes off at age 10 where kids start to develop ideas about gender and "normal". If you're not teaching your kids from Day One that restrictive gender roles are bullshit, then they're going to enter puberty with fucked up and judgmental ideas about themselves and (more important) others. To me the goal isn't a nation of genderless ambivabots; it's a nation (and world) where most people are going to end up being pretty ho-hum gender-conforming straights who don't judge or question a single human being for their choices/preferences around gender and sexuality.

There are also male/female behaviors/assumptions that play into power and money, but that's a separate can of worms.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:09 AM
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Couldn't she at least have a camouflage bedspread?

None of my children may have this. I loathe camo for kids so, so deeply.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:10 AM
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I forwarded the link to Apo a few days ago, but he may not have seen it

I didn't! I never did set up my computer to grab mail from my unfogged.com email address, and the apostropher.com one is defunct. Either hit me up through Facebook (facebook.com/russ.barnes) or my main addy (rrbarnes at nc dot rr dot com).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:12 AM
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58: I mostly endorse this -- calm the hell down, none of this is stable or important until puberty mostly. But as a humorless feminist, I can't quite go this far:

But this cuts both ways -- InternetFeminist's insistence on absolutely never painting her daughter's bedroom pink is just as pointless and meaningless as Joe GenderReinforcement's insistence that his son wear nothing but camo cargo shorts and play with nothing but trucks.

Being doctrinaire about avoiding pink and sparkly is pointless, stupid, and can go with misogyny. But some of the gender stereotyping is the kind of thing that can damage a kid in path-determining ways. If the version of pink-and-sparkly your young kid is embracing (either as pressured by adults or out of their own totally free choice) involves spending a lot of playtime in awkward, stupid shoes (no traction, heels), that's going to have a lifelong impact on athleticism. (Yes, there are pink sneakers. Yes, there are also a lot of very small girls out there playing in unstable weird shoes that they didn't buy for themselves because they don't have credit cards.) And so on.

There's some value in pushing back on the gender roles from the beginning, because path dependence is a real thing. You can stop wearing pink whenever you want, but some things you learn between birth and age ten are harder to shake.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:18 AM
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67.3 Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you whatever the hell it turns out to be.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:24 AM
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60: You are restricting the space of allowable preference sets.

My point is that society (by which I mean specifically other adults in your community) is going to put a lot of pressure toward restricting the space of allowable preference sets for your child. If you back off completely and attempt to have no influence on your children's choices whatsoever, that doesn't free them to express their own uninfluenced preferences, it just means that society's pressures aren't countered by anything else.

There's no option that doesn't pressure the kid somehow, so as a parent I think your responsibility is to use your influence in the way that you think will make them happiest. Backing off and letting them express themselves absolutely freely is impossible, because no one lives in a social vacuum.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:25 AM
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Have folx noticed that fashion for the young and hip-hop influenced set has been including more and more camouflage, military knock-offs and studs & spikes recently? For all sorts of gender presenting people.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:25 AM
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(I am hoping one of my favorite strips from that era comes up soon: little boy comes up to Joanie and says "Ms. Caucus? When I grow up, I want to be a professional tennis player. Just like Billie Jean King." To which she replies "Howie! Breakthrough!!" I probably think "Howie! Breakthrough!!" to myself at least once a month, when the context makes it work.)

That entire storyline is great.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:26 AM
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I'm sure that aggressively monitoring your kids gender preferences at age 5 in a stereotyping reinforcing way means that you're more likely to be a dick if your kid comes out as trans at age 15. But if you know that you're not going to be a dick about that, and are generally feminist/pro-gay rights/whatever and won't be an asshole about restraining whatever sexuality your kid forms when he/she/zir has a sexuality, then it's not worth much time or energy worrying about whether giving your 6 year old daughter a pink backpack will doom her to a life of heteronormative oppression.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:29 AM
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I will say that moderate exposure to tulle ballgowns, Barbie, and rainbow unicorns doesn't seem to have done Sally a bit of harm I can identify.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:32 AM
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"I have my own gender and would like to date someone else who also has their own gender".

Yeah, that personals ad didn't get a lot of fruitful responses.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:32 AM
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A couple of angry flames from people without genders irate by the closedmindedness of it all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:32 AM
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You know how after you take a big test or something and there's that feeling of relief, "I might have fucked it up but at least it's done"? That's how it feels with my kids getting older.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:34 AM
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I find camo really annoying in any context where (a) you are not actually trying to conceal yourself and (b) you are in an environment where camo wouldn't help if you were. Even for people who are actually in the military -- dude, if what you're doing today involves sitting behind a desk, there's no reason on earth that you shouldn't be wearing a solid color.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:35 AM
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If you're not teaching your kids from Day One that restrictive gender roles are bullshit, then they're going to enter puberty with fucked up and judgmental ideas about themselves and (more important) others.

Just this morning while getting dressed, my five year old son spontaneously said "Boys don't wear skirts!" I don't know if this idea came from friends at school, or just from staring at his closet full of pants (and no skirts).

Regardless, he's now grounded for a week, so I think he now understands that's not an okay thing to say.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:38 AM
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76: Yeah, exactly. It's funny, I feel like Sally's at that point and Newt isn't -- while she's not perfect, she's pretty much who she's going to be at this point, and all we're doing for her from here on out is providing food, clothing, shelter, and affection while she does her thing. She's done. Newt's still a kid, more, so I still have that precarious feeling that we could still screw him up somehow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:38 AM
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I will say that moderate exposure to tulle ballgowns, Barbie, and rainbow unicorns doesn't seem to have done Sally a bit of harm I can identify.

Without a control in the study, I don't know how you can possibly make this claim.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:39 AM
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78: You grounded him for that? Why? A little conversation about how, yes, usually not around here, but some boys like to, as do some grown men, and that's fine, and there are other places where lots of men wear garments that we'd think of as skirts (Scotland, Samoa) seems like all you'd need.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:40 AM
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80: You mean that awesome as she is, she might be even awesomer if I'd kept her in menswear from day one? Possible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:41 AM
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Good god, LB. No, I didn't really ground him. Jesus. (He did really say that, though.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:42 AM
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82: Yes, that's exactly what I meant.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:43 AM
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I find camo really annoying in any context where (a) you are not actually trying to conceal yourself and (b) you are in an environment where camo wouldn't help if you were.

Giving the SWAT guys shit for this is always a good time.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:43 AM
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I get Frowner's point that labels can be useful as a political rallying tool, but it's not clear to me that the large benefits to a (genuinely oppressed, in need of all the political rallying tools they can get) small group outweigh the small costs to a much larger group (nontrans women who just want to be "women" without having to worry about what specific women-box they're in) (I said "women" because I think men aren't boxed in quite as much). It's also not clear to me to what degree trans activists are aware of the noble lie character of the labels they're propagating, plus I'm lukewarm on noble lies in general.

One nonstraight perspective on labels I really agree with is Aaron Swartz's essay "Why I Am Not Gay".


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:44 AM
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I told you I have a policy of believing everything anyone says about themselves on the Internet. Since you started corroborating your casual mentions of fire-eating with pictures confirming that you weren't kidding, I take that policy even more seriously as applied to you. If you say something, it is the revealed truth to me until you say different.

Kind of a shattering responsibility, isn't it? Use it wisely.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:44 AM
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then it's not worth much time or energy worrying about whether giving your 6 year old daughter a pink backpack will doom her to a life of heteronormative oppression.

A lot of time or energy, no. But if you give it a miss entirely, I think you're almost certainly going to be part of the problem, and the problem here is being defined as "kids growing up with unnecessarily strict notions of gender identity for themselves and others."

Here's the thing: wherever one is on the non-asshole spectrum of belief wrt gender innateness, one must agree that most kids like some girly stuff and some boy-ey stuff. Even if you're not the asshole parent who grabs away toys from the "wrong" gender, everyone outside your household (who isn't a fairly militant feminist) is going to support only one side of that child's preferences. Normal Americans don't buy tulle for boys, so unless the parent pays enough attention to the child's preferences, that child will never get tulle, and will learn that liking tulle is "wrong", without ever needing to hear the words. And if liking tulle is an important part of that kid's (future) gender identity, then the path to adult happiness just got longer and harder, even if a supportive parent is part of the picture. Furthermore, is that kid's best friend ends up liking tulle, that kid is going to be a better friend and ally if he never absorbed the message that tulle is "wrong."

Right?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:45 AM
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In urple's house the punishment is dad making dinner for a week.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:45 AM
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I'm only not being serious when I'm obviously joking.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:45 AM
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I am a medical doctor. I own a mansion and a yacht.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:46 AM
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Nothing much to add except that "Daughter X went through a crazed Disney Princess phase at around 5-6, but it doesn't seem to have doesn't seem to have done any lasting harm" is something I hear quit a bit in my circle of parents/friends.

Also, I seem to recall that the late 70s early eighties kid culture of my childhood was less extreme in the everything-pink-for-girls department, but I can't tell if I'm remembering accurately.

Finally, "like Kermit the Frog insisting that given the ubiquity of cultural pressure to conform to prescribed gender roles, there's no way to tell what's innate, and someone generally responds by describing children they know who are being raised in a perfectly gender-egalitarian manner who nonetheless have adopted prescribed gender roles they've never been exposed to." has me picturing Kermit the Frog leading a gender studies seminar.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:46 AM
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I'm not seeing anything she's written that I don't agree with

"But" wasn't meant to suggest disagreement but inevitably did.

Yes Mahler=>good mood; it's what art is supposed to do. Catharsis and all that.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:48 AM
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late 70s early eighties kid culture of my childhood was less extreme in the everything-pink-for-girls department

You remember rightly. Like so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:48 AM
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85.2: But it's functional for them, isn't it? Just not for concealment. It conveys the message "I am not a civilian and I will shoot you if you give me a reason," not to put too fine a point on it.

Come to think of it, I suppose the guy behind the desk in 77 may be trying to send the same message.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:48 AM
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I don't feel very happy with any of the identity terms that I could use for myself, other than switchy. Studying early modern sexuality has, perhaps, led me to think of sex as a practice rather than an identity. When I am feeling grumpiest about these kids today, it's that they seem to think sexual orientation is 90% fashion choice and 10% pronoun-claiming--it's *all* about identity. I get it; identity is important to people, and especially if you're very non-conforming, having a recognizable identity outside the norm is extremely politically useful.

But like LB, I am very suspicious of feminine-conforming straight women deciding that anyone who doesn't like lipstick must be a transgender man. No one is "blaming" queer-identified people for this. It's just one of the many discourse-shaping outcomes of identity politics, that some people will seize that discourse for the purpose of further oppression. It's how assholes do what they do.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:50 AM
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Further to 88, it holds even if the kid expresses themselves at the extreme for their biological gender, the super girly-girl or boy-ey boy. You don't get a pass for saying, "Boy, despite all the gender-neutral toddler toys, Isabela sure loves the princesses, I don't have to worry about the whole gendered toys things anymore," because kids are changing all the time, and if you're not listening for your kid's particular blend of preferences, you're going to end up shutting down any nonconforming urges. Which, again, is a bad thing to do.

There are many, many ways in which I opt out of the whole UMC Parenting Contest, but I refuse to stand down on gender issues, because I think our whole fucking society is really fucked up and extreme on this issue, and that kids won't just turn out ok or figure it out for themselves without active, thoughtful support at home.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:50 AM
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85 finally makes me wish I'd become a cop.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:52 AM
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Even for people who are actually in the military -- dude, if what you're doing today involves sitting behind a desk, there's no reason on earth that you shouldn't be wearing a solid color

Couldn't agree more with this, but the only alternative, Class A's, are not always available or may be proscribed. George Marshall has been dead a long time, and it shows.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:53 AM
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My grandfather, 30+ years in the Nat'l Guard & Army, always referred to camouflage clothing as "invisible". And rarely passed up an opportunity to mention any invisible hat or invisible pants he saw.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:58 AM
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82: My funny, sly cousin suggested to my father last year that he could have made something of himself if he had only been a coffee drinker. When I protested that my Dad's work had just that month won the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, my cousin said we'll never known what he could have done coffee-fueled.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 9:59 AM
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...that my father could have made something of himself had he only been a coffee drinker...


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:00 AM
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When I am feeling grumpiest about these kids today, it's that they seem to think sexual orientation is 90% fashion choice and 10% pronoun-claiming--it's *all* about identity.

I wonder how much of this is college students just being college students. At that age I identified every single thing I did with my identity. "She's the kind of girl who would eat oatmeal for breakfast out on her fire escape."


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:01 AM
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led me to think of sex as a practice rather than an identity

This has long been my take on it, but (as you all know) I have a strong aversion to labels.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:02 AM
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100: Someone around here who'd been in the military, maybe TLL? ages ago said that a running gag was that if you did something stupid while wearing camo, you'd look around and say "Good thing no one could see that." I was entertained.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:02 AM
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"She's the kind of girl who would eat oatmeal for breakfast out on her fire escape."

Hee hee. This sounds like a lyric in a Train song.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:03 AM
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At that age I identified every single thing I did with my identity.

And every band I listened to!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:03 AM
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I can't remember the last time being sick made me feel can't-get-out-of-bed weak, but these last five days have been miserable. Especially with enough snot that being horizontal means everything stops draining.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:08 AM
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I think the pro-labelers would say that being "against labels" is basically homophobic or anti-solidarity or whatever. I don't talk about my anti-identity stance with students because, as Blume says, identity is so incredibly important to 20yos and it isn't my intention to shame them. When you're coming out or growing up, having a name for what you are is really useful and helps people find communities. But I am extremely resistant to other people telling me what label or identity I should take on. People who know almost nothing about me are happy to tell me that I am all kinds of things.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:08 AM
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I think the pro-labelers would say that being "against labels" is basically homophobic or anti-solidarity

I'm certain they would (being against labels is [label1] or [label2]). IME, their main use is not to establish identity, but to establish an other.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:13 AM
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That is, is "I don't use labels" akin to "I don't see race," i.e., a rhetorical means of ignoring systematic oppression? Is my failure to cohere to one of the stereotypes of queer women available to me a mark of internalized homophobia? I am not claiming to be so free or above these things. I don't hate that other people do feel comfortable with their labels. I can see that it would make it a lot easier to get laid.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:13 AM
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101: The Vice Lords' bible includes imprecations against eating pork products, with similar rationale: "You may say 'what about my grandmother who lived to be 91 while eating pork as often as she could get it' -- well, consider how long she might have lived if she had abjured pig products!"

[Paraphrased]


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:14 AM
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92: Everyone does say that, including to some extent me and AB (although, again, at all times we were making clear that A. Disney's version of princesses is kind of fucked up, and B. non-princess things are also interesting), but I also see a lot of adult women who end up a lot more gender conformist that I would have expected in college, and I think it's a lifetime of social messaging. I imagine it's exhausting to resist, and at some point it's easier to just perform straight cis femininity .

Actually, to speak to a gender thing first hand, I grew up super into war toys. I don't actually know where that came from (very little soldiering in my family, my dad was/is into history but not such that I'd identify him as a source), but I spent most of my childhood playing with little army men and building ship and plane models. I could still tell you a shocking amount about the operational details of the War in the Pacific. And back when I was a Republican, I was hung ho about all our little wars. Re├źducation camp did its job, and now I'm basically a pacifist, but I'm still way more sympathetic to military intervention than I should be, because I still viscerally find war kind of awesome. That is, intellectually I know that apo's strict and firm anti-interventionism is correct, but I don't feel it.

My point isn't that my folks should have raised me differently (weirdly, my mom wouldn't let me get a toy rifle when I was 9 or so, although cowboy pistols were fine; somehow that crossed a line in her mind); it's simply that this kid stuff persists a lot more than people want to believe.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:15 AM
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110: IME, their main use is not to establish identity, but to establish an other.

Yes, this is my concern, as in the stupid article. Labels are a way of purifying cisfemaleness from all possible complexity.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:15 AM
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I am extremely resistant to other people telling me what label or identity I should take on

Right, this. Label yourselves to your hearts' collective content! Just quit insisting that I pledge allegiance.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:19 AM
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88 - right.

It's not that one should fret for weeks about the pink backpack. But one should think beforehand and not only offer her the 'girl' backpacks to choose from.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:21 AM
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109, 109: I feel a little weird having strong opinions about this stuff when I have so little personal stake in it -- as much as I talk about being sort of gender non-conforming, I'm a straight cis woman who presents very conventionally, if a little more badly groomed than is absolutely conventional. So mostly I defer to anyone with more at stake than I have.

Having strong opinions nonetheless, I mind labels much less than identities, if you follow the distinction that I just made up. A label, you're communicating something about yourself. An identity, you're implicitly claiming that the space of human possibility is divided into boxes, and that this is my box, which everyone else is either in or out of. The first seems useful for community organization and getting laid, but the second seems as if it can turn really restrictive.

It's like the discussions about whether bisexuals are real (recent NYT article, but all over, really). I mean, how is that even a question other than a purely verbal quibble?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:21 AM
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back when I was a Republican, I was hung

I mean, compared to other Republicans, of course. Harder to stand out on this side of the aisle.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:22 AM
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Identifying yourself is a part of being conscious
If I call myself a gangster then I'll rob you with a gat,
If I call myself a brother then you know I got your back,
If I call myself oppressed, then I'm clear on where I'm at...


Posted by: Boots Riley | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:23 AM
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103.last: Have I ever mentioned that the first few times I saw AB, I happened to be wearing sweaters, and I was worried she'd think I was the kind of a guy who wears a lot of sweaters? I told her this after we were dating in earnest, and she expressed confusion as to what outcome of such a mistake could have been. I was mostly being weird (and young), of course, but I also was holding to certain ideas about authenticity in dress, that my clothes should closely match the kind of person I was (with the exception of obvious dress-up occasions, where you wear a suit). And I was not the kind of guy who wore a lot of sweaters.

As it happens, partly through her purchases for me, partly through living and working in a cold fucking house, and partly because I've changed, I now wear sweaters all the time.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:23 AM
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Is my failure to cohere to one of the stereotypes of queer women available to me a mark of internalized homophobia? I am not claiming to be so free or above these things. I don't hate that other people do feel comfortable with their labels. I can see that it would make it a lot easier to get laid.

You know, this sound an awful lot like "people who use any kind of gender identity label are just doing it to conform and get laid, while they busily cohere to the available stereotypes because they are just that boring and generic".


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:24 AM
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121 was unkind, and I apologize, but I do get this vibe from your comments that you feel that your discomfort with labels is a mark of discernment and a valuable uniqueness.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:29 AM
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Actually, I think I can kind of explain what I was trying to identify/distinguish: I mostly wore jeans or cargo pants with a t-shirt and an open button-down shirt (flannel in the winter, solid color in the shoulder months), and I wore different versions of that whether I was doing manual labor, office work, or hanging out. I'd been dressing that way since high school, and I was pleased that it still suited my lifestyle (including work). Wearing a sweater seemed stuffy by contrast.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:30 AM
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I imagine it's exhausting to resist, and at some point it's easier to just perform straight cis femininity .

True fact. I really don't like having long hair. It's untidy, I have to do things with it like untangle it and braid it or put products in it (all right, I don't, but I should), it gets caught in things, and so on. I get wistful about the boyish shaved-up-the-back cut I had in college all the time. But. On a broadshouldered woman with a big skull and blunt features, that cut doesn't look cutely pixieish, it comes across seriously butch. At some point, I figured out that as a straight woman who wanted to have sex with straight men, the lack of hair was an important handicap. And then for the last nineteen years I've been involved with/married to someone who'd be unhappy if I clippered my hair short again.

Not a huge issue, but something where I'm presenting significantly femmier than I would in a world where I was entirely unconcerned with other people's opinions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:35 AM
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43 and following: Some of the trans activist people I follow recently expressed some anger about demisexuals, seeing them as posers who are just cis people that want to be comforted by the queer label. Something like (paraphrasing) "you don't get to adopt the symbols of oppression for your entirely socially accepted sexual behavior". I can see why that would rankle, but the fact that that label exists seems to be really helpful to the people who self-identify with it--their experiences/behaviors are, if largely accepted, not quite the norm. Perhaps, in the limit, a proliferation of labels could expand what's seen as the norm? Or maybe it'd just trivialize the experiences of those actually oppressed. Or both. Fuck, I don't know.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:36 AM
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120: Hah. I was actually searching the site for "the kind of guy who wears sweaters" because I remembered that story.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:36 AM
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Disney's version of princesses is kind of fucked up

More or less fucked up than the version where they're pawns used to secure treaties and dynastic continuation?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:39 AM
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121: What I'm saying is that I have used labels to conform to stereotypes that other people have as attractive ideas in mind when they go looking for sexual partners. It literally makes it easier to get laid. It makes it easier for straight people to get laid when they conform to stereotypes, too. How is this wrong? Sexual identity labels do other things too--political things--but presumably one of the reasons one has a sexual label is because of a sexual practice one would occasionally like to engage in.

a mark of discernment and a valuable uniqueness

That is *also* unkind, actually!


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:42 AM
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126: You remember me! You really, really remember me!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:42 AM
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I guess I don't get why bringing up sexual practices is considered some kind of insult to the people who engage in them, unless you assume that I'm saying those sexual practices are wrong. Is that the assumption here? If so, I apologize for assuming you know anything about me.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:43 AM
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127: Well at least one of those teaches you valuable lessons about the real world.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:43 AM
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My kid, probably through some kind of assimilation of Disney princess "girl power" anthems and maybe Katy Perry, has started this thing where she'll constantly sing operatic, uplifting empowerment anthems to herself that she's made up, e.g.:

"I've got to be freeeeee
I've got to be meeeeeee
I must achieve my destineeeeeee
I can do what I waaaaant
I can go where I pleeeeeeeze
I can do what I waaaant
Because I've got to be freeeeeeeeeee"

This goes on for like an hour at a time. I want way the fuck less empowerment.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:43 AM
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I wear lots of sweaters. What identity am I projecting? This has me worried. I'm also the kind of guy who eats tuna fish sandwiches on the fire escape, but that's a cat owner thing.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:44 AM
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Without labels you might open the wrong can


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:44 AM
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She is truly the only fitting heir to Halfordismo.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:44 AM
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125: I think the whole "demisexual" business is really interesting, the more so now that I have met someone in the flesh who spontaneously described themselves as demisexual. (I had thought it was only a tumblr thing.) This was a person who had been heavily and creepily sexualized by other people both in the "ooh you are so hot and of course naturally you want to have sex" way and in the "ooh, you don't gender-conform, everything about you indicates that you are a pervert and your entire being is about nothing but sexuality" way. (Basically, you must picture an unusually good-looking elf when you picture this person.) So here is someone whose entire social world is pretty much a matter of being forced to focus on themselves as a sexual being all the time, regardless of what they actually want, and who is someone with whom people apparently feel very free to cut to the chase - none of this "let's hold hands and I will bring you flowers" business. In that particular social world, I think it really does seem like a Big Identity Thing to say "actually, even if you want to have sex just based on thinking that I am attractive, I require something else". I think there are social worlds where demisexuality makes sense as an identity, in other words.

That's why I'm basically cool with all these labels - we all inhabit different social worlds and negotiate different everyday politics, and an identity which is powerful for you may do nothing at all for me, but that's just how life is. I mean, I wouldn't call myself "bakla" or "two-spirit" - for example - because those are identities which make sense for certain people in certain social worlds but not for white people in the contemporary US, but those are powerful identities for people in particular places and times.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:49 AM
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she'll constantly sing operatic, uplifting empowerment anthems to herself that she's made up

Heh. I found this recorded on my iPad a couple of weeks ago.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:54 AM
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Jesus. It's like they're the same kid.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:55 AM
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132: I apparently did that, without the influence of Katy Perry. I am a *horrible* singer, too. My poor mama.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:56 AM
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Isn't the lesson of the LOTR movies that all elves are unusually good-looking?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:57 AM
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One thing I've noticed is that people tend to project their own beliefs about how gender works onto small children. The Calabat is a broad-shouldered, careful and deliberate little boy who loves curtains (they wave in the breeze and if you move them you can see out the window), shoes (my running shoes are brightly colored and you can wave them about if you grab the laces!), and dancing to music (bounce bounce bounce.) I'd be willing to be if he were a little girl, we'd hear comments about what a pretty little girl he is -- already loving shoes and dancing and pretty colored fabrics!

But as it is, the comments are about his high levels of energy and how he must want to be an athlete given his obsession with mommy's trail shoes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:57 AM
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In that particular social world, I think it really does seem like a Big Identity Thing to say "actually, even if you want to have sex just based on thinking that I am attractive, I require something else". I think there are social worlds where demisexuality makes sense as an identity, in other words.

Huh. That seems like a useful protection in the described social group, but it also seems like a social group with some problems. That is, an atmosphere where "You're attractive and seem perverted, you must want to have sex with me" is a reasonable baseline deduction to make that you have to have a special identity to guard against seems like it'd be kind of unpleasant for most people. Primarily the attractive and gender-non-conforming, but really for almost everyone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:01 AM
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The day care teacher that is the most fond of Zardoz is constantly telling us about how social she was that day and how friendly and at first we were like "enough with your gender essentialism! She is goal-oriented and fearless and tough!" but eventually it became hard to argue that she was not, also, very social by the standard of the other babies in the room.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:02 AM
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136: I think there are social worlds where demisexuality makes sense as an identity, in other words.

Thanks for that explanation, Frowner. I'd not heard of demisexuality before -- reading a couple of brief write-ups on the notion, it struck me as a development not at all uncommon for any number of people. Considering it an identity is a move that initially seems strange to me (because isn't it just a completely understandable response to one's personal history?), but I can see that it has its uses.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:05 AM
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I've written that in utter fear that I've said something unintentionally offensive. Please trust that I did not intend to.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:06 AM
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Parsimon is a phobisexual.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:10 AM
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143: a) I wouldn't sweat it, but b) that's how it works. It's not that people are going to look at your kid and see things that completely aren't there, but of the things that are there, they're going to notice and comment on and reward the gender-conforming bits really disproportionately to the bits that don't fit their preconceptions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:12 AM
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136: Thanks. That's helpful.

145: Me too. Does not stop me from saying offensive things.

And on that note, obviously it's fine if a True Scotswoman decides to wear flannel, so long as it's of the correct plaid for her sept.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:12 AM
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Huh. That seems like a useful protection in the described social group, but it also seems like a social group with some problems.

Most are!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:12 AM
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137-139: She'd probably be a better singer if she had any front teeth.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:13 AM
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How is this wrong? Sexual identity labels do other things too--political things--but presumably one of the reasons one has a sexual label is because of a sexual practice one would occasionally like to engage in.

The sense I take from your comments above is "other people use all these labels that rely on stereotype, thereby getting laid. Because I am more discerning and have a more sophisticated sense of gender and better theories about identity, I am prevented from so labeling myself and getting laid. And to boot, these people claim they are using these labels as a political tool but they are really using them primarily to get laid. It is my discernment prevents me from using these labels and thereby getting laid."

If you looked at me, you would see a soft butch person of indeterminate gender. (I don't beat the drum about my "identity" because I'm not in the kind of activist circles where I really need to do so, so those would be the descriptors that others might apply to me.) I don't think my identity has coalesced around a stereotype, but there's definitely many generations of mannish women/androgynous people before me; I do sometimes see photos of people who look a lot like me when I look through archives of queer images. I find this comforting, actually, rather than a sign of my failure to stand alone in my gender expression. I don't find it easy to get laid, though, if that's any consolation.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:13 AM
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147: I'm aware of that. I'm not particularly worried about it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:14 AM
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Pointless story about gender-self-presentation: Last fall, I was watching "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" with Sally, which for those of you who aren't teenage girls is a movie about a bunch of sort of mildly punky teenagers and sexuality and dealing with the meatheads in their high school who are oppressing them and so on, and it's set around 1990.

And I was commenting to Sally that, having graduated from high school in 1988, the kids in the movie were pretty close to an attempt to represent pretty close my high school crowd -- I was sort of geekily styleless, but my friends were sort of the same kind of arty/punky types. Not oppressed by meatheads, because we didn't have those, but still recognizable as the same sort of people in the same period. So I was critiquing where the movie had gotten the clothes wrong (mostly that they weren't ripped/vintage enough).

So Sally asked, "Well, in terms of the crowd in the movie, what did you dress like?" I was about to say the geekily styleless thing, and then realized that I'd been looking wistfully at the sharply tailored sportcoat the gay male hero was wearing as very much like one I'd lived in through the end of high school and early college. Man, I loved that jacket. You could fit endless amounts of stuff into the pockets and it never got baggy or shapeless -- still looked sharp.

This story has no point.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:15 AM
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The problem, as ever, are penises (wu tang clan, represent) and vaginas

That reminds me... how is it that no one here has yet linked to this blog/magazine/book?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:16 AM
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144: I am not offended! I don't think anyone would be particularly offended!

I think there is something in the air that makes all this taxonomizing very appealing, and I'm not sure exactly what. I also think that there are cultural fashions, and that at least some of the people who are all "oooh, my gender identity is [random exotic thing]" are just going to be living as regular straight cis people five years from now...But as a broad generality, I've found that even the people who say that their gender identity is, like, sparklefairy and their pronouns are "bun/bunny/bunself"* are not totally governed by trendy silliness; they're genuinely trying to work through something about their experience of gender. In the long run, I think all this works to the good.

Shorter version: I suspect that some people who describe themselves as demisexual, yes, are just feeling that everyone has an identity and so they should too, but I think that's pretty harmless, and I think that trying to figure out who is "queer enough" does not turn out real well even though certainly sometimes People Can Be Annoying.

*oh god, don't even ask


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:22 AM
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150: On the off chance I've offended (this is the thread where we do that, yes?) that 'too' in my comment was just meant to mark out how awful it must have been for my mom. Hadn't yet watched the utterly adorable video - she's a good singer minus the two front teeth, as far as I'm concerned.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:24 AM
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146: There are landmines everywhere!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:27 AM
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sparklefairy and their pronouns are "bun/bunny/bunself"*

If this is real, it makes the whole thread worthwhile. Both because it's seasonally appropriate and because of the obviously necessary silhouette on the bathroom doors.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:27 AM
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STOP MOCKING ME PARSIMON


Posted by: OPINIONATED CONGOLESE CHILD | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:28 AM
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156: Oh, now worries. I didn't take it that way. I just find her jack-o-lantern lisp amusing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:29 AM
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now s/b no


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:29 AM
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She's been without replacement teeth for quite some time now. I'm not sure the originals were really all that loose. I think she was just feeling jealous and left out that Noah was getting visits from the tooth fairy and started yanking at them 'til they gave.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:32 AM
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162: Sounds like a real go-getter! And tough!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:34 AM
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But as a broad generality, I've found that even the people who say that their gender identity is, like, sparklefairy and their pronouns are "bun/bunny/bunself"* are not totally governed by trendy silliness; they're genuinely trying to work through something about their experience of gender.

I like to think that I'm genuinely committed to tolerance and acceptance of the entire range of gender/sexuality expression (with the obvious exceptions), but I have to say that otherkin stretch that commitment to its breaking point.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:34 AM
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The other thing that kicks in way earlier than age 10 is body awareness and fat-shaming. I know several 2nd-3rd grade-ish girls who are more solid than twiggy, and have said things about hating their bodies and watching their calories.

Their moms are horrified, (but still easy to imagine that the moms would have deprecated their own bodies around the girls'), and plus society at large.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:36 AM
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oh god, don't even ask

I have a pet theory* that no matter how far out on the cutting edge of gender theory one is, there is always someone further out to whom one can point and say "Now that's just ridiculous."

* One of many (including my plesiosaurus theory) which forms the group of theories which I own, and which are mine.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:36 AM
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155: I also think that there are cultural fashions, and that at least some of the people who are all "oooh, my gender identity is [random exotic thing]" are just going to be living as regular straight cis people five years from now.

I think so too. And that's alright. I do, though, sometimes want to ask them what they mean when they say they're X. [Note: I do not like speaking of "them", but I'm referring to people who use these terms, which I don't tend to, because I'm old, so they are a "them" to me.] I've fussed a bit here before about a young woman of my acquaintance who, as a high-schooler, dated boys; as a college student and into her early 20s, dated women exclusively and indeed had a 3-year-long relationship with another woman. They broke up and she began seeing a man, and now at age 26 she's straight-married to this man and has a baby. Great. But what did she mean when she said that she 'didn't want to give up her queer identity'? She looks for all the world like a woman who got married in her mid-twenties and immediately had a baby.

I probably just need a primer on what "queer identity" means in this context. Apologies for any offense contained in this message.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:38 AM
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I like to think that I'm genuinely committed to tolerance and acceptance of the entire range of gender/sexuality expression (with the obvious exceptions), but I have to say that otherkin stretch that commitment to its breaking point.

I guess this is where I do find it easiest to have a "gender is just this made up thing, identity is cultural rather than inherent" viewpoint and say "okay, you believe that you are really a dragon or that you have an alternate personality which is BBC Sherlock, I accept that this makes it easier for you to get around in the world and is somewhere between a hallucination and a wish".

I can't even remember the name of the person involved, but there was this whole scandal in fandom a few years ago where some guy had convinced this group of people that ....oh, I don't remember all the details, the Lord of the Rings was really true and he could channel Gandalf (or something) and they all lived in this horrible folie a many situation until Very Bad Things happened and someone got killed. One of the women involved broke away from all this with the help of her mother and wrote a blog about it. She talked about the feeling of both really believing all these things and really not-believing at the same time. I can only assume that the majority of people who think that they are dragons are neither totally making things up nor totally seriously believing it.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:46 AM
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153: I'd been looking wistfully at the sharply tailored sportcoat the gay male hero was wearing as very much like one I'd lived in through the end of high school and early college. Man, I loved that jacket. You could fit endless amounts of stuff into the pockets and it never got baggy or shapeless -- still looked sharp.

Man! I had one of those too! A couple of them, but one in particular that was a favorite. I may or may not even still have it around here, but it's no longer viable, I'm sure.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:46 AM
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Pockets are great.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:48 AM
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Many years ago when I showed up at this blog, I told a similar story about a high school friend, which in retrospect was kind of jerky of me to tell as comedy. I think a way to think of 'queer identity' in that context is that the person doesn't think of their non-straight relationships as a mistake, or an error, or something that's not part of who they still are -- while she may be straight-married in her mid-twenties now, she identifies as someone who really did have relationships with women, and meant to. (As opposed to, say, the sort of gay man who dated girls in his teens while he was figuring out whether he was gay and how to deal if so.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:48 AM
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From Googling "bunself", this list of alternate pronouns almost goes beyond gender theory and into conlang territory.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:48 AM
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I think there is something in the air that makes all this taxonomizing very appealing

The thousands of "Which [X] are you" internet quizzes suggest that, in addition to any other reasons, many people find taxonomies fun.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:48 AM
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171 to 167.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:49 AM
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172: The compiler doesn't know the difference between decline and conjugate. Judging.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:51 AM
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175: well, sure, that's the lexer's job.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:56 AM
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The thousands of "Which [X] are you" internet quizzes suggest that, in addition to any other reasons, many people find taxonomies fun.

I propose a new system in which traditional gender identity is replaced by which era David Bowie you end up being in that online quiz from a few months ago.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:56 AM
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Easy to look back and laugh at how important self-presentation is to the young, but it is.

I thought the prevailing styles of the early 70s were ugly, and I refused to conform. So my hair was not particularly long, my jeans were straight cut, and I usually wore work boots, because I actually was/had been a construction worker or else traditional sneakers. Tee shirt or polo shirt, unbranded and unmarked, windbreaker in cooler weather. Plastic-rimmed glasses.

In any other period of the last 50 years, both before and since that would have been fine, but not just then. I would find myself in some initially-guarded conversation, male or female interlocutor, and one of two things would happen: I'd hear surprise that I wasn't what was expected, or else I'd be treated as if the appearance were real and whatever I said couldn't be believed.

I was informed by kindly friends, usually a bit older and maybe originally friends of my brother's, that I looked like a Republican, or at any rate Conservative.
Now I was stubborn, and too proud to change just because I was being read wrong. Shouldn't the people I wanted to be friends with be able to discern?

I suppose it's possible it was an unconscious defensive posture, and I didn't really want to get laid, despite not thinking about much else every waking minute. Sure wasn't very efficient at it.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:58 AM
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171 is probably right.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:20 PM
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I propose a new system in which traditional gender identity is replaced by which era David Bowie you end up being in that online quiz from a few months ago.

I would do this quiz. I may have seen it at the time, but don't recall. Link?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:22 PM
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http://www.buzzfeed.com/spotify/which-david-bowie-are-you


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:26 PM
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@180:

Here


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:27 PM
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178: Easy to look back and laugh at how important self-presentation is to the young, but it is.

Nobody's laughing here, I don't think. Just for the record.

181: Thanks, Apo. I'm off!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:28 PM
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153: A 90s period piece? Makes me feel old.

Reminds me of 178 in a way.

I kind of thought of myself as not fitting in pigeonholes or being between or resistant to trends. (I know, who didn't.) Not punk, rasta, hick, or a mix, which were the main options where I grew up, just sort of there, neither fitting naturally in any of them nor sticking out all that much. Then I watch that movie and the protagonist is a lot like I was. (Wallflower, dressed well but not stylishly, with unkempt hair and a group of friends that were all socially adept but weird in some ways.) Apparently not having a type is itself a type.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:31 PM
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Earthling Bowie. I can't cut and paste the description of that, since I used AcademicLurker's link, but it's pretty spot on. Now, which era (album) Bowie is that?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:35 PM
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Label yourselves to your hearts' collective content! Just quit insisting that I pledge allegiance.

I'm pretty sure I've been (a little humorlessly) on the other side of this argument--I remember my friend who was a professor at U of C saying all his students were like "yeah, I sleep with [whatever], but I just hate labels!" and I felt like saying to them "that's just fine in your world, but it got to be that way because people stood up for themselves and for you under the banner of those labels, and it's not fine everywhere, so maybe just live with it a bit until it's genuinely beside the point?"


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:36 PM
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I came out Ziggy Stardust. Not sure how, but I'll take it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:36 PM
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Also, Perks of Being a Wallflower is a lovely film.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:37 PM
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It really was sweet -- I was very pleased that Sally and Newt liked it enough to make me watch it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:38 PM
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Huh, 181 and 182 are different quizzes, if you didn't like the outcome of the first. I got Ziggy Stardust on the first, but Tin Machine on the second. In truth, I'm Lodger/Scary Monsters Bowie.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:41 PM
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Apo's link in 181 to the Buzzfeed Bowie quiz gives quite different results.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:47 PM
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I am starting to question the scientific rigor of the quizzes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:50 PM
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Right, as 190 says: In the 181 quiz, I'm "secretly making a stellar album." In real life, well, I'd have to think about it. Heroes, maybe, but I'll have to think about it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:51 PM
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188: I've been meaning to watch it since it came out, mostly because it was filmed here, but also because it got a nice writeup. Seemed like it didn't stick in the wider culture, though.

Actually, have any teen movies of that ilk (sweet and/or thoughtful, not gross-out) stuck since "Mean Girls"? I can't think of any, but obviously that's not my genre in any way, shape, or form.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:56 PM
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Apo's link in 181 to the Buzzfeed Bowie quiz gives quite different results.

I'm glad to see that. The other quiz made it clear that I wasn't any David Bowie. But I can at least squint and see myself in the result from that quiz:

You got: "Helping Everyone Else Out" Bowie

Instead of concentrating your genius, you'd rather leverage it among friends. Collaboration, benefits, and celebration is the name of your game. Guest appearances are a pleasure, and you're always in demand.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:57 PM
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To bring the threads together, there were some odd bits in Perks. In 1990, Bowie's Heroes was an obscure song they were having trouble tracking down? It was old at that point, but it really should have been easily recognizable to those kinds of kids.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:58 PM
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186 more or less reflects my view. Also rejecting labels labels you as a little bit precious.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 12:59 PM
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I got the "secretly making a stellar album" from Buzzfeed and Berlin Bowie from AcademicLurker's link. That's reasonable consistent, and I'll definitely take it.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:03 PM
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195 sounds like the zodiac placemats at Chinese restaurants.


Posted by: ldp | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:11 PM
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I'm more than a little bit precious, togolosh.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:11 PM
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I had you labelled as very precious, Apo.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:12 PM
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196 I um watched the commentary track and can address this. In the book it's "Landslide." Which...maybe everyone would know, too? I don't know.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:13 PM
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202: Why the substitution?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:15 PM
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Now that I think about it, my proposal to replace traditional gender identities with the results of the quiz might be of limited utility, since the different era Bowies would presumably all sleep with each other anyway.

Then again, maybe that's what makes the system ideal.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:17 PM
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In the book, the tunnel song was "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac, but in the movie it was "Heroes" by David Bowie. Why the change?

SC: You know, I love "Landslide," but I felt like once I had the footage and when I saw Emma (Watson) standing up in the back of that truck, it was so terrific. ... I had to find something that was grand and "Heroes" is ... so cathartic and so we just had to go with it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:21 PM
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203: Blame Halford.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:22 PM
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Mildly shielding your kid from gender norm pressure is a unrelenting task even in SF, I shudder to imagine what it would be like elsewhere. We've very close friends who truly love our kid and yet have been freaked out for years about the ballet thing and dress up play, etc. Stupid, depressing and also just completely illogical, my god the world of classical dance is spectacularly gender policed! Boys get to incarnate princes, and the occasional bad guy, that's it. Well okay happy peasants dancing for the aristocracy, too. And if you want to be a whirling dervish for Halloween you kinda have to wear a skirt. And fez! That was an awesome costume. So many perfectly innocuous things our kid just wanted to do and did made more than a few friends and family visibly uncomfortable. Vocally on a few occasions.

The question I still ask myself is whether I could be as fine with ballet if I'd had a daughter. Impossible to know, used to think answer was no, but the devotion has been so steady so strong and only increasing, I guess know I hope I would have been open minded enough to be supportive.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:23 PM
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I shudder to imagine what it would be like elsewhere

About the same?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:25 PM
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I thought I remembered it as a question of rights to the song but maybe not?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:26 PM
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I don't actually know, but is ballet less eating-disordered for boys than girls? We never had to face this, given that my people are a solidly built and ungraceful people, but what would put me off ballet if Sally had been interested and with potential for being serious is the fear that she'd hurt herself with the starvation thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:26 PM
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208: You don't think there's more gender-conformity pressure once you get out of the big coastal cities? I don't actually know -- there's certainly plenty here, but I figure it's probably worse elsewhere.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:28 PM
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204: the different era Bowies would presumably all sleep with each other anyway.

You are so right! And made me laugh. Do I know you?

It's a little sad that Bowie era identities can't cover everything that's out there, but I imagine it just marks some of us as old that we'd think they could.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:28 PM
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To 207 and heebie's earlier comment about weight, I am so, so glad to be able to show the girls the Lloimincia Hall floor routine that made the rounds a few weeks ago, because it's so hard to find examples of feminine strength with Nia's body type (and attitude and cheerfulness, in this case, which makes it even better!) and Nia is already feeling like she's too big to do things and needs to lose weight. And I have not said one negative word about my body with the girls in earshot since Mara came, but they do have other moms and live in the world.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:29 PM
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We did live briefly in the suburbs for 2 years, kid was roughly 2 - 4, and it actually was noticeably worse, st. Once had the perfectly nice women who worked at the day care place express astonishment that our 3 year old played with *both* the boys and the girls, they'd never seen such a thing! To their credit they thought thus was awesome, but obviously someone was signaling to these kids that boys play with boys, girls with girls.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:30 PM
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211: maybe some, sure, probably. But "big coastal cities" and "SF" are not equal sets, and "specialness of SF compared to not-SF" is an easy thing to overestimate from within SF.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:33 PM
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Inside a SF, it's too smug to read.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:35 PM
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dairy queen, I'll take this opportunity to mention that I'm -- at a great distance -- quite proud of your son. I have no idea who you are, but boys and men who dance the ballet are to be championed. It's a dance of great beauty, and it takes courage.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:36 PM
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213: That is a fabulous routine.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:43 PM
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Honestly, 214 sounds worse than Heebieville.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:47 PM
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SF v Berkeley, Oakland, agree minimal diff. Versus Concord? Grew up in east bay suburb myself and all I can say is thank god for youth orchestras and BART.

re eating disorders, hard to imagine it is much of an issue with male dancers given the upper body strength they need for lifts, would be massively disadvantaging to be weakened. I think kiddo starts weight training this summer... There's only been one young woman in 9 years at the studio who was clearly suffering with an eating disorder. I've heard, but don't know from firsthand knowledge, it is more if an issue at the other place in town. I've always wondered more how I would have dealt with the molding into a particular expression of femininity and the foot destruction inherent in dancing on point. Actual familiarity with the very wide range of ballet roles for women has brought me around on the first issue, but the point shoe thing, that's tough. And damn that is a LOT of sewing for those shoes.

Thorn, that floor routine was fabulous, pure expression of joy-in-body!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:47 PM
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Hawaii loves ballet, and adores conventionally beautiful high school and college girls beyond all reason. She'll rave on and on about how nice and pretty, etc, the one waitress or daycare TA is, but not the other. It's obnoxious and we should probably address it more directly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:49 PM
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There's only been one young woman in 9 years at the studio who was clearly suffering with an eating disorder.

Nope.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:50 PM
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One thing boys do that encourages starvation is wrestling. I have no idea whether this is a problem or not but it can't be that high school boys not eating to hold a weight class has no physical effects.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:51 PM
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I mean, or "clearly" is doing a lot of work.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:51 PM
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It's obnoxious and we should probably address it more directly.

She ain't pretty no more, is she, Hawaii? [ heebie drops broken bottle ] She ain't pretty no more.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:53 PM
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The quotes I forgot to enclose 225 within will come to haunt me, no doubt.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:54 PM
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If your goal is to induce eating disorders in your son, encourage him to take up high school wresting.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:57 PM
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Dear Mineshaft-

My children both appear to have healthy body images. What can I do about this?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 2:00 PM
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Obviously I don't know if the rest of the girls are starving themselves, but I do know they are generally in glowing glossy radiant health, and their sweaty nearly naked bodies streaming through the narrow corridors at the studio and flies backstage look pretty damn solid to me.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 2:03 PM
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The thing about ballet as a teenage boy (at least a straight boy) is that, no matter where you are, you're kind of being thrown in the deep end of the confounding gender assumptions pool, and your choices are basically either to be like "middle fingers to the haterz this how I do, now let me kick these three anorexic ballerinas out of my bed and move on to the next ones" or stop doing it altogether. Fortunately you have to be tough as nails to be a male ballet dancer in the first place so you've got a good chance of coming through it forged like steel.

I think these things can be harder for people who are kinda sorta gender nonconforming but also kinda sorta trying to play the mainstream expectations game.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 2:05 PM
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228: Too late to have them be black, but that's a factor here. Why don't they have long straight hair? Why do most of the dolls in the store and people on tv have white skin? etc. etc. etc.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 2:10 PM
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Actually, have any teen movies of that ilk (sweet and/or thoughtful, not gross-out) stuck since "Mean Girls"? I can't think of any, but obviously that's not my genre in any way, shape, or form.

"Easy A" was pretty great as comedies go.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 2:18 PM
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"Not Another Teen Movie" wasn't bad.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 2:21 PM
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My guess is that milder starvation works for a time, for athletes of both genders, but begins to take its toll. The effects might not be obvious for a few years if you were getting good advice and supplements and so on, but will tell.

Cycling, which I love, is one of the worst. The bones in the upper body weaken because the upper body is carefully exempted from any normal effort--I read once that Levi Leipheimer felt he couldn't risk helping his wife with the groceries for fear of spurring weight-building muscle growth. Because the bones are so weak those horrifying crashes can shatter a young person as if they were many decades older. And I must say, many of them look it.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 2:22 PM
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There is a scary contrast between Merrill Ashley dancing in Ballo della Regina in '78 (warning: pink and sparkly! also deliciously joyous and juicily fierce - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFXFeztRGFE) and Gelsey Kirkland's spectral Kitri at Wolf Trap for one of Baryshnikov's first performances post-defection (1976). The video has a warning Kirkland made them include before she would agree to it being released. It's gruesome.

And just because it is so fabulous: Peter Martins and Merrill Ashley in a completely silly Bournonville bit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjWgab_PFBQ.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 2:35 PM
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Male ballet dancer/choreographer/dance troupe founders get WAAAAAAAAYYYYYY too much money and acclamation. No need to swell their heads further with a bunch of gender kudos.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 2:39 PM
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236 is true, my kid gets zero "gender kudos" from us, frankly it would take a pack of wild horses plus Godzilla to keep him from dancing. We just don't discourage him on a gender norm basis is all. Was merely musing as to whether I would have discouraged a daughter.

And Peter Martins is reportedly kind of a dick but damn he could dance back in the day.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 2:52 PM
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"juicily fierce"?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 2:59 PM
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234 is freaky.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 3:01 PM
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Yes! and I hope it gave you the willies to read that, too.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 3:02 PM
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In addition to (reportedly) being a terrible person, Peter Martins is a terrible, terrible choreographer.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 3:09 PM
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213: That's impressive and really shows the importance of strength in gymnastics. Black women (especially) with her body type (Serena Williams, Michelle Obama) get a lot of hate.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 3:33 PM
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Iris did little kiddie ballet when she was 3 or 4 - the kind where they basically teach the kids the positions and try to keep them from wandering away - and that was fine, but she's expressed occasional interest since then, which I/we don't discourage, but also don't act on. Which is itself 50% cheapness/laziness and 50% anti-ballet feelings (the fact that the art form itself leaves me cold is part of it as well).

I don't know what's going to happen to Iris' body image when she hits puberty. She's a string bean, and always has been, which comes naturally - AB, my sister, and I were all super-skinny as kids. AB got curvy in adolescence, so first of all we just don't know what will happen, but also don't know how she'll feel about her body regardless. She sometimes talks proudly about her thinness, but it doesn't seem to be about skinny=pretty so much as a generalized pride (she's also proud of being strong and fast, although she's not actually that strong anymore - when she was 5, she was pure muscle). It's hard to both support pride in her body and communicate that skinniness is not the "best" body type.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 3:44 PM
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My daughter's body image consists of being able to locate her nose.

If you ask her to locate her mouth she gets it half the time, and half the time she touches some other kid's nose.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 3:46 PM
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Which is effortful when the nearest other kid is in a different building.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 3:49 PM
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the importance of strength in gymnastics

My little sister was a gymnast, and she held our high school's record for pullups (male or female) for a long time. She may still.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 3:49 PM
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In 1990, Bowie's Heroes was an obscure song they were having trouble tracking down? It was old at that point, but it really should have been easily recognizable to those kinds of kids.

Haven't seen it, but this doesn't strike me as odd -- remember, there's no internet, so you only have your own friends' explorations to count on, and as much as it would make sense to be in their repertoire, any group is going to have plenty of dead ends.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 3:50 PM
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194/232: It's odd how few teen movies have gotten that kind of wide warm reception since then. I wonder if it's a shift to YA adaptations as the big teen audience drivers, so you'll get the occasional Perks and Spectacular Now (and the forthcoming Fault in Our Stars) but not as much Mean Girls/Easy A.

I got the sense that Perks is a phenomenon, maybe not Sixteen Candles-level but pretty widely loved.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 3:58 PM
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247: never mind, you're right, ChangesBowie came out in 1990 and Heroes was on it so fuck those dorks.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 4:03 PM
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247: I think that's right. We think of Classic Rock as a kind of monolithic thing, and as adults I bet we'd have almost completely overlapping lists of "definitive Classic Rock bands", but different places have different emphases. In 1990 I moved from the NYC radio shed to Pgh, and the comparable radio stations had overlapping but quite distinct playlists. And, not that the director was trying to be historically accurate, but I can tell you that "Heroes" was certainly more likely to be played on WNEW than WDVE, which in turn was more likely to play a Skynyrd deep cut than its NY counterpart.

Also, don't forget that "Heroes" had a revival in the '90s when IIRC Foo Fighters covered it for a soundtrack and then maybe someone else used Bowie's version in something else. It was a distinctly more minor part of the Bowie canon in 1990 than it was in 2000.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 4:05 PM
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Well, there goes that theory. Actually, not really; my general point, that not every popularish Classic Rock song is ubiquitous always and everywhere.

In fact, I have an anecdote for that: I discovered Tull in the spring of '86 (I still remember riding in the car with my dad to a County baseball playoff game when "Aqualung"* came on); somehow or other, they'd never come up, even as I knew about most classic rock bands. Anyway, they were my second rock concert in November '87, and I owned a couple albums by spring of '88 and got excited when they were played on the radio.

But when I was visiting my sister at college and her friend let me tag along to the radio station, my mind was completely blown to discover "Thick as a Brick", the whole one-song album thing and the ornate album art and all that stuff. Obviously, 45 minute songs don't get radio play, but my point is that this was a #1 album by what had become my favorite band, one of their iconic works, and it took me 2 years to know it existed. That's something I'd now know within days, if not minutes, of really digging a song I hear on the radio.

Different world.

*which is basically the only song in the entire canon that I avoid; God, am I sick of "Aqualung."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 4:14 PM
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I discovered Tull in the spring of '86 (I still remember riding in the car with my dad to a County baseball playoff game when "Aqualung"* came on)

So at that point the song was 15 years old. Somewhere on the internet there's a kid right now going "holy shit, guys, this song '...Baby One More Time' is AMAZING".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 4:20 PM
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Re: 251

Yeah, as a nascent music nerd, in my late teens, there were lots of bands or LPs I knew only from books. I had to rely on our local library, and friends. I was the only person I knew, for example, who liked soul music, and post-punk, and I only knew one other person who liked jazz. It wasn't until I moved to Glasgow and had access to good 2nd hand record shops, and cheap Fopp reissues, that I even heard lots of classic albums.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 4:22 PM
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Yes, I'll always remember that time I was driving in the car with my dad and Linkin Park came on.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 4:23 PM
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Also, according to the Grammys, Jethro Tull was not only not an obscure old band, but the best heavy metal band of 1989.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 4:24 PM
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255: As my 9th-grade teacher said the day after that awards ceremony, "I didn't know flutes counted as heavy metal."


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 4:25 PM
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@212: Do I know you?

Only in that I've been commenting at unfogged for a while.

@194: Actually, have any teen movies of that ilk (sweet and/or thoughtful, not gross-out) stuck since "Mean Girls"?

Having gone to high school in the 80s (graduated the same year as LB), when I think "teen movie" I tend to think of maudlin John Hughes type of stuff more than gross out sex comedies like American Pie or Porky's. Did the success of American Pie kill off the maudlin teen movie genre?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 4:33 PM
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On babies and gender: Alex (1 a few weeks back) loves dancing, cleaning, and helping with the cooking.* So far the nursery staff seem to think those are all praiseworthy in a wee boy.

* and daredevil fearless climbing and furniture moving/dragging of heavy stuff, and bashing shit together.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 4:41 PM
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1987, Rob. I still have the tour t-shirt.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 4:59 PM
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I like the flute song. Unless there's another one than the one I'm thinking of.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 5:01 PM
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Jethro Tull is the thinking man's Eddie Money.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 5:25 PM
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I got the sense that Perks is a phenomenon, maybe not Sixteen Candles-level but pretty widely loved.

My parents watched it and recommended it to me, so it can't be too obscure (and I appreciate that this thread reminds me that I should watch it at some point).

Also, don't forget that "Heroes" had a revival in the '90s when IIRC Foo Fighters covered it for a soundtrack and then maybe someone else used Bowie's version in something else. It was a distinctly more minor part of the Bowie canon in 1990 than it was in 2000.

I don't know about the timing, but I wonder if the fall of the Berlin Wall made it topical again?

SC: You know, I love "Landslide," but I felt like once I had the footage and when I saw Emma (Watson) standing up in the back of that truck, it was so terrific. ... I had to find something that was grand and "Heroes" is ... so cathartic and so we just had to go with it.

I was idly trying to think of songs that could fit this role (not having seen the movie) and it reminded me that I like "King And Queen Of America" as a song which is big and bold, but clearly targeted at people who feel alienated. Though I see it was released in 1989, so it might have been too recent, relative to the movie, to fit.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 5:30 PM
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Is this when she went through the Fort Pitt tunnel?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 5:38 PM
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262.last: Not sure I had ever heard that one before.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 5:38 PM
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LA based people, anyone been to the Agn├Ęs Varda show, how was it? Contemplating weekend trip to visit.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:02 PM
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Does 263 make any sense? I don't have a very good memory of the parts of Jethro Tull that don't involve flutes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:02 PM
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262.last: Not sure I had ever heard that one before.

I like it; I think it's a well-done example of a certain sort of 80s sound -- glamorous and chilly. You could use it to set the mood for a Shadowrun game, it draws from the same cultural mood that Cyberpunk did.

I also think that, compared to the bigger hits by the Eurythmics, it's better produced. It sounds really good turned up loud on a good system, which can't be said of many songs that you'd think of as 80s classics.

Going back to the gender thread, I also think of "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves" as an example supporting the idea that the 80s were less pink and sparkly.

This is a song to celebrate
The conscious liberation
Of the female state

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:09 PM
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Boy do NickS and I come at music from different places.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:14 PM
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Lynn Hill, probably the only woman who ever had a reasonable claim on being the best rock climber in the world, was state champion at gymnastics as a high school student. If you look at footage of her climbing you can see that she is a) tiny, b) pure muscle, c) insanely coordinated and flexible.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:32 PM
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264: It's like you don't download anything.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:34 PM
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To the original post topic and more seriously to 244 -- what about "girls talk sooner, boys walk sooner"? This is the folk wisdom of my parenting cohort and it is borne out by comparing tales of Φ to Alex ibn ttaM, which is enough science for me.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:37 PM
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271: Zardoz was the first to crawl (and walk) in her daycare cohort (crawling at 6m3w, walking at 9mo3w or so) so presumably she is trans*. We will see when she starts talking (hasn't yet).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:46 PM
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My son didn't walk until 14 months. Nor did I. He was an early talker. I don't know if I was or not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 6:51 PM
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Back to (roughly) the topic of the OP, I put a relevant photo in the Flickr pool.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:04 PM
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The Calabat is just shy of a year and has about six or seven words that he uses consistently (his passive vocabulary is much larger and starting to weird me out.) He was babbling at about five months or so, but he started pulling up to stand only a couple of weeks ago, and he didn't crawl until he was almost nine months old. I think he likes to procrastinate on his motor skills until just before the doctor's appointment.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:18 PM
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Selah, at 20 months, can probably produce about 100 words or phrases, though they're mostly names and she's only starting to put them together into meaningful units. (She now gets to take advantage of the youngest-child stereotype of having her needs met by people who understand and are paying attention to her whenever she even starts to ask.) I have no idea what normal is and do know she's the most verbally advanced in her daycare age group, but it's just amazing to see it all coming together.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:21 PM
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Boy do NickS and I come at music from different places.

And yet, we can agree on Cindy Kallet (actually, I see that in that thread I was oddly ambivalent about Cindy Kallet. I don't know why, she's great).

264: It's like you don't download anything.

I'm glad you remembered. I continue to feel fondly for that particular mix.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 8:20 PM
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We watched Perks of Being a Wallflower Tonight. I hadn't known it was a period piece until the comments above. That was definitely my high school milieu -- I remember the excitement of getting to ninth grade and being discovered by the tenth grade "rebel chicks." I was much less of an introvert than Charlie, but still somewhat awed and cowed by being around these arty, punky girls who weren't that much older but were years ahead of me in terms of self-expression.

But yeah, "Heroes" wouldn't have been that hard to find. There's a script called Mixtape that has a mix of very obscure music passed down to the main character by her mother as the McGuffin -- I read it a few years ago, before I had Spotify, and I could only find a few of the songs online.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:35 PM
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277.last: the MP3s are worn smooth in my iTunes.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 10:37 PM
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Alex was pulling himself up to stand and crawling around 6 months or even earlier, walking holding furniture not much later. He was very mobile early. But walking freely was more like a few tentative steps around 9-10 months, short walks (across the room, say) at about 11, and really only recently proper walking. Zardoz is at least a few weeks or more earlier on the walking than he was.

That said, he has gone from a bit of walking a month ago, to being able to toddle freely for quite long distances pretty quickly. He'll walk back and forth around the flat for ages, or cross the street and walk to the swings if you hold his hand.

He isn't a talker though. Started babbling quite late, although he does babble now he still isn't a constant babbler. And at a bit under 13 months I think he only has one recognisable word he deploys regularly in the right context ('apple') and a couple of others (forms of Mummy and Daddy) that he uses a bit but not consistently. Several of his wee friends are much better talkers.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:35 PM
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I don't think it's gendered. But I do buy the idea that kids tend to be walkers or talkers. I come home and ask about the day (if there have been visitors) and I get 'Dylan (his chatty wee friend) sat on the rug, and Alex and Ella (another holy terror) moved all the furniture.'


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 11:44 PM
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The way I've heard 281 phrased is that the motor growth spurt and the verbal growth spurt generally happen in turns, and either one can come first.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 12:48 AM
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Wait, babies can move furniture? How much do they charge?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 1:08 AM
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Nothing, but they choose the end room design.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 1:11 AM
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270: Heavily I sigh, as many/most of those links are dead. I believe that thread was during a one month period when I literally didn't have time even to look at Unfogged - from (roughly) the Monday before Thanksgiving until maybe 12/20, Thanksgiving was my only day off, and most of my work days were long. Tremendously productive, and I got paid a ton, but my partner and I were fired from the job anyway (fall guys for the biggish name architect that hadn't been working diligently).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 3:08 PM
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285:

Are they going to use any of your work? Was the decision made because the timetable was slipping, or does the project have real flaws that will be hard to fix? Cost?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 3:21 PM
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We were producing the construction drawings from their sketch designs. We were at ~50% when they paid us to go away and leave the drawings behind. The project was completed and is very successful, but my understanding is that they never did get their shit together, and that someone else on the team finished the job, at some delay.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 3:53 PM
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287: Tell us about how much to design a house from scratch. Something mid-sized. Always wanted to know.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 4:20 PM
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Depends if you need bathrooms.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 4:22 PM
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289: what kind of disgusting hobo are you? Of course I don't need bathrooms! Pooping and peeing inside is gross. What is the mountain laurel for, anyway?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 4:24 PM
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what kind of disgusting hobo are you?

Worst Buzzfeed quiz ever.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-19-14 9:45 PM
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My daughter decided she was Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes for a while, about 8 months I guess. She was a boy since Calvin's a boy, but it wasn't clear if that was all or she wanted to be a boy generally. She wanted a boy haircut and as it went on boy underwear and everything, but then one day she just changed her mind! I wrote about it here. Even our western friends were iffy, although her school was surprisingly OK. I think she would have done worse going M-->F.


Posted by: Belle Waring | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 7:51 PM
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291: "11 Lessons Goldman Sachs Learned From Disgusting Hobos--And You Can Too"


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 7:58 PM
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I think she would have done worse going M-->F

Probably, but I wonder if anybody here has ever known this to happen? Boys do get policed a lot even at very young ages; I remember a lot of concern from teachers when I was washing dolls in preschool, as I recounted here recently. I'm sure full on cross-dressing would be very alarming to lots of people, and it's hard to imagine even tolerant parents being able to fight off all the questions.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 8:14 PM
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I haven't known anyone with a kid like that who consistently cross-dressed M-->F. I'd like to think I'd be OK with it. My older daughter is introducing a ballot measure at their (new) school that would come up for a vote in the next school year allowing each student to choose whether he or she wants the boys or girls uniform, or just the top or just the bottom of either uniform. She was inspired partly by an article she saw me reading on a girl turned way from her prom for wearing a tux, and partly by Calvin's desired uniform choices. I'll be interested to see if it passes and how many students take it up. I think tons of girls will go for the shorts vs the skirt thing they have now (a skort I suppose, but looks like a kilt-type skirt). It would be brave to go for the reverse, I hope someone would feel the school was welcoming enough. My daughter says the ballot measure will explicitly include this option.


Posted by: Belle Waring | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 8:45 PM
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I'd have a low opinion of anyone who wouldn't support this, but can't think of many examples I've seen of boys who'd want to do it. I've known boys who played with dolls--collected would be a better term--but I don't know if I'd say they played with them the same way. I remember dressing and even diaper-changing my sister's dolls, but at that age you want to try anything; it's all play anyhow.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but that it's outside my experience. I'd be very curious to know such a child, actually, and hear him talk.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 9:02 PM
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291 made me laugh.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 9:22 PM
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or just the top or just the bottom of either uniform

I wouldn't expect Porky Piggin' it to get approved no matter how many signatures she collects.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 9:25 PM
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298: That's just because you're a prudish American.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 9:28 PM
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They do things differently in Enlightened Bottomless Asia.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 9:29 PM
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What do I know? I'm just a disgusting hobo.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-20-14 9:30 PM
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I don't know a kid that's dressed consistently M -> F, but at least two boys ~3 who love to wear dresses and skirts to daycare.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 3:39 AM
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Until about WWI, prosperous toddlers of either gender were dressed in little gowns, if the pictures that come down to us can be taken as typical. Gender-specific infant wear belongs to a later period, with different anxieties.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-21-14 6:42 AM
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Until about WWI, prosperous toddlers of either gender were dressed in little gowns, if the pictures that come down to us can be taken as typical. Gender-specific infant wear belongs to a later period, with different anxieties.

Depends on the age of the toddler/infant. The big step in a small boy's life in 1800 or thereabouts was "breeching" - out of gowns/dresses and into smallclothes, i.e. small versions of adult men's clothes.

"11 Lessons Goldman Sachs Learned From Disgusting Hobos--And You Can Too"

A hobo comments: "Goldman Sachs evidently put a lot of work into disgusting me and my fellow hobos, and I'm glad to hear there was some point to it."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 2:20 AM
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