About Me

I’m a white woman, folklorist, mama, writer, teacher. I’m head over heels in love with this world, when it’s not making me furious.

Here are shortcuts to some of my favorite (or most popular) posts.

I have been interested in gender and sexuality (and sex!) ever since I can remember. Now I am parenting a son who pushes against society’s impossibly narrow parameters for masculinity, and I have the opportunity to revisit many earlier thoughts about gender from a new perspective. I have much cause to wonder — why are boys’ options so limited? How can we help our son live into himself with confidence and delight while also keeping him safe from a world where people tease boys for any behavior or appearance that might seem gay or feminine, especially when gay or feminine might mean anything from dancing, to playing the wrong instrument, to being too studious, to wearing the wrong color? What are the ramifications of declaring gentleness, beauty, creativity, and whimsy unmasculine for all boys and men? (And as the mama of a feisty, hotheaded daughter, I think about messages we give girls a lot, too.)

A couple things about me really influence this blog. For one thing, I have come to have big problems with our society’s penchant for binary positions, false dualities, and ideology in general. Rather than dealing with the world as it is, we often find ourselves dealing with preset ideas about the world. We’re pushed to “choose” between a few — usually two — positions: liberal or conservative? pro-life or pro-choice? Christian or not? boy or girl? I’m for richly describing our robust realities and then pondering their meanings, rather than starting with a list of meanings into which we try to stuff our lives.

A snowballing discussion has emerged about kids who live in this in-between space, often using terms like “gender variant,” “pink boys,” or “princess boys.” I am so grateful for this community, especially other parents! I also see these terms sometimes re-inscribing the gender binary they mean to interrogate. It may be that my son one day decides he falls on the feminine side of the gender continuum; it may also be that he always identifies as masculine. In my eyes, he is not “variant” to an accepted, stable definition of masculinity; rather, our skewed and unnatural definition of masculinity is faulty and artificially excises whole swaths of naturally occurring masculine expression. My blog is less about how my boy likes pink (though he does, oh, he does!) and more about putting the pink back into boyhood.

Secondly, one of my gifts in life is to see connections among seemingly disparate things. Sometimes having that complex web of interactions in my view can paralyze me – it seems too overwhelming to articulate! But when I’m able to, you’ll find that web sketched here, along with a belief that small things can make big meaning. Words matter, clothes matter — these seemingly little tools are the means by which cultural conditioning occurs.

Drop me a line!

13 Responses to About Me

  1. michele hughes says:

    I’d love to meet you…maybe I have. I go to Watts St.

  2. maddox says:

    “My blog is less about how my boy likes pink (though he does, oh, he does!) and more about putting the pink back into boyhood.”

    What a beautiful mission statement.

  3. Lisa says:

    I also have a boy, who loves pink, butterflies and rainbows–as well as space travel, video games, guns (unfortunately), architecture, aircraft carriers, and running, climbing and jumping. He is who he is, and, just like anyone, he like what he likes. The last time, a girl told him that pink is a girls color (It is actually girls who seem to have a problem with this), he calmly explained to her that although boys generally like cool colors (blue, green), he likes warm colors (red, pink), and that settled that.

  4. Marcia Goldstein says:

    When my son started wearing mostly pink several years ago as a teenager, he proudly told me “pink is the new black”.

  5. mrk says:

    my name is michael, i am 42 years old. i currently live in brazil, where i am forced to deal with the onslaught of macho brazilians… my solution………..a pink motorcycle….oh, i like girls and i look great in a dress…..

  6. Bravo! As the boy on the pink hair dye (SPLAT!) box and a long time pink advocate. I applaud your efforts and message. <3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAjTEJqxllM

  7. Sarah says:

    I just came across your blog from the NYT link. That was a brilliant article and so much of what you and the other parents said resonates with me and my princess-loving, pink-wearing, doll-playing, ballerina dancing, maybe-kind-of-spiderman-liking, funny, sweet, smart, 4-year-old. I look forward to perusing your blog!

  8. Chris says:

    I am a 22-year-old heterosexual male who grew up on Star Wars, action figures, baseball, and playing dress up whenever possible, sometimes putting on my mother’s high-heels, lipstick, and dresses. I am in the professional world of musical theater and almost all of my closest friends are female or gay. I have a reputation in my adult life for trying on dresses, wigs, jewelry, and putting on makeup whenever given the opportunity. I have painted my nails on several occasions. I never felt confused about my gender growing up and I have no insecurities about my masculinity now, but I am perpetually mistaken for a gay man wherever I go because I refuse to limit my personal identity and expression by the social norms and expectations of what perceived masculinity “should be.” My parents are loving and would support me no matter what I chose to identify myself as, but my dismissal of gender stereotypes altogether has been as disorienting for them as any stranger I meet. I sent them the article in the NY Times to help them understand.
    I just want to thank you for speaking up about the “middle area” of gender fluidity. Rejecting social conventions in favor of unrestricted expression of personal identity is an idea that runs deep to the core of who I am. It has been a difficult idea for many of my friends and family to understand and it has sometimes resulted in confusion, even discomfort in many people I meet. I know you focus more on gender fluidity in child development, but it can remain just as fluid into adulthood. I find so much comfort in your words and in your efforts to broaden the hearts and minds of the world. Thank you for speaking up for all of us.

  9. Megan says:

    I found your blog through the NYT article. I want to commend you for the open-minded, fair, KIND words you write here. We have far too much hate in this world, and it is wonderful to read your continuing story.

  10. Guillaumé says:

    Hello, (I don’t see your name anywhere)
    I recently had one of my unusual articles published in a local (Swellendam, South Africa) magazine.
    The article is called “for the times they are a changin”.
    The article explains that we are moving from one Age into
    the next Age, also that which is changing and is going to
    change. These changes are happening more and more
    rapidly.

    I have extracted a quote from the article

    “It is said that “Every civilisation contains the seeds of its-self destruction” We, in this civilisation have sown and carefully tended many seeds of our demise which are now, like the poison ivy, clinging and tugging at our ankles but upon analysis the reality, is that, it is at our necks and tightening.

    The Mayans
    It seems that the Mayans may have been correct, they foretold 21st December 2012 (well, this precise date may be so or not) as the beginning of a ‘New Age’. (Have you ever wondered why the term ‘New Age’ was coined relatively recently?) (I haven’t.)

    “Nothing will flourish unless it satisfies the values and tenets of the Age of Aquarius”
    Guillaumé 2009
    Our world will not come to an end, unless we allow it to do so – but our civilisation will.
    The time has come to usher in the new Age and it is closing in fast.”

    The important part her is the quote. I will reverse what it saying and put it like this “Everything that satisfies the Age of Aquarius will flourish and become accepted as being the right way.

    Without going too deeply I am saying that sexual universitality will become the accepted social norm.
    Homosexuality is so much more acceptable today than say 20 years ago. The pace for change is quickening.

    Your son is the new social norm.

    Those that don’t change and accept the new order are going to find it very and I mean very painful.

    The new Age will bring on an Androgynous society and we will become more social differences, integrated.
    I would like to send you the entire article as it holds much meaning for you and your son.

    I personally, am not in anyway homophobic; in fact I tell gay acquaintances that I am happy that you are gay, because you leave more for me.

    Guillaumé

  11. Jim says:

    Hi. Just saw the article in yesterday’s NYT Magazine. It’s terrific that you are who you are and that you are willing to get involved with others to give kind, thoughtful attention to this issue that is so critically important to so many similarly situated individuals (who are gender-nonconforming) and their family members and friends. Something that actually saved my life last year, when on the very brink of taking my life, was finding a therapist who recognized that I am one of those relatively rare individuals who has a split personality, one very male and the other one decidedly female, and that the only conflict is not between them, but in my failure to simply embrace both of them as they are and live accordingly as happily as I am able. I am the happiest I have been in more than 50 years — living as both Jim and Renee — and applaud those of you who are courageous parents and friends who ‘wait on their children’ to be who they discover themselves to be; and always happily so — for everyone, finally.

  12. Pingback: 2012 – Thank you, and Year in Review | Pink Is for Boys

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