This post is probably going to be a long one, but if you can bear with me and make it to the end, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
This post is a bit of a random mash of thoughts I’ve had this week, but somehow they’re all closely related. Stick with it!
My husband and I recently watched the ITV drama, Butterfly.
Butterfly follows the journey of 11 year old Max who reveals to his family that he has Gender Identification Disorder. Put simply, Max was born a boy, but he feels that his true gender is female.
Max wishes to transition into a female. His mum, Vicki, played by Anna Friel, is supportive of Max, but having had no experience of this before, she struggles to know what to do for the best.
Max’s dad, Stephen, played by Emmett J. Scanlan, openly admits that he struggles with Max’s identity as a female. This sees Stephen leave the family home, and his relationship with both Max and Vicki is severely tested.
First off, I want to say that I think ITV did a fantastic job in approaching this subject. It’s not something that many people are aware of, and I think raising this issue is important.
Whilst many parents would naturally struggle with the idea of their child wanting to transition, I think ITV were right to show both sides of how parents can feel in this situation.
Vicki was absolutely desperate to support her child, to do the right thing, and even though her actions meant Max was temporarily removed from her care, the audience always knew that Vicki was on Max’s side and was just trying to do the right thing for him.
Stephen on the other hand was dealing with grief. The loss of a son. By accepting that Max wanted to become Maxine, he was effectively loosing his son. In the early days Max would only ever be Maxine at home with his mum, and when with his dad, Max would wear boys clothes and play football with his dad.
It’s a really tender subject, especially at just 11 years old, but I think it was dealt with well and shows the audience that this is a reality for many parents, and at the end of the day Max is still a human being with feelings just like the rest of us, so why shouldn’t he transition into his true self?
(For support on this, visit the Mermaids UK website)
Earlier this week, my husband wrote a blog post called Little Things Annoy Me: Here is One Such Situation.
The gist of the post is that when my husband and I took our twin girls shopping we had to buy clothes for one of our girls in the boys section.
Now, our twins are very different. M is very girly, loves to wear dresses and play with Barbie dolls. R is less girly and would rather wear a Star Wars jumper with jeans and play with superhero figures.
Absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. However, R does prefer to wear typically what many would call ‘boys clothes’. As such we tend to buy her clothes in the boys section.
The thing that annoyed my husband wasn’t just that the girls clothing department severely lacked clothes any other colour than pink, it was also the fact that inside the Christmas jumper R had chosen, the label said ‘Urban Boys’.
Now this jumper, pictured above, was in the boys section. Firstly I do question why it couldn’t have gone into the girls section as well. I mean it’s just a blue jumper with Santa and a dinosaur on. Should girls not wear blue or like dinosaurs?
Anyway, what my husband was saying is that he’d like to banish girls and boys sections in shops, and just have one kids section. John Lewis is one such shop that has actually got rid of boys and girls labels in their clothing, and have also done away with the separate sections in stores.
Quoting information from this article in the Independent, John Lewis said:
“The clothing style hasn’t changed – you’ll still find floral dresses and skirts, but the retailer is simply proving the point that they can be worn by both girls and boys.
They’ve also launched a new unisex clothing line for children, featuring dinosaur print dresses and spaceship tops.
Caroline Bettis, the head of childrenswear at John Lewis, said: “We do not want to reinforce gender stereotypes within our John Lewis collections and instead want to provide greater choice and variety to our customers, so that the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear.”
Personally I think is great news. Children have enough to deal with without having gender stereotypes forced upon them. Many girls grow up believing they should wear pink, they should wear dresses and pretty high heels, that they should be delicate and fragile, while many boys believe they should never cry, show emotion or be weak. This is just reinforced in some shops that only ever stock pink for girls and blue for boys etc.
Not everyone will agree with this, and I accept that. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but don’t be a d*ck about it.
Just because this issue isn’t relevant to you, doesn’t mean that it’s irrelevant to everyone. For us, it’s a topic that’s actually quite important. As I’ve already mentioned our twin girls have different tastes, and for me it’s about teaching them that they don’t have to fall in line with gender stereotypes. Just because you’re a girl doesn’t mean you have to wear the pink, frilly clothes in the girls section, and just because you’re a boy doesn’t mean you have to wear the typical blue clothes in the boys section.
This moves me onto bullying.
I accept that some people will think that those who want to get rid of boys and girls sections in shops are considered to be ‘snowflakes’. Someone who is perceived to be over-emotional and easily offended. Again I accept that everyone is entitled to their opinion.
You could look at the other end of the spectrum and say that those who are opposed to one giant kids section instead of separate boys and girls sections could be considered narrow minded, oppressive and ‘old fashioned’, possibly sending a generation of children back in time to where women stay home and men go to work.
However, what I don’t accept is bullying. Regardless of your opinion of someone else’s opinion, try to act like a grown up.
Just because you don’t agree with someone else’s opinion doesn’t give you the right to bully them. Yes, I’m talking about a specific blogger, his followers and their ‘mob mentality’ attitude.
One person gets riled up at another persons opinion, and their followers go along with it, seemingly to impress or ‘stay on side’ with the blogger opposing their opinion.
This person is well known as a troll, and a bully, and if I’m honest, I just don’t understand why they’re like this, why they’ve taken a disliking to my husband, amongst many, many other bloggers, and why they feel the need to just be a downright unpleasant person.
Not only that, but this person really needs to look at themselves in the mirror and ask why so many people are calling them a bully. If one person calls you a bully, then perhaps they’re being over-sensitive, but when multiple people repeatedly call you a bully, I really think you need to take a good, hard look at yourself, your actions and the way you behave.
In addition I have to say that this person knows nothing about my husband, nor me and our family. It’s just their perception of us. They’ve never met us in real life, and as such they no nothing about us, what we’ve been through and endured, and they never will. However, they really do need to think carefully about their actions. Bullying in any form has serious implications on peoples mental health.
I’m the kind of person who tries to look on the bright side. To be positive, to be kind to others, to be rational and show empathy. Life is too short to bash one another, trust me, I know, (just read this post when it’s published in two days time, entitled ‘Growing Old is a Privilege denied to many’.)
They won’t change. They never will, and personally I don’t care because as the old saying goes, what goes around, comes around.
What do you think?