Dr. Phil Spreads Gender Confusion

February 25th, 2011

Guest Slap

I’m super happy to present today’s guest author-slash-illustrator for the second time this week! Premee is an environmental specialist and native Albertan, proving once and for all that not all correspondance coming out of my home province is hate mail.

A boy plays around with homoerotic action figures while his parents feel relieved that he's finally playing with boys stuff.

So the ruggedly testosterone-tacular hunk of mustachioed maleness that is Dr. Phil recently suggested that a mom not contribute to her five year-old son’s “confusion” by buying him “girl toys.” He tried to soften the blow by saying he knows that toys usually attributed to the opposite gender don’t usually cause teh gay, but he still deserves a slap, even if I have to get up on a stepladder to deliver it.

Because this is the culture, people. This is the dominant paradigm that says discussion of gayness and gender norms must be uncomfortable and Other. This is Dr. Phil, a respected and well-known public figure, saying, “I just don’t want to confuse this little boy” with a wink and a nudge, and having everyone know exactly what he means, even if he prefaces it with a “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” He’s saying that there is something off about a boy preferring “girl toys” and that it’s something that should be subtly but coercively remedied. He’s saying you should take away your kid’s choice to be, and express, who they are if it looks like they might be something you won’t like. He’s saying that if it looks like you might have to step up to the plate and help guide a child along what might be a path of same-sex attraction, or a path of genuine gender dissatisfaction, or just a kid not neatly fitting the expected norm—you can just make things easier on yourself by ignoring it and filling the house with toys that the manufacturers have marketed to the gender you assume your kid is going to be. And he is making it OK for everyone to hide their prejudice under a cloak of pretended concern.

Lazy, Dr. Phil. Lazy, harmful, and wrong. Not cool. And heck, for all you know, it might just backfire.