Tyrades! By Danny Tyree
“And you knew who you were then/Goils were goils and men were men.”
Those words from the theme of TV’s “All In The Family” seem appropriate for the recent brouhaha over gender identity.
In case you haven’t heard, clothier J. Crew inadvertently started a pink stink with an ad campaign in which the company’s creative director (Jenna Lyons) was shown painting her young son Beckett’s toenails hot pink. Paired with media attention for a lad who insisted on dressing as Daphne (from Scooby-Doo) for Halloween and the cross-dressing self-styled “princess boy,” this was seen as evidence of a concerted effort to produce an army of transvestites, gays or sexually confused boys. It supposedly marks the end of Western Civilization or the arrival of the Apocalypse or at least a roadblock in our forefathers’ goal of G.I. Joe keeping Barbie barefoot and pregnant.
With McCarthy-like zeal, the “more traditional than thou” set brandishes secret documents purportedly showing that the plot goes deeper. Allegedly, the Forces of Evil have rewritten the old nursery rhyme to “Snips and snails and puppy dog tails.that’s what little boys are made of. And SHOW TUNES. We’ve got to have lots of SHOW TUNES.”
The J. Crew ad was clearly seen as part of an insidious conspiracy, not to sell clothing, but to turn red-blooded Americans into an androgynous, amorphous lump. Of course these were the same conspiracy theorists who also saw advertising icon Joe Camel not as a purveyor of cigarettes but as a veiled warning of 21st century water shortages and the need for a One World Government.
(Reasonable people are able to see the J. Crew ad as just a son having fun with his mother. My friend Dinsdale points out that the same could be said for Oedipus, but I try not to encourage him.)
The testosterone-charged pundits are part of a new “birther” movement. (“We don’t care if a candidate was born in Kenya. We want to know if he was born with a deer rifle in his hand and Budweiser in his umbilical cord!”)
Granted, laissez-faire parenting can go too far. Letting children be themselves is one thing, but I’m sure there are mothers who take a perverse pride in NUDGING their sons toward being “special.” (“Johnny, if the other kindergarteners decide to play ‘doctor,’ at least get your Pap smear results before you tell the teacher.”)
Childhood experimentation with sparkly things is probably just a phase, but I fear the macho posturing that galvanized with the “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche” craze will still be around even when mankind is a synthesis of flesh and machine. Some cyborg will be chanting, “Real men don’t use imported microchips.don’t use imported microchips.don’t use.”
I can only speak from personal experience. My seven-year-old son Gideon is sensitive and artistic and hug-oriented. Sometimes when I pick him up at daycare, he is wearing an apron or a pearl necklace or some other non-traditional accessory. Despite my sometimes muttering, “Someday me and that boy are going to have a real long talk,” he still enjoys roughhousing and joyfully anticipates someday marrying a WOMAN and fathering 17 children.
I hope no one introduces this little “sissy” to lipstick. Otherwise I may have to push the grandkids in a stroller while running with the bulls at Pamplona.
©2011 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes reader e-mail responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades”. Danny’s’ weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info on using columns, please email Cari Dawson Bartley at email@example.com or call 800 696 7561.