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Mark O'Connell, L.C.S.W.


Boys Will Be Boys, At Last!: Thank You, Joel Stein

Posted: 07/17/2012 2:53 pm

Dear Mr. Stein,

Many thanks to you, sir, for your considered thoughts on gender correctness in last week's New York Times' refreshingly forward-thinking Room for Debate special, "Are Modern Men Manly Enough?" Your segment, "Rediscover Your Inner Don Draper," is inspiring. It's an exhilarating relief to know that "boys will be boys" (masculine, car-loving, toilet-fixing, lady-killing hunters) if parents get out of their own overly empathic, feminist-mind-controlled way.

The evidence you've provided -- your son William's unequivocal lack of interest in dolls, and his unadulterated, manly instinct to push a jar of mustard around like a car -- is a blessed sign that this must be true for all children who are born male. Phew! We'll all sleep better now knowing that boys and girls will behave according to the natural order if we eliminate all of this thinking, talking, theorizing, and parental attunement business.

I must say, when I first saw you speak in a television interview, I was thrown by how comfortable you seemed with your appealingly effeminate wit and charm, which may have contributed to your success as a writer (allowing you the platform to share your thoughts on the crucial subject of gender conformity with The New York Times' readership, for example), but I doubt it's ever made you popular with the ladies.

My shoulders have since dropped, however, now that I see you're actually quite anxious and insecure about possessing those qualities (so sorry your "feminist mom" messed you up this way) and that writing for you is merely a sublimation of your desire to be a macho-sleaze, like Mad Men's Don Draper. Right on, man! I feel you now; you'd much prefer to be alienated from your family, rely on liquor instead of emotional connectedness, cheat on your wife, and fix sinks (like a man) than effetely entertain people with wit and words (like a pussy, a little bitch).

I'm not alone in thanking you for the gift of your wisdom; I am joined by a multitude of real men who have been criticized for attacking -- in some cases killing -- deviants who unabashedly disturbed the orderliness of the gender binary that you so clearly and comfortingly describe in your article.

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney can now feel absolved from pummeling and forcefully shearing the distractingly ladylike hair of his high-school classmate. Brandon McInerney can now rest easy, trusting that shooting his classmate Lawrence King to death -- for wearing tauntingly feminine outfits to school and hitting on him -- was a reasonably natural act. Dwight DeLee can feel justified in the shooting death of Lateisha Green, who had been disobedient in trying to live as the opposite gender of the one that birth had prescribed. The two police officers who lost their jobs for the beating of Duanna Johnson, who anguished them by transgressing gender lines, can be vindicated, as can Duanna's murderer, who remains uncaught.

You must also already be receiving loads of Twitter love from the killers of the following gender complicators: Angie Zapata, Sanesha Stewart, Dana A. Larkin, Erika Keels, Nireah Johnson, Bella Evangelista, Emonie Spaulding, Gwen Araujo, Fred Martinez Jr., Rita Hester, Brandon Teena, and Venus Xtravaganza, just to rattle off a few.

I also wouldn't be surprised if you were mentioned in the sermon of North Carolina pastor Sean Harris this past Sunday, as your words validate his divine call for parents to punch their sons who "act girly" and to "break their limp wrists."

Thank you once again, Mr. Stein. I wish you the best in your quest to shed your nerd's clothing and reveal the true Superman within. I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, albeit not in an "exaggerated or theatrical" fashion, as that would even bar me from participating in competitive cheerleading these days, but in a manly, Braveheart sort of way.

I do ask one favor of you, though: Please refrain from having any more children. This could increase your odds of having a boy who gravitates toward dolls, or a girl who likes to make cars out of mustard jars. Dirtying your data like that would mean we'd have to return to the chaos of not really knowing who a child is until they show us, and you've currently rescued us from all that bother.


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