Let's have a new holiday -- National Let Your Boy Be a Girl Day -- that lets boys be, well, girls for a day. That's right. I said it out loud. In a national forum. Online, where it will NEVER die.
Because every other day of the year they have to make sure they are NOT girls. Because if a boy acts like a girl the national press gets involved, the jihadists that weaponize their sons will crush us, and the rate of the sun's gradual extinction will speed up exponentially.
Of course, girls get to act like boys everyday, so they don't need a holiday. A girl's imagination and life would be a pretty barren place if she didn't learn from an early age how to empathize with being a boy. For instance, girls get to:
- Get totally pumped about going to movies. After all, for girls and women going to the movies is a constant and repeated act of imagining being a boy or man since more than 70 percent of movies made have a male lead and almost all movies but a handful fail the Bechdel Test. (Which, by the way, isn't a "feminist movie" test, just a measure of the presence in story-telling of the presence of women who are characters in their own right.)
- Be athletic in ways they weren't allowed to be just 30 yeas ago (and be aggressive about it). Despite the gains made by phenomenal women athletes, professional sports is still clearly a male dominated field in terms of audience, coverage and money. Girls get to not only play sports, but also idolize almost exclusively male football, hockey, baseball and soccer heroes with the rare (i.e. Women's World Cup) heroines thrown in.
- Cross-dress everyday
- Grow their hair as long or as short as they want and decorate it
- Indulge in imaginative cross-gendered play. Girls love male superheroes, idolize boy book protagonists, and on Halloween can buy boy stuff from the most popular catalogs, in case they want to be just regular firefighters and not sexy firefighters.
- Ignore the weirdly out-dated, hyper-stereotyped Toys R Us aisles and explore a broad spectrum of toys, from Barbies to Legos, vacuums ('cause every girl wants one, right) to remote-controlled rockets.
- Be, despite the oppression of pink (check this out), comparatively free from the color-coding we subject our children to. Girls can wear pretty much any color they want, although in general, a whole lot of people would sleep better if they just stuck to the warmer tones, pinks and reds.
Boys, not so much. Let's reverse those examples by gender. Hmmmm. Not working for you, huh? I mean, really, boys wearing skirts everyday? Sissies. How about a gaggle of boys eagerly awaiting the next "girl movie," let's say a Wonder Woman summer blockbuster, wearing awesome gold wrist bands that repel bullets, kinda the way girls wear Harry Potter glasses? Puffsters.
I don't think so.
Now admittedly, little girls regularly run into problems when they violate hard and fast gender rules and the adults and kindergarteners that enforce them, like the girl who loved her Star Wars lunchbox but was, after five days, shamed into wanting to abandon it for something pink. But at least she got a day of unadulterated fun before school started. Very few boys would even consider, for example, seriously taking a My Little Pony lunchbox to school. By kindergarten they already have a sense of the real social penalties involved.
But, if we had an actual day devoted to boys acting like girls?
Well. That would solve a lot of problems for everyone. It would be a modern version of a medieval rich/poor role reversal Charivari, except for boys and girls and without the discordant pot clanking. So cool, huh?
On that day, boys could be liberated from the oppressive pressure to be so stridently masculine and do "girly" things without the treat of ridicule, shame or bullying, something that on the other 364 days of the year only the most supremely confident, devil-may-care, charismatic boys get to do.
Now, to be sure, many boys might not opt to go to town on BAG (the acronym for the short version of the holiday: Boys are Girls Day) by doing scarily subversive, culture-threatening, and potentially soul imperiling things, like painting their nails, or dressing in pink and sparkly dresses, like "Princess Boy." But there are some other things that some might boys might want to do, if given the freedom to be themselves.
On a day devoted to breaking the boy code a boy could, for example:
- Get a pedicure with his mom (the way a girl can go to a football game with her dad)
- Openly and visibly demonstrate compassion, like growing hair for Locks of Love without getting suspended from school
- Dress up like a female cartoon character, without it being debated on the national news
- Pretend to be a nurse (sorry, still 94.5 percent still women) or a teacher (79 percent of whom are women, to the detriment of boys and girls)
- Wear something that's not blue, green, gray or brown
- Not be consumed with recess anxiety because he's non-athletic and would rather play a quiet game
- Carry a Dora the Explorer backpack without it being a recognized symbol of humiliation
- Dye their hair or grow it long without, literally, risking being bullied to death
- Cry, not keep a stiff upper lip, not brush it off
- Make GirlMiis on their Wiis (one of my daughters has a BoyMii because she loves his fashion options), which would allow them to be more comfortable seeking help when they need it both on-line and off.
- Do fun "girl" stuff -- like, say, sewing or hair styling, having tea or choreographing a playground dance.
Hard to swallow, I know. These are small, everyday things with big, lifelong personal and societal consequences.
Now, it wouldn't be nice to deny girls the ability to participate entirely, so on the actual holiday girls who realize early that being perceived as "girly" is bad can do things like wear ribbons in their hair and Shiloh Jolie Pitt can shop for boy clothes and dress any way she likes, without it making the cover of every major sleazy gossip magazine in the world.
And, the best part?
Well, since it's just one day, gender fascists won't have to get their knickers tied up in knots worrying about the boys being... (shh)... gay. And the people who are psychically tortured by the horrors of a potentially feminized America can go see a 24-hour True Grit movie marathon and, when they're done, grab a quick bite and pretend the day never happened. Fun for all!!!
Here's the thing (I am officially removing my tongue from the side of my cheek), I know that we aren't going to make a national holiday (sigh). That would be naïve and utopian of me... like living in Sweden. But, really? Come on people. There's not a limited supply of maleness or femaleness on the planet. Nor is there some white-bearded zero-sum-gender divine dude in the sky tallying up tutus and frogs. Every instance of the feminine in a boy doesn't have to be a denigration of his masculinity. The opposite is already true for girls. In fact, it helps them to thrive and explore many dimensions of who they want to be. Case in point: The awesome Kicking Queen, Brianna Amat, who yesterday was crowned homecoming queen during halftime of a football game where she kicked the winning field goal.
This is not about whether a child is gay or straight, bi or not. It's about accepting a wider, more balanced definition of what it means to be human for everyone, a definition that includes and celebrates both male and female aspects equally.
Follow Soraya Chemaly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/schemaly