Finally getting around to reading this article. So well written, so many good points. Here are my favorite.
After speculating a little on the biological causes, the author throws a curveball:
Whatever biology’s influence, expressions of masculinity and femininity are culturally and historically specific.
The touchy subject of the double standard is clearly addressed:
That’s because girls gain status by moving into “boy” space, while boys are tainted by the slightest whiff of femininity. “There’s a lot more privilege to being a man in our society,” says Diane Ehrensaft, a psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who supports allowing children to be what she calls gender creative. “When a boy wants to act like a girl, it subconsciously shakes our foundation, because why would someone want to be the lesser gender?” Boys are up to seven times as likely as girls to be referred to gender clinics for psychological evaluations. Sometimes the boys’ violation is as mild as wanting a Barbie for Christmas. By comparison, most girls referred to gender clinics are far more extreme in their atypicality: they want boy names, boy pronouns and, sometimes, boy bodies.
And why is gender such a big deal? Well…
“People rely on gender to help understand the world, to make order out of chaos,” says Jean Malpas, who heads the Gender and Family Project at the Ackerman Institute in Manhattan. “It’s been a way of measuring someone’s well-being: ‘Are you adjusted? Do you fit? Or are you unhinged?’ The social categories of man/woman, boy/girl are fundamental, and when an individual challenges that by blurring the lines, it’s very disorienting at first. It’s as if they’re questioning the laws of gravity.”
Parents also learn from their children.
"In college I remember wondering why the femme gay guy wouldn’t just act more butch so people wouldn’t give him a hard time. I didn’t think it was right for people to give him a hard time, but I thought, Hey, you bring it on yourself. Now I know that’s wrong. My son showed me this is part of core identity, not something people just put on or take off. And it’s not their job to make sure we’re all comfortable.”