NY Times Magazine Asks: “What’s So Bad About a Boy Who Wants to Wear a Dress?”

The New York Times’ quest for tolerance has taken a lunatic turn. A contributing author for New York Times Magazine is now pushing for boys who want to wear women’s clothing to be allowed to do so, in the name of gender fluidity.

The New York Times Magazine published a 5,500-word celebration of boys breaking traditional gender boundaries. Ruth Padawer, a professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism, wrote a long August 8 piece with the provocative title “What’s So Bad about a Boy Who Wants to Wear a Dress?” She then proceeded to attempt to convince readers that nothing was wrong with that with a litany of examples of young boys happily wearing “girls” clothing despite the skepticism of queasy parents and the bullying of intolerant individuals.

Padawer began by telling about two parents sending an e-mail to other parents at their son’s preschool, which stated that their son “has been gender-fluid for as long as we can remember, and at the moment he is equally passionate about and identified with soccer players and princesses, superheroes and ballerinas (not to mention lava and unicorns, dinosaurs and glitter rainbows).”

Their e-mail, of course, assumes that gender is fluid and the idea of “‘that middle space’ between traditional boyhood and traditional girlhood” is correct. This worldview was hammered home again and again by Padawer, who wrote: “But the parents of the boys in the middle space argue that gender is a spectrum rather than two opposing categories, neither of which any real man or woman precisely fits.”

And Padawer made it very clear that she supports the idea of “that middle space,” writing: “As much as these parents want to nurture and defend what makes their children unique and happy, they also fear it will expose their sons to rejection.” At another point, she made her position even clearer: “Moreover, the visibility of transgender people – be it for office or tangoing on “Dancing With the Stars” – has provided an opening for those who fall between genders.” Padawer also gave a shout-out to doctors who claimed “gender nonconformity” was normal, writing: “Clinicians who oppose traditional treatments contend that significant gender nonconformity is akin to left-handness [sic]: unusual but not unnatural.”

Padawer quoted more than 10 separate voices from various backgrounds supporting the notion of “gender fluidity,” such as: a blogger and mother who wrote: “It might make your world more tidy to have two neat and separate gender possibilities, but when you squish out the space between, you do not accurately represent reality,” University of California psychologist Diane Ehrensaft, who declared: “There’s a lot more privilege to being a man in our society. When a boy wants to act like a girl, it subconsciously shakes our foundation, because why would someone want to be the lesser gender?,” and a boy who asserted “No, I don’t want to be a girl. I just want to wear girl stuff.”

The one quote that Padawer did cite opposed to this madness was from a Culture and Media Institute article about a transgender-promoting J. Crew ad. The quote was exactly eight words long: “behind the facade of liberal, transgendered identity politics.” Padawer did not even bother to reference the author of the quote, merely citing “one commentator.”

The author, so hell-bent on tolerance, could perhaps have entertained the idea of quoting experts who might object to boys wearing girl’s clothing. But the one thing the proponents of radical redefinitions of gender cannot tolerate is a view contrary to their own.

Padawer’s piece ended with a typical parable of bullying overcome by open-minded tolerance: “Toward the end of the first week of kindergarten, Alex showed up in class wearing hot-pink socks — a mere inch of a forbidden color. A boy in his class taunted, “Are you a girl?” Alex told his parents his feelings were so hurt that he couldn’t even respond. In solidarity, his father bought a pair of pink Converse sneakers to wear when he dropped Alex off at school.

Alex’s teacher, Mrs. C., jumped in, too. During circle time, she mentioned male friends who wore nail polish and earrings. Mrs. C. told them that when she was younger, she liked wearing boys’ sneakers. Did that make her a boy? Did the children think she shouldn’t have been allowed to wear them? Did they think it would have been O.K. to laugh at her? They shook their heads no. Then she told them that long ago, girls weren’t allowed to wear pants, and a couple of the children went wide-eyed. “I said: ‘Can you imagine not being able to wear pants when you wanted to? If you really wanted to wear them and someone told you that you couldn’t do that just because you were a girl? That would be awful!’” After that, the comments in the classroom about Alex’s appearance pretty much stopped.

It took Alex several weeks to rouse his courage again. And then, about once a week, he would pull on his pink socks and sparkle kitten sneakers and head boldly off to kindergarten.”

Padawer is no stranger to writing controversial pieces on social issues. In August 2011, she wrote another long piece titled “The Two-Minus One Pregnancy,” which examined the practice of selective reduction, where women with multiple pregnancies choose to abort one or two of their children in multiple-birth pregnancies.

With this latest article, Padawer has sought to stretch the bounds of gender norms – not to mention common sense.