It’s still hard to break gender rules

by Louise

Interesting topic for discussion:

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82 thoughts on “It’s still hard to break gender rules

  1. It is interesting. There is a lot of pressure on girls for how they look, but there is also a much wider range of acceptable looks. And there is a very wide range of acceptable activities. The acceptable looks and activities are more narrow for boys. I’ve said before that there still isn’t a corresponding word for “tomboy” for boys who are interested in traditionally female things. The only word is “sissy”.

    We have friends who have a son who is a cheerleader. His parents had to pull him out of school (I think he’s a sophomore) this year and home school him because he was getting bullied so badly over it.

  2. My boys are both very nontraditional boys, and don’t conform to the norms. My oldest simply doesn’t care, but the younger boy feels very pressured and worries a lot about being nonconforming.

  3. “We have friends who have a son who is a cheerleader. His parents had to pull him out of school (I think he’s a sophomore) this year and home school him because he was getting bullied so badly over it.”

    That’s so sad. There is a boy cheerleader at my son’s school. He is openly gay (not that male cheerleaders are necessarily gay) and that was an issue when he was teaching swim lessons last summer. The parents of a kid he was teaching complained to the parks and rec head. The parks and rec head told the parent that the cheerleader was the best swim instructor the head had, and that if the parent wanted to take their kid elsewhere that was fine, but she wasn’t reassigning their kid to a different instructor.

    Granted, this is a very small community and we are short on talented people. Is the talent pool so deep in more populated areas that people can be cast aside because they are different in some way?

  4. My son also worries about conforming. He is concerned about wearing the right clothes, being in the right activities, whose family has the most expensive car, what type of boat the families have. etc. It is disconcerting as a parent, especially after having daughters who were much less concerned about conformity.

    DH and I have spent a huge amount of time trying to figure this out. DS’s friends’s parents are a half to full generation younger than us and we have wondered if that was the cause. From a young age, DS’s classmates have been aware of brands, styles, etc in a way that DH and I really had no interest in. Over the years, we have had many discussions about shoes that cost over $500, why I wouldn’t ever buy a Land Rover, how people with tons of money don’t necessarily flaunt it.

  5. Is the talent pool so deep in more populated areas that people can be cast aside because they are different in some way?

    I’d say in more populated areas people encounter more variety so they find it less threatening.

  6. DH and I have spent a huge amount of time trying to figure this out.

    Just try and avoid the totebag tendency to think there is anything wrong with wanting the finer things in life.

  7. “I’d say in more populated areas people encounter more variety so they find it less threatening.”

    I’m really not sure about that. I know ancedata doesn’t count for much, but in my own life, I have noticed that I get much more pushback for not following “traditional” gender roles when I deal with people from urban areas than from the rural ones.

    My most shocking in years, “what the heck did that guy just say” experience came earlier this year from someone from the SF Bay area. We were going over some inspection reports and he tells me to stay back at the office and type something while he goes out the field with DH. The inspection was on my farm, not DH and my farm.

    We acquiesced, because I needed the certification and I didn’t want to make the guy mad, but it was shocking, and every time I related the experience to colleagues/neighbors, they were both surprised that someone would say something like that and also not surprised that a progressive person would say something like that.

    I also note that when my son’s dog was killed last year, there were expressions of condolence and acknowledgement of my son’s grief and sadness.

  8. I know ancedata doesn’t count for much, but in my own life, I have noticed that I get much more pushback for not following “traditional” gender roles when I deal with people from urban areas than from the rural ones.

    It could also be that rural California is culturally a lot more like rural Vermont than it’s like rural Georgia or Alabama.

  9. Or…the very surprising totebag notion that there’s something wrong with aspiring to be more than totebag upper-middle class.

  10. Rhett on November 21, 2018 at 11:07 am said:
    DH and I have spent a huge amount of time trying to figure this out.

    Just try and avoid the totebag tendency to think there is anything wrong with wanting the finer things in life.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting the finer things in life, but it is unseemly to flaunt them. Just because you have the $75K water ski boat doesn’t mean that you need to mention the price tag. DS and I had a reasonable discussion on why I would never buy a Land Rover. For the price of a Land Rover, I can buy a pool and and Sequoia. I want a pool much more than I want whatever goodies are in the Land Rover, and since DH is going to take whatever SUV I have into the fields I will be much less unhappy is he takes the Sequoia than a Land Rover, so Land Rover costs more and make me more unhappy. Can’t see any reason to ever buy one.

    As to flaunting wealth, in a diverse area, e.g. one percenters and kids on free lunch, it is not conducive to social harmony to flaunt wealth. Yes, some people live in mansions; they also need to follow the social norm of contributing significant charitable amounts, and doing this publicly. Anyone who can read a property ownership map and knows something about who the ownership names actually refer to can figure out who is really wealthy. There is really no need to flaunt it and it makes you look silly. One of the one percenters drove a Tahoe for years while her kids were in high school.

  11. Something else that I find interesting, and I wonder what the cause is – the dramatic surge in teens declaring they are transgender, without having shown any signs in childhood. In particular, the surge has been among girls. In the past, most transgender people were born male, and at some point in adulthood transition to female. I work with someone who did that, in fact. There are also the kids who are certain from preschool on that they are the other gender. But this is evidently something else – kids between 12 and 14, mostly girls, who decide they are the opposite sex and want to medically transition as quickly as possible. Evidently the numbers are going up dramatically in a number of Western countries. I wonder what is behind that – were there really that many transgender teens just waiting for puberty to declare? Or are girls feeling so pressured that they think life would be better as boys? Perhaps these teens are gay and think that is such an abhorrent idea that they should switch genders instead?

    “More fascinating still is the dramatic switch in natal gender being referred. Natal female referrals for gender dysphoria have grown from 42% of the total in 2009-2010 to 72% in 2017-2018.[1,2]

    “It has absolutely shifted,” says Davidson. “In the under-11-years referral group, the split is still 50/50 boy-girl referral. But there has been a change in the adolescent population.” Now, the majority of teens they see are trans-males (female-to-male transition).”

    https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/901017_1

  12. I do think that there is a lot more room to express girl and woman-hood in different ways than there used to be, and that is mostly good. (the downside being the pressure to be everything to everyone – aka smart, successful, athletic AND perfect looking AND a perfect mother/wife). But the upsides far outweigh the downsides.

    From the outside, I do see some change for men & boys, but not enough. There is still heavy pressure in elementary school (and probably beyond) around “boys don’t cry” attitudes and a need to be “tough”. DS is sensitive, risk-averse and short for his age, but he is also naturally quite athletic/coordinated which I think saves him from being too far outside the norm. But there are still cases where I feel like he is pressured to hide his sensitive side, even by authority figures. There is also still heavy pressure on men to be hard-charging breadwinners. I do see some change in the millenial parents there – men taking all their allocated parental leave, openly leaving early for school pickup, etc.

    I think the conformity via having the “right” clothes is something a little different, but related. I’m not sure that there is any more acceptable way to conform as a girl that way than there was in the 80’s and 90’s. And DS is completely uninterested in that to this point, whereas that was a huge focus for me when I was his age.

  13. Land Rovers are $52k and Sequoias are $48k. Did you mean Range Rovers?

    For the price of a Land Rover, I can buy a pool and and Sequoia. I want a pool much more than I want whatever goodies are in the Land Rover

    You will agree, I assume, that comes across as very very judgy. A Sequoia and a pool is just as valid a choice as a Range Rover and no pool. Your position is that they is only one proper choice.

  14. I wonder what is behind that

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find that endocrine disrupting chemicals in the environment are at least partially to blame.

  15. I definitely would have preferred to be a boy in my early teens and, in many ways, still would prefer to have been born male. The only good thing about being a girl, in my mind, is getting to have babies, which I turned out to enjoy.

    One of the things that came up on research on kids it math camp is that the girls are less feminine and the boys less masculine. In terms of interest, we tracked similarly where in society at large, the male/female differences are larger.

    Now, I wish I could talk to women about family/kid stuff that interests them and to men about their startup but that’s not how social interactions wind up working.

  16. “You will agree, I assume, that comes across as very very judgy. A Sequoia and a pool is just as valid a choice as a Range Rover and no pool. Your position is that they is only one proper choice.”

    It is the only proper choice for me. The discussion with DS was why “I” would never buy a Range Rover (not Land Rover). After the discussion here on why “we can’t afford it” is a problematic rationale, I wanted to have the discussion with DS about why “I” wouldn’t buy one. Basically, the reason was that I had so many other things I wanted more that I would never get around to the Range Rover being on top of this.

    Flaunting wealth is another thing entirely. I have no qualms about being judgy about that. I think there is a huge difference between deciding that one can afford a purchase and that it will make them happy and buying it versus buying something so that you can proclaim how much it costs.

  17. I cannot be the only woman who remembers the horrifying shift from being a human being at age 11 to being a girl at age 12. Suddenly the boys were gross, drooling morons making ugly sexual-oriented suggestions. The male teachers frowned through their own drool and lectured about wearing bras. Your butt got slapped in the hallways and your breasts got grabbed whenever no one was looking.

    My self-esteem plummeted. The things that had been important about me (my intelligence, whether I was nice, whether I could play kickball, whether I was a good sport, my personality, etc.) all no longer mattered. This experience was NOT unique to me. It’s so common that there are entire middle schools for girls so that the girls don’t have to go through that.

    So it seems likely that today’s “transgender” girls are just reacting in a different way to those pressures. Transitioning to being a boy wasn’t an option in 1974. Now it is. Wouldn’t you want to go back to being a human being? I would. I don’t think transitioning is the way to do it; I think the boys should stop making ugly sexual remarks and grabbing the girls and the male teachers should take their eyes off the girls’ breasts (and if they can’t, then they should pluck their eyes out and cast them away as the Bible tells them to). But since the boys/men have no interest in changing, the girls want to try to vanish however they can.

  18. “I think the boys should stop making ugly sexual remarks and grabbing the girls and the male teachers should take their eyes off the girls’ breasts (and if they can’t, then they should pluck their eyes out and cast them away as the Bible tells them to). ”

    Yes, this. I think boys can be trained to act appropriately. Male authority figures who haven’t been/aren’t able to be trained should be kept away from all minors.

  19. RMS – one of the reasons I got interested in this is because it is a phenomenon at my kids school, and I also have seen a lot of teen kids of my friends making public declarations that they are transgender, or pansexual, or asexual. I suspect, knowing some of these kids, that it may be a fad, but the danger is that they might get put on hormones or even do surgery before they are old enough to realize their true identities. Evidently clinical guidelines now support medical transition before age 18. I am sure some of these kids really are transgender, but I think it is a bad idea to do something permanent before adulthood. I think it takes time to understand this stuff.
    One more reference, for your amusement – a lengthy article from The Atlantic, which touches on LOTS of the issues.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/07/when-a-child-says-shes-trans/561749/

  20. I think there is a huge difference between deciding that one can afford a purchase and that it will make them happy and buying it versus buying something so that you can proclaim how much it costs.

    Humans are status animals and being high status makes us happy and healthy. While it’s true that status displays don’t have to come from conspicuous consumption, that’s been a huge part of it for millennia.

  21. “Now, I wish I could talk to women about family/kid stuff that interests them and to men about their startup but that’s not how social interactions wind up working.”

    Why can’t you talk to men about their startups?

  22. Rhett – my choir director has noticed a drop in the number of men with ‘true’ bass voices (rather than baritones) and she suspects the endocrine disruptors as well.

  23. Cassandra, because they walk away to talk to other men who are more likely to have connections to advance their interests.

  24. Humans are status animals and being high status makes us happy and healthy. While it’s true that status displays don’t have to come from conspicuous consumption, that’s been a huge part of it for millennia.

    Yes, but if you blow your capital on status items then you don’t have it available for investments. And I suppose I am agreeing with you, because part of what I was trying to convey to my son is that if you are circumspect about how much you actually have, then you have the chance to slip in under the radar and make some investments that have a bigger payoff and provide higher status in the long run. And once the investment pays off, you are in the position of deciding which toys make you happiest without concern about what others think.

  25. that have a bigger payoff and provide higher status in the long run.

    That’s not really what you’re saying though. You have very specific goals, priorities and preferences and you think other goal, priorities and preferences are wrong. Which is great! That’s totally your right. But just keep in mind what motivates you isn’t what motivates others.

  26. Cassandra – or the same thing that happened to you happens.

    I switched conversations once from talking about kids with one person (a guy I think) to a guy about his car. I asked specific questions and he proceeded to mansplain why my question was not worth his time and how I should stick to my kids as conversation topics.

    I have the same dream as WCE. And RMS to be seen as human.

    I worry about this with my boys. But we’ll see how they grow and what happens.

  27. The article you cite says that one specific birth control may or may not be a lead disruptor of fish sex development. It doesn’t say that there aren’t endocrine disruptors that are affecting humans.

    I am alarmed at the dropping rate of puberty in the US. I don’t think it can be accounted for by just obesity/great nutrition. Current medical teaching is that secondary sex characteristics (pubic hair, breasts) are only abnormal in girls if they start before age 8. https://health.usnews.com/wellness/for-parents/articles/2017-04-06/why-are-girls-starting-puberty-earlier

  28. You should realize that there are huge numbers of transgender teens sites out there, with detailed info on getting hormones without parental consent, breast binders, and videos of teens in transition. And then all the YouTube stuff – Jazz Jennings is just one example.

  29. My first experience with gender rules being broken was 1987 at my uncle’s funeral – a female funeral director! Made me uncomfortable.

  30. Rhode,

    The issue with the inspector guy was so shocking because that is not my usual experience. I regularly go to commodity/grower./regulatory meetings and I don’t get mansplained about anything.

    And when I repeated the story of that experience in real life, most of the men I told it to expressed, well, not disbelief in what I related, but shock that someone could be so ignorant.

    I have been working in male dominated fields my entire adult life. I will admit that I like being a woman in a male dominated field. There are generally WAY more men than women at industry meetings. I tend to enjoy the increased visibility/memorability that it gives me. Maybe I just don’t see the mansplaining, maybe I am old enough and have been around long enough that I am taken seriously. Then again, I do talk to men about kids and women about business, so maybe I’m just oblivious.

  31. I tried to leave a long comment but it vanished. I was exactly the same as WCE. It gets better when you enter the crone phase. As for RMS comment I was always peculiar and not quite regular human as a child but when I became a plain adolescent I also became deficient as a female. Always granny in plays not even a secondary female part after 11 years old. And a suitable companion for regular boys only in the shadows if pretended I didn’t know them in the corridor.

    I know a brilliant binary activist Male born 20 something who has a female born companion and is not gay or trans. The pronoun is they and the chosen name is Scout an obvious literary tribute.

    There are many ways to be a girl, but more and more of them are solo.

  32. Cassandra, I’d say that kind of thing is so much less common now that one no longer expects it, so when you get it there’s that sense of disbelief, like “Are you a time traveler from 1978”?

  33. The endocrine theory seems to be about feminization. Perhaps that is behind the little 3 year old boys who persistently insist they are girls. But the phenomenon I am talking about is 14 year old girls, who showed no signs of masculine characteristics when younger, suddenly declaring they are really boys. Read the Atlantic article – it is long, and very detailed, but really interesting.

  34. I won’t forget when Peter Pan came to my house, took my hand
    I said I was a boy
    I’m glad he didn’t check
    I learned to fly, I learned to fight
    I lived a whole life in one night
    We saved each other’s lives out on the pirate’s deck
    And I remember that night
    When I’m leaving a late night with some friends
    And I hear somebody tell me it’s not safe, someone should help me
    I need to find a nice man to walk me home
    When I was a boy, I scared the pants off of my mom
    Climbed what I could climb upon
    And I don’t know how I survived
    I guess I knew the tricks that all boys knew
    And you can walk me home, but I was a boy, too
    I was a kid that you would like, just a small boy on her bike
    Riding topless, yeah, I never cared who saw
    My neighbor came outside to say, “get your shirt”
    I said “no way, it’s the last time I’m not breaking any law”
    And now I’m in a clothing store, and the sign says less is more
    More that’s tight means more to see, more for them, not more for me
    That can’t help me climb a tree in ten seconds flat
    When I was a boy, see that picture? that was me
    Grass-stained shirt and dusty knees
    And I know things have gotta change
    They got pills to sell, they’ve got implants to put in, they’ve got implants to remove
    But I am not forgetting
    That I was a boy, too
    And like the woods where I would creep, it’s a secret I can keep
    Except when I’m tired, except when I’m being caught off guard
    I’ve had a lonesome awful day, the conversation finds its way
    To catching fire-flies out in the backyard
    And I tell the man I’m with about the other life I lived
    And I say now you’re top gun
    I have lost and you have won
    He says, “oh no, no, can’t you see?”
    When I was a girl, my mom and I, we always talked
    And I picked flowers everywhere that I walked
    And I could always cry, now even when I’m alone I seldom do
    And I have lost some kindness
    But I was a girl, too
    And you were just like me, and I was just like you
    Songwriters: Dar Williams
    When I Was a Boy lyrics © BMG Rights Management

  35. While it’s true that status displays don’t have to come from conspicuous consumption, that’s been a huge part of it for millennia.

    Yes, and eventually the peasants come for you with pitchforks and torches. No, really.

  36. who showed no signs of masculine characteristics when younger

    The article didn’t say that, it said marked gender disphoria. From my reading she wasn’t a stereotypical princess dress girly girl so she thought she was a boy.

    Claire believes that her feeling that she was a boy stemmed from rigid views of gender roles that she had internalized. “I think I really had it set in stone what a guy was supposed to be like and what a girl was supposed to be like. I thought that if you didn’t follow the stereotypes of a girl, you were a guy, and if you didn’t follow the stereotypes of a guy, you were a girl.”

  37. @MM – I know what you are talking about, and I have really mixed thoughts about it. I think you are probably right about there being a strong factor of social contagion. I do think that adolescence is really hard, and that in some ways having more “acceptable” things to try in 2018 vs. 1988 or 1958 makes it more confusing. Everyone at that age is trying to find themselves and their “crowd” in a way. Everyone is trying to come to terms with who they really are – maybe going too far to fit in with a certain crowd. Experimenting with clothing, makeup, new names, new pronouns, same-sex relationships, etc are all something very, very different from taking hormones or undergoing surgery. But then, in the back of mind, I feel for the kids who have known since practically birth that they were in the wrong body and could benefit from earlier treatment – and how do you determine which is which?

    “Cassandra, I’d say that kind of thing is so much less common now that one no longer expects it, so when you get it there’s that sense of disbelief, like “Are you a time traveler from 1978”?”

    I’d agree.

    I don’t find that there are too many men who won’t talk to me about “man things”. Sports might be the thing where I feel I get the most mansplaining or dismissiveness, but even that is a minority. I do find that I get more respect speaking up professionally now than I did when I was younger – whether that is because I am older & uglier or because I am more confident and what I am actually saying is more thoughtful & interesting – who knows. Probably all of the above.

  38. Cassandra, did you mention that Land Rovers are notorious for always being in the shop and that you don’t want that hassle?

    I also have a friend whose 13-14 year old daughter has claimed to be transgender. It is probably more about her not feeling like she fits in and doing the typical teenage rebellion. She is petite and thin with Type 1 diabetes, while her sisters and mom are curvier in build. Parents split up when she was 10-11, too. Rebellion is harder now with parents and society being more open-minded and accepting.

  39. Cassandra, did you mention that Land Rovers are notorious for always being in the shop and that you don’t want that hassle?

    That and being worth way more than they cost when they were new.

  40. Interesting article Louise – thank you! For my two kids, I would say DD is more on the tomboy side (athletic, quite competitive, math is one of her favorite subjects) while DS is less so (and to Denver’s point, I’m wishing there was an equivalent of tomboy that wasn’t sissy). Unlike DD, DS is very open and expressive. His one stereotypical “male” interest is his passion for cars. But otherwise is definitely not your stereotypical guy. His two favorite movie franchises are Mamma Mia (he was quite excited when Cher released her album of Abba songs) and Fast and Furious. This parallels when he was 4 and his two favorite movies were Mary Poppins and Cars.

    In high school/college I feel like DD has more freedom to be herself than DS. And I worry more about finding a college that will be a good fit for DS than I did with DD. However, I feel like the working world still strong favors men and when they are both working, things may reverse themselves.

  41. SSM, my youngest often plays music from Wicked and Phantom of the Opera. I get the impression that the internet allows a lot of kids more variety in musical, and other, tastes.

  42. Dang it. Writing that comment made me think about how he keeps playing Carry On My Wayward Son all the time lately, telling me that he wants to get the song stuck in my head. It wasn’t stuck in my head, then I made myself think about it, and guess what I’m humming.

  43. I went to an all girls school and in spite of being in a wider conservative culture our school empowered girls. In school being a strong woman was encouraged so I am sad that RMS had to feel that way. I hadn’t expected that sort of attitude in American schools.
    My DD and DS are middle of the road. Their friends span the spectrum from the sporty types, to the gamers and the girly girls. I used to be more worried as to how they would fit in and whether they would have friends but they have proved to be fine, well liked and confident in their own way. They think I worry too much.

  44. “Hmm, I think social contagion is more likely. Kind of the anorexia of the current era…”

    Yes. Also, based on my two data points on this issue, there is also likely a connection to the increased rates of depression/anxiety and other mental health disorders among young women. Trans is cool now, and troubled girls may seize on the “I’m trans” answer to whatever it is that actually ails them.

  45. “After the discussion here on why “we can’t afford it” is a problematic rationale, I wanted to have the discussion with DS about why “I” wouldn’t buy one.”

    How has that been working with your DS? Is it working out better than “we can’t afford it”?

    I’m with the crowd that doesn’t like to say “we can’t afford it,” and instead expresses is it as a matter of choices and priorities.

  46. “I am alarmed at the dropping rate of puberty in the US.”

    I think you meant dropping age of puberty. I’m guessing the rate is still near 100%.

  47. Louise – RMS’s experiences would be more than 40 years ago and the attitude in schools has improved since then.

  48. “Yes, this. I think boys can be trained to act appropriately. Male authority figures who haven’t been/aren’t able to be trained should be kept away from all minors.”

    As we discussed a while back in the dress code thread, part of the problem is the expectations set for boys that they will behave inappropriately and not respect girls as people. IOW, boys are being trained to act that way.

    IMO, that sort of expectation, and the dress codes based on them, reflect very poorly on the people who create them.

  49. “the anorexia of the current era…”

    Back when I was in high school (early-mid 1980s), eating disorders among girls were depressingly common. Is that no longer the case? I hope not, since there are a lot of girls who really suffered (and it was very hard for the girls’ families, too).

  50. Now that I think about it, my mother used to talk all the time about her dissatisfaction with her weight. She would often say things like she “hated herself” for having eaten too much at a meal. She used to diet regularly, and then get upset when she put the weight back on. When we went shopping together, she would often make comments like, “that’s a beautiful dress, but you have to be thin to wear it.” And my mom certainly wasn’t alone in holding and expressing these sentiments. These days, the emphasis seems to be much more on being healthy and active, rather than “thin.” Which can also be taken to an extreme, but in general, I think the message today is much better than the one that was prevalent when I was growing up.

  51. NoB – agreed. I am very VERY careful to not talk about how my body looks or how the kids’ bodies look or how anyone else’s body looks!

  52. Anorexia is still very common. U. of Southern California has a huge eating disorders program for their students.

  53. ““I think I really had it set in stone what a guy was supposed to be like and what a girl was supposed to be like. I thought that if you didn’t follow the stereotypes of a girl, you were a guy, and if you didn’t follow the stereotypes of a guy, you were a girl.””

    What about those who didn’t follow either?

    Does an understanding of logic help kids who don’t follow stereotypes avoid these sort of gender identification issues?

  54. Does an understanding of logic help kids who don’t follow stereotypes avoid these sort of gender identification issues?

    Mr. Spock, I suspect that having sensitive parents who can appreciate and support an entire spectrum of behavior is more important than an understanding of modal logic.

  55. Finn, understanding logic doesn’t help because the problem is one of relationships and how people treat and perceive you.

    What helped me was consciously deciding what was worth being left out/made fun of over and what wasn’t. I went to high school in a time and place where my desire to enter engineering was nonstandard. By about the second year of high school, people had decided I was “weird but nice” and I suspect I’ve largely retained that label.

    One of the guys from math camp played the flute. He was, AFAIK, the only guy in Iowa who played the flute. He explained that he played the flute because he liked how it sounded and he was good at it. If you’re not going to follow gender norms, being competent at what you do helps, I think. One of DH’s high school friends was a professional ballet dancer in his 20’s, which few men aspire to, and then got a PhD in math and became a professor after that career ended. He was part of DH’s group because of his interest in math. There was no group of male ballet dancers.

  56. playing Carry On My Wayward Son all the time

    with air guitar? a la a group of friends my sr yr in hs did as a ‘talent’ act

  57. Good topic. Sorry I missed the discussion. I have a friend with a daughter who has come out as lesbian but now is saying she is transgender. She is in middle school and has had anxiety and cutting issues in the past. I know her well and this surprised me as she was the girl on you tube learning how to do hair and makeup a couple of years ago. There are also a lot of conversions among the girls that age about being pan/bi/asexual.

    It really seems to me that while my generation identified as sporty/nerdy/cheerleader, etc, this generation is trying to identify themselves as something edgy and possibly challenging to the norms just because of the attention. I’ve also thought about the pan or bisexual as kids who just don’t really have romantic feeling for anyone yet, so they like the male and female friends the same way, so they must not be straight since they have friends who are dating.

    But them some of them truly are what they identify as and you don’t want to belittle their feelings/identity in all this.

    It really is confusing for kids to have more options. Not that these didn’t exist when we were growing up, but they weren’t discussed as much, so most kids of puberty age 30+ years ago really didn’t understand what they were.

  58. “It really is confusing for kids to have more options.”

    I agree.

    And this is true of a lot of things. Unrelated e.g.: Restaurants/diners that have miles-long menus. If I’m a repeat customer, I’ve probably settled on one or two things I order there depending on whether it’s breakfast/lunch/dinner and I get that/those all the time. Other places with a limited menu…i.e. one that fits comfortably on one page, I’ll read more carefully and choose different stuff.

  59. who just don’t really have romantic feeling for anyone yet, so they like the male and female friends the same way, so they must not be straight since they have friends who are dating.

    That’s a really interesting insight. I didn’t get crushes on boys the same way some other girls seemed to. For some reason, I didn’t assume I was gay. I guess I assumed the boys were dopey. It wasn’t really til college that I developed more romantic feelings about (less-dopey) boys. I dated in high school, and talked about crushes, but I did that to participate in girl culture. I can see how contemporary girls might decide that they’re gay.

    In the 70s, my friend’s mother said to my mom, “Being young today is like playing tennis without a net. I don’t know how the kids manage to do it. All the rules are gone.” Maybe every generation of parents feels that way.

  60. BTW, Fred, my high school’s talent show featured some air guitar performances. I think songs by Genesis were popular in that group.

  61. Off topic – we visited Princeton yesterday with the kids since we are visiting family in the area. We drove through the campus and had lunch in one of the restaurants surrounding the campus. My nephew took an informational tour. I asked my kids what they thought. They said it was gloomy – both said the same thing (weather was bright but cold) and my DD said that the students didn’t seem happy. (I don’t know if DD is expecting College Disney).
    It was very interesting to get their perspective.

  62. Louise, you know college talk it always on-topic! I agree its intersting seeing the kids’ perspectives on things.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  63. “For some reason, I didn’t assume I was gay. I guess I assumed the boys were dopey.”

    Perhaps the reason is because the boys really were dopey.

  64. I’m wondering if Princeton had classes yesterday, so perhaps the only kids who were on campus were the ones who didn’t have somewhere to go, or who had to stay on campus to study or work.

    DD said her friend who attends that school was going to NYC for the long weekend, IIRC leaving yesterday.

  65. I’m really sorry I missed this conversation. It touches on a lot of things related to my son and me.

  66. Off topic again (but it’s a college-related question, so is it really off topic?):

    Has anyone found any info about the real rubrics for grading the SAT essays?

    With the old test, that sort of information was out there, e.g., length was a rubric, as was including evidence (which could be totally fabricated) to back one’s points.

    Most of what I’ve found for the new essay is just stating, or restating, the official line of the College Board. With the old essay, there was a large gap between their official line and how they really scored the essays, so I’m looking for something like that for the new essay, but haven’t been able to find much.

    A big part of the problem is that it hasn’t been around very long (the format was changed in 2016). I’m also guessing that those who’ve figured out the real rubric aren’t giving out that information for free.

  67. RMS, I had enough crushes for the both of us. Even though the boys were dopey.

    Fred, he plays it via the nearest Echo device, is what I mean. Including the one in my car.

    Happy Thanksgiving, all! Including the lurkers! – never say we don’t acknowledge you ;-)

  68. I just noticed the other day that there are apparently over 2000 liners/people who get the emails. That’s creepy, considering the small and shrinking group of people who comment. I come here to chat with friends I’ve known for years, not to be on a stage somehow.
    On-topic, I asked my son what he thought about the large population of people in his age group who see themselves as LGBTQ. His answer was simple and makes sense: it wasn’t an option before. People might have known they were different or “weird” but would not necessarily have known there was a name for it, much less a community of other who shared those traits with them.

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