The Princess Boy: Gender Fluidity

Jan 10, 2011 @ 11:29 am | By TheFeministGriote | 2 Comments

“Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism.  But in fact they are perpetually passing into one another.  Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid.  There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman.”-Margaret Fuller

I first learned about ‘the princess boy’ five year old Dyson Kilodavis when one of my followers on twitter sent me the link from MediaTakeOut of course MTO used him as a joke and the comments that proceeded the video was cyber bullying on steroids! Then I saw the video of ‘the princess boy’ on the show “The Talk” and now most recently the “Today” show. As much as I have tried to ignore writing about ‘the princess boy’ its imperative that I need to write about it. The reason I hesitated in writing about ‘the princess boy’ is because gender fluidity is still very taboo within the Black community, but I realized I needed to let go of the fear and write about this and allow my readers to consider another point of view.

Dyson Kilodavis aka ‘the princess boy’ is a beautiful little boy who likes to look like a princess, loves all things pink, and fabulous. Dyson is the child of Cheryl and Dean Kilodavis who have chosen their son’s happiness over gender and societal conformity. Cheryl Kilodavis has written a book called My Princess Boy a picture book that helps parents and children learn to understand differences and become more tolerant. Now the Kilodavis’s are not the only parents to be vilified for allowing their child the freedom to live outside the gender norms. Angelina Jolie has been criticized severely as purposely making a lesbian out of Shiloh who is Angelina and Brad Pitt’s first biological child together. Shiloh is often pictured looking androgynous and and not readily identifiable as a little girl which many people seem to take great umbrage with. The Smith Family who have unconventional views on parenting have also been attacked by the blogosphere about the way in which Willow Smith is allowed to express herself. I remember browsing Essence magazine online a few weeks ago and there was a picture of Willow Smith and someone commented that Willow was showing early signs of  having lesbian tendencies. I talked to a good friend about the comment I had read and he too felt as if Willow Smith was a little to “butch” for her age. I was shocked and deeply saddened by that because the notion of gender fluidity appears to be lost on many people within our society.

Society seems to  have very strong ideals on how parents should govern their children. I think its refreshing that parents like the Kilodavis’s, Jolie-Pitt, and the Smith’s allow their children the right to be their true authentic selves. How much therapy, depression, and even suicides could have been circumvented if children were allowed early in their development stage to be there true selves? Gender is fluid. You are born female or male then society conditions you on how to be a woman or man the labels woman and man are mere social constructs. Most of us follow the how-to-be a man or woman societal model so readily and without question that I think we tend to believe that there is no alternative to this model when there is.

Children learn racism, classicism, sexism, intolerance and all other isms from the adults around them. The real fear I think that lies in seeing children casting away heterosexual norms is because we as adults do not know how to classify it and therefore we are quick to judge it as basic training in queerness or some other “oddity.” Children should be allowed to color outside the line or live outside the box. The year 2010 was marred with many suicides among teens that was cross-cultural. What if those teens or those teens counterparts were introduced to tolerance at an early age maybe bullying would not exist. There is no one way to be a woman or a man or a boy or a girl. I know straight women who detest makeup does that automatically make them covert lesbians our way of thinking is so elementary and so very black and white that it is both scary and comical. How can sexism ever end if we refuse to let go of the rigid gender roles? I think adults tend to forget that children are people. Children have their own unique personalities and ways of seeing the world. They’re are young people who need guidance, tutelage, care, and love, but most importantly they’re people who should be allowed to find themselves and define themselves without interference from the adults in their lives.

At what age is it appropriate for a human beings to start on the road to self discovery of finding themselves? Kids in middle school and high school are too mean and judgmental and it may be to traumatic for a child and the consequences may be deadly this we know. Experimenting in college may also be a no no because you don’t want to be labeled there as well.  Which may leave you with experimenting in your 20’s and 30’s which may cost you your job, family or friends by this time. So when can a human being freely express themselves? How long are we going to metabolize and metastasize our hate and continue to feed it to the next generation as daily bread?

What are your thoughts on gender fluidity?

Categories: Venus vs Mars

2 Responses to “ The Princess Boy: Gender Fluidity ”

  1. I’ve read this post twice and tried to comment but what is stuck in my head is the question you ended the post with, “At what age is it appropriate for a human beings to start on the road to self discovery of finding themselves?”

    As a Mom, I can testify that almost from birth the little people we create start showing hints of who they are. It is vital that parents let the exploration to happen at home and as early as necessary. The truth in our society is that most parents won’t tolerate much less encourage behavior outside of the “norm”. Religion, pressure from family and judgment from peers is what keeps many parents from allowing their child to be who they are…openly. Your question has left me thinking about what am I going to do as a Mother to make it safer for children to be on the road of self discovery at an earlier age. I can start by speaking up when I hear parents chastise other parents for allowing their children to live outside of the box at a young age. I can also make it a point to commend the parents who chose to allow their children that freedom.

  2. I agree with you and I am pleased you took the time to express this in writing. Gender, as an aspect of culture, is fluid and ever changing (for me sex is another matter) so if these children choose another gender expression, or rather they evolve in ways that does not fall into the gender binary then we should be open enough to accept these human beings as they are.

    These kids are blessed. They have parents who love and protect them and who are facilitating their best possible selves. Imagine the world if we all were allowed to be our truest, most honest, and best possible selves. Brilliance.

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