1. jennym123
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    jennym123 Member

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    Girl in boys clothing

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by jennym123, Jun 12, 2013.

    I was penning this kids book awhile back and I wanted to get some advise on how taboo this sounds.

    It's a comedy about a young girl who's birth record was screwed up and shows Male instead of Female. She is biologically female and identifies herself as a girl but because of this screw up, most people perceive her as a boy. This is meant to be a light heart'd joke as no one corrects her when she uses female pronouns or gets upset when she dressed like a girl.

    From what I've seen is most media, the opposite is fairly common but I don't know much about how people feel about doing things this way.

    Any opinions?
     
  2. huntsman40
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    huntsman40 Active Member

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    My first thought is that this idea makes no sense what so ever. If she is a girl, and sees herself as a girl why on earth would her parents not just correct her birth certificate? Or why would people see her as male just because her birth certificate said male on it? Why would her parents buy her boys clothing instead of girls ones as she is growing up?

    Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to be harsh on the idea, but if I read it based on what you've said in your post I’d put it down quickly thinking it unbelievable. Really unsure where you have seen the reverse of this happening? I've seen occasions of people being born one sex but wanting to be the other of course and dressing how they feel, but seems a little odd for them to do so if they don't see themselves as that sex.

    Just my opinion, but maybe I'm missing some point that has misled me as to your intentions with the character.
     
  3. jennym123
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    jennym123 Member

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    It's part of the joke, even her parents don't seem to get the same thing your mentioning. I concept is how society is quick to form an opinion on things that don't matter or make sense.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't understand this either. Why do most people even see her birth record? If she is actually female and identifies as female, I don't see where the confusion would arise. There are cases of ambiguous genitalia, etc., where a person could be biologically female, genetically and internally, but appear to have a penis. The reverse can also be true with the absence of a penis. This could cause the family to believe that the child is the opposite gender, but the real problem might not arise until the child is entering puberty. Sometimes, the sex organs don't look right at birth, though, so right away the doctors could immediately suspect a problem, and usually would correct it fairly quickly.

    This is different from the issue of being transgender. In that case, the person self-identifies as the opposite gender, even though the sex organs are of one gender, and they have developed correctly. Although people who are transgender usually consistently identify with the other gender very early on - many reporting as soon as anyone identifies with a gender and realizes that there are two, which can be as young as two years old, this wouldn't explain how the child was treated as a baby. I suppose it could be an odd coincidence that someone who is transgender could happen to get the incorrect designation on the birth records, which would later turn out to have been the correct designation.

    But you don't indicate that this is the situation. You say that a girl, who identifies as a girl, has the incorrect designation on her records. It seems like this should be an easy fix. And again, I don't understand how people would perceive her as a boy. If she had an ambiguous name, and also wore very short hair and dressed in boy-ish clothes, then I could see people perceiving her as a boy. But this would be true irrespective of what her birth records indicate.
     
  5. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    yeah it sounds a bit silly really but Tom Boys have been around forever and can be great fun.
     
  6. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Get it written, sounds alright, and might resonate for kids. Logic doesn't play a part here, although fancy penning 'logical hospital' myself.

    I was dressed robin hood wearing green tights in Holland once, and never recovered. Everybody said I was a 'little girl.'
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You pays yer money, you makes yer choice.

    Yes, a lot of readers will be offended. You may even receive unflattering labels like "dinosaur."

    Back when I was a kid (speaking of the Jurassic era), the term tomboy (one word, not capitalized) was common. Today, no label at all is really needed, or generally wanted. The person who guesses wrong is more likely to be embarrassed than our androgynous friend.

    Parents, on the other hand, can suffer an acute craniorectal infarction over a son or daughter who doesn't dress to (their image of) gender-appropriate attire.
     
  8. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    oops...
     
  9. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I'm still laughing about the craniorectal infarction. This is true for my dad anyway. I have two younger siblings one girl and one boy. The boy is the youngest and when he was very young he liked to play dress up with my sister and I and my dad about had an aneurysm one day when he came home and my brother was wearing a princess costume. My mom on the other hand saw no harm in it because he just wanted to be included. Kids don't have any understanding of gender when they are that young.

    Anyway, I don't understand it either, to be honest. If she perceives herself as female and doesn't mentally feel androgynous or more masculine why would she wear mens' clothes? I also don't understand why people would perceive her as being masculine just because of a birth certificate that no one will probably ever see. If she looked/acted more masculine that would make more sense for her to be perceived that way. I've been told I'm "one of the guys" and that I'm also very feminine. I'm pretty equally in touch with my feminine and masculine side and it really depends on who I'm around as to which one comes out more. So I know you can straddle the fence on that one because most people are not totally one or the other mentally speaking and so there's varying degrees of everything. I just don't quite understand the reasoning.

    As for whether or not people will be offended there are people who are offended if the wind blows from the north. I wouldn't worry too much about that. Worry more about making it a good story and telling it your way. There will always be people who are perturbed by someone sidestepping mainstream social norms.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't see this working as a story base... makes no sense at all, since no one but the parents would see her birth certificate and they'd also certainly see the baby's bodily proof of it being incorrect...
     

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