My Son Wants to Be Snow White for Halloween

“One day early last fall, I returned from work and discovered my son in a dress. And not just any dress. A Snow White dress. I can’t say it was a complete shock. Luke had been telling my wife and me for more than a week that he wanted to be Snow White for Halloween. Whenever Melanie or I gently suggested an alternate costume, he would calmly respond, “No, I think I have to be Snow White. I dropped my bag and made what I hoped was a suitable fuss over the costume. My face still taut with manufactured glee.

I read about this man’s conundrum in salon.com several weeks ago. It reminded me of an episode from Roseanne when DJ wanted to be a witch for Halloween. His dad tried every which way to dissuade him and explain that girls are witches and boys are warlocks. But DJ wanted to be a witch.

Both of these dads felt threatened and worried that their sons might end up with bruises or black eyes for their choice of costume. But the dads’ discomfort went beyond fear of bodily harm. Both were emotionally twisted into knots. Snow White’s dad wondered if his discomfort was due to seeing “the dress as a threat to my legacy, an insult to generations of men who fought wars and presided over propane grills?” 

But as a progressive dad, he wondered why he was so troubled. 

Why? It’s called “gender ranking.” 

We value males and male things over females and female things. Boys are seen as devaluing themselves when they take on feminine accessories or behaviour. That’s why many women think back happily on a time when they were tomboys, but most men weren’t – or won’t admit they were – sissies.  

If we valued males and females the same, a Snow White costume wouldn’t be a problem. 

Actually, valuing males over females wouldn’t be a huge problem if it were just about guys in dresses. But devaluing the feminine leads to all sorts of problems that I will go into greater depth later: Women don’t expect as much for themselves, including pay. In societies and subcultures where masculine is valued over feminine we find high rates of rape, wife battering, gay bashing, daughters-for-sale, and female infanticide.  STDs are more widely spread. Women’s sexuality becomes repressed. Even the feminine value of compassion is diminished in the face of masculine go-it-alone “personal responsibility.” The list goes on. 

Dressing up like Snow White may seem petty, but ranking males over females is not trivial, at all. 

Georgia Platts 

Quotes are edited for length. See original text at salon.com.  

See related posts:
Did Slut-Shaming Kill Phoebe Prince?
Yale Fraternity Chants “No Means Yes.” Men? Or Scaredy Cats?

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2 Responses

  1. Gender ranking is something I caught on to 57 years ago and it turned me into a feminist immediately. I don’t hate men because of it- I simply knew right then and there that I was every bit as equal and able as a male. I also realized at the age of 5 society wasn’t going to treat me as an equal. While I would do better as a tomboy than boys would as a sissy, girls would hate me for it and boys would fight me over it.

    As for the insertion of the bit about regression: As I have said before – I do not believe women are repressed and any talk of it annoys me and leads me to believe we are STILL trying to brainwash women into being easier prey for men.

    Why do liberal women always try to sexualize women? Why don’t yoou just leave us alone and stop with the sexualization of women! I swear to God – Liberals are sex crazy! You want to be like and equal to men so badly that you have to turn women into the sexual addicts that men are . We are not- we will not ever be- thank GOD!

    Every damned study shows you that and instead of believing your eyes and ears you call it repression- its not repression – its the damned truth!

    I tried it – It sucks! I don’t like being a toilet bowl for some friggen man! I can function quite well without it- I don’t need to have sex with a man (or a women). Sex is nice if you get a good lover but most of these guys are selfish jackrabbits out to get off and put a nick on their belts- – no thanks!

    We are not repressed we simply have higher standards and less drive to screw around like the male for the sheer hell of it.

    The constant use of the word regression leads women to believe something is wrong with them if they don’t want – or like – or have sex a lot! I should think we would want to make women feel good about themselves either way! Damned it!

    Why label me and millions of other women repressed because we are sick and tired of being used by men?

    • There probably isn’t much point in repeating myself, so in the future you can just make your points and I’ll let it go. But I’ll repeat myself one more time on this matter, and try to be more clear.

      1) Cross-cultural evidence shows that Western women are repressed

      2) Repression stems from male dominance

      3) In my classes, I found that one of the few things that makes some women and men care about male domination, and feel motivated to want to change it, is when they realize that male domination hurts women’s sexuality. (That hurts both women and men.)

      4) So I will continue to talk about how women’s sexuality is repressed by violence (rape/incest/sexual abuse), objectification, words like slut/whore (which in some cases starts to seem a synonym for women), telling women that they (and not men) are responsible for men’s sexuality (with women getting blamed if sex happens, and this lets rapists off the hook), religions unnecessarily harm women’s sexuality (whether female genital mutilation or telling women sex is bad). The list goes on.

      5) Helping women to overcome repression doesn’t sexualize them. Men aren’t very repressed. Are they sexualized? No. (Sexualization of women actually represses their sexuality, as I will discuss later)

      6) If women aren’t especially interested in sex, and that causes no harm to themselves or their relationships, fine. Being asexual is fine.

      7) My personal opinion: I don’t think women should take on so-called men’s ways of “doing sex” (or that men should act that way either) if that means randomly having sex with everyone you can think of. That just treats people like objects. What I think women can learn from men is to let go of guilt and shame when it comes to sexuality. What I think men can learn from women (so-called women’s ways) is to take on higher forms of sexuality, to have sex in contexts of love and care. Others may disagree, but it’s a conversation I’d like to have: what can men learn from women; what can women learn from men?

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