Wednesday, July 04, 2001

The age-old "nurture or nature" debate is revisited tonight on BBC1 in Child Of Our Time: Tomboy Or Sissy?. The programme takes what sounds like a fascinating look at gender stereotyping in babies as young as one year old.

Today's Guardian features Marina Cantacuzino's story about her four-year old cross-dressing son:
My son is a cross-dresser. He is nearly four and started when he was barely out of nappies. He loves nothing more than to wear girls' dresses - the flouncier, prettier and fuller the better. He has a "day" dress (an old satin bridesmaid's dress belonging to one of his sisters) and a "night" dress (a red baggy T-shirt, four sizes too large). He is obsessed with long hair and has even devised his own by putting green leggings on his head with the two legs hanging over his shoulders as plaits. He is deft at applying his own nail varnish, he can't stop watching The Wizard of Oz because he likes Dorothy's ruby shoes so much, and his favourite toy is a Barbie.

The moment he gets home, he asks to put [a dress] on, preferably the one that "twirls" the most. Then, applying his hair and putting on his pink tights and his sister's "clickety shoes" (clogs), he sticks his head round the door and, with a grin, announces: "I've turned."
Get hold of the printed newspaper if you can - the picture is a scream[er].

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