You’ve got it right, Brad and Angelina

Now, I like a bit of trash as much as the next guy – pretending not to look at the headlines on the magazines at the supermarket, yawning as I open a door-earred copy in a waiting room – as if I’m only reading because there’s nothing else to do. We all have a inner voyeur. Or at least, enough of us do, to ensure that there is a thriving magazine trade in this country.

But this latest issue is one that has escaped me, until my friend, Pip Lincolne, brought it to my attention just the other day, in an article she wrote for Kidspot.

Now, I know who Angelina Jolie is, I know of her previous marriage, I even know some of her sexual proclivities. And I know that she is married to a very dapper man, who married Rachel and then dumped her, that he has an extraordinary hairline, and that he can take a joke better than most.

I even know that they are humanitarians, with a growing tribe of kids.

But I didn’t know about Shiloh… and her… um… ‘issue’.

For those of you who are also in the dark, Shiloh – are you ready for it – Shiloh dresses like a boy.

And she’s a girl.

And they let her.

I know. What has the world come to?

I make light, but this is a serious issue, all the moreso because of the hysteria that surrounds it. Reportedly, from the age of three, Shiloh has only answered to John. And she likes to dress in boy’s clothing. This has been variously called tomboyish, Montenegro-ish, and androgenous. And Angelina has even taken a stand, ‘allowing’ her to do so, while John’s other siblings dress ‘normally’.

And the hysteria surrounding it is overwhelming.  In research for this blog, I managed to find no end of opinion pieces, including this doozy of a quote, from a psychologist, Dr Elgen, who alleges that “she is being guided into a bisexual role. Her mother is projecting this onto this particular child – she has chosen her as her favorite. I think this is an issue.”

Yes, Dr Elgen, this is an issue. And No matter where you stand on this issue, you will undoubtedly have an opinion, as this is an emotional debate. Some parents will be concerned by this sort of behaviour, others will not be phased.

And from one doctor to another, Dr Elgen, if you think Brangelina are ‘allowing’ Shiloh to wear dresses: anyone who has child over the age of three knows the person in charge of choosing the clothes for the day is the child, not the parent.

Personally, I think that Brad and Angelina should be applauded for their stance on this issue – whilst remembering that we have no understanding of the day to day runnings of their family. They appear to be allowing Shiloh to explore her independence, and honour her decisions about her name and how she chooses to dress.

Whether this is something she will outgrow, does that really matter? If your child decides that they want to cross-dress as an adult, is that really a problem? If your child decides to become lesbian or homosexual, will you love them any less? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, then the problem lies with the parent, not the child.

So Dr Elgen, from one doctor to another, I’m afraid I think you’ve lost you’re marbles. A pivotal part of a child’s sense of self is that they receive love and support that they are worthy, and that their choices are valid. Love your child for who they are, not whether decisions they make are deemed ‘right’ by society.”

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