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Homosexual agenda v. Christian soldiers
November 17, 2004 12:01 PM   Subscribe

High-school bans traditional crossdressing day because parents complained it was part of the "homosexual agenda." It's replacement? The manly "Camo Day" complete with military fatigues and combat boots. No word on whether there is a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
posted by hipnerd (99 comments total)

 
Fight the power.
posted by smackfu at 12:05 PM on November 17, 2004


Next up, the "Do As We Say" Festival.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:06 PM on November 17, 2004


So its bad to identify with the opposite sex but good to identify with the great war machine?

This goes back to that whole violence is good but sex is icky and evil and bad thing, doesn't it?

I'm not surprised this is happening, I'm surprised it (the cross dressing day) happened in the first place in Texas. I could see it out here in California but not Texas.

I hope some of the students bloody up their camo for realism.
posted by fenriq at 12:07 PM on November 17, 2004


What's wrong with a little bit of cross dressing? As anyone that's ever been in high school knows, if the football team and cheerleaders take part in cross dressing, there's no way it could be gay.

I'm surprised they didn't name camo day "smear the queer day."
posted by mathowie at 12:09 PM on November 17, 2004


What a drag.
posted by jonmc at 12:12 PM on November 17, 2004


ugh
posted by PigAlien at 12:13 PM on November 17, 2004


*One parent* complains and the school caves. For heaven's sake.

I looked up this Liberty Legal Institute that backed this parent. It claims that its "assistance is provided free of charge to ensure all individuals and groups can thrive without the fear of governments restricting their freedoms." It should have been fighting on the other side then.

I'd encourage the students to go ahead and do it anyway. It's not like the school can tell them what to wear.
posted by orange swan at 12:13 PM on November 17, 2004


i suppose they haven't even addressed how they're going to find the students, once they're all camouflaged...
posted by NationalKato at 12:13 PM on November 17, 2004


That damned Al Capp and his homosexual agenda... damned straight they never did this sort of thing back in the day...
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:14 PM on November 17, 2004


It's easy enough to stop a boy in a skirt, but what about girls dressing as guys? Where is the line of what you can and can't wear in regards to gender-specific clothing?
posted by agregoli at 12:15 PM on November 17, 2004


Matt: if it's anything like my high school, everyday was 'smear the queer day.'
posted by sexymofo at 12:16 PM on November 17, 2004


Wouldn't dressing up juveniles in military fatigues for a group pep rally best be called We'reNotSorry.com Day?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:16 PM on November 17, 2004


It's not like the school can tell them what to wear.
actually, schools do that all the time--here's one of many many examples

And what sexymofo said--this was a wonderful way to teach younger kids about diversity and differences, but obviously not anymore. I wonder if schools will now kill all Sadie Hawkins things too?
posted by amberglow at 12:18 PM on November 17, 2004


The parent who complained must have serious questions about his/her child's sexuality if s/he thinks that this will push him over the edge.

And Eddie Izzard told me that "most transvestites fancy girls."
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:21 PM on November 17, 2004


Also scrapped, "Dress Like a Pirate Day" due to parental fears that their children may spend the entire day drinking rum, chasing "booty", and replacing their functioning hands with "hook"-type hands. 'Cause...you know...that's SO gay, too.
posted by ColdChef at 12:23 PM on November 17, 2004


The guys can still wear skirts, they should just call them kilts and that they are celebrating their Scottish heritage.

And yeah, if the football team does it, then it can't be a queer activity, no way!

There isn't anything wrong with a little cross dressing, it could actually open up some lines of dialogue about the role of gender stereotyping in society. Or it might just be fun to wear a skirt.
posted by fenriq at 12:23 PM on November 17, 2004


My daughter's high school simply has "opposite day." Geeks dress like preps, preps like goths, the occasional kid dresses as the opposite sex. Too bad they didn't broaden things out to begin with.
posted by konolia at 12:24 PM on November 17, 2004


ColdChef, arrr, chasing "booty" is all kids want to do these days anyway!
posted by fenriq at 12:25 PM on November 17, 2004


What? I don't think that having a group of kids dressing in drag actually promotes understanding of differences in sexual orientation at all.

In my experience, Establishment-sanctioned drag parties generally bring to the surface a lot of veiled homophobia and misogyny in the name of "good clean fun". (Cf. the football players and cheerleaders dressed as each other at the end of Revenge of the Nerds, which I think captures the spirit of hateful "good clean fun" cross=dressing.)

I love drag queens and drag kings. I think it's a fantastic form of self-expression. However, school-wide cross-dressing days are hardly promoting the "homosexual agenda".

And, amberglow, how are "Sadie Hawkins" dances or whatever promoting the "homosexual agenda"? I don't see the connection.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:25 PM on November 17, 2004


konolia -- I'm guessing that the really smart-alecky kids don't change a thing; in effect doing the "opposite" of what they're supposed to.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:28 PM on November 17, 2004


It ultimately dosen't matter since all the truly cool kids won't participate anyway, but instead spend the day smoking pot under the bleachers.
posted by jonmc at 12:30 PM on November 17, 2004


I hope there aren't any African Americans in that school. Some kids might get the wrong idea.
posted by infowar at 12:31 PM on November 17, 2004


It's not like the school can tell them what to wear.

actually, schools do that all the time


If the entire student population shows up dressed in drag, there won't be anything the school administration can do about it.
posted by orange swan at 12:34 PM on November 17, 2004


I went to public school in Missouri. There were flyers for Bible Club all over the halls, my teacher told me I was going to hell because I didn't wash my feet... and even we had opposite-sex day!

I wonder what would happen if you showed up to school in pink camo..
posted by rajbot at 12:40 PM on November 17, 2004


Sidhedevil, you may wanna simmer down a little. While I agree that drag, in and of itself, doesn't necessarily promote any awareness of real sexual orientation issues, the fear of drag is often also coupled with homophobia, as certainly seems to be the case here.

The "homosexual agenda" phrase came from the article - amberglow didn't use the phrase at all, only "diversity and differences." And he didn't even connect that with Sadie Hawkins, but only threw that in as a further extreme.

We're all on your side, Sidhe.
posted by soyjoy at 12:44 PM on November 17, 2004


my teacher told me I was going to hell because I didn't wash my feet

The real hell (supposing it exists), no.

Social outcast hell, yes.
posted by orange swan at 12:54 PM on November 17, 2004


Soyjoy, I do get that the anti-cross-dressing thing motivating this cancellation is coming out of homophobia, but my experience of traditional mainstream cross-dressing sprees is that they also come out of a place of homophobia and misogyny.

Rajbot's school, for example, seems like a place where having a "cross-dressing day" was a place to channel any actual drag energy that was floating around into a safely ludicrous public laughfest. "Look at us making fun of those people who dress like the opposite gender--nobody would ever do this when they weren't joking" is the subtext I get from that (and maybe this is shaped by my experience of seeing enormous Ivy League rugby players in drag every damned Halloween of my life).

So I don't see this as a battle between the forces of openness and tolerance vs. the forces of closedmindedness, but as a battle between the forces of closedmindedness and the forces of even-more-closedmindedness. That was the point I was trying to make.

I wasn't challenging amberglow's "Sadie Hawkins" comment, I just honestly didn't understand it. I still don't.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:00 PM on November 17, 2004


This "homosexual agenda" sounds sinister. What is it? Do they plan to release 'gay' into the atmosphere or our drinking water? I forget if 'gay' is actually water borne or vapor borne.
posted by psmealey at 1:04 PM on November 17, 2004


Actually, teh GAY is carried by herbal tea (for women) and leafy green vegetables (for men). So if you just stick to pork rinds and Mr. Pibb, you're probably safe in the straight and narrow.

But now my bisexual ninjas will have to kill you all, because the secret is out.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:06 PM on November 17, 2004


Actually, teh GAY is carried by herbal tea (for women) and leafy green vegetables (for men). So if you just stick to pork rinds and Mr. Pibb, you're probably safe in the straight and narrow.

So then collard greens would make you bisexual then?
posted by jonmc at 1:08 PM on November 17, 2004


I've got news for them - "camo day" is way gayer than what they were doing. I learned everything I know about gay sex from my Army years. Like my platoon sergeant said, a buddy is someone who goes to town and gets two blowjobs, and comes back and gives you one.

But now my bisexual ninjas will have to kill you all, because the secret is out.

Bisexual ninjas give me a huge woody. Talk about real ultimate power!
posted by me & my monkey at 1:17 PM on November 17, 2004


(1954)Nigger = (2004)Faggot
posted by four panels at 1:22 PM on November 17, 2004


Guys in camo make me way chubbier than guys in drag. Just sayin'!
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:24 PM on November 17, 2004


me & my monkey's platoon sergeant is the reincarnation of Oscar Wilde. That is one of the funniest things I've ever read.

If I were a smart-alecky kid at this high school, I'd go dressed as the Village People.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:26 PM on November 17, 2004


rajbot: my teacher told me I was going to hell because I didn't wash my feet

That was your cue to yell "Then squirt some tears and get that hair to moppin'...Bitch!"
posted by Cedric at 1:30 PM on November 17, 2004


This "homosexual agenda" sounds sinister. What is it? Do they plan to release 'gay' into the atmosphere or our drinking water? I forget if 'gay' is actually water borne or vapor borne.

I was wondering the same thing, psmealey. I'd like to get a look at it.
posted by different at 1:32 PM on November 17, 2004


This is a much more fleshed-out story about it.

It's never had anything to do with homosexuality or transexuals/cross-dressing ... ever, and it's been around for quite a while. It's called TWIRP Day.

TWIRP stands for "The Woman Is Requested to Pay," and for years Spurger schools hosted the day during Homecoming Week to give boys and girls a chance to reverse social roles and let older girls invite boys on dates, open doors and pay for sodas.
posted by Orb at 1:35 PM on November 17, 2004


"Look at us making fun of those people who dress like the opposite gender--nobody would ever do this when they weren't joking"

i think you're off track, or maybe my experiences are just different. you can't expect kids these days to accept "real" cross-dressing when their parents don't (maybe you can, i'm less optimistic), but i don't see "opposite days" or whatever you want to call them as purposely mocking transvestism. it's harmless fun, which is how cross-dressing should always be considered.

schools don't see it that way (they use "distraction" as a code word for anything "objectionable") but everyone should be able to wear whatever the hell they want to wear, as long as they're not breaking the law, being obviously offensive, etc.

dressing as the opposite sex shouldn't be offensive to anyone. fashion is ephemeral. men used to wear all sorts of clothing that would now be considered feminine.

on preview: If I were a smart-alecky kid at this high school, I'd go dressed as the Village People.

now that would be great. or all the boys could show up wearing camouflage hot pants. (take pictures for WolfDaddy.)
posted by mrgrimm at 1:36 PM on November 17, 2004


I agree with WolfDaddy: Camo = Sexay.

This actually gives me an opportunity to link to the rather jaw-droppingly homoerotic picture which greeted me on the front page of my paper this morning.
posted by jokeefe at 1:37 PM on November 17, 2004


This "homosexual agenda" sounds sinister. What is it? Do they plan to release 'gay' into the atmosphere or our drinking water? I forget if 'gay' is actually water borne or vapor borne.

It's orally administered all right.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:40 PM on November 17, 2004


I should add that my interest is purely in the abstract construction of black masculinity and militarism as a form of homeroticism.

Seriously.
posted by jokeefe at 1:40 PM on November 17, 2004


Sid, Sadie Hawkins is about reversing traditional, stereotypical, gender roles. That would be just as threatening to some parents.
posted by amberglow at 1:53 PM on November 17, 2004


my teacher told me I was going to hell because I didn't wash my feet...

Cleanliness is next to Godliness, you know.
posted by deanc at 2:05 PM on November 17, 2004


twirp -The Woman Is Requested to Pay
{sigh} no win situation here since a guy wearing a dress on a date will still be stuck paying the bill.

In New York, officials at Hastings High School put a stop to Cross-Dressing Day in October after school officials suggested guys in chiffon skirts and brassieres and gals with painted-on mustaches were distracting and disrespectful to transgender people.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:07 PM on November 17, 2004


I actually agree with Sidhedevil--a Cross-Dressing Day does very little to promote real dialogue about sex and gender roles, and still less to disrupt them. The article says, "It lets the older girls invite boys on dates, open doors and pay for sodas." I'm sure that a fair number of girls already do those things, but the message the article sends--I don't know how it plays out in the school itself--is that it's only okay for girls to do those things when they're dressed as boys. It labels them as male activities. Hopefully, that will bother intelligent students and bold teachers enough that they start discussions, but the day itself reinforces roles.

Additionally (though considering this is beyond the scope of any high school I know) all the talk about kids dressing as the "opposite sex" or "opposite gender" reinforces the idea that there are only two available sexes--male and female--and that these sexes naturally and exclusively corrospond to two genders--masculine and feminine. A Cross-Dressing Day isolates the experience of crossing gender boundaries to a one-day event and makes it a joke. That makes life harder for transgender students, for whom dealing with a binary sex-gender system is an everyday reality and a serious one. I agree, mrgrimm, that this event almost surely wasn't designed to mock trans kids, but I'm equally sure that the administration didn't take the issue into account at all.

Absolutely female students should be allowed to wear traditional male clothing and male students should be allowed to wear traditional female clothing. It is indeed totally harmless, and can be a lot of fun. But damn...why not let any student wear the clothing traditionally assigned to any gender, everyday?
posted by hippugeek at 2:09 PM on November 17, 2004


Wait, was the bab for the high school or whole school district?
Because the complaining lady has grade school age kids.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:11 PM on November 17, 2004


I've been close to tears twice reading this story.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:11 PM on November 17, 2004


bab = ban
posted by thomcatspike at 2:12 PM on November 17, 2004


I've been close to tears twice reading this story.

Wrong thread - this was meant for the Sand Springs thread!
posted by dash_slot- at 2:13 PM on November 17, 2004


jokeefe now I am not pushing the homosexual agenda or making any fashion proclamation whatsoever (and I do not hereby suggest in any way that I dig machine guns), but that is the hottest boy-erotic photo I've seen (at least since finding a copy of the Oct. 2004 issue of "Black Inches" on the 72nd street subway station last week). (Yes, the one with Fubue and his "acrobatic anaconda" on the cover.) Yoweee.

So let me get this straight (ahem): The end of crossdressing day in one Texas town means the guys can not wear heels and skirts, heaven forbid, but the girls are officially permitted and in fact requested to show up wearing black Army jackboots and camouflage pants? And this was the solution proposed by concerned mothers? Ok, how does this not promote the LESBIAN agenda?
posted by jellybuzz at 2:19 PM on November 17, 2004


"Too bad they didn't broaden things out to begin with."
No, it's too bad you and your fundy friends haven't learned to broaden your minds and stay the fuck out of other people's lives.
posted by 2sheets at 2:22 PM on November 17, 2004


See, to me, the whole "Sadie Hawkins Day" thing actually promotes traditional gender roles by suggesting that there is only one day a year on which women are supposed to ask men on dates.

Of course, maybe I have that sense because I remember "Li'l Abner" and how incredibly, hideboundly (is that a word?) reactionary the comic strip and its author were.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:33 PM on November 17, 2004


Um, as hippugeek already said.

If I didn't think it would be incredibly creepy and unseemly for me to admit that I sometimes thought, in the abstract, that teenaged young people might be attractive, I would say that "I want to know when and where there will be cute teenaged girls in jackboots and camo pants, because I'll be there and I'LL BRING THE HERBAL TEA!"

But that would be so, so, wrong because I would be objectifying those fine young people.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:35 PM on November 17, 2004


Why is it that nothing can be done just for fun anymore and everything has to have an "agenda" attached to it or seen as in some way "oppressive" to one group or another?
posted by Orb at 2:39 PM on November 17, 2004


great point, jellybuzz. for whatever reason that i've never been able to understand, female homosexuality isn't as icky. probably cuz there's no dong involved, i guess.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:40 PM on November 17, 2004


but to be fair and balanced, there are lots of heterosexual women who dress that way. they're in the army.

the other odd thing is that (i might be making this up) most male transvestites are heterosexual, no?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:43 PM on November 17, 2004


Everyday promotes traditional gender roles in high school. And girls can wear "masculine" clothing anytime, but boys can't do the opposite. Even for a laugh or a lark, transgressing roles and norms is valuable, and points out that that's exactly what they are--roles. High School is the perfect time for something like this, since it's a time of questioning and experimenting anyway, in spite of enormous social/peer pressure.

Orb, things that are "fun" often have valuable lessons embedded in them--nothing happens in a vacuum.

and yes, mr.grimm, they are.
posted by amberglow at 2:52 PM on November 17, 2004


If I didn't think it would be incredibly creepy and unseemly for me to admit that I sometimes thought, in the abstract, that teenaged young people might be attractive, I would say that "I want to know when and where there will be cute teenaged girls in jackboots and camo pants, because I'll be there and I'LL BRING THE HERBAL TEA!"

But that would be so, so, wrong because I would be objectifying those fine young people.


You bring the tea and I'll bring my copy of Anne Carson's translations of Sappho.

I mean, should I be prone to objectifying teenage girls in combat boots. Which would be wrong.
posted by jokeefe at 2:53 PM on November 17, 2004



My bisexual ninjas aside, just to be safe, I make it a principle of specifically finding high schoolers of any gender unsexy, period. However, because anyone in combat boots is presumed to be damn well capable of taking care of herself, I'll join in that little tea party.
posted by jellybuzz at 3:20 PM on November 17, 2004


jokeefe: And for a brief shining moment I thought we shared Vincent Marissal. :)

Nevertheless, the article mentions black boots and camo....does it require everyone to wear American military camo?

And wasn't it not to long ago that a high school kid who came to school in camo was quickly frisked, whisked away and sent to counseling?
posted by ?! at 3:49 PM on November 17, 2004


You Americans are seriously odd. That is all.
posted by salmacis at 3:50 PM on November 17, 2004


This homosexual agenda: it vibrates?
posted by Hildegarde at 3:59 PM on November 17, 2004


salmacis, I'd rather be seriously odd and than oddly serious.

And ?! makes a good point, I thought camo was on the outs in schools these days or am I thinking of black trenchcoats?
posted by fenriq at 4:03 PM on November 17, 2004


It probably is on the school's list of not-permitted clothing, along with black trenchcoats (a Columbine school-shooter thing, for you non-US folks)
posted by amberglow at 4:14 PM on November 17, 2004


Still, the tradition is being scrapped and the district will hold "Camo Day" instead -- with black boots and Army camouflage to be worn by everyone who wants to participate

Ohoho now eeeeverything is clear:

1. they hate fags more then some god supposedly does
2. they dress in camo and combat boots
3. they'd like you to get used to camo and boots

Now there's no backdoor conscription ongoing, for sure..just mass recruiting :D ! (Simpson navy episode runs to mind)
posted by elpapacito at 4:33 PM on November 17, 2004


good lord. talk about PC (i know it's mostly in jest ...)

it's somewhat natural to find 17-18 year-olds attractive, isn't it? child-bearing age and whatnot ... i sure wouldn't have sex with anyone under 18 for legal reasons, but there's no harm in fantasizing. or is there?

i'll say it loud and proud: high-school girls are hot.

this has been interesting so far. i honestly tried to imagine what it must feel like to be a transvestite on these cross-dressing days (a bit like a gay man in a locker room shower?), and i actually found myself empathizing with Sidhedevil and hippugreek, but amberglow hit it on the head:

Even for a laugh or a lark, transgressing roles and norms is valuable, and points out that that's exactly what they are--roles.

well said.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:36 PM on November 17, 2004


"Too bad they didn't broaden things out to begin with."
No, it's too bad you and your fundy friends haven't learned to broaden your minds and stay the fuck out of other people's lives.


Um...what?!
posted by hughbot at 4:36 PM on November 17, 2004


I betcha they were all doing that Lynndie pose all day in their camouflage, too. : <

(altho that too was very transgressive, and not usually seen, and certainly not the image of women in the military the brass wanted us to see)
posted by amberglow at 4:43 PM on November 17, 2004


Yeah, I wonder if there will be any recruiters from the military that just happen to show up on campus that day to tell the kids how much "free" camo they'll get if they just sign up to join up.
posted by fenriq at 4:44 PM on November 17, 2004


You Americans are seriously odd. That is all.

I'll up the oddness ante: TWIRP day made me hotter than a wok. To me, boys in skirts are way sexier than boys in camo. (Oh, that Eddie Izzard. Funny, adventurous, and brave = pure catnip.)

Sidhe, I take your point, I really do, but when I was small town and sixteen anything that even faintly smacked of transgression -- to say nothing of transvestism -- was seriously exciting.

Ultimately, that Texas mom is only making it worse. She's put her big Texas foot on one of the few widely available steam valves offbeat teenage lust has in Hicksville. She's taken something traditional and fun and fetishized it, making it even more attractive. Plus, she's pissed just about everyone off, I guarantee it.

I'm sure Halloween, that other tiny transgressive window, is on her shit list too. Trouble is, take those little outlets away, and you're left with a lot of weirdness with nowhere to go. She's trying to rid the world of everything that scares her, and just gave EVERYONE a little bit more of the gay instead.

It is a lovely thing that girl me wants the skirted boys and the boy youse want the butches. Lust is so comically unpredictable. I suspect this is even true abroad.
posted by melissa may at 5:01 PM on November 17, 2004


It's a chance for all the guys in the school to go buy a camo print miniskirt.
posted by dazed_one at 5:17 PM on November 17, 2004


fwiw, i assumed the "boy youse" above who like the girls in combat boots were actually women. maybe i'm confused.

i'm glad some girl out there likes boys in skirts, though. you can put your big Texas foot on my widely available steam valve anytime!
posted by mrgrimm at 5:34 PM on November 17, 2004


It's like experimenting with drugs," said Davies, who also has a 2-year-old daughter. "You just keep playing with it and it becomes customary. ... If it's OK to dress like a girl today, then why is it not OK in the future?"

Oh noooo! Not the drug connection! Mary jane today and horse tomorrow??!! Oh Yowie I am having a serious flashback here.

It's pink skirts for her son today, and then Easy Bake oven tomorrow..next thing you know he'll be wearing pearls and Chanel No. 5.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:41 PM on November 17, 2004


Pity the child of that woman. What a horrible fate!
posted by five fresh fish at 6:48 PM on November 17, 2004


Didn't our Commander in Chief dress in drag back in the day? He didn't catch the gay. Well, maybe he did and with the recent revelation about Cheney we now know why he pick Dick as his VP?
posted by gyc at 6:51 PM on November 17, 2004


I'm a female woman.

Mr. Grimm, if you feel comfortable about lusting after teenagers, you enjoy that comfort.

I feel that it's creepy and unseemly for me at my a) advanced age of 40, and b) happily monogamously married status. Everyone is allowed to make their own decision about whether or not they are being creepy and unseemly.

I envy all of you who have experienced mainstream "drag days" that were fun and freewheeling. I wish I had been there; as you can see from my earlier posts, that wasn't the emotional tenor of the majority of drag at my school or college.

I think the first time I was ever conscious of drag as really, really mindblowingly fun was the first time I encountered the truly fabulous Hat Sisters in Provincetown. Because I love me some Hat Sisters.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:23 PM on November 17, 2004


I find young dykes to be utterly charming, but in a maternal, or, at a stretch, big sister kind of way. I'm delighted by their freedom, and it's a joy for me when I feel in a comparing type of mood-- what I wouldn't have given to have PJ Harvey to listen to when I was 15, instead of preening cock rock, for example. However, it's only in the most abstract sense that I appreciate the unearned beauty of the young; I wouldn't even contemplate dating anyone under 30, and that's not morality, that's just common sense. I like being with people I have things in common with, and part of that right now is being over 35.

Just to clarify, as I think both Sidhedevil and myself were playing around on sort of the same wavelength.
posted by jokeefe at 8:11 PM on November 17, 2004


Sidhedevil - I know what you mean about how disrupting the roles can act to reinforce them. That's what many historians think were (and are?) the purpose behind many rituals of inversion in pre-modern Europe, where boys were elected as bishops, fools ruled as kings, etc. It's a controlled inversion of norms (usually part of a festival), that could act to reinforce them - because the crazy world where poor people were as good as/better than rich could clearly only exist in play, right? Everything would be back as it should be as soon as the festival is over.

I understand what other people are saying that having any chance to bend gender roles can be comforting to someone who doesn't fit them. But if this ritual has existed at my school, I would have felt (in my boys trousers, because they are way more long lasting than girls) that it was reinforcing them. We never did have them though, nor a Sadie Hawkins Day. As an urban teenager in the 90s, a Sadie Hawkins day would have had no meaning. Girls always asked boys out and went Dutch. For many, it has just outlived its meaning.
posted by jb at 8:20 PM on November 17, 2004


This is an interesting conversation. I have usually felt more the way sidhedevil frames it, that it strengthens the boundaries of what's "right" by pointing out the ridiculousness of the other side. But thinking on it now, I remember photos from my elementary school halloween one year, that included some boys dressed as girls, and one boy dressed as the boyfriend of one of those boys dressed as girls - and those photos always made me think my elementary school was pretty liberal (which it was - it was in west village NYC... & btw, both those boys from that pic turned out straight). Anyway, so sometimes cross dressing can be 'just for fun' but without any undercurrents of 'ha ha in real life we would never be like this'. But in some communities, that undercurrent is bound to be there. Still, it would be there anyway, so why not have the day and see what happens.

I guess the part that makes me most uncomfortable is the idea that roles are still held so strongly by so many. Female roles have broadened so we wear pants and even loafers & suits and sometimes ties, & can have short hair, blah blah blah - and male roles have broadened a bit - long hair, earrings, jewelry more acceptable - all that's really left is skirts being normal and not just for hippies or scots.

Yeah, that mom is screwed up. She must be very unsure of her own identity if she thinks one day of skirt wearing is going to change someone's sexual orientation. But I guess it's a purity thing.
posted by mdn at 8:42 PM on November 17, 2004


Hey, if those kids start wearing gender-discordant clothes they're at risk of catching "teh ghey".

Gotta love those red states. They'll be providing us with this sort of thing so we can at least have a laugh every once in a while. Least surprising is that this item comes from the state that made Dubya what he is today.
posted by clevershark at 8:51 PM on November 17, 2004


I'm reading the discussion with a bit of bemusement-- this must be a particularly American cultural thing, because it certainly doesn't happen in Canadian high schools, as far as I know-- I mean an institutionalized drag day, or Sadie Hawkins day. or whatever. We didn't have hazing, either.
posted by jokeefe at 8:52 PM on November 17, 2004


I should have mentioned before that I don't remember girls asking out boys as being part of it, or girls in boy drag as a common thing either. And it wasn't something all boys did. TWIRP (which I always heard as Twerp -- I had no idea it was an acronym before reading the link) was ostensibly to celebrate football homecoming. However, even kids who didn't give a damn about that used it as an excuse to visibly wear an alternative or secret self. It was a costume day, and skirted boys was only one of the choices. That's why it and Halloween seem such an intuitive link to me, and probably why I don't have any memories of nasty undercurrents attached. I was too busy being happy because I could deck myself out without censure.

And as with Halloween, I can see how such a day can be deeply unsettling to anyone who doesn't want a child to test out a self unsanctioned by the house rules. In my experience, no adult ever protested TWERP, but I get where the root of the fear comes from: your children are not your invention or your template. If that's the fate you desire for them, a very visible demonstration of offbeat inventiveness or creativity, especially if it's sexualized, will scare you. But in the end, suppression of those instincts only adds to their allure.
posted by melissa may at 9:36 PM on November 17, 2004


...with black boots and Army camo

Just right for "kick the shit out of the fucking fags" day? Seriously, this religious agenda has gone too far. What's the plan for next year, white cloaks and hoods?
posted by Meridian at 1:45 AM on November 18, 2004


America: Land of the Free and Home of the Brave*

*But fags gross us out!!!
posted by moonbiter at 3:36 AM on November 18, 2004


Orange Swan mentioned that if the entire school shows up in drag there is not a thing the school district can do about it, well, let's take a little peak at the Spurger School Dress code and see what the official word is. Anyone else notice that that the code is NOT gender specific? It outlines what length skirts, dresses and culottes must be, but doesn't say that those are to be worn exclusively by female students. So, anyone at any time can show up wearing expressing their "total clothing rights" (as Eddie izzard would say)... according to the code in a normal unbigoted world. Of course, they are in Texas, and Texas at that. Romi's restrained rant on snarkymalarkey.com made a good observation about the school's culture yesterday (see "Hats off to Drugs").
posted by amphigory at 5:30 AM on November 18, 2004


This "homosexual agenda" sounds sinister.

If nobody knows what the homosexual agenda is then the homosexual meeting's going to be a complete waste of time.

Cross-dressing's an odd thing. It's either done because the cross-dresser genuinely wants to adopt the characteristics of the other gender or it's done because the person thinks that the characteristics of the other gender are ridiculous. I think we all know which is applicable in this case.
posted by Summer at 5:48 AM on November 18, 2004


As I understand it, the "homosexual agenda" involves equal treatment and access under the law.

Fucking radical wackos.
posted by flarbuse at 6:08 AM on November 18, 2004


The homosexual agenda.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:30 AM on November 18, 2004


Commenting on Jokeefe's comment about not having any such sanctioned days in school, I attended school in Chicago and we never had any "dress up" or theme days at school. Our focus was on academics with the arts program as outlet for our creative energy. There was none of the intense sports-centric fever and social class consciousness that my friends in the southern United States, and Texas in particular, say pervades their children's school life. I am horrified when I hear of the hanging effigies of the other team's players at mandatory "pep rallies" that are scheduled during the academic schedule. They call it "school spirit" but I call it hate.

I wonder if the Christian legal organization that supported the mother in who didn't want her child to "cross dress" realizes that Jesus wore dresses all the time! So, let me see... Cross dressing makes someone gay and Jesus wore dresses, so, .... Jesus was gay!
posted by amphigory at 7:39 AM on November 18, 2004


At my high school (in a village in New Mexico, circa 1980s), we had actual slave auctions. You wacky Brits, and check out those boys at the bottom! Gay, or European?? Toward the end of the year, various students and teachers would be put up for auction to the highest bidder as a fund-raiser. Sometimes girls were bought and made to wear full football uniforms all day at school, sometimes boys were bought and made to dress up as cheerleaders. Mostly, though, we had no black students in my high school, so that made it all right. Especially since every school assembly started out with the Lord's prayer.
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:02 AM on November 18, 2004


It's wonderful to see how almost everyone is made to accept those cunts' inset. What I see is not what kind of dress promotes a "homosexual agenda"; what I see is little knots that are slowly being tightened around our freedom to choose, to move, to speak, etc. This particular incident may not be horrible per se, but if you check relevant postings just in Mafia, you will see a pattern emerging. I feel sorry for Americans. They are too innocent to realize how their country is slowly but surely slipping toward fascism. I know most of you are in denial about this and I'm prepared for some snotty remarks. Mark my words, though. install, we will be here next year to sum it all up. Cheers!
posted by acrobat at 8:03 AM on November 18, 2004


mindset, those cunts' mindset; not Mafia but MeFi, not install but insallah (damn spellchecker)
posted by acrobat at 8:06 AM on November 18, 2004


...or "radical MeFi Mafia".
posted by acrobat at 8:10 AM on November 18, 2004


You know, I once dressed up as a hobo for Halloween, and now I find that I'm completely broke. If I only had known!!!!

If anything that's popular in the teen mainstream is teh gay, it's shit like Jackass and their ilk. Getting revenge on your male friend because he smeared his feces on your face by pissing on him, well that sounds like an awful hell like an outtake to a gay fetish movie to me... it don't matter if the actors are laughing all the while... fuckin' homos....
posted by Debaser626 at 8:29 AM on November 18, 2004


My general rule is that if it pisses off religious wingnuts, it must have some cultural value. I'm with amberglow: subverting norms is cool.
posted by junkbox at 9:16 AM on November 18, 2004


Thanks, acrobat. That was very helpful. We really appreciate your very insightful comment. None of us had any idea that there were any dangerous tendencies toward enforced conformism in the United States. If you hadn't pointed it out to us, we would have continued in our blissful ignorance.

Perhaps, of course, we're blind to it because it is the very first time in United States history that religious extremists (especially Evangelical Protestants) have tried to amend the Constitution to enforce their religious values on others. Or perhaps we're blind to it because there has never been a time in which the government, as well as private citizens, misused their power to quash dissent. After all, it's not like any of us can remember a time when large numbers of our fellow citizens were disenfranchised.

Also, it's "insh'allah" or "insh'Allah".
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:24 AM on November 18, 2004


Not herbal tea, green tea.
posted by mike3k at 12:57 PM on November 18, 2004


acrobat, as the happy possessor of a cunt, I don't generally like it when I see it invoked as a term of abuse.

Back on point, I have mixed feelings about drag. As part of gay culture, I get it, I respect it, and I appreciate it, but the fact remains that the performance of femininity embodied in drag is something which can be played with, and literally put on and off by men. For me, it's a societal expectation, and because I decline to participate in it there are particular consequences, as in the idea that if I was really secure in my self-esteem, I'd be in makeup and heels. (See the fashion page of any newspaper or any TV makeover show.)

When I see a drag queen in full regalia, part of my reaction has to do with the knowledge that I am looking at an exaggerated version of the social self which I am supposed to be inhabiting. Drag is optional for some, but it's part of the rules for others. So I can't take any unmixed pleasure in it. I'm just saying.
posted by jokeefe at 2:01 PM on November 18, 2004


You know, I once dressed up as a hobo for Halloween, and now I find that I'm completely broke. If I only had known!!!!

Oh My God...so that'swhat happened! I once dressed up as a headless person, no wonder I can't see the gorilla-- I have no eyes!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:39 PM on November 18, 2004


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