milkboys Films & Cinema 20 Comments

“Gender” is a hot topic that never fails to spark heated discussions whenever it comes up. Many people have strong opinions about it and some even believe that the course of our society depends on simple things like choosing the “right” restroom in a McDonalds.

For a long time we brought up our children with strict guidelines in our heads about which toys are appropriate, which colour their clothes must have and which emotions they are allowed to express. All based on the genitals they were born with. Trucks, blue, anger. Dolls, pink, sensitivity.

But in recent years some started to question this system and proposed the idea that children might develop healthier attitudes towards themselves and others if we don’t put these restraints in place, if we allow them to form their own character, personality and preferences without arbitrary rules.

The documentary Tomgirl explores the life of Jake, a gender non-conforming kid that chose to ignore these rules.

Comments 20

  1. This is a pretty good video for what it is. And the neutrality of this is very nice, but what is going to happen within their families and their immediate societies when puberty starts to set in and be visible?

    Also, this video totally ignores the fairly obvious “elephants in the room”: Society in it’s “totality,” individual puberty (as mentioned above) and … RELIGIONS. Let’s take these one at at time (and I can only identify these in a brief way, you’ll need to “fill in the blanks”):

    1. The plurality of individual (and collective) societies. To have “universal” acceptance of any gender, the overwhelming majority of any society must be accepting of this. And to accomplish this, the whole of a society must be informed [educated] about the many variations of genders … or more specifically, the variations of the psychologies to evolve into individual “genders.”

    If you have relatively few individuals (within the context of an entire “society”) that wish to express themselves outside the [generally accepted] “normalcy” of genderism, then said society will continue to have problems dealing with this. But if you educate/ “train” a society in a more complete way and very early on in childhood, then even the older generations can and will accept the gender variations. [horsey, are you paying attention?]

    2. Individual puberty. This may be the most complicated element because it involves sexuality. It’s problems are way too numerous to mention, not the least of which, how will a gender-fluid child-to-adult accept themselves in not just sexual pleasure (99.5% of all sexual activities), but also reproduction (the internal human “demand” of sexuality and hence, #3 below.) Also, how will a gender-fluid child-to-adult accept their own body growth and the flip-side: how will said society accept a gender-fluid child-to-adult’s body growth and desires?

    3. RELIGIONS. This is not only the largest “elephant in the room,” and also the most prominent key element in not just educating the general population(s) but in providing the acceptance needed within societies. It’s no secret (being well documented and proven) that the less religion in a society, it has a higher intelligence factor and fewer problems with gender-fluidity and sexualities. The removal of religion should be the very first element a child’s education process throughout the entire society. With its removal, the previous 2 conditions will naturally fall in place in a positive way.

    1. I just watched unbelievably cool movie about a transgender or gay boy who was growing up in Manila streets. He lived with his 2 older brother and father who are petty criminals, but they totally accept their younger brother the way he is. I’ve never seen so much love! Acceptance, Compassion.

      Movies name is “The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros”

      Movie with English subtitles:

      1. I remember that movie, it was very sweet. The boy is about 10, cooks for his family, and he’s in love with a police officer.

      2. Yes, I’ve seen that movie. If I remember correctly, the character Maximo Oliveros was infatuated or in love with the primary police officer.

        And, yes, Filipinos are known to have considerable compassion for both gays and transgenders. Also, Thais show this compassion as well for both.

  2. I would counter by saying that societies mostly did have options for gender nonconforming individuals until fairly recently in human history. We gave them up for some reason.

    I think it would be best for cultures to re-create the old categories, which allow gender non-conforming people to have recognition as their own type. In my view it is the gradual process of gender de-segregation which exacerbated the erasure of these identities, and gave rise to feminism (which is against male identity anyway).

    But at the same time, most of the young women who call themselves “non-binary” at the end of the day seem to me just like any other women.

    There are intersex people, some know they are intersex and some don’t. Others were exposed to more testosterone (in females) or less testosterone (in males) in the womb, and this made them gender non-confirming in the first place.

    Thinking that each person is born a blank slate, and is in a non-binary state until the culture influences them, is really ideological and unwise. Unfortunately some people believe this and this seems to be a part of the non-binary movement.

    Someone who considers gender-conforming expectation to be “arbitrary” does not accept the underlying biological explanations for gender identity, and this is a problem. For instance, teaching boys in a class as if they were girls, might not be the right thing to do. At the moment it is fashionable to favor girls’ education over boys’, in exactly this way, and the boys are facing an education problem.

    1. “I would counter by saying that societies mostly did have options for gender nonconforming individuals until fairly recently in human history.”

      Really? Then why didn’t these societies educate their public about these “nonconforming individuals” in their public schools, beginning at elementary levels instead of just allowing the masses [read: religious] to belittle and humiliate these individuals? Sorry, but that makes no logical and historical sense.

      Or isn’t it just that religion refused/refuses to recognize the gender variations?

      “In my view it is the gradual process of gender de-segregation which exacerbated the erasure of these identities, and gave rise to feminism (which is against male identity anyway).”

      Again, that makes no sense, either logically or historically.

      1. I said ‘human history’. That did not begin in 1950, or 1850, or 1750, or whatever you imply by raising the issue of how gender is treated in public schools. Think back hundreds and thousands of years.

        As to religion, it’s been around for a long time. All the societies which had accepted third gender type roles had religions, too, in some cases the very same religions they have today. So, what changed? Our society became much more broadly gender de-segregated. That is what changed, among other things. We got a lot wealthier, technology became more advanced – but these are the factors driving the gender desegregation in the first place.

        “Again, that makes no sense, either logically or historically.”

        It makes perfect sense. As soon as men, through their innovations, freed women from the more banal aspects of the female gender role, women and men started pretending there is no essential difference at all between the genders except for gestation and lactation. However in doing so this society created ever more of a need for gender identity in the first place – whereas it was not as necessary before, when women and men were largely living separately. When your interactions with the opposite sex are limited, you don’t really ever need to think about what differentiates you from them, because that is assumed in the first place.

        Look today at Afghanistan. Gender non-conforming males dress as women and dance at wedding parties and no one would think to “belittle and humiliate these individuals” except the ones that were influenced by western thinking. The reason the rest of the men all love the gender non-conforming men is that the women aren’t involved in this at all.

  3. ❦A girl who acts like a boy is a Tomboy
    A boy who dresses like a girl who acts like a boy is a Tomgirl

    ~A pleasant film about a self assured child who is being given the freedom to dress and look as he chooses. In an ideal world this would be just peachy but with so many kids and adults being non-accepting and antagonistic towards children who are different makes me nervous, not only for his emotional welfare but for his personal safety too. I wish Jake the best regardless.

  4. Girls who act like boys are tomboys. Boys who act like girls are sissies. Long live genders. Both ‘traditional’ genders are big enough tents where everyone’s ‘other’ side can be reasonably expressed without going off the cliff. Like the reader board spotted in front of a restaurant says: “We have a Ladies’ room. We have a Men’s room. If that confuses you, We can help.”

    1. “Girls who act like boys are tomboys. Boys who act like girls are sissies.”

      And what is the term for conservative right-wingers who desperately want to be like liberals and free-thinkers? Who desperately need to break out from their parents’ basements and churchs’ dungeons?

        1. Great response! And, send a big “thank you” to your leader, Donald Trump for doing what he’s so good at: initiating the total destruction of the Republican party. You follow him well. :-)

    2. Are so intimidated by the concept of manhood that you will mock a boy as a “sissy” because he has the courage and strength to test the gender boundaries of the society he exists in , instead of just blindly submitting himself to them like you probably did?

      1. You dare to question the manhood of the likes of … Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Pat Robertson … and of course, horsey [who enjoys a firm rod in his rear because it feels so good]?

        Read 10 passages from your family heritage bible for those thoughts!

      2. Wheat Fields – Not ‘intimidated’ at all. As I said, each gender is a big tent, covering a wide range of ‘degrees’ of masculinity and femininity.

        Every male isn’t a biker-soldier-jock-crocodile hunter. There are mild-mannered men and even effeminate men, but when they act like girls, they cross the line and become sissies.

        Every female isn’t a femme-fatale, wife, mother and homemaker. A woman can be strong, accomplished, professional, and successful, but when they act like boys, they cross the line and become tomboys.

        Where exactly that line of being a sissy or a tomboy is belongs to the observer. Call it yet another shade of gray.

        I didn’t grow up “just blindly submitting” myself to “the gender boundaries of the society” I existed in, I pursued them eagerly. I love being all-male, and I love the ‘manhood’ in other males.

  5. @horsey:
    So, horsey, you don’t and will not [never] allow for differences in humans such as:

    Color and density of all body hair
    Color, shapes and functionality of eyes
    Size and shape of noses, including the space between the eyes
    Sizes, shapes and colors of lips
    Sizes, shapes and functionality of ears
    Possible/future heights and weights of human beings
    Possible “inconsistencies” of births; commonly called “birth defects”
    Possible “inconsistencies” (including color/pigmentation) of skin conditions
    Shapes, sizes, colors and possible “inconsistencies” in breasts and/or nipples
    Shapes, sizes, colors and possible “inconsistencies” in penises and/or testes
    Shapes, sizes, colors and possible “inconsistencies” in vulvas and/or vaginas

    … and so many more than I can think of at this moment …

    and one more thing:

    differences in brain functionality to make everything in a human body work together as “one” … regardless of what that “one” is?

    1. Where did I ever say I would not “allow” for any of the varieties found in the human condition? Perish the thought.

      When someone’s eyes don’t work, we call him blind. When someone’s ears don’t work, we call him deaf. When a boy likes girls, we call him straight. When a boy likes boys, we call him gay. When a person is really smart, we call him a genius. When a person is really stupid, we call him a liberal. When a boy acts like a girl, we call him a sissy. When a girl acts like a boy, we call her a tomboy. And when someone’s brain is malfunctioning, we call him … well …depends on the nature of the malfunction.

      If any of that triggers a blip on your micro-aggression radar, I’m afraid you have yet one more problem to live with.

      1. horsey:
        “When a person is really stupid, we call him a liberal.”

        What’s your real need to come off as a social idiot? I know YOU THINK you’re being “funny,” but you’re NOT.

        I listed those conditions because humans are incredibly diversified in so many ways. And you’ve lived with accepting just about every one I mentioned. But, because of your religion, you just FAIL to accept some differences because of the brainwashing your parents (and the idiots of your churches which rubbed off into your parents’ minds) — much like Donald Trump’s unacceptance of anyone who SEEMS “lesser” than him.

        What’s pathetic is that you accept the idea of homosexuality — because you harbor those thoughts and feelings — but refuse to accept [as just as normal as you are] the differences of transgender people. And you refuse to “understand” this all because you’ve grown up with parents and others around you constantly telling you how “inferior” they are to you. But, haven’t you ever realized that, to your parents who didn’t want a male to have homosexual feelings that you are just as inferior to them as you think transgenders are to you?


        “I’m afraid you have yet one more problem to live with.”

        Yes, quite true — the problem is with people like you who have been so indoctrinated into a stupid and fraudulent religion that you no longer can determine what’s correct and normal.

        1. If a girl is a tomboy, and a boy is a sissy, then that’s what they are. Acceptance isn’t an issue. You should always be yourself (besides, everybody else is already taken). We’re just recognizing behavioral characteristics. The video chooses to call Jake a ‘tomgirl.’ Whatever.

  6. Gay Guys doing the Queen routine in gay bars are not females. Who do they go to bed with ? In carnivalia of old, many a straight man dresses as a woman to dance around and play. Who do they go to bed with ? Boy, girl, man, woman, none of these are sexual, despite the common associating, and such are, as well as all of these, are words, and, thuswise, are social determinations. NONE of ANY such is in-born nor biological nor inherent in the brain at any time except for the social invention / construction of any of them, requiring groups of people living and working together. ☮

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