By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com March 03 2010 5:25 PM ET
“Why Is Angelina Turning Shiloh Into a Boy?” the cover of this week’s Life & Style magazine asks readers. Claiming Angelina Jolie refuses to let her 3-year-old daughter wear dresses and insists on calling her “John,” the accompanying article then cites “expert” opinions on whether the behavior is harmful to the child... including a rep for antigay group Focus on the Family.
"Little girls have never been women before. They need help, they need guidance of what that looks like,” Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton says in the magazine. “It’s important to teach our children that gender distinction is very healthy.”
Celebrity stylist Gili Rashal-Niv offers, "I get that times are tough but does Angie really need to have Shiloh sharing clothes with her brothers? Hopefully we won’t be seeing Maddox in one of Shiloh’s dresses any time soon.”
A spokesperson for Life & Style magazine issued the following statement to The Advocate:
“Life & Style's cover story ‘Why Is Angelina Turning Shiloh Into a Boy?’ presents experts speaking from all viewpoints in the debate over Shiloh's new look, which immediately ignited controversy all across the media. The feature provides our readers with a comprehensive look inside one of the biggest entertainment news stories right now.”
But the National Center for Transgender Equality says the article is just pushing outdated stereotypes.
“The length of Shiloh's hair or the clothes she wears are really matters for her and her parents to decide; this is a family that is known for their fashion,” Justin Tanis, outreach manager for NCTE tells The Advocate. “What's important here is that every child, including Shiloh, has the opportunity to express herself and explore her world in a way that is safe and nurturing for her. Our society needs healthy, well-rounded children whose interests and tastes are as diverse as the children themselves and are not limited by outdated stereotypes of gender. Shiloh — and all other children — deserve the right to be themselves in ways that feel right to them as they learn and grow.”
Representatives from GLAAD have reached out to Life & Style to "educate the editors about how to fairly and accurately report on gender
identity issues." Senior Director of Programs issued the following statement to The Advocate.
"Life & Style is way off the mark with this outrageous coverage. Perpetuating gender stereotypes and targeting children for ridicule about the way they dress is unacceptable, regardless of their parent’s celebrity status. Media has a responsibility to differentiate between credible authorities and politically motivated (and usually self-proclaimed) 'experts' like Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton, who is not an expert on developmental issues or gender identity."