I was reading this story over on The Grio earlier today and I found myself trying to understand the reason that this 19 year old gentleman would see the need to wear lipstick and tights to express his individuality.
19-year-old Daryll Duane Philips is a heterosexual rapper from Dallas, Tx who has created something called the XY Movement. According to Phillips the purpose of this movement is to encourage men to “get in touch with their feminine side” by wearing lipstick, floral print tights and other items that females usually wear. Phillips who has a girlfriend says that he is breaking down his own mental barriers by going out in public and dressing in female clothing items. He also says that he is “40 percent female” due to the fact that he is in touch with his own emotions.
I’m not sure what type of home Daryll was raised in, and I am not even here to judge him or his parents. He is an adult who seems to be fully capable of making his own decisions. Artists like Prince and Boy George have straddled the gender bending fence for years and they have managed to make good decisions and have successful careers.
What I am going to do though is take a moment and try to comprehend how something like this is going to affect my child as she grows up. I’m going to be blunt with you, as a father I don’t want my under age children looking at TV and seeing a man dressed in a woman’s attire, nor do I want them to see a woman dressed as a man(i.e. Lady GaGa on the MTV VMA’s). It’s just not something that I want them to experience. Sure everyone has the freedom to dress the way they feel, but as a parent I think that it would be inappropriate for me to willingly expose my child to those things. I even have some reservations about allowing my daughter to watch movies like “Big Mamma’s House” or episodes of Martin where he is dressed up like Sha-Nay-Nay simply because I know how confusing those types of images can be on an impressionable young mind.
Here is where it gets tricky though. Right now Daryll Phillps is one teenager on twitter who happened to make the mainstream news. But what happens 5 years from now when another male cross dresser has a hit record and video in heavy rotation on B.E.T? The media isn’t going to protect our kids from those images. As parents we can’t even shield our kids from EVERY image that we don’t want them to see. As things become more and more acceptable in our society what’s going to happen when that one artist that the next generation of Hip Hop can relate to penetrates pop culture? I mean Lil ‘Wayne already got away with wearing a pair of leggings at the MTV VMA’s(Yup…the same award show where Lady GaGa dressed as a man). So as time goes on things are just going to become more and more acceptable until you have young elementary school age boys wanting to go to school dressed as a girl and parents who actually will approve of it.
Now I’m not some homophobic father who doesn’t believe in individuality or a persons right to express their own personal sexuality. I am just a dad who sometimes has conservative views when it comes to raising my child. Some people may call it old fashioned, and I’m cool with that. But in my heart of hearts I think that if more of parents had old fashioned values there would be less problems in our society.
I want to hear from you about this issue. Do you think artists who encourage ‘Gender Bending’ have a negative impact on our children? Or do you think it’s a natural part of society’s progression?